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Communicating Better: 4 Social Signals

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Communicating Better

Successful people are great communicators who recognize that conversations are part of an evolving social process. They aren’t just skilled listeners; they’re attuned to subtle social signals that are more revealing than words alone — and they use them to their advantage.

We’re more connected than ever before. The ability to reach out and communicate with people around the globe has never been more accessible. But are we paying attention to key signals that improve our understanding?

Ten years ago, half of humanity had never made a phone call, and only 20 percent had regular access to communications. Today, 70 percent can place a phone call or send a text message. Almost every stratum of society is now connected.

But if we look at unproductive meetings, failed sales pitches, fruitless negotiations and emails that spark firestorms, it’s easy to see that we’re not always skilled communicators. Despite technological advances in communication, our ability to detect social context has deteriorated.

Fifty years of research reveals that words play only a small role in conveying meaning. Facial and other nonverbal expressions are larger contributors. And over the last decade, scientists have found that social signals are a significant, yet largely unexplored, communication channel.

Social Channels

Social communication channels profoundly influence our major decisions, even though we’re usually unaware of them. These signals are produced unconsciously, so they’re supremely honest. As Alex Pentland of MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab explains in his book, Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World:

Honest Signals comes from a new and emerging science, called network science, that tries to understand people in the context of their social networks rather than viewing them as isolated individuals... Recent advances in wireless communications and digital sensors have made it now possible to observe natural, everyday human behavior at a level of detail that was previously unattainable.

Measuring Social Signals

We unconsciously communicate with one another. Even before we utter a word, we intuit how others feel.

Researchers are now using sensing technology (sociometers) to detect key signaling behaviors — including activity levels, mimicry, synchrony, pace and physical distance — in face-to-face conversations.

Pentland and his MIT colleagues developed the sociometer, which was further perfected by Ben Waber and fellow MIT alumni who founded Sociometric Solutions. The device is worn around the neck like an ID badge, and it captures tone of voice, activity level and location. While it does not record actual words, it can detect and/or measure:

·   Who you talk to, how often and for how long

·   Whether two speakers are face to face or turned away from each other

·   An interaction’s energy level

·   Levels of engagement

We may not perceive these social signals unless we’re looking for them. When we do become aware of them, they provide a very effective window into people’s intentions, goals and values. Using the sociometer, scientists can accurately predict the outcomes of social situations, job interviews and even salary negotiations.

Effective communicators are more sensitive to social signals, using them to more fully understand social context and influence. They pay careful attention to signal patterns within their social networks, harvesting individual members’ knowledge and capturing the “wisdom of the crowd” to improve performance, decision-making and project management.

Four Key Social Signals

“If we watch the give-and-take of conversational turn-taking and gesturing, and carefully measure the timing, energy, and variability of the interaction, we can find several examples of honest signals.” ~ Alex Pentland

Pentland’s research reveals four key honest signals that can be effectively measured: influence, mimicry, activity and consistency.

Influence

How can we detect how much influence we’re having in a conversation?

Answering this question can help us negotiate a salary, make a sales pitch or score a promotion.

Influence is particularly important for leaders charged with persuading others. It’s an indicator of dominance. Studies of negotiations confirm that the person who holds the floor has an advantage (to a point).

Controlling the pace of a conversation allows us to influence its outcome. We can speed or slow our speech, varying the pace by milliseconds. We can create or eliminate gaps in conversation. These tiny time variations are perceived by others’ conscious minds only indirectly (as intuitions). Our conversation partners can tell that we’re insistent, highly attentive and invested in directing the flow of conversation.

Can you remember a time when you were called on the carpet by an angry supervisor? The boss likely raised his voice, rapidly fired questions at you and demanded explanations, yet cut you off before you could finish speaking. You felt pushed and pinned down by the barrage of words. The boss, clearly dominating the interaction, used these “verbal pushing” techniques to control — and influence the outcome of — the conversation.

Sales pitches and other attempts to persuade others are more moderate examples of influence. Variations in verbal pace are so fleeting that they’re imperceptible through conscious processing. We intuit that the other person is insistent, paying keen attention and interested.

We use our influence to assess others’ attitudes and interest level. In one study of 46 salary negotiations, researchers found that those who controlled conversation patterns were perceived as the influential parties.

Mimicry

We mirror our conversation partners automatically and unconsciously. The mirror neurons in our brains hardwire us to copy smiles, interjections, head nodding, and vocal timing and pitch. Some of us mimic more than others. Salespeople are often trained to use mimicry as a tactic, but customers can usually tell when this wholly natural tendency is exaggerated or faked.

Mirroring behaviors increase the degree to which conversational partners like and trust each other. Unconscious and authentic mimicry is a sign of empathy that can actually improve negotiation results by 20 to 30 percent. No other factor in financial interactions proves to be as effective.

