Codependency in the Workplace: How to spot it. What to do about it.


“Other people may be there to help us, teach us, guide us along our path, but the lesson to be learned is always ours” – Melody Beattie

I will discuss codependency in the workplace and you will see how a work culture can be poisoned by the behaviors exhibited.

Codependency is usually thought of as an addiction to drugs or alcohol. We can also look at the term codependency defined as a dependency on others to give us satisfaction and feelings of self worth. The codependent behavior is that interchange of actions and reactions that eventually become a controlling device between individuals.

Codependent behaviors begin in family interactions and find themselves playing out in the workplace. After all, we have been conditioned for many years as a child in families that may have denied dysfunctionality or were not aware of the negative behaviors that contributed to the codependent behavior.

We as the individual in the workplace, and perhaps a product of a dysfunctional family, must be aware of how we behave with our peers and how that interaction plays out in the workplace environment.   With this awareness of codependent traits, we can make a situation come to light. We can realize the root cause of an uncomfortable relationship, and be able to stay away from being a victim. With the assistance from professionals, we can encourage the codependents to take action to perform more appropriately.

Codependency in the workplace: How to spot it:

  • An individual may be over involved with his peers to help get “their” work done
  • Feeling responsible for solving others’ problems to prevent them from falling “under the bus”.
  • Expecting others to do what the codependent suggests otherwise becoming irritated and resentful
  • Using extreme energy to solve others’ problems without even receiving approval or recognition
  • Taking everything to heart and feeling responsible for others and the victim of the other person’s poor behavior.
  • Fears rejection; looks for love and acceptance
  • Works harder on the others’ tasks and problems leaving little time for their own needs.
  • Need for control of others since there is lack of control of oneself.
  • Manipulates others to feel guilty
  • Feels bored if they cannot find a crisis
  • Looks for needy people
  • Expects to be perfect


In the workplace, the codependent may appear as a very well liked individual always willing to step forward to be helpful to create many positive connections among others. But too much of anything, especially in an overbearing manner, leads to a dysfunctional relationship between two or more individuals.


Codependency in the workplace: What to do about it.


If you are behaving along the lines of the traits discussed, it is to your benefit to get professional guidance to be able to help yourself and allow for others to be responsible for their own strengths and failures.


What to do about your codependent behavior:

  • Set boundaries, verbalize them and do not let others overstep them
  • Let go of your need to be there all the time for the other needy individual
  • Forgive yourself for feeling bad about not being able to help
  • You can love others, but you must love yourself and take care of your needs.
  • Believe in yourself -worth
  • Seek professional guidance


What to do about your employees’ codependent behavior:

  • Do not enable others’ behavior
  • Be assertive
  • Validate other’ needs, but remove yourself from dealing with their problems personal or otherwise.
  • Recognize positive behaviors
  • Make certain the job goals are understood and acted upon by empowering rather than enabling to encourage them to take on the responsibility
  • Document patterns of behavior
  • Set boundaries and rely on company policies if things do not improve.


Melody Beattie, in her book: Codependence No More-How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself coined the word “Codependence”. I recommend it as it makes us aware of how detrimental it is to be the enabler-yes we want to help, we want to love, we want to prevent the failures of others, and in doing so we create a dependency that continues: the dependency of mother and child, of teacher and student, of husband and wife, of employer and employee.   “It is more worthwhile to teach someone to do something, than to do it for them.” _Melody Beattie





After reading Beattie’s book, I saw that codependency is the same problem as being addicted to drugs or alcohol. It is an addiction to controlling others. Knowing what a codependent lives with, lets you know how serious this issue is. Your workplace can be a culture of dysfunction because of codependent behavior. Look for the signs and make others aware of the need to change.


Other books about Codependency in the Workplace:

Codependency in the Workplace: A Guide for Employee Assistance and Human Resource Professionals By Seth Allcom


Consider how relationships in your workplace can possibly be tied in to Codependency.  Email me a scenario that fits the criteria mentioned in this blog.  In dong so you may see behaviors that can be changed with someone’s assistance.

For more discussion on these behaviors email:


Coaching Tip: Get Real- How to be Authentic


“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

C.G. Jung

In the above quote notice the word, become. When we hear the word, authentic in the above title, we think of being who we really are, being true to our convictions, showing others that we can feel, give of ourselves unconditionally, etc. There are times, however, that exposing our entire story can turn against us. Transparency is a delicate thing. Your story can be so much better with time. How to be authentic: You can become who you truly are by watching the behaviors of others who you admire. It is all about learning to take on a better you. And when you have that knowledge your story will be even a better one.




