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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.

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: 

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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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

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

 

Categories: 

Diffuse Emotion To Improve Outcomes

During a recent flight to North Carolina, I had a stopover at LaGuardia airport; so upon my arrival I decided to check and see if there was an earlier departure flight available. I approached an attendant and asked politely if there were any earlier flights departing to North Carolina, to which she responded, “It will be $75 dollars to change to a different flight.” No greeting, just straight to the point.
 
Surprised at the directness of her response, I began to pull out my credit card and responded, “Okay, what seats do you have available?”
 
Are you ready for her response? “There are no seats available on this flight, sir.”
 
Confused by her response, I proceeded to my gate to await the later flight and ponder what had just happened.
 
While waiting, I approached a different attendant out of curiosity, and asked if there were any seats available on an earlier flight to North Carolina. He checked, and said, “Yes sir, there are two.”
 
Having time on my hands and never one to step away from a challenge, I walked back to the original service attendant at the other gate and said, “You mentioned earlier there were no seats available on the North Carolina flight, but the other attendant just told me there were two.”
 
Her response was, “I can’t sell those to you, sir.”

???
 
Now I’m not going to bore you with the rest of the details here, but I continued to try for one of those remaining seats, to the point I waited by the door once the plane was boarded. No luck. What I found most interesting, however, was that each time I returned to the original attendant, she clearly became more agitated. Knowing this would decrease my chances of success, but having time on my hands, I continued to return to see how far I could take the discussions. Hey, I had nothing to lose!
 
The reality is, my negotiation was never going to result in any sort of satisfactory outcome because both the attendant and myself were now dealing with emotion and not logic. There was clearly some tone in her responses to me, and they worsened as our discussions continued. So what should you do when negotiations are not progressing as you intended, and the other person (and possibly you yourself) is becoming agitated? Here are three steps you can use to shift away from emotion when you sense this shift occurring:
 
1.    Take a step back
When negotiations appear to be stagnant, and tensions are escalating, the first thing that you must do is stop and consider where you are in the discussions. Often we let our emotions guide us in these scenarios, but this is not the time to become cemented in your position. Consider the gaps between where you are and where your opponent is. Just pausing and considering your progress (or lack thereof) can diminish your emotions and provide both you and your opponent time to relax a little. Try using a statement such as, “You know, it seems like we aren’t really seeing eye to eye here, do you mind if I take a moment to consider what you are suggesting? I think there may be more value here than I am giving you credit for.”
 
2.    Throw a curve ball
When I notice that tensions are rising during a negotiation, I try to inject some self-deprecating humor. Such humor provides a break from what is often a very tense discussion; reducing the stress of the moment. You must be careful that the type of humor you use, and your timing for its use, work in the discussion. Interrupting the other person, for example, will only serve to irritate him or her. Wait for a break in the discussion and say something like “You know, you have made a good point here, and I think I am letting my stubbornness get in the way of hearing what you are suggesting.” Humor always reduces tension and allows for a new perspective and renewed commitment from those involved.
 
3.    Take a time-out
If nothing else seems to work, don’t be afraid to take a time-out. Again, timing is everything here, but if you use the right language, it isn’t difficult to find a moment to take a breath and re-group. Consider using phrases like, “Let me take a few moments to consider your points,” or, “Can we take a few moments to think about this? I don’t think we are getting anywhere and I want to be sure we can reach an agreement today that we will both be pleased with.” Now, you might be concerned about the other party becoming aggressive and seeing right through your time-out, but if they challenge you, that’s okay. You aren’t getting anywhere in your discussions anyway.
 
 It’s natural for emotions to enter into a negotiation, but any time this happens it should be a huge red flag. Emotion leads to poor decisions and unnecessary compromises, in fact there has never been a negotiation where emotions were involved and both parties walked away happy. Now, you might think that as long as you are happy, that’s all that matters, but I guarantee that if your opponent isn’t happy he will find a way to even the score.

© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.

Categories: 

It's Not What You Say, But How You Say It.

When was the last time you felt like you “won” a disagreement or dispute? How about the last time you "lost" an argument, do you remember when that was? Sure you do! No one likes to loose, but everyone likes to win. Your success in either situation is a direct result of your ability to negotiate and despite all of the attempts at compressing negotiation skills into a neat little four- or five-step process, the reality is that if you are not controlling your verbal and non-verbal cues, you are likely ending up with the short end of the proverbial stick. Not where you want to be.
 
Let me give you an example that you may relate to. I purchased a new car several months ago, and as the salesman walked around my old car he pointed out some dents and scratches, not unusual in a four-year-old car. I knew he was trying to devalue the car to prepare me for his lowball trade in offer and when he pointed to an embarrassing dent that I had inadvertently caused when opening my door into a parking pillar, I said, “Umm, yeah I must have parked too close to a wall; but you know these things happen when you travel as much as I do!” Now, how does my response sound to you? The “Umm,” suggests I am weak, lieing, or at best I simply don’t have a good explanation. In retrospect a more confident response I could have provided would have been as follows: “I opened the door into a wall in a parking garage; what you’ve never done that before yourself?” Sounds more aggressive, but there is no doubt of my level of confidence relative to whether the dent was caused by me and how much that might actually influence the trade in value. Now, on the other hand, here is an example of a humorous response, “I was getting out of my car, and the parking barrier jumped out and bit the door!” Sounds silly, I know, but my point is that how we use our language, in essence our verbal cues, determine whether our negotiations result in favorable or unfavorable results. Verbal cues are a significant component to our negotaition strategy.
 
Next to verbal cues, the most common weakness in our negotiation approach is in the misuse of non-verbal cues. Confidence and the perception of it is a significant component to ensuring that you achieve a desirable outcome from negotiations. How you present yourself, your body language, positioning, and gestures all play a significant role in supporting your negotiation strength. Considering the example above, I can further change the perception of confidence in my statement if I position my body in a different manner. Leaning on the car, for example, while making either statement above would suggest that I am relaxed. On the other hand, standing directly in front of the sales person and looking them straight in the eye suggests a more aggressive tone. Next to language, body positioning is the second most critical element to effective negotations.
 
Remember the scene in “A Few Good Men” when Tom Cruise interrogated Jack Nicholson? Despite his clearly inferior position to Nicholson, Cruise remained confident in his approach and position. There was little in his verbal or non-verbal cues that suggested otherwise. It is through the control of our verbal and non-verbal cues that we demonstrate our degree of confidence relative to our position or views.
 
So it is through the combination of improving our verbal and non-verbal cues that we create an aura of confidence, and confidence is what you need to win a negotiation, each and every time!

© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.

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