Activity

The amount of energy we invest in a conversation signals our interest and attention. Excitement is therefore an honest signal. Even when we try to be smooth and subdued, outward signs of nervous activity will emerge. We fidget, talk quickly and gesture when we’re sincerely interested in a topic and the conversation’s potential outcome.

When two people are exploring the possibility of a relationship, they signal interest in each other with rising activity levels. When observing speed-daters, social scientists can accurately predict which women will provide their phone numbers, based solely on activity levels during these brief encounters. The same applies to other social interactions and business networking.

Whenever two people gesture and talk energetically, the odds are very good that they’ll trade contact information to further their relationship. Conversation partners seem to know this intuitively and can sense when to follow up.

How can we apply this in business? If you’ve ever had a conversation that lacked energy, you know there’s a problem. Solve it by finding a topic that interests the other person. Ask questions that give you insights into what your conversation partner values. You’ll further the relationship when you raise your partner’s activity level.

Consistency

Consistency refers to the variability of your speech and movements during a conversation.

When you’re focused, your speech and movements are smooth and regular. When you experience multiple simultaneous thoughts or emotions, your speech becomes jerky, unevenly accented and paced. Consistency is a measure of mental focus, while greater variability may signal an openness to influence from others.

If you have to process thoughts, you may hesitate and slow down. But when you’re sure and convinced, you speak with smooth confidence and without variability.

Researchers have found that consistency in emphasis yields better results in salary negotiations and business pitches. But consistent emphasis is not always a good thing. While it indicates focus and determination, it’s the opposite of what you want as a listener or helper. In studies of sales inquiries, researchers found that variability in emphasis, coupled with amount of listening time, accurately predicted a sales call’s success or failure.

Variability and pace signal your openness to others’ contributions, while consistency indicates you’ve made up your mind.

Better Leadership Communication

Successful people and effective leaders do more than just listen. They recognize that observing patterns of unconscious social signaling offers a window into a group’s dynamics. They can detect when a group is moving toward problems like groupthink or polarization.

Language and arguments matter, of course, but sometimes they matter surprisingly little. We’re not as rational as we’d like to believe. If you’re not reading the social signals, you may be missing out on important information.

Our conscious and unconscious communication channels are likely to be enmeshed and intertwined. The successful communicator can pick up and elaborate on interaction patterns and help groups function more effectively.

Unfortunately, we tend to over-rely on digital exchanges, but memos and emails are no match for face-to-face contact. Most of us recognize this fact. Perhaps video technology will overcome some of technology’s inherent problems.

Always remember that communication is socially situated. The more we recognize that discussions are not limited to words and part of a larger social dialogue, the more successfully we’ll work together.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-i 2.0, Hogan Lead, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching and leadership development firm helping innovative companies and law firms develop emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. 

Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica.

 “Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, and more stress resiliency helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com

Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
 
Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

How “Judgeable” Are You? - Two Flawed Assumptions

Category: 

Two Flawed Assumptions

Statistically speaking, there are only weak correlations between how others see us and how we believe we are seen,” notes social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson in No One Understands You and What to Do About It (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015).

Without even realizing it, we’re likely operating under two flawed assumptions:

1.  Other people see you objectively as you are.

2.  Other people see you as you see yourself.

Neither of these beliefs is true. You’re much harder to read than you imagine. You may think you’re an open book, but this is magical thinking. You’ll always be a mystery to others, even if you think you’re doing enough to make yourself knowable.

For example, your emotions are much less obvious than you realize. Strong emotions are easy to read: fear, rage, surprise, disgust. But the more subtle emotions we experience daily—frustration, annoyance, disappointment, impatience and respect—may not actually register on our faces. When they do, they’re usually indistinguishable from other emotions.

Psychologists call this the “transparency illusion.”Great communicators will go the extra mile, clearly articulating what they’re feeling instead of expecting others to deduce it.

How “Judgeable” Are You?

Some of us are more knowable than others. Leaders who are easier to understand deliberately express themselves in ways that encourage more accurate perceptions. Psychologists refer to this as “judgeability.”

Introverted leaders who reveal little about themselves will have a hard time with judgeability. Similarly, if you aren’t shy about sharing your accomplishments, you’ll also meet listeners’ resistance (unless you clarify your intentions). For example, telling people you graduated at the top of your class or turned around a failing company isn’t as effective as articulating the strengths that helped facilitate these results.

If you don’t tell people what they need to know, their brains will fill in the blanks, creating a personality profile that may or may not be accurate.

Perception Biases

Perceivers rely on rules of thumb so their brains don’t have to work too hard:

1.     Confirmation Bias. When people look at you, they see what they’re expecting to see. They hear what they’re expecting to hear. They seek (and will probably find) evidence that matches their expectations.

2.     Primacy Effect. First impressions strongly influence how we interpret and remember information. People resist changing opinions once they’re formed.

3.     Stereotypes. Most people are biased, yet they deny being so. We are unconsciously influenced by stereotypical beliefs about gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, professions, socioeconomic classes and education. We categorize people on various dimensions, including facial features. It’s human nature. Our brains are wired to quickly sort friend from foe. We cannot turn off this feature, but we can become conscious of it and make necessary modifications.

