How spousal personality affects careers?

It may not be as obvious as you might think! You are lot more than you may appear to bring at work.

It is time that organizations, leaders, supervisors, co-workers, and team members, start focusing on those invisible dimensions that have a deep impact on our work.

A lot of my work and research based on executive coaching got me to think about a very important dimension of work-life, particularly so of those who are dual-income couples.  It showed that those who were intimate and understanding in their relationships were able to put in more quality time to their work.  The reason being the absence of drama in their life.  They were able to bring more cognitive, emotional, and physical energy to their workspace.  Simply put their mind-body ergonomics in their relationship was super.

Another study showed that the partner’s personality had a deep influence on their income generation ability, career growth, and so on.  It points to the fact that each individual’s ability to bend their back on tasks in the office was directly linked to the social and familial context.  

I am not for a moment advocating a very touchy-feely office where people bring all their personal matters and discuss them at work.  It makes work at times less stressful this way and people are able to get away from the myriad emotional challenges which they face in their social context. 

However, my own experience tells me that no matter how much one would try to keep the personal and office life separate, it is not just difficult but hard to achieve.  You cannot compartmentalize human emotions and start switching on and off like a machine.  We are human and complex personalities after all.

I do believe that it is about time that business leaders and organizations took note of the outside influence on the work life of the employees.  It all boils down to not just becoming aware of the personality of those who work for them but of their partners as well.

When I speak of personality, I am indicating towards the Big Five personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and negative emotionality (neuroticism).

While there are some traits which influence much more than the others in a relationship, we cannot deny the fact that they all combine to make us who we are. 

Let me take the example of conscientiousness.  I have observed that if you have a partner who is conscientious then a lot of chores at home are handled efficiently and effectively.  It is more organized at home, and you do not have to worry about missing appointments, planning social events, PTMs, child’s nutrition to education needs and many more.  When the home front is taken care of, the employee is able to come to work with more vigor as the pressures are off your shoulder.

Similarly, those who have a more agreeable partner who keeps your interests always in mind, likes to be more collaborative than confrontational, is trusting, expresses views with a lot of tact and care, it creates a very positive climate at home.  Lesser conflicts mean less stress and more energy which can then be put to better use for personal and professional growth.  You might have seen, partners who are often confrontational in nature inadvertently create a climate which depletes them of positive energy.

There is another important trait which influences a person in performing well at work, that of neuroticism (negative emotionality).  When you have a partner who is highly reactive, edgy, often worried, getting rapidly angry and one who keeps brooding over the past mistakes and failures, it starts to affect other aspects of your life as well.  Their imagined worries make them highly intrusive and controlling in their behavior.  They easily transfer negative energies to each other leading to not just stress for them but for their significant other as well.  Those who are high on the neuroticism scale tend to carry the burden of household stress to work affecting their relationships with co-workers and productivity.  They are also the people who would report sick often or are not in the right frame of mind to contribute positively.

I am at not point suggesting here that your success at work depends upon you being in a relationship.  There are so many single individuals who are highly successful CEOs and business owners who bring great energy and aggression to grow their business.

However, strong marital relationships bring a lot of success at work as well.  When you are in a relationship, you are not two people; you are a single entity.  The more solid this entity, the greater will be your advantage.

We can’t and probably don’t want to know the details of an employee’s personal life, but we can provide them with tools which could help them better understand their relationships which in turn contributes to not just to their personal life but also brings success in their professional life.

Maybe there will be employees who do not agree that the company should get involved in trying to improve spousal or familial relationship, but you sure can offer them a choice of using some of these tools as a benefit. 

There is however no denying the fact that an employee is a complete and complex package of personality traits.  You cannot expect them to switch on / switch off their personal and professional life like you would a machine.

It’s time to take notice!

If you really care for your employees, it’s time you helped them outside of work as well!

Talk or write to me to know about the tools which could help you achieve that goal.

If you are a CEO and wish to make a positive impact on your employees, ask me for a FREE Assessment!

Fear My ‘Fear’, Not My ‘Anger’ !

