Overcoming a “Bad Weather” Culture

Lots of people get sick this time of year. The combination of gathering and sharing food with large groups, along with colder weather keeping us inside, increases the odds of spreading something contagious.

We use a lot of different phrases for being sick.

  • I caught a bug.
  • I’m just not 100 percent.
  • I don’t feel well.
  • I’m getting over something.
  • I’m under the weather.

Being “under the weather” describes a feeling of temporary helplessness. This illness blew into my life and will blow out, but I have no control over it. And sometimes that is the case with a cold or minor sickness.

What about the “bad weather” at your office? Are you under it? 

Like the conditions around this time of year, companies can be the breeding grounds for something contagious. Not just head colds and the flu, but things like cynicism and gossip. People are tribal in nature. We often split into factions of “us” and “them.” It can be tempting to point fingers and talk poorly about another group or people we don’t think are leading well. When we fall into this behavior, we are “under the weather” of a toxic culture.

But we do have a choice. We can go above the weather.

Negotiation expert William Ury has a different term for this. He calls it going to the balcony.

The next time you feel the pressure of bad weather building up, you have a choice. You can let it build up overhead and find yourself helplessly reacting to being under the weather.

Or, you can choose to rise above it. As Ury said, “The greatest gift we have… is the power NOT to react.”

  • What is the “bad weather” like in your culture (e.g. gossiping, back-biting, pinger-pointing, complaining or bullying)?
  • How do you usually react in these situations?
  • What would it look like to not react? How can you go above the weather?

Dustin Staiger is a business and marketing coach in Houston, TX. He addresses team and individual effectiveness, marketing, communications and creativity for smaller, entrepreneurial organizations as well as large enterprises.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Join the conversation...