4.     Halo Effect. We tend to assume that people who possess one positive quality also have many others. For example, we often judge a good-looking person to be smart and charming, even without evidence.

5.     False-Consensus Effect. We assume other people think and feel exactly the way we do. We erroneously believe our bad habits are universal and normal. We also tend to believe that we have better values and are generally more honest, kind and capable than others (the false-uniqueness fallacy).

Managing Others’ Biases

You never start from scratch when meeting new people. Their brains are rapidly filling in details about you, even if you’ve never met them before.

The more you consider listeners’ likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, the better you can anticipate what they’re projecting onto you. Work on emphasizing your good qualities to  benefit from positive stereotypes and halo effects.

While humans are wired to make assumptions based on first impressions, we’re also capable of correcting those impressions—as long as we see value in doing so.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. 

Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com

Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
 
Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Successful Communication

Category: 

Two Flawed Assumptions

“Statistically speaking, there are only weak correlations between how others see us and how we believe we are seen,” notes social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson in No One Understands You and What to Do About It (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015).

Without even realizing it, we’re likely operating under two flawed assumptions:

1. Other people see you objectively as you are.

2.  Other people see you as you see yourself.

Neither of these beliefs is true. You’re much harder to read than you imagine. You may think you’re an open book, but this is magical thinking. You’ll always be a mystery to others, even if you think you’re doing enough to make yourself knowable.

Successful Communication

If you want to be understood, first try to improve your ability to understand others. Identify your ingrained assumptions, biases and filters so you can manage them more effectively.

Halvorson suggests the following strategies:

1.     Take your time. Always remember that your first impression may be dead wrong. There are always other possible interpretations of someone’s behavior.

2.     Commit to being fair. We sometimes forget to be fair when we judge someone. The more you consciously implement fairness, the more accurate your perceptions will be.

3.    Beware of the confirmation bias. Once you form an impression, you’ll seek evidence to confirm it. You’ll ignore other behaviors, even (and perhaps especially) if they contradict your impressions. Have the courage to confront your biases and accept reality.

If there’s a huge gap between your intended message and how others hear it, you’ll need to closely examine your communication style and substance. Consider working with a trusted mentor or professional coach to analyze how you come across to others.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. 

Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com

Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
 
Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

EQ and Emotional Expressiveness for Leaders

Emotional Expressiveness

“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal. Great leadership works through the emotions.” ~ Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013)

Most of my executive coaching clients are very bright, but struggle in their ability to inspire people emotionally. The good news is that creating the intention to be more emotionally expressive, and being mindful of opportunities can usually create more positive emotional habits. Mindful leaders connect with the minds and emotions of their people.

How well do the leaders in your organization express their emotions? What about you? Do you appropriately articulate your feelings? Do you use emotional expressiveness to persuade and inspire others?

Leaders are responsible for their organizations’ energy levels. While research has demonstrated a strong link among excitement, commitment and business results, many leaders stumble at emotional expressiveness. They hesitate to express both positive and negative emotions in an effort to maintain credibility, authority and gravitas. Consequently, they’re losing one of the best tools for achieving impact.

Emotional Intelligence

“The role of emotional maturity in leadership is crucial.” ~ Kathy Lubar and Belle Linda Halpern, Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach Out, Motivate and Inspire(Penguin Group, USA, 2004)

MBA programs don’t teach emotional expressiveness, although professors often address emotional intelligence as an important leadership quality.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your — and others’ — moods and emotions, and it’s a critical component of effective leadership. Leaders at all organizational levels must master:

1. Appraisal and expression of emotions

2. Use of emotion to enhance cognitive processes and decision-making

3. The psychology of emotions

4. Appropriate management of emotions

Every message has an emotional component, so leaders must learn to articulate and express their feelings. Mastering this objective inspires your team in five essential domains:

1.  Developing collective goals

2.  Instilling an appreciation of work’s importance

3.  Generating and maintaining enthusiasm, confidence, optimism, cooperation and trust

4.  Encouraging flexibility in decision-making and change management

5.  Establishing and maintaining a meaningful organizational identity

Leaders create authentic relationships by expressing interest in their people and showing empathy. They must also learn to express their emotions publicly.

You can develop the skills of emotionally expressive leadership by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put emotionally expressive leadership skills into action?Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more conscious, and tap into the intrinsic motivation of followers? Emotionally expressive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I an emotionally expressive leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com 

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.

http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Communicate with Power - Master the Unconscious Mind

Communicate with Power

Most communication is unconscious. You may think you’re delivering clear and consistent messages based on your words, but unconscious nonverbal behaviors are key to communicating with power.

Startling advances in brain science have made it possible for us to gather and test evidence as we uncover the unconscious mind’s amazing strengths. While our conscious brains can handle some 40 bits of information per second, the unconscious mind processes an astounding 11 million bits per second.