It helps me to call GOD, names,
As he is the only one who is not insulted by all my blame

I am angry at all the rich
As I fear the lack of which

I am angry at you getting too close
As I fear losing the independence, I chosemelanie-wasser-j8a-TEakg78-unsplash

I am angry you were not there when I needed the most
As I fear abandonment from the only one I loved the most

I am angry you make me wait
As I fear being ignored

I am angry you disagree with me
As I fear being judged

I am angry and yell at you till you are convinced
As I fear being accused of something that is untrue

I am angry you interrupted me
As I fear you will never understand me

I am angry and I have GOD to blame
As I fear peeping inside for the burning flame

Don’t be mad at me for my ‘anger’ within
It’s my fears that trigger my angry feelings within

They are the fears I carried within
Since the time my life begin

I was told weak are those who fear
I clung on to that belief O dear!

I don’t want to take this anger to the grave
I lived a life so depraved

I want to share all my fears
Without being judged and brought to tears

I want you to fear my fear
And not my anger my dear!

Get in touch with ‘Anger’!

It was a date with his special someone
At a beautiful place they had chosen one
It all went awry when they both reached a different one
He waited for her for what looked like eternity
As the clock ticked by affecting his sanity
It would have all been a mix-up
Which I shall try to fix-up
He left her a message on her answering machine
As he pondered long near a coffee machine
She was all anger and flare
As she presumed he deliberately left her there
He had left her all disappointed
As he failed to reach the spot appointed
What was for him a simple mix-up
For her, this date he had messed up
She screamed that he was unreliable
How was she so dumb and gullible
She brought more anger than it deserved
To the person her heart reserved
Her anger was from an old hurt
Which she dumped on him till it hurt
She was angry that he wasn’t  there
She was angry that he was late
She carried her anger all where she went
On the dishes and people she vent

It took long for her to realize
It was her fear that made anger materialize

She feared abandonment
And burst out he wasn’t there

She feared she was not as important for him
Thus for the date he was late

She feared that he didn’t love her anymore
So angry for whatever he said

She kept rubbing in her anger
Than to deal with her inherent fear

Her insecurities made her frail
And all his pleadings were to no avail

She stopped seeing him eye-to-eye
As there was more to it than met the eye

Even though she had valid fears
It was made invalid with anger

Every date was a repeat thereafter
As he drifted apart farther and farther

Those were the clues of what was really going on
With all those fears she was carrying on

It was time she dealt with her anger and fear
To save the relationship she held dear

Cause no one enjoys being around an angry person
An angry person is often a lonely person.



Choose Your Words And Deeds With Care!

We all leave a trail.  Especially so in our relationships.  Therefore it is important to pause and reflect on the trail you wish to leave behind as you move in your journey called life.

The point is – You may pass, but your words and deeds will always remain. You must therefore choose them with utmost care, especially so during your interactions with others.


When your words and deeds exude care, affection, happiness, sincerity, help… you leave a trail of the same behind you or when you pass. It is like the smell of a fragrant flower adorned by someone who passes you by.

Same is the case when your words and deeds transmit negativity, arrogance, anger, insincerity… you leave a trail. It smells like the stench emanating from the garbage truck that just passed you by. The worst is that it never leaves you. Each time you are confronted by the same person or situation, you will be reminded of it.

Why not choose your words and deed with care?

What is the trail you would like to leave behind?

The choice is yours!


Have you dealt with people who are irritable and frequently throw temper tantrums?

Have you instinctively felt the need to push back? Or

Have you let it pass and saw that it blew over quickly?

I remember having worked with a boss who used to have a short fuse.  Most often it used to blow over pretty fast as well.  However, the extent of damage lasted a while. It used to become pretty explosive when someone tried to push back and instinctively retaliate, often leading to days of eerie calmness much like the calm after a storm.  He acknowledged the fact that he couldn’t control his anger and always used to reflect on the bitter trail he left after such outbursts.

The eastern philosophy says that the best way to deal with angry people is to be like a ‘Grass’ and not like a ‘Rigid tree’.  In the face of storm rigid trees break and die while the grass bends and survives eventually to grow taller and stronger.  Bending, being flexible, accommodating and compassionate is often the best way to deal with angry people than get into a power game.