How to become who you truly are: (How to be authentic)

  • Choose 3 or 4 people you admire for their accomplishments or leadership expertise. Make time to ask some powerful questions that relate to risk taking, challenges, fears, needs, and feelings that move these people forward.
  • Develop questions to ask yourself along the same lines.
  • Compare the answers
  • What did you learn from your selected group that could help you move forward in career or life goals?
  • What do you see in yourself that showed up as barriers to moving forward?
  • Draw a picture of you inside a box. With in the box write all things that make you feel comfortable. Ex: small projects that I know something about. Write about 5 comforts.
  • Draw yourself inside a box, and this time draw arrows outside the box at all things that make you uncomfortable. Ex: Cold calling new client

New concept: Outside the box, where thinking is large, is a freeing experience.  The new concept is: Build your own unique box and create your entrepreneurial spirit of ideas close to you.  This is not a box that limits your thinking; it is focusing your thinking to bring you closer to what you really were meant to be doing.


What can you work on to be the person you can become? Make that stretch and feel the growth potential.  How to be authentic will come to you with experience.

If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”

Brené Brown

Contact: to get out of the box that is holding you back and Get Real! Become the authentic person you can be.


Coaching Tip: Self-Deprecating Behavior: What to know and how to change it.

“Don’t Belittle yourself.  Be BIG yourself.”-Cortia Kent

Learn to accept a compliment.  Learn to value your input at meetings.  Learn to say thank you and continue to appreciate your accomplishments without taking something away from yourself.

Self-deprecating behavior (See blog) is a negative form of accepting a compliment.  It is also prevalent when providing a comment at a meeting, starting your sentence with, “I know this is a silly question…. This sets the scene for seeing less value in what you are about to offer.  If you do not value your opinion, who should?

Be aware of how you value or show lack of value for your comments or accomplishments.  Be proud of your accomplishments and opinions.


  • Do what you love to do.  Create an experience for yourself. Make it your special accomplishment.  Share the experience with a friend.
  • Use a journal to write what you feel grateful for.
  • Write your legacy statement.  What is it that you want to leave this world, how do you want to be remembered?
  • Pay attention to others who also use self -demeaning language.  Turn around what they say to be a positive reflection of something discussed.
  • Before speaking, be aware of the positive nature of what can come forth from your words of wisdom.
  • Accept the compliment; say thank you and go on with your work.
  • You are allowed to believe you are good at what you do.  Let others know of your skills and accomplishment.
  • Be your own advocate

Your self-esteem is very important to how you live and work and share your self with others.  No one is perfect.  We can all use some improvement.  Feedback from others is a good thing for you to utilize for knowing what to do.  Negative talk from yourself and said to others is not beneficial.  Use what you know to improve yourself and this will ultimately lead to a better self-esteem.


Contact: to discuss this tip and more.


I am always interested in hearing how you have used my coaching tips and the results you have.  Share them with a friend.




Sorry For What?-Become Aware of Self-Deprecating Comments

photoI Am Sorry But… Sorry for What?

Have you ever started your comment at a meeting or with a friend with: “I am sorry but… “ What exactly are you sorry about?  Are you sorry you happen to have a very beneficial comment to share with your group?  Are you sorry that you are not valuable enough to add your thoughts or provide a possible solution?  How about, “This might be a silly question but….” Here again is a way to set yourself up as not being smart enough to be present at the meeting. Become aware of the use of self-deprecating comments. Remember,” No question is a silly or stupid question.”  Those who ask questions learn and when we learn we can offer valuable in put.

If you are in a leadership position, I offer that you have ground rules that mention the importance of everyone’s questions and input.  I also recommend that it be widely acknowledged that we all have valuable information to share and bring our own knowledge from all differing experiences.

Women have a tendency to be unable to take a compliment when someone admires something they have ”Oh, this sweater.  I have had it for years.”  “Oh, yes, I did the report, but it’s not really that good.”   The habit of self-deprecating behavior starts in childhood.  It acts as a defensive protection against criticism.  As teenagers we are under pressure to be part of the crowd, so being smarter, or prettier makes us stand out.  As we age, we continue to use negative comments to justify our accomplishments as being mediocre.  We then find ourselves with low self-esteem.  This behavior, as stated in a Princeton University study, creates neural pathways in ones brain and soon we believe all the comments we have made to others about ourselves.