Evolution has given our unconscious minds the ability to handle most incoming cues automatically and rapidly, thus freeing our conscious minds to make complex decisions. Much of this activity occurs instantaneously, nonverbally and unconsciously.

Master the Unconscious

Your unconscious mind is at work when:

·  You quickly brake or swerve to avoid an object in the road.

·  You physically shift position to mirror a colleague’s posture.

·  You and a friend simultaneously blurt out the same phrase or idea.

·  You have a gut feeling that the person speaking to you is concealing information.

Without the participation of your unconscious mind, you’d react too slowly to avoid danger, would have a hard time relating to others and would be unable to read emotional cues that detect lies or authenticity.

The same holds true for leadership communication. If you rely solely on your words, you’re missing opportunities to inspire others. Studies continue to confirm that listeners perceive a message’s meaning largely through nonverbal, subconscious processing.

Despite all of this research, some of us cling to the notion that we rule our unconscious minds, and not vice versa. In truth, we make most decisions unconsciously, only becoming aware of them when we start to act upon them.

What Science Reveals

“We create a leader to make us feel safe and to give us a group purpose or direction. Because, like a group of fish or birds or zebra, we need and want guidance.”~ Nick Morgan, Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact(Harvard Business Review Press, 2014)

We are more communal than we’d like to think. As humans evolved, we depended on one another for survival. Leadership was essential and instinctive. We knew who we could trust for guidance, even before we mastered language.

Nonverbal communication was vital — and still is. Recent scientific breakthroughs have changed conventional wisdom about how we communicate with others, how we interpret what they say and how we discern leadership potential. Some of the more interesting findings include:

·  We gesture before we consciously think about doing so.

·  Our brain’s mirror neurons fire when we observe others experiencing emotions, and we wind up experiencing similar feelings. These “contagious emotions” allow us to connect with one another, experience empathy and anticipate thoughts.

·  If you lose your ability to process emotions, you’ll also lose your capacity to remember or decide anything.

·  You emit low-frequency sounds that align with the most powerful person near you through matching vocal tones.

·  When you’re involved in a negotiation, the measurable nonverbal signals associated with your confidence level more accurately predict success or failure than the relative merits of your position or words.

·  Neurons are distributed throughout your body, not just in your brain. Sensitive neurons live in the heart and gut.

·  When you communicate with someone else, your brain patterns align — even if you happen to disagree.

These findings are critically important to anyone who aspires to assume a leadership position. Your influence expands when you harness the power of unconscious communication: your body language, hand gestures, facial expressions and vocal qualities.

Always remember that people are naturally drawn to leaders who establish trust and confidence through powerful communication cues. These unconscious elements affect the messages you send and receive.

7 Power Cues

While it’s nice to believe in personal autonomy, most of us have an exaggerated sense of what we control — particularly our thoughts and feelings. We can, however, learn to master leadership communication by becoming more aware of unconscious mental activity. You’ll be rewarded with greater control of conversations, meetings and personal interactions.

While mind control isn’t in the cards, you can learn to become more intuitive. As Morgan asserts:  

Power in human communications and relations is indeed determined largely by the interplay of our unconscious minds…You can learn how to literally synchronize other’s brain waves with your own.”

He encourages leaders to master seven essential power cues for better communication:

1.  Self-Awareness: How do you show up when you walk into a room? Take control of your presence, and change both your thinking and the messages you send to those around you.

For a long time, we’ve misunderstood the importance of gestures. Researchers previously thought the gestures that accompany speech were meaningless. We now know they’re meaningful and that they precede speech by a nanosecond or two.

The first step in communication mastery is assessing your posture, physical presence and gestures. Keep a diary or take video of yourself to evaluate (as objectively as possible) how you appear to others.

Self-assessment of your confidence, intuition and charisma starts you on the road to mastering leadership communication.

2.  Nonverbal Communications: Take charge of your nonverbal communications to project the persona you desire.

Nonverbal behaviors are a natural expression of our feelings. Which emotions do you convey through body language during important moments, conversations, meetings and presentations? When you share your emotions, you can actually control a group’s mood.

Admittedly, it can be hard to think consciously about body language. Start by focusing on your emotions. Ask yourself how you feel about the issue at hand. Focused emotions greatly increase charisma. Prepare your emotions for important meetings, conversations and presentations, just as you would organize your content.

When you’re clear about your emotions, your body language will communicate them naturally. Others pick up on your emotional cues through their mirror neurons. You essentially “leak” your emotions to them.

3.  Unconscious Messages: Read others’ unconscious messages. Observe your own mirror-neuron experiences. Become attuned to the hidden messages sent out by everyone around you.

4.  Leadership Voice: You can turn your voice into a commanding instrument that helps you take charge of a room. Fine-tune your voice to lead your peers.

Each of us emits low-frequency sounds when we speak — tones that help convey our leadership presence. People unconsciously defer to leaders who produce stronger low-frequency sounds.