You will often feel the urge to push back in order to prove that you cannot be taken lightly.  Have you observed that the result is a counter and deterioration of the relationship.  You may think that you have won but you will surely end up creating an enemy who will wait for the opportunity to stab you in the back.  It’s easy to make an enemy and its no challenge.  The difficult part is to turn a difficult and explosive person into someone who treats you better.

I’ve always experienced that whenever I retaliated immediately to angry outbursts and attacks from others, the situation soon escalated into a full blow conflict which would eventually explode and leave a trail of devastation not just on me and the said person but others who are in the vicinity.

With this boss, I chose a different approach.  I often chose to let it pass for the moment and allowed him to vent his anger till he exhausted himself.  All the while trying to listen carefully for reasons that makes the person angry.  Trying to understand what is triggering these outbursts. 

You will find that it will mostly be about them and not others.  People who have angry outbursts are like those “holding a hand-grenade with its pin removed”.  The time is ticking and if you allow it to run its course, it will self-destruct.  But if you choose to engage and go all over it, it may blow on your face and you will be the casualty.

I saw that more often than not the person came around and said that he didn’t mean to hurt me and that there was something going around in his mind which was bothering him for a while.

When he asked me for suggestions to control or diffuse the situation, I just asked him to bite his tongue the moment he felt the urge to explode.  Also, quickly get back to his cabin and write down the triggers for his anger.  It did work for him and he was able to gradually get a handle on his anger.  Not for long though, but it definitely reduced.

Mind you this only works if the person is just volatile and not a narcissist.

What is your way of handling an explosive person?

Beware! – If You Are A ‘People Pleaser’

Do you always feel a need to defend yourself against a friend or family?

Do you feel a constant need to explain as to why you can’t make plans one evening?

Do you find yourself trying to ‘rephrase’ a text or word to avoid an unpleasant situation?

Do you set aside all your personal work when someone suddenly appears asking for help?

Take a moment and think of a friend or acquaintance who you know as probably the nicest person around.  He / She is ever ready to lend a hand or extend help and you can count on him / her whenever the need arises.

This person is also the one who will gladly abandon what he/she is doing to cater to your needs. Does this behaviour sound disturbingly familiar to you as a person?  Do you do this yourself?

Are you also someone who finds it exhausting, stressful after such events?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to most of the questions above, then you surely are a ‘people pleaser’.

These people-pleasing habits are toxic to you, and often stem from a need to make others happy. But sometimes, there isn’t any deeper origin to these patterns beyond simply being a gentle person. If you naturally tend to be agreeable and friendly, toxic people will sense this and latch on to you.

They quickly discover how to manipulate you with guilt-tripping, passive aggression, and martyrdom. This snowballs, as more and more of these people find you. You become stuck in their cycles of insecurity, which is often the reason you’re already desensitized to the narcissists abuse.

Your tendency to keep others interests above your own and to be accommodative may be the reason you get rolled over.  Your deep desire to be liked by people and to be perceived as nice comes in the way of escaping the narcissists abusers web.

I am not suggesting that you should be nasty with people and not care, but if it is happening often and you are left with a bad taste, it’s time to take charge.  It’s time to be assertive before it takes a toll on your mental health and relationships.

I am reminded of a quote from Mahatma Gandhi and I quote;

A ‘NO’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘YES’ merely uttered to please, or worse to avoid trouble.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Beware! if you are a people pleaser, you are the potential target for toxic people to take advantage of. The narcissist has the uncanny knack of identifying these tendencies and manipulate to ‘lord over you’


Toxic Workplace – Are You Committing ‘Hara-kiri’?

Are you putting up a ‘tough exterior’ just so that you avoid being a doormat? 

You can demonstrate your self-respect simply by maintaining a healthy balance of trust, care and clear boundaries.

If you are a deeply empathetic person, the chances are that you are a magnet for narcissist.  They are so adept at identifying their targets.  They are also very good at mimicking the emotions of an empathy such that they attract or get your attention in reciprocity.

