- The positive correlation between workplace satisfaction and engagement impacts performance and productivity.
- Workplace bullying impacts the mental health and well-being of victims and witnesses.
- Working with difficult personalities requires patience and proactivity to change the relationship.
- Employees can replace negative emotions by taking steps to transform uncertainty into predictability.
Most of us can relate to the Sunday afternoon blues, already anticipating Monday morning as the beginning of the workweek. Even when our young interns and colleagues, who have mastered work-life balance better than we have, remind us we are not getting paid to stress out on Sundays, the tension remains. What is the key to changing our mindset about our work?
One of the first things we can do is determine why we dread Monday morning–and how to change our view. Is it the work we do, the people we work with or for, or both? Research gives us some answers.
Seeking Job Satisfaction
Steven B. Prentice (2022) examined the link between job satisfaction and employee engagement, emphasizing that an environment of supportive leadership will improve both outcomes regardless of which result comes first.i He noted that the positive correlation between workplace satisfaction and engagement impacts organizational performance, productivity, company reputation, and customer satisfaction.
Negative engagement can have the opposite effect. Nicole M. Steele et al. (2022) found that workplace bullying impacts the mental health and well-being of the victims and others who work within that type of toxic climate.ii
With the importance of workplace interpersonal dynamics in mind, what changes can we make that improve our 9 to 5? Here are a few suggestions.
Bonding With a Bad Boss
We have all heard that you don’t quit jobs; you quit bosses. And unless you work for yourself, not everyone is lucky enough to choose their boss. But there are steps you can take to detoxify a relational mismatch. The first step involves recognizing a bad boss is about the boss, not you. Understanding difficult personalities requires patience and proactivity—by pursuing a positive relationship, you are positively distinguishing yourself as a team player because difficult bosses are usually perceived as prickly by everyone, not just you. Even if the goal is coexistence, assertively crossing that bridge will make your work life easier–and make you less likely to dread going into the office.
The Pleasure of Predictability
Some employees describe their emotional experience on the job as a stressful mixture of anxiety and dread. They never know what type of assignment is coming down the pike and are always afraid they are unqualified. This perpetual uncertainty usually stems from inadequate training, lack of supportive supervision, and sanctions for substandard work. Employees who feel their best is never good enough are often unsure of what to do and don’t want to be penalized for asking.
Ideally, employees can calm this negative storm of emotions by taking steps to transform uncertainty into predictability. Proactively asking questions lets, you know what is expected, how to do it, and where to go for support or guidance. The best employees, whatever their job description, are proactive producers who feel comfortable and confident, knowing how to do their jobs.
The Sunday Solution to Job Satisfaction
To the extent that each of these factors is within your control, proactively seeking to change the dynamic of the daily grind can enormously impact your well-being both at work and on weekends. Even taking small steps to improve your relationships and master your workload cultivates confidence, creating a sense of competence and comfort. And that is a winning combination that can change the way you view Monday morning, giving you back your Sunday afternoon.
[i] Prentice, Stephen B. 2022. “Job Satisfaction or Employee Engagement: Regardless of Which Comes First, Supportive Leadership Improves Them Both.” Advances in Developing Human Resources 24 (4): 275–85. doi:10.1177/15234223221112504.
[ii] Steele, Nicole M., Gerard J. Fogarty, Bryan Rodgers, and Peter Butterworth. 2022. “The Effects of Working in a Bullying Climate on Psychological Distress and Job Satisfaction: A Multilevel Analysis.” Australian Journal of Psychology 74 (1). doi:10.1080/00049530.2022.2125341.