You can learn to increase your voice’s leadership potential through breathing dynamics, vocal exercises and practicing vocal tonality. Some leaders choose to work with a voice coach.

5.  Social Signals: The fifth power cue combines your voice and a host of other social signals to greatly increase your success in pitches, meetings, sales situations and the like. What signals do you send out in work and social situations?Establish the right levels of energy and passion to win the contract, negotiation or raise.

MIT researchers have pinpointed four patterns of behavior that predict success or failure in key human interactions:

A. Influence –Boost your positional power, emotion or expertise. Control the give-and-take tempo of a conversation.

B. Mimicry –Consciously copy others and then lead them.

C.  Activity –Focus more intently on the conversation, meeting or presentation.

D. Consistency –Increase your consistency to gain support; decrease it to show openness.

6.  Unconscious Reprogramming: Use the power of your unconscious mind to make decisions, rid yourself of phobias and fears, and create a more successful persona. You may need to craft and repeat a positive mantra to program your thinking. Is your unconscious mind holding you back or propelling you forward? Shed your unconscious mind of the blocks and impediments to success.

Your unconscious mind determines your emotional attitudes, which either help or limit you as a leader. You can take charge of your inner dialogues by replacing negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Take charge of your posture and facial expressions through practice.

7. Synchronize with Stories: Put all of the steps together by mastering the art of storytelling. When we tell each other stories, our brain patterns synchronize and people are more likely to listen to you. Stories enhance your natural leadership capacity, increase your charisma and move others to action. Convey your message in ways that align people with you, down to their very brain waves.

A great story is relevant to people’s universal desires and grabs your audience. Select one of the five archetypal stories: a quest, stranger in a strange land, love story, rags to riches or revenge. Tell the story in three acts: dilemma, conflict, resolution. Great storytelling is more art than science because you must invoke emotions.

Leadership Requires Alignment

When you’re more aware of unconscious behavior, you can align your conscious and unconscious messages for improved communication. This increases your authenticity, improves your ability to lead a group, persuades others and maximizes your personal impact.

As Morgan notes:

No one gets led anywhere they don’t want to go. Machiavelli was wrong; leadership is not manipulation, not in the long run. It’s alignment, the leader with the group and the group with the leader. But you first have to maximize and focus your leadership strengths in order to be ready when your moment comes.”

You can develop the qualities of positive leadership by working with a professional coach.The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action?Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more conscious tap into the intrinsic motivation of followers? Positive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a positive leader who inspires individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

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Categories: 

Capture your employees mind-space

Do you remember playing Monopoly when you were younger? For me it always began with fighting over who got the thimble and who got the race car. Despite being young, we played Monopoly long into the night (which in retrospect was likely 10:00pm). This is astounding to me for two reasons. First, I can only stand playing Angry Birds on my iPhone for about five minutes these days, and secondly my children don’t even know what a board game is.
 
My premise here is that technology has altered our perceptions of time. I’m not here to debate whether this is a good or bad thing, but what I can tell you for sure is that managing people has and will become more complex than it once was.
 
During a speech in Atlanta late last year, I was approached by a senior executive with a very large publicly traded oil company. He confided in me that his company had initiated Interpersonal Skills training for their new employees because they were finding that the younger generation of workers being hired was not able to look their boss or supervisor in the eye for any length of time. This gap in skill was reinforced for me during a recent talk with a group of MBA students, during which about 90% opened their laptops before I even began my talk. Very few were actually able to sustain eye contact with me.
 
The mind space of employees has become increasingly difficult to capture. As leaders we are competing with a diminishing attention span due to the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
 
As I’m fortunate today to work with a variety of businesses and their diverse teams from around the globe, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some critical components of employee communication and engagement that are proving to be successful in engaging today’s younger generation:
 
1.    Frequency and Brevity: From my research the maximum attention span for any employee is about fifteen minutes. Any communications that extend beyond fifteen minutes falls on deaf ears. As a result our communications, whether they are face to face or otherwise, must be kept brief. It’s also important to ensure communication is frequent. It’s not enough to simply make a point and then walk away. Follow up with an email; reinforce the message using an example during a future meeting; have employees tell you how the change will impacted their role. Frequency and brevity reinforce the message and ensure retention.
 
2.    Planning Your Delivery: Early in my career I instituted a daily meeting in order to tell staff what the priorities were, and to address their concerns. Based on the variety of communication channels today, this is not the best forum for all messages. It’s important to consider how a message will be received, following which you can structure the most effective means to deliver the message. What is your best approach – is it to send something via instant message or to round employees up for a five minute talk?  Defaulting to a single form of communication reduces the power of the message. Plan out about the best means to deliver the message.
 
3.    INJECT POWER!!!: We are lead to believe that using capital letters suggests we're yelling. Not true anymore. We have become accustomed to various fonts, emoticons, and symbols as part of our written language. It’s up to you then to use them if you want the message to be absorbed. Think about it; we connect best with those messages that are in a form we are comfortable with. If your employees use instant messaging, then you should be too. Increase the power of your messages by incorporating the style of interoffice communications.
 