It so happens that most empathetic people are prone to ’annihilating’ themselves.  They seem to have a button ready to commit hara-kiri, almost like a samurai warrior would when he finds out that all his efforts to fight have been nulled and he has no chance of winning.  The only honorable exit seems to be to commit hara-kiri or the ritual suicide.

If you are a deeply empathetic person then chances are that you would too.  When all your efforts to maintain the relationship finally come to naught.  The only option for you then is to go on a self-destruct mode.

How would then find out that you are in the process of committing hara-kiri?

Here are few signs…

Desperation – when you find yourselves trying to empathize with everyone around you.  You start to reach out to as many people as you can in an attempt to give them what you think they might need and hoping for some appreciation and love in return.  You start to spend a lot of time, energy and your resources on people in need.  You become agreeable to everything and everyone.  You want to somehow prove to the world that any situation or person can be changed by demonstrating empathy.  All this for an equal and more reciprocal response.  The danger in this and if you are in this stage of hara-kiri is that you might get more and more disappointed and start to overdo your empathy bit to the point of irritation of others at the receiving end.  If you ever heard people telling you to back off or feeling uncomfortable about empathy they are receiving from you which they didn’t ask for? – then you surely are in desperation.

Rage – If you are often filled rage around people who you feel are never satisfied or do not reciprocate or understand the amount of effort you are putting to satisfy them then you are for sure getting further into a self-destruct mode.  You become furious and start to detest yourself and the values you once stood for.  You drop your nice guy/girl image and got the opposite way.  Becoming agitated, abrasive, rude and often in the process losing friends.  You start to actually blame yourselves for your condition and also berate yourself for being ‘who you are’; hara-kiri.

Detachment – after long periods of rage around people who seemingly have taken advantage of your so-called nicety, you start to ‘shun’ people and start asking for more and more ‘me-time’. 

Are you in a situation where you are yearning for ‘quiet time’ ? Alone time? Then you are definitely moving to the next phase of overcoming your pain of being an empath around toxic people. 

You will at this time feel like getting away – fed up of people, this world.  You frequently talk about going and sitting on top of a mountain peak away from the disturbance of toxic people and meditate.  You want to show that it’s you who is ‘in-charge’ of your life.  You want to regain your self-respect.  Then it’s hara-kiri as would a warrior do.

Now I am not suggesting that you literally take your life, but just to ‘get back your life’. Going through the process of detachment is great for you.  It is like moving from limited contact to ‘no-contact’. 

This quite time helps you to re-discover your self-worth and know ‘who you truly are’.  You begin to rebuild your identity – self-respect!

While the first three stages look quite destructive at the outset; they do help in getting back your life on track after being in a toxic environment and relationship.

So don’t be afraid of committing ‘hara-kiri’! I urge you to go through the pain till you finally find some balance.

Remember ‘Empathy’ is a quality which you must not shun just because of toxic people or to avoid being hurt. 

You only need to save your empathy for people you trust and care about – those people who are capable of reciprocating it.

7 Toxic People You Must Avoid

In an already stressful world what with the global pandemic, no immediate solution in sight, uncertainty, work and study from home challenges, relationships are under so much strain.

It is so important that you keep your sanity.  This would mean that you should keep yourselves in a positive frame of mind.  Easier said than done, what with so many toxic people to add to your woes.  Here is a list of toxic people you must avoid in your life to keep things bright around you.

