Stop letting your past impact your present: Identify your Workplace Family Factor

When was the last time you had a visceral reaction with a co-worker, employee, or your boss that reminded you of how conflict was handled in your upbringing?

In a flash, you felt the surge of your fight/flight/freeze response kicking in with a knot in your stomach, sweaty palms, and tightness in your jaw that took you back to a conflict with a family member growing up?

In my book, How Did My Family Get In My Office: Surprising Ways Your Upbringing Impacts You At Work And What You Can Do About It I call this connection your Workplace Family Factor®.

The connection between how conflict was handled in your upbringing impacts how you handle conflict today as an adult, in particular in the workplace.

In the book, leaders share stories of how they transformed their conflict style for the better by learning from the lessons of their upbringing and applying those lessons to take control of their response during conflict.  

Here’s how one of the leaders from my book, Jeremiah, described his Workplace Family Factor®

“My boss was ranting and raving about some production that hadn’t happened like he thought it should. I felt myself getting stressed and immediately feeling responsible for the problem, like I felt responsible for everything growing up.

I wanted to defend myself and talk about what we could do to resolve the issue.

Then literally, as if a light went on, I realized it was like talking to my mother. 

That’s how she would behave. When she was in a situation she couldn’t control, she would lash out with her anger. In a split second I thought, ‘You know, he’s not my mother. He doesn’t have to have the cords to pull emotionally with me’.

In that moment, I decided the only power he had was the power I gave him, not the power he had because of his position. 

I showed respect for him, while at the same time releasing myself from being responsible for causing the production problem.

From that point on, I’ve been intentional about staying rooted in the issue at hand by asking questions, and then dealing with the problem, rather than engaging in the perceived power struggle that I was carrying around from my past family experiences.

– Source: How Did My Family Get In My Office, 

Chapter 8, Leadership Balance: Different Styles For Different Situations

In this interchange with his boss, Jeremiah learned to recognize when his Family Factor® showed up at work.

When this awareness, he developed productive conflict strategies such as taking deep breaths, saying he needs a break, and taking a walk to give him clarity about the situation. 

Like Jeremiah, when you know your Workplace Family Factor®, you are more likely to be in control of your response and come back to address the conflict, not run away from it.

As Rick Warren, author of the Purpose-Driven life, says We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”

Ready to identify your Workplace Family Factor® and address the ways your upbringing impacts your approach to conflict??

Click here to take the Workplace Family Factor® assessment. In less than five minutes, you’ll make the connection between how conflict was handled in your upbringing impacts the way you handle conflict today. 

You’ll also receive productive conflict strategies specific to your conflict style like Jeremiah did. 

When you know your Workplace Family Factor®, you have the foundation to create your game plan to transform how you handle conflict.

Encouraging you to grow, 


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