Engagement results from communication, and communication is only effective if your methods change with the times. Incorporate the three points above and improve both your communication power and employee engagement.
 
TTYL.

Categories: 

Are you managing the D.U.D.s?

I spent this week running several virtual training sessions for a client. The challenge in virtual sessions as compared to face to face interactions is in creating engagement. In every session participants provided feedback that confirmed their engagement which got me thinking about what factors lead to organizational engagement. More specifically how do we create it, both virtually and in-person and how can it be sustained?

To begin with, true engagement is built upon a foundation of communication. Tell employees what you know, listen to their thoughts and opinions, respond accordingly, then take action when necessary or prudent.

Now I will admit, speaking about engagement is easier than instigating it, otherwise every business would have engaged employees, which we know if not the case. So here are some distinct steps you can take to build engagement:

  1. Facilitate a means of collecting employee concerns, questions and comments.
  2. Confirm to employees that their ideas and concerns have been heard.
  3. Provide a combination of positive, productive and constructive criticism.
  4. Institute changes based on employee feedback.
  5. Involve employees in the changes, empowering them to make decisions and effect change.

With these steps in mind it's important to acknowledge that there are always a distinct few some  individuals that reject engagement, creating a toxic environment for others, I call these the D.U.D.s (a Distraught, Under-productive employee with Destructive behavior). These people will quickly diminish your opportunity to create engagement so the most important step in creating sustained engagement is to deal swiftly and effectively with D.U.D.s. They aren’t captain of the ship, you are. Manage or remove the D.U.D.s and true engagement has a chance to flourish.
 
So recognizing this sounds easier than it actually is start by contrasting your efforts against the five steps above. Identify where the gaps exist and then take action to resolve. You see engagement is possible in every organization, it just takes open communication channels and substantiated effort in order to deliver your desired outcomes.

Categories: 

The Rampant Rise of Rudeness - Incivility at Work

Rudeness in the Workplace

“These may not be the best of times, and these may not be the worst of times, but for sheer rudeness, these times beat the dickens out of most times.”~ Roger McElvey, “Mr. Manners,” Men’s Health, May 1995

While leadership development programs may promote social and emotional intelligence, we’re not doing so well in our workplace interactions.

Over the last 14 years, thousands of workers have been polled on how they’re treated on the job — and a whopping 98% have reported experiencing uncivil behavior. In 2011, half said they were treated rudely at least once a week, up from 25% in 1998.

These startling facts were published in “The Price of Incivility”, a January-February 2013 Harvard Business Review article by Professors Christine Porath and Christine Pearson.

The Costs of Incivility

Most managers know incivility is wrong, but some fail to recognize its tangible costs. Targets often punish their offenders and the organization, although most hide or bury their feelings and don’t view themselves as vengeful.

After polling 800 managers and employees in 17 industries, Porath and Pearson learned how people’s reactions play out. Among workers who have been on the receiving end of incivility:

  • 48% intentionally decreased their work effort.
  • 47% intentionally decreased the time spent at work.
  • 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work.
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident.
  • 63% lost work time avoiding the offender.
  • 66% said their performance declined.
  • 78% said their commitment to the organization declined.
  • 12% said they left their job because of the uncivil treatment.
  • 25% admitted to taking their frustration out on customers.

Incivility is expensive, yet few organizations recognize or take action to curtail it. This leads to several possible outcomes:

  • Incivility chips away at the bottom line. Nearly everyone who experiences workplace incivility responds negatively—in some cases, with overt retaliation.
  • Employees are less creative when they feel disrespected. When they’re fed up, they leave.
  • About half deliberately decrease their efforts or lower the quality of their work.
  • Customer relationships are damaged.

Rudeness Realities

Rudeness, whether verbal or behavioral, greatly contributes to deteriorating team spirit and poor performance.

Joel H. Neuman, director of the Center for Applied Management at the State University of New York at New Paltz, cites several common examples:

  • Talking about someone behind his or her back
  • Interrupting others when they’re speaking or working
  • Flaunting status or authority; acting in a condescending manner
  • Belittling someone’s opinion to others
  • Being late to meetings; failing to return phone calls or respond to memos
  • Giving others the silent treatment
  • Insults, yelling and shouting
  • Verbal forms of sexual harassment
  • Staring, dirty looks or other negative eye contact

While it’s truly overbearing to work for a boss who barks orders and belittles employees, most rude behaviors occur between coworkers. The more subtle and malicious forms of rudeness include gossiping, backstabbing, spreading rumors and sabotaging others’ work.

Poor Team Spirit

Simply witnessing incivility has negative consequences.

In one experiment, people who had observed poor behavior performed 20% worse on word puzzles. Witnesses to incivility were less likely than others to help out, even when a colleague had no apparent connection to the uncivil act. Only 25% of those who witnessed incivility volunteered to help (compared to 51% of those who saw nothing).

