self management posts
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June 14th, 2011
When working with executive teams, I’m often amazed by how many men and women would rather internally combust with feelings of frustration, resistance, anger, powerlessness or heart-felt sensitivity than to just simply say it!
Executives grit their teeth and bury their fingernails into desktops to resist articulating their human-ness. I’m not talking about throwing a boardroom temper tantrum or having a good cry in the reception area. Rather, I’m simply suggesting that articulating how you’re feeling “in the moment” is a huge component of developing one’s emotional intelligence and communicating effectively with a co-worker.
Gone are the days when businesses were built on widget-making. Successful businesses today focus on relationship-building. Communication and developing one’s emotional intelligence are really good competencies when you’re trying to build relationships.
Emotional Intelligence encompasses a number of aspects of oneself. Consider these points the next time you’re about to personally pop a blood vessel;
Experience a feeling, recognize it and then give the feeling a name that fits – anger, frustration, sensitivity, embarrassment, stress, etc. To be emotionally intelligent, you must be able to accurately identify your feelings and emotions.
State your feelings to others simply, succinctly and cleanly – no need to add any drama.
“This long project is making me frustrated and overwhelmed.”
“I am embarrassed about missing yesterday’s deadline” ”
“I am feeling sad, I wish you could see my point-of-view.”
Try to be empathetic with others who are experiencing strong feelings. Try to be empathetic with yourself when you are experiencing feelings. This is important to do, especially in the middle of a heated debate. Your perception of the situation will be widened, giving way for many more creative and strategic solutions.
Listen carefully and accurately re-state others’ concerns or beliefs. Part of being emotionally intelligent requires you to be able to listen to others and then reiterate their views accurately. Remember that acknowledging another person’s point of view doesn’t mean you agree with them, but it does mean that you have correctly heard them.
Relationship building and leadership assertiveness go hand-in-hand. By respecting and considering other people’s viewpoints, opinions and (emotions), you can derive many options when faced with a decision. It’s important to be open and not be boxed-in by limited thinking or narrow-mindedness. State what you think clearly and assertively and, if you need to shed a tear or two in the process, don’t get so fussed about it.
How about you? Do you have a good example of when you said what you were feeling to your team? How did it feel?
June 01st, 2011
In the role of facilitator, I intuitively watch people’s body language and listen for repetitive themes from each individual around the table.
I’m often struck by the inability for individuals to shift their perspective or position to move the meeting forward. If you want to get productivity out of a team. Make sure you validate those who have positive attitudes and coach those who are “stuck in the mud”.
For example: At the beginning of a meeting, discussion of the issues at hand was 80% focused on the negative and only 20% focused on the positive. By the end of the meeting, however, most people had shifted their perspectives to 80% positive and 20% negative.
It’s unrealistic to assume that everyone can switch their views in the time span of a meeting. Even so, though the rest of the meeting participants are now only hearing 20% negative, there are always a few who have been unable to ‘come around’ and have turned that same 20% into 100% negative.
This led me to consider what triggers people to listen only for negative details.
The source of all negative feelings is an assumption that you’re not being valued, that we don’t care about you or that we’re trying to take advantage of you.
These 1 or 2 people who have turned their 20% negative into 100% need to become more self-aware of what’s triggering them. This self-management leads to achieving a desired outcome which, in this case, is turning their 100% negative focus into an 80% positive perspective.
Has this every happened to you? Were you able to self-manage or did it take time for you to be aware of what was triggering you? Please, let us know – comments keep this blog well-fed.
April 19th, 2011
Emotional Intelligence is a critical component for healthy teams and productive meetings.
When working with others, I develop my emotional intelligence by practicing a high level of self-awareness. This came in handy the other day when I was on a conference call with two experts on my team to develop a new, web-based tool.
When I say experts, I mean that each one of these individuals has specific strengths that I do not possess. Therefore, when we are on a conference call, it’s really important that all three of us have acute listening skills. In order to be effective in our collaboration, we need to understand the other person’s position as much as we understand our own.