  • The Gossip monger – who is a carrier of half-truths, lies and quiet literally the news castor.  Such people have vivid imagination and have the uncanny knack of sucking you into their world of illusions and before you realize you are caught in their web of falsehood and lies.  Just listening to their gossip may make you unwittingly a part of their story and at times become a casualty.
  • The Narcissist – who is completely about ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘Myself’ and is always concerned about projecting himself/herself as self-righteous and who has monopoly on the truth.  he/she is also the one who will do anything for personal gains, even if it means trampling and hurting a few people on the way.  They are not open to any input or feedback and believe in the adage ‘my way or the highway’ in all their transactions.
  • The Manipulator – who would likely use  your vulnerabilities for their own personal gains.  The manipulator is one who can distort facts to get things moving in his/her favor.  They also indulge in manipulative behavior and are the one’s who would use your innocent sharing of information against you or for their benefit.  Trust for them is a bait to gain control over you and manipulate you the way they want.  You must be extremely careful with people who have in past conversations with you taken up topics which you would have shared with them in your moment of vulnerability.
  • The Cynic – is the one who can drain you of your energy and enthusiasm while doing any task.  They transmit negativity wherever they go.  They tell you how things won’t work out or can’t be done all the time.  Such people can with their cynicism make you doubt your own abilities and can be a big drain on your self-confidence.
  • The Judgmental – are the people who are constantly judging you and the environment of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’.  They are the people who have a stereotypical view of the world around them and try to impose their judgment on others.   They also judge before having complete information leading to lot of conflicts.  The judgmental people are also fixated in their approach and are found to be inflexible.  They see the world with the colored glasses they carry.
  • The Arrogant – are the people who are condescending in their behavior with others.  They consider others to be not as capable as they are, often ridiculing and passing snide remarks.  They are the ‘know all’ of any topic and are not open to others.  They move around carrying a sense of privilege or entitlement.
  • The Victim – is the person who is constantly projecting to you as to how the world is against him/her.  Narrating story after story about the wrongs which are happening to him because of the unkind world.  They are constantly on the lookout for people who are willing to listen to their sob stories and offer them their shoulder. They can at times take away a lot of your time and also manipulate your sensitive nature to derive personal benefits.

Have you encountered a few of these types?

Do you have any more of the toxic types one needs to be vary of?

Share in the comments…

5 Keys In Building Trust

S1:E7 – Promote Yourself – The new normal for success THE CRITICAL DIALOGUE – LIFE AT WORK

The foundation of any relationship, whether it be with a business associate, spouse, parent, client or, friend, is trust. 

Trust is not something that can be built with quick fix techniques.  Rather, it is something that is cultivated through consistent habits in your interactions. 

Here are the 5 🗝 keys which could unlock the doors of trust in your relationships;

1. Be Open and Transparent

Never try to hide things from others.  Never operate with hidden agendas.  You might think that you could keep and hide things from others or pull a fast one, but most people have good intuition in guessing that you are trying to hide something.  They will have an uneasy feeling around you; a feeling of discomfort.  Operating with hidden agendas also reduces your ability to Trust others, since you behave this way, you will presume that others also operate as you do.

2. Be Consistent

Always be consistent in your behavior.  Do not behave to suit your convenience.  People are very observant and sensitive and when they see you behave in an inconsistent manner, it immediately impacts your trustworthiness.  Always behave in a principle-centered manner.

3. Stick to your commitment

Keep all promises.  Make your word stronger than any written agreement.  Every act of yours goes to show how committed you are in any relationship.  Make promises sparingly and do not ever make a mockery of the word ‘promise’ cause people really attach a lot of weight to this one aspect in a relationship.

4. Always treat people with respect

Ever since we were kids, we were taught to be respectful.  Allow people to be who they are; respect their rights; never try to force yourself on them; do not be petty; do not gossip about people when they are not around; never make any statements about people in their absence. Never undermine others, by showing your superiority – remember each person is unique and has something which he are she brings into a relationship.  When people know that you treat them with dignity and respect, trust will flourish in your relationship with them.

5. Walk-the-talk

Do on to others what you expect them to do on to you.  Don’t just end up being a preacher, show people that you act in a manner in which you expect them to.  People just hate those, who do not follow what they preach.  This is the biggest trust breaker.

There could be many more!  Would you like to add to this list?

Share yours using the comments.


S1:E7 – Promote Yourself – The new normal for success THE CRITICAL DIALOGUE – LIFE AT WORK

We often shy away from difficult conversations – the critical dialogue as I call them. We must however realize that they are some of the most important conversations in our life and we just need the right approach to make them productive.

Why not try and transform each conversation into a learning conversation? Start by accepting that others will have a different perspective. Remember that each person has some strengths and a perspective  that will help make the conversation a productive one.

