DEAR HARRIETTE: I am feeling totally stressed out, and I cannot sleep. I have been having verbal fights at work over what seems like a thousand disagreements on basic things. It is irritating me to no end. Honestly, I feel like the weather is getting everybody crabby and the littlest thing is setting people off. I want to help change the mood in the office, but I don't know how. I think our team is a good one. My co-workers are usually nice people, even though they are not acting nice at all right now -- me included. I am in charge of this team, and I think it is my responsibility to do something. What can I do to make things better? -- Crabby, Detroit
DEAR CRABBY: You've taken the first step by acknowledging that you are not in a good mood and that it is affecting your work and your relationships in the office. Could the weather be a part of it? Possibly. This has been the worst winter on record in decades.
What you may want to do is go to work with a refreshed attitude and point out the obvious. Tell your team members that you realize you have not been in a good mood and it seems like nobody else has been either. State your epiphany that the nasty weather has contributed to your all-around negative state. Ask your team if they know what you mean and how they are feeling. Find out if there are any specific issues that need to be addressed workwise, and see if you can help manage them.
Present the team with hot chocolate and cookies or some other such treat to show that you want everybody to have a happy moment and ease up on the tension. Ask them to work with you and each other to be kinder and gentler through this tough season.