Secure bases are sources of protection, energy and comfort,
allowing us to free our own energy. —George Kohlrieser
What To Do
The following secure base self-test (modeled on ideas in Daniel Goleman’s Social Intelligence) offers a way to assess your work experience. On a sheet of paper, respond to the following statements with True or False, and then add up your score at the end. The results will help you to identify how secure your workplace is and suggest ways to build a more secure base.
1. You feel appreciated, acknowledged and respected for your contribution(s) at work.
2. Your boss consistently actively listens, provides helpful feedback and provides useful guidance.
3. When there’s a problem in the office, everyone works as a team to resolve it.
4. You have a best friend at work.
5. You often feel calm while working.
6. You have more positive than negative moments at work.
7. You feel confident, playful, able to take risks and innovative in your position.
8. The emotional tone of your office is healthy and motivational.
9. The attitude of the company you work for is collaborative, human and supportive.
10. Your company/office/team/co-workers feel like family.
(1–3 True) Recognizing office toxicity is the first step to making change. Take a look at the questions to which you replied False; identify which areas, if improved, would allow you to feel a little better. Choose the one that feels most important and brainstorm what would have to happen to create better outcomes and implement a strategy to achieve them.
(4–7 True) In the mid-range of a secure base lies an opportunity to build on your internal security by expanding your external connections. Share one or all of the answers you marked False with co-workers and suggest that you work together to create a more positive environment by addressing these areas.
(8–10 True) At the high end of the range, you have the opportunity to lead your office in creating an even more secure, supportive and successful environment. Challenge yourself to survey your office and identify where you feel you could introduce a fresh concept to elevate the already-established secure base to an even higher level.
Why To Do It
Experts define a “secure base” as a key ingredient for professional excellence and performance. When we feel this way at work, we increase our ability to focus, overcome obstacles, explore, innovate, play, take risks and achieve goals. In short, having a secure base at work opens more opportunities for success.
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