Lower Creativity

People are 30% less creative when they’re treated rudely, according to an experiment conducted by Amir Erez, a University of Florida management professor. Subjects produced 25% fewer ideas, and their suggestions tended to be less original. When asked about uses for a brick, their responses were logical, but not particularly imaginative: “Build a house,” “build a wall” and “build a school.” More creative ideas originated from participants who had been treated civilly: “Sell the brick on eBay,” “use it as a goalpost for a street soccer game,” “hang it on a museum wall and call it abstract art” and “decorate it like a pet and give it to a kid as a present.”

Rudeness Repels Customers

Consumers are uncomfortable when exposed to rudeness, whether it’s waiters berating busboys or managers criticizing store clerks. Disrespectful behavior causes many patrons to walk out without making a purchase.

In one experiment, half of the participants witnessed a bank representative publicly reprimanding a peer for incorrectly handling credit-card information. Only 20% of those who saw the encounter said they would use the bank’s services in the future (compared with 80% of customers who didn’t see the interaction). And nearly two-thirds of those who watched the exchange said they would feel anxious dealing with any bank employee.

Managing Rudeness Is Expensive

Regardless of the circumstances, people don’t like to see others treated badly. Besides the loss of customers, there’s a cost associated with complaints among workers.

HR professionals say that just one incident can soak up weeks of attention and effort. According to a study conducted by Accountemps and reported in Fortune, managers and executives at Fortune 1000 firms spend 13% of their work time, or 7 weeks a year, mending employee relationships and dealing with incivility’s aftermath. And costs soar, of course, when consultants or attorneys must be brought in to help settle a situation.

The Leadership Solution

The only way to prevent rudeness and incivility is to change the way an organization approaches problems.

Leaders must be aware of the company’s culture: Does it consciously or unconsciously allow for bad behavior? It’s the manager’s job to set limits on work behavior, enforce standards and policies, and deal with difficult employees in a positive way (early, so negative feelings cannot fester).

Examine your organizational culture by checking with the human resources department for complaints of unfair treatment or stress and disability claims. Look for patterns within a department.

Rudeness and workplace incivility can be responses to frustration, fear and uncertainty in high-stress work organizations, especially in an era of downsizing, globalization, new technologies, and economic recession. Stress can be mitigated by a healthy work environment, where employees are trusted and treated with dignity. Studies show that when people perceive the workplace as fair, they don’t act out. 

What Leaders Can Do

Leaders can have a tremendous positive (or negative) impact on the incidence of rudeness. Many leaders are under extraordinary pressure to do more with less, which often impacts their own well-being and tolerance levels. The two main strategies for reducing rudeness are relatively straightforward:

  1. Stay physically and mentally healthy.
  2. Model the right behavior.

There has never been a more important time for leaders to place priority on their own health. Identify strategies that boost your energy level. Take stock of your purpose, passions and positive strengths to become more robust and resilient.

Every person is different, but common habits that improve resilience include regular exercise, eating well and getting enough rest. It’s also essential to develop supportive relationships and outside interests.

It can take constant vigilance to keep the workplace civil. Let your guard down, and rudeness tends to creep into everyday interactions. Incorporate the following strategies to foster civility:  

  • Manage Your Own Behavior. Leaders set the tone, so be aware of your actions and how others perceive you. What you say and do is weighted and easily magnified. Model good behavior (actions and words). In one survey, 25% of managers who admitted to behaving badly said their leaders and role models were rude. If those who climb the corporate ladder tolerate or embrace uncivil behavior, employees are likely to follow suit. So, turn off your iPhone during meetings, pay attention to questions, and follow up on promises.
  • Express Appreciation. People need to know they’re valued. Be alert for what they do right, and let them know you’ve noticed their hard work and progress. People become frustrated when their efforts go unrewarded, thereby setting the stage for rudeness.
  • Apply the 5:1 Ratio.According to psychology researchers Barbara Fredrickson and Marcel Losada, teams are most effective when they hear feedback that is 5:1 positive to negative. Yet, work groups more often focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. It’s not that leaders should be blind to negative performance. They must, however, express 500% more appreciation than criticism if they want to see progress.
  • Recognize Small Achievements.Making progress on meaningful work is the most energizing and motivating event an information worker can experience, note Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in TheProgress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work(Harvard Business Review Press, 2011). Effective leaders acknowledge even small improvements on a regular basis. This means employees must understand their exact roles within your company.
  • Establish a Positive Culture. Employees with a positive mood are 31% more productive, sell 37% more and are 300% more creative, notes business consultant Shawn Achor in “Positive Intelligence(Harvard Business Review, February 2012). Create a positive mood by supporting physical activity: walking meetings or flexible work hours that allow for daily exercise.

Communication Is Only a Starting Point

Don’t let outwardly positive communications mask rudeness. Positivity can be misused when an overemphasis on political correctness means issues are brushed aside.