Joan Rivers, Rodney Dangerfield, and Woody Allen made lots of money using self-deprecating comments.  They are comedians.  People can relate to their negative comments about themselves.  In actuality, is that really funny when we stop and think about our own behaviors and how they have played a part in our lives and careers-a part that may have been quite negative?

I recommend you lose the self-deprecating comments and take on a belief that you are perfect as you are.  The only thing to change is your thinking that you are not good enough.  If this is the case, you CAN do something about it.


Check out my Coaching Tip: Self- Deprecating Behavior-What to know and how to change it


Contact to work on your self-image and sense of purpose.

Coaching Tip: Motivation is about your true desire to set the world on fire


“From a little spark may burst a mighty flame”. -Dante


In my New Year’s blog, I use the metaphor of lighting a fire to get started on your journey.  This fire will not stay ignited unless you keep it fueled.  I have some ideas for you to continue to stoke this fire so that your motivation to do what you truly want to do IS “going to set the world on fire!”


Your “growth mind set “ (Dr.Carol Dweck-Stanford University study) to accept a challenge will differentiate you from all others.  It will give you the open opportunity to see that you are not held back by your perceived notion that your IQ or your talents define you for life.



  • Have the end result in sight, something you really want, so you can lay out your path: visualize how that looks and how you feel in the moment.
  • Consider the value of achieving this goal; if it works, then the benefit is…  If it doesn’t work then I will… (Positive plan B) Throw another log on the fire.
  • Learn to ask questions, for those who do,  learn so much about what they need to know to be successful in their pursuits.
  • Share your goal with someone who you trust to champion you and your ideas.
  • Engage an accountability partner-declare your goal, set up a time frame for each step, and make a plan to report back to your partner to discuss how things worked out because of what you did or did not do during the week.
  • Make a list of your positive attributes and keep honing them.
  • Look for opportunities in the “not so good” outcomes


Be the catalyst that helps light fires under others as well.  Being in the company of others with  “growth mind sets” keeps your fire  glowing.


CONTACT Isabel Einzg-Wein at to keep that fire glowing.

Coaching Tip:You Can Find Your Passion-feel free, creative, productive, excited!!!

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”-Albert Einstein

What is passion?  Have you ever felt excited about what you were doing and wished it was something that would pay the bills?  Or have you felt that nothing seems to be moving you toward that special part of one’s life where all happiness can be found?  Some are fortunate to be able to turn one’s excitement into an avenue to pay the bills.  Or use our excitement to supplement our daily working lives.  People are more productive if they do what they love to do. First, how do we find our passion, that place where we can experience heightened awareness of what we love to do and do well?


Take time out to discover yourself through silent meditation, exercise, walking along the river, in the woods-some place conducive to deep thinking.

  • When have you felt great satisfaction?  What were you doing? What was the result ?
  • Who among your acquaintances do your really enjoy being with? What makes this so?  What do they do that you enjoy doing?
  • Do you have a hobby that excites you?  What do you get out of doing this hobby?  Do you share this hobby with others?
  • Ask others about what you do that they think can be of great importance.
  • Find other people who enjoy similar activities that excite you.
  • Develop a list of goals that align with the excitements you feel. Work on strategies and take action in getting good at the activities that excite you.
  • Check in with others who can appreciate your excitement.

Knowing your passion can change the way you feel about your job, your life outside of work, and the way you can be of help to others.  You can feel liberated and create extraordinary opportunities.

I recommend reading: The Element-How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson

Please also check out my Passion Questionnaire.  It will help you in becoming aware of what finding your passion can help you accomplish and help me with a study.

Let me hear your comments.  Email me at:




Coaching Tip: Women are not just from Venus: Men are not just from Mars

“Men of quality are not threatened by women seeking equality.”-Unknown

How can you be a woman and win in a man’s world?   How can you be a man and accept women for their input to your organization? You are as qualified as the men on your team, but you are not being heard.   You have opinions and want to discuss them. You are a man in a meeting and all you want is: “Just give me the bottom line”.  Yes, this is just one example of the different communication styles between men and women.  The following activity addresses the way women can be and with this knowledge, men can understand how to allow women to add to the “conversation”.


