July Personal Reflection—Strawberries, Pinot, and Guttural Screams

Sometimes you're sipping rosé and sometimes you're carefully wording emails

This month’s personal reflection…it’s finally a steady stream of warm sunny days in Seattle where the memories of being shrouded in down jackets fades away. As much as I have loved this month, it has also been damn hard.

As I kick off Monsoon Leadership, I’m still working full-time as a development leader and I have been pushing hard on a project for months. The project itself has been creative, exciting, and rewarding…but the consultant we have been working with has been super challenging. The problem is that we were way too deep into the project before the problematic behavior started, so I couldn’t fire them. As a leader the best I could do was try to limit the damage inflicted on my team.

I often call this putting my staff in the “Shannon shelter.” I take the brunt of whatever difficult person we’re dealing with and limit my staff’s contact with them as much as possible. I’ll work it so my staff does not have to meet with them or read their emails. I do the best I can to limit the interactions they must have with the person.

This leads to a more challenging situation for myself, but hey, that’s why I’m paid more. I live by “do no harm,” so I will do whatever it takes to protect my staff. Cue the guttural screams. An effective strategy I would say!

How can you create a shelter for your staff from the known toxic individual at your workplace? What boundaries can you set on their behalf?

july personal reflection

Work is just one part of my life. The rest of it has been in absolute summer splendor.

So I put that frustrating work situation in a teeny tiny box and enjoyed the hell out of my weekends.

While my beloved pup Bandit enjoyed the strawberry festival on Vashon Island with our fabulous dog sitters, we went wine tasting in McMinnville, OR with friends. Sunshine, pinot, and laughter melted away the antagonizing work situation.

Don’t let the jerks you have to work with infect the rest of your life. Your time is for YOU.

We all have challenging personalities at our workplaces. They will never disappear, but we can limit the amount of influence they have on our lives.

On Friday afternoons, wrap up those dynamics with a bow and stuff it in a drawer. Then put on your summer hat and enjoy your weekend! That’s true victory.

Need help setting boundaries with work for yourself or your team? Sign up for coaching today!


Shannon Bowen, Founder + CEO of Monsoon Leadership is a career advancement coach, job search expert, salary whisperer, nonprofit executive, and a lifelong straight-talker. She's dedicated to helping nonprofit professionals land their dream job and dream salary!


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