On this particular day, I was quite stretched. It was late in the afternoon and I could feel a cold coming on. At the 60-minute mark into our call, my concentration ability had flatlined.
Instead of hanging tight, I stated “I am full, I need to end this call because I can no longer listen or take in any of the details that are being discussed…are you willing to continue this conversation in the morning?” I then shared the information about my cold, etc.
The next day, one of my colleagues told me that he really appreciated how I ended the call. He admired my ability to be straightforward and stated that, in the past when he had been in similar situations, he often toughed it out in order to get through the meeting. He now realized the consequences to himself and others in doing that.
When you feel full, make sure you let others know so that you can get back together and have another effective meeting at a later date. With this behaviour, you will raise the bar for meeting engagement on your team.
Have you been in a situation where you zoned out of an important meeting because you were overloaded? What did you do? What did you miss? Or maybe you’ve been able to speak your truth and end a meeting before your brain shut down. How did that feel? How did your colleagues respond? We’d love to hear from you!
September 09th, 2010
Have you lost your way? Are you stuck in the “Why Are We Here” stage of project development?
When working with teams, I often run into leaders and executives struggling to complete a task or project. Instead of realizing that they need to re-vitalize their own personal engagement and commitment, they are engulfed by a cloud of ‘stucked-ness’. The true death of project development.
Progressing through the stages of project development ultimately lies in our ability to apply a little emotional intelligence. Having a personal awareness of ‘what’s going on’ and recognizing how to manage behaviours to get unstuck are key to navigating through the tough stuff that will get us to the next stage.
I have found that there are three common scenarios of ‘stuckedness’ within teams around project development:
1. Lost Sight of the Big Picture
What happened to the idea of my blog being the perfect platform to connect with and build business relationships?
As my recent blog on the stages of project development describes, priorities recently tore me away from my project of writing and posting regular blog posts. In dealing with the tacticals of each post such as audio, video, SEO, categories and tags, I realized that getting caught up in the details of the project had clouded my original reasons for blogging.
Therefore, when I reached the ‘Why Are We Here” stage, I found myself back-peddlin’ after losing sight of my original project excitements, which were my values and the big picture vision.
2. Shiny Object Syndrome
How come the project seemed like a good idea last week, but this week you want to move onto something else, even though the other project isn’t complete?
I have often witnessed those stuck in the ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ of the “Why Are we Here” stage. They typically lose interest in the project very quickly. They live off of the adrenal high a new project offers. The many
to-do’s required to get a project off the ground has them feeling cornered.
They are ‘stuck’ in the tension of aborting versus continuing.
3. Overwhelming Paralysis.
What if your role in the project is a task which is not aligned with your primary strengths?
I worked with a VP of Human Resources recently who was struggling to complete the budget for her division. Her strength was people not finance! Her lack of confidence and competence paralyzed her progress.
With self-awareness comes an opportunity for self-management. In each of these cases, the “Why are We Here Stage” offers an opportunity to move forward.
Now that I know I’ve lost sight of the big picture, I will re-connect with the vision of my blogs.
Those suffering from shiny object syndrome will have a sense of accomplishment once the project is broken down into manageable goals.
For people stuck in overwhelming paralysis, consider the advantage of building project support. Asking someone to be your accountability partner or finding someone to discuss the tasks with will alleviate your project anxiety and allow you to take charge of the project by getting help along the way.
The project stages offer us a framework to access where we are in our project. By combining emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self management skills, you already have the ability to apply these techniques and new behaviours to ensure all projects are successful.
How do you move on, when stuck in the “Why am I Here” stage?
September 24th, 2009
When I’m working with teams to improve communication, the issue of email generally produces stressed faces, furrowed brows, and sweaty foreheads. It’s astounding how depressing and chaotic our inboxes have become. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
When I sense stress around the issue of email communication, I ask teams “Have you ever sat down together to discuss how you will send and receive messages to one another?”. Most teams respond with a clear “No, we haven’t done that and we don’t have a clue of how to start that type of conversation.” Fortunately, it’s not a difficult conversation to start.