  • Be assertive and to the point expressing what you need in a brief format
  • Speak slowly and clearly to gain attention.
  • Be yourself and align your body language with your verbal language showing confidence
  • Be heard and take credit for your accomplishments
  • Feel good about your value to the organization
  • Be a leader, show your strength and take on tasks that will challenge you
  • Work /life balance is hard to achieve: work/life management is needed, so prioritize.
  • Be open to asking for help as a mentee.
  • Ask for clarification of  terms if not understood.
  • Refrain from harping on an issue: give people time to analyze your points.

Let Isabel know how this activity works for you.


Look for my blog about women finding self worth in a man’s world in the BLOG section.



Coaching Tip: You are a Leader: Now what?

As I get older, I pay less attention to what men say.  I just watch what they do.”-Andrew Carnegie

You have been tasked with a leadership role in your organization.  Now what?  As it is written in the book by Marshall Goldsmith: What Got You Here-Won’t get You There. You must now take the reins.  You must now show those who trusted in you, that you can do the job.  The company or organization expects you to streamline operations, create new ideas, accomplish more with less, and produce quality products or services, as you work to build a team who can support your vision.

The original guru on leadership, Warren Bennis, in his book: On Becoming a Leader stressed the following criteria for leadership that 20 years later still holds true: Review these criteria and take steps to make it work for you and your organization.


  • Manage the dream-Communicate your vision and continue to reaffirm it.
  • Embrace Error-Create and encourage an atmosphere for risk taking.  It is only through action that things get done.
  • Encourage reflective backtalk-We can refer to this as feedback.  Creating a trusting environment in your organization, gives rise to honest feedback.  You then see what others see and this benefits you in what you do.
  • Leaders encourage dissent-Bring on the devil’s advocate.  It is necessary to see all angles from other perspectives to make an educated decision for the benefit of all.
  • Leaders possess the Nobel Factor-Show optimism.  See the possibilities in a negative situation. Look for that opportunity to move forward.
  • Leaders understand the Pygmalion effect– One behaves as they are treated.  You, as a leader must expect more from your subordinates.  Productivity will increase.
  • Leaders see the long view-Leaders have the patience to make certain their vision is the needed outcome.  Goals, strategies, and actions must align to foster that vision.  All takes time, planning and soulful work.
  • Leaders create strategic alliances and partnerships-Work with other organizations that are correlated with yours to foster your organization’s mission.


Be a leader: Your comments are of utmost importance to me in providing you with Coaching Tips.  Make suggestions and I will do my best to write that tip for you and others who will benefit.

Email Isabel at:

I will provide a complimentary half hour of coaching upon request.  Remember, you can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket.  This ticket is free.



Coaching Tip: You Deserve Respect!-Here is how to get it.

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”- Mahatma Gandhi


Setting boundaries helps us create respect for our existence and relationship with others.  We must take the responsibility to tell others how we feel.  Healthy boundaries create honest, effective, caring communication.  By setting boundaries, we are letting others know that we have limits to what we will accept in an interaction.  We let others know what we need from them.

Become aware of: What you feel: I feel hurt, angry, embarrassed, etc.

Become aware of “being” and “behavior”: You are being a jerk (Being); You are acting in an unkind manner. (Behavior)

Begin with the person’s behavior and how it is affecting your feelings.


When you……

I feel…….

What I would like is……..


Do you realize what you said?

That is not acceptable to me.  Or cursing is not acceptable to me.

I would appreciate if you would…….

The following may not be needed unless the individual continues in an unacceptable manner.

If you continue this behavior, I will…………. (Action you will take that will result in a consequence)



During this week, consider your feelings and be ready to set boundaries.  This should lead to showing others that you respect yourself and will respect their feelings as well.

Please email your comments on the effectiveness of this activity.

Email me

Coaching Tip: How are you being?

“There is a certain way of being human that is my way…..-“Charles Taylor-Multiculturalism

We all have situations during our day that effect our emotions, thoughts, mental state, body actions, actions we take or actions we do not take.  We respond to these situations trying to overcome the feelings we have if they are negative or enjoying the feelings we have if positive.  We can be empowered in some instances and dis-empowered in others.  Our way of being and our actions to the situations at hand are connected.



During your days observe your way of being when situations arise.

Write down your emotions (feelings), thoughts, mental state, body actions, actions taken and non-action.

This will show how you were being.  Then revise the list with how you could be to make each category lead to a positive outcome.

Please see that you have control over how you will be.


Email me at: to tell me how this worked for you.

©2019 Isabel Einzig & Unique Pathways. All Rights Reserved. · Admin