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Dr. Bill Austin

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How Disease Impacts A Relationship

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The Worst Beating I Ever Took

"It's my fault!"

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Life's Puzzle-Box Top

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Unenforceable Rules

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You Lost That Loving Feeling

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Professional Columns -
Relationships by Dr. Bill Austin


It was reported in the New York Times (March 14, 2006) that heart attacks are more common on Mondays. The article went on to say that the risk of heart attacks was about 20 percent greater for adult men and 15 percent greater for adult women. The question: why Mondays?

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In a Gallop annual poll, it was pointed out that 80 percent of employees dread returning to work on Mondays. A recent study of 30,000 workers by Opinion Research of Princeton, NJ, revealed that 47 percent of respondents either disliked or were ambivalent about the company they worked for. That same report suggested that this was a possible reason for why the greatest number of heart attacks occur at 9:00 AM on Mondays.

Positive productivity
may depend more on inspiring
than negative pressuring.

We hear people complaining about how they are treated by management, to the point that many are leaving their workplace in order to find better working conditions. The issue is not about money, but how they are treated. The leadership style of some management is all about the bottom line. It becomes the focus and priority. Both employees and middle management feel the pressure. The bottom line is important to stay in business or to retain the job, but the issue is how management tries to increase the bottom line. Unfortunately, some in management criticize, threaten, manipulate, or demean to motivate.

You would think that it would be a no brainer to motivate or inspire those who are working for us. Certainly, demeaning and threatening employees would not be one of the tools.

Fortunately, there are a lot of good managers. I would like to highlight one. I visit the Wawa store on Virginia Beach Boulevard nearly every day. I like the products and the people who work there, and there's a truly welcoming spirit. I wanted to find out why this was the case, so I interviewed the general manager and the employees.

The employees described General Manager Jason as compassionate, caring, honest, and upfront, someone who says what he means in a kind but direct way, who listens to and understands them. They feel safe with Jason because they trust him. When I talked with Jason, he described his leadership style as one of valuing his employees, the customer, and himself.

The result is that the bottom line is great: employees have a sense of ownership, so they work and play hard. Meanwhile, we as customers feel the positive spirit and so we enjoy shopping there. It's like a big family, and everyone benefits.

In conclusion, the lesson for all of us is that positive productivity may depend more on inspiring than negative pressuring. I believe the bottom line will grow when our priority is to treat people as valuable and the way we would like to be treated ourselves.

Dr. Austin has decades of experience dealing with relationships. He charges clients on a sliding scale according to their ability to pay. His first book, Creating Our Safe Place: Articles on Healthy Relationships, was published in 2004. His second book, Keeping It Safe, was published in 2009 and can be purchased through,, and at the Parrish Book Store in Virginia Beach.  He is also a sought-after speaker at meetings and seminars.

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