What detoxifies a negative work environment?

In the office, vulnerability is the opposite of weakness.

SIMON SINEK: When we talk about a trusting team or trusting partners I think very often we forget that trust is not an instruction. Trust is a feeling. You cannot tell someone to trust you. No leader can just tell their company trust me. It doesn't work that way. Trust is a feeling. It's a biological feeling that comes from the environment we're in. When we feel safe in our own environment, when we feel that our leaders care about us as human beings and want to see us grow and build our confidence in our skills, when we feel safe in our own companies, trust emerges. It's what happens. When we do not feel save in our own companies, when we feel that our leaders would soon as sacrifice us to save numbers rather than sacrifice numbers to save us the human response to those conditions is cynicism, paranoia, mistrust and self-interest. And so if we want to build trusting teams we have to create environments. Leaders have to set an environment in which the people feel safe amongst themselves and from us.

There's much discussion about this concept of vulnerability at work. We have to be vulnerable we're told. That doesn't mean walking around crying. What vulnerability means is saying things like I don't know what I'm doing. It means like you put me in a job and I don't know how to do that job. It means raising your hand and saying I made a mistake. These put us in a vulnerable position, especially in a work world in which layoffs are used so casually that I feel like I'm on a short list. And so we would rather not express any sense of weakness whether it's fear or doubt or mistakes that we've made or lack of skills. We just keep it to ourselves and too many of us spend our days lying, hiding and faking. The irony is our attempt to present ourselves as strong every day means the company itself will get weak. Because if no one is admitting mistakes, those mistakes will compound. If people are doing jobs that they don't know how to do and they're lying, hiding and faking that means the output will be weak. The irony is is when people hide their fallibility, their humanity it actually makes the company weak. But when we create environments in which people feel safe enough to say to their boss I need help or I don't know what I'm doing or I made a mistake. The amazing thing is that actually makes the organization stronger.

So the question is how do we if we do not work in an environment that offers us that safe circle that we can express ourselves thusly then the question is what are we supposed to do? Well it's kind of like any human relationship. You don't start on the first date telling them all of your fears and anxieties and insecurities. That would be madness, right. You get to know somebody first. And then as you get to know them you take a little risk and you share something small. And you see if they listen and they make you feel understood and they make you feel heard. Or if they make you feel stupid or small. And if it feels safe you take another little risk and another little risk and they take a risk. If you're the only one doing it it doesn't work either. And this little sort of dance commences and at some point, I'm not sure exactly when, you find yourself completely comfortable being completely raw and completely yourself with this other human being who feels exactly the same way as you do. And that's exactly the same thing that we can do at work which is we find those few people and we take little risks and you say things like I'm not sure, are you? And they go no, not really. And you just express weakness to each other. It's wonderful. And you'll help each other and that's the point. It's about relationships. It's not about me finding strength. It's about us expressing our fallibility and our humanity together and together we will help each other. And together we will do whatever needs to be done because we are better together.

  • Trust is necessary for a healthy and efficient work environment.
  • This trust emerges when not only do we feel safe within our company, but that our leaders genuinely care about us.
  • Establishing these relationships requires vulnerability and honesty from both leaders and their employees.


Photo: Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller / Global Oneness Project
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Experts are already predicting an 'active' 2020 hurricane season

It looks like a busy hurricane season ahead. Probably.

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  • Before the hurricane season even started in 2020, Arthur and Bertha had already blown through, and Cristobal may be brewing right now.
  • Weather forecasters see signs of a rough season ahead, with just a couple of reasons why maybe not.
  • Where's an El Niño when you need one?

Welcome to Hurricane Season 2020. 2020, of course, scoffs at this calendric event much as it has everything else that's normal — meteorologists have already used up the year's A and B storm names before we even got here. And while early storms don't necessarily mean a bruising season ahead, forecasters expect an active season this year. Maybe storms will blow away the murder hornets and 13-year locusts we had planned.

NOAA expects a busy season

According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, an agency of the National Weather Service, there's a 60 percent chance that we're embarking upon a season with more storms than normal. There does, however, remain a 30 percent it'll be normal. Better than usual? Unlikely: Just a 10 percent chance.

Where a normal hurricane season has an average of 12 named storms, 6 of which become hurricanes and 3 of which are major hurricanes, the Climate Prediction Center reckons we're on track for 13 to 29 storms, 6 to 10 of which will become hurricanes, and 3 to 6 of these will be category 3, 4, or 5, packing winds of 111 mph or higher.

What has forecasters concerned are two factors in particular.

This year's El Niño ("Little Boy") looks to be more of a La Niña ("Little Girl"). The two conditions are part of what's called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, which describes temperature fluctuations between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific. With an El Niño, waters in the Pacific are unusually warm, whereas a La Niña means unusually cool waters. NOAA says that an El Niño can suppress hurricane formation in the Atlantic, and this year that mitigating effect is unlikely to be present.

Second, current conditions in the Atlantic and Caribbean suggest a fertile hurricane environment:

  • The ocean there is warmer than usual.
  • There's reduced vertical wind shear.
  • Atlantic tropical trade winds are weak.
  • There have been strong West African monsoons this year.

Here's NOAA's video laying out their forecast:

But wait.

ArsTechnica spoke to hurricane scientist Phil Klotzbach, who agrees generally with NOAA, saying, "All in all, signs are certainly pointing towards an active season." Still, he notes a couple of signals that contradict that worrying outlook.

First off, Klotzbach notes that the surest sign of a rough hurricane season is when its earliest storms form in the deep tropics south of 25°N and east of the Lesser Antilles. "When you get storm formations here prior to June 1, it's typically a harbinger of an extremely active season." Fortunately, this year's hurricanes Arthur and Bertha, as well as the maybe-imminent Cristobal, formed outside this region. So there's that.

Second, Klotzbach notes that the correlation between early storm activity and a season's number of storms and intensities, is actually slightly negative. So while statistical connections aren't strongly predictive, there's at least some reason to think these early storms may augur an easy season ahead.

Image source: NOAA

Batten down the hatches early

If 2020's taught us anything, it's how to juggle multiple crises at once, and layering an active hurricane season on top of SARS-CoV-2 — not to mention everything else — poses a special challenge. Warns Treasury Secretary Wilbur Ross, "As Americans focus their attention on a safe and healthy reopening of our country, it remains critically important that we also remember to make the necessary preparations for the upcoming hurricane season." If, as many medical experts expect, we're forced back into quarantine by additional coronavirus waves, the oceanic waves slamming against our shores will best be met by storm preparations put in place in a less last-minute fashion than usual.

Ross adds, "Just as in years past, NOAA experts will stay ahead of developing hurricanes and tropical storms and provide the forecasts and warnings we depend on to stay safe."

Let's hope this, at least, can be counted on in this crazy year.

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