Learn to recognize the emotions that you often experience during difficult conversations, consider why this might be, and learn to share them with the person with whom you are engaged in the critical dialogue.

The other person’s emotions are just as valid as yours. Finally, we must remember that there are no absolutes in a difficult conversation. Instead of becoming immediately defensive when something in a difficult conversation challenges your very identity, try and consider if what they are saying is true and, if it is, why not own up to it?  You are as much responsible for the state of dialogue as the other.

Before you engage in the critical dialogue, keep the following in mind;

Purpose – What is the outcome you visualize at the end of the critical conversation?  What according to you is the least acceptable outcome?  How much are you willing to accede to the other person?  The reason you have to think this through is; often when we engage in a difficult conversation without having any clarity of our intended outcome, we become defensive, aggressive, withdrawn or simply insensitive to the other persons needs as well.  We end up taking ‘positions’ which we fiercely defend.  Also, look at what is a reasonable outcome which the other person will be willing to accept.  Start with the assumption that people are ‘reasonable’ if you provide them with enough reasons to be so.

Plan – Having a plan does help in managing a difficult conversation.  Remember, this plan is not about how you will win the conversation, it is about the way you intend to go about the critical dialogue.  The plan should also include how much time you intend to spend talking about it; what would you do when you face resistance or disagreement?  Would you like to park it or continue to engage?  Who would speak first? Ideally, you must in any critical dialogue allow as much time for the others to speak.  Seek first to understand is the plan here. 

It works as it is an act of not only showing respect for the others point of view but also gives you a complete understanding of the other persons real interests.  This is what we call the ‘work-plan’ of engaging in a difficult conversation. 

The other part of the plan is the time plan.  Most important is ‘when’?  You mustn’t engage in a critical dialogue or difficult conversation if you do not have enough time on your hands. 

Most often you find that people want to quickly bring the difficult conversation to a conclusion.  This could be because of the fear that they may end up agreeing to the other person or take the conversation as a contest.  People adopt what I call the “Shoot and Scoot” technique, where the opponent doesn’t get enough time to process what you have said and understand your point of view. 

While it might look like you have won, you will have a person who will become closed to any such future dialogue. So, fix a time when both can spend uninterrupted time.

Prepare yourself for the conversation by considering the difficult conversations for both sides. So, think about what happened from both points of view, be clear on your emotions, and ground yourself.

Decide whether it is even worth raising the conversation. For it to be worthy, it must be underpinned by good purposes. These are learning, sharing, and problem-solving. Avoid difficult conversations that are merely based upon blaming and judging others.

If you decide that the conversation is worth engaging in, make sure you start as an impartial observer and move towards inviting them to join you in solving the problem.  Remember, the attitude is ‘You and Me’ and not ‘You with Me’.

Be curious about their stories, and only then will they be interested in yours. If you find that the conversation goes off-course, then make sure you shepherd it back on track.  Never allow the conversation to get out of context.  Have an agreement that whenever each one of you find that the other is taking the conversation away from the context, you will sound an alert.

I have found that many difficult conversations go on a tangent and completely away from the context with which it started.  It ends up in blame and a complete lack of ownership from those engaged in the conversation.

Practice – Rehearse in your mind as to how you want the conversation to go.  Go through your opening statements once in your mind and also how you will respond when the conversation boils.  While we think it is complex, most conversations can be predicted for the direction in which it will move.  If you are ready, you will be able to execute it and keep it in context.  Remember, ‘nothing happens unless you have visualized it first in your mind’.

Problem-solve throughout the critical dialogue. For the conversation to be productive, you should identify solutions which would be useful for both sides.  In the end don’t hesitate to ask if the other person is satisfied with the outcome and is that the way in which future conversations could be engaged in productively.  Most people do not want to risk asking this question at the end of a difficult conversation.  They fear that it will open up a Pandora’s box of other problems.  I would say that it is worse to exit with just an ‘assumption’ of agreement than clarifying and assuring that it went well for both sides.

Are you ready? Remember the 5 P’s