Open communications must allow for dissent and reality-based conversations. Negative comments should be aired, but only in effective ways. Point out mistakes to clear the way for progress and appreciation, but be aware of your tone and word choices.

The one statement that best predicts employee engagement is “I have a supervisor or someone at work who seems to care about me as a person,” reveals Gallup research. A genuine interest in your direct reports encourages them to give their best.

Create group norms for how people should handle negative and positive behaviors. Share effective ways to give feedback and hold each other accountable.

Rudeness can’t survive in a culture with norms for handling errors. Achieve desired behaviors by teaching people how to express their opinions in a civil manner.

Civility can, indeed, be taught. As a leader or manager, you’re frequently teaching it in real time by modeling suitable behaviors. You may also benefit from working with an executive coach or mentor with experience in leadership development.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Innovative Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Strategic Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
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http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 

Categories: 

Engagement Starts With Your Message

Getting work done through others… Whether you own a business, run a business, or lead a team of people, if you can’t motivate others to engage in your objectives or goals, success (or at least your pursuit of it) will be an uphill struggle.

Through my experience speaking in front of diverse groups of people, both for associations and businesses alike, I have been able to identify several key attributes that contribute to engagement. I have found that these secrets apply despite age, title, experience and workplace culture. Best of all these attributes of engagement are not complex; they don’t require a significant investment of resources or time.

For today I am just going to focus on the top three attributes that are the easiest to apply.

Levity
Engaging in appropriate humor at the right time can break down barriers faster than any other means. Of course, the humor must be appropriate for the circumstances, but by using self-deprecating humor for example, we can help others to relax and be more receptive to our message.

Brevity
You can’t talk others into being engaged. Politicians have tried for years, but their success for long-term sustained engagement of constituents is often less than stellar. Being clear and brief in our messages (and communications) can serve to increase engagement by forcing us to be pointed and focused in our message. One could contrast this activity to the discipline of using Twitter, where all communications must be less than 140 characters. If you are truly trying to engage others, brief messages ensure maximum value for your audience.

Consistency
There is nothing worse, absolutely nothing, than inconsistent messages. Inconsistency creates confusion, reduces clarity, and ultimately reduces trust and rapport. The exact opposite to what we emerges in true engagement. Keep messages frequent and consistent and watch engagement grow.

So to build engagement make sure to create a clear and concise message, using appropriate humor to lighten the mood and consistency in delivery, then rinse and repeat. It really is that simple.

© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.

Categories: 

High Tech vs. High Touch at Work

High Tech vs. High Touch at Work

I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.
Albert Einstein - Time magazine’s Man of the Century

I’m afraid that day has come, and it has just begun. We’re now living in the “always on” civilization. A recent study of 200 students at Stanford University reveals that 34 percent rated themselves as addicted to their smart phones. How many text messages do you receive every day? How many do you send out? Have you ever experienced that sick, uneasy feeling when you’ve discovered that you haven’t received any text message or call, or that no one has written down anything in your Facebook wall, since you last checked 10 minutes ago?

We all know what high tech is - technologies like smart phones make us available 24 hours a day, like a convenience store. Google Glass, the futuristic eye-ware that puts a tiny, voice-controlled WI-Fi enabled computer on your face has the geek world abuzz. They already adorn millennial faces and you’re probably next.

The great irony of the high-tech age is that we've become addicted to devices that were supposed to give us freedom. We are creatures of habit living in a culture of distraction, the symptoms of which include a continual search for qu ick fixes and ADD lives that are distanced and distracted. High touch, on the other hand, is the stuff we give up when we're tuned in to the technological world: hope and compassion, love and forgiveness, nature and spirituality.

Technology may have already surpassed our human interaction. Neuroscience research indicates that E-mail communication is a poor substitute for authentic human interaction. Electronic messages lack what makes communication interesting and emotional. In the evermore complex world we inhabit, how do we reconcile our high-touch values with our high-tech realities?

If you’ve spent much time on Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise you’ll remember that Spock, Enterprise science officer has a constant conflict with his Vulcan and human sides. Like Spock, I believe we can also have it both ways. Technology is neither bad nor good. It is how we use the tools we develop that determine this outcome.

Sustainable businesses paradoxically need to be both high tech and high touch. iPads can greatly increase our creativity. However, love is still the “Killer App” in businessand life. High touch caring in relationships builds trust. Mindful leaders are conscious about unplugging themselves and their laptops long enough to reflect, vision, rediscover the simplicity of starry nights and remember what it means to be fully human.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders? Sustainable leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more compelling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I integrate high tech with high touch?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their leadership development programs.

Working with a seasoned cognitive executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help mindful leaders integrate high tech and high touch for a sustainable future. You can become a resonant leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Subscribe to Working Resources FREE E-mail Newsletter:
http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard’s Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
E-mail: mbrusman@workingresources.com
Voice: 415-546-1252

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

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