We just roll up our sleeves and discuss these issues:
1. Subject lines norms– Create agreements within your team regarding what goes in subject lines. For example, if the message concerns a client, start the subject with that client’s name – that simple step will help recipients identify the purpose of the message and effectively catalog it.
2. Set up mailbox rules - Set up rules and filters to organize your inbox. (See my Tuesday post for more on rules and sorting.)
3. Establish team norms around who’s taking an action, who is supporting an action who is to be informed on an action. The team should clearly identify an owner’ to respond and handle the issue.
- TO: if I ‘own’ a particular task and somebody wants to send me an email notifying me of an action that I need to take, my name will be in the TO: area. I will immediately know that I am responsible for taking action.
- CC: means that I am “supporting” someone else’s action and,
- BCC: means that all I need to be is keep myself “informed”.
4. More Rules Emails that have my name is in the TO: area – those emails can be sorted as action emails. Really really helpful!!
5. Discuss the use of high priority, moderate priority and low priority.
If you set aside to have these types of email norm conversations, you’ll help your team become more productive and save them from inbox stress!
August 25th, 2009
Managing interruptions and staying on top of daily multi-tasking each day is critical to being effective in business today. When business leaders discipline themselves to set clear priorities and communicate “norms for engagement” with co-workers productivity and results soar while overwhelm begins to decrease.
I recently had to find a new doctor. After I filled in the initial visit paper work, the receptionist handed me a document titled “Doctor’s Rules and Regulations” (norms for engagement). It clearly outlined the Dr. had only 10 minutes for each appointment. It directed me to bring one issue to the table at each doctor’s appointment. If I had two issues, I needed to make sure that I presented both within the 10 minute parameter.
The document then illustrated a time calculation: if each patient was one minute late multiplied by 45 patients per day equals the last patient waits an additional 45 minutes. He had clearly identified his priorities and this was his effort to communicate them to me.
Although my experience with the doctor was a little harsh, I recognized that he was clearly outlining his norms of engagement in my best interest. Think about it — one day I might be that last patient myself.
If you want to be more effective and manage your interruptions with increased ease, it is really important to sit down at the beginning of the day to consider your priorities. Whether it takes 5 minutes or 20 minutes – it is probably the most important time in your day
- to get clear on what you need to do,
- to be responsible for performance and results, and
- to clearly articulate your own norms of engagement to the people with whom you work.
That’s exactly what the doctor had done. He had clearly outlined his expectations of how I would prepare for the meeting, his expectations of how I would bring issues to the table. With this he clearly articulated our ‘norms of engagement’.
Take some time to identify what your priorities are for the day and to communicate them. Articulate your priorities clearly to others to establish “norms for engagement”.
August 14th, 2009
This weekend I went to see Julie & Julia. Loved it! It got me thinking about “The Feedback Self Disclosure Matrix,” a tool that can help all of us – particularly CEOs and senior managers – create deeper connections and better results in our businesses and with our teams.
This matrix is based on the foundations of the Johari Window model that was developed by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in the 1950s. The Matrix is comprised of four quadrants.
Each quadrant represents a part of our self, representing particular behaviours, feelings, motivations that are known by (self) and about the person (other).
At the bottom of the illustration you see how the four different quadrants of the ‘self’ can be altered in size reflecting the relevant proportions of each type of ‘knowledge’ of/about a particular person.
The four quadrants of our “Self” are Private, Public, Blind and Unknown.
The horizontal axis shows how much a person asks for & receives feedback.
The vertical axis measure the amount the person self-discloses & gives feedback.
This dynamic feedback model illustrates:
- People with high emotional intelligence (large ‘public self’ – orange box) ask for feedback, give feedback and self disclose often. They have well-developed public personas.
- Those who are protected (large ‘private self’ – green box) keep ‘what they know about themselves’ private. These individuals rarely choose to self-disclose. Their Private Selves are large, making it difficult for colleagues to comfortably collaborate and communicate with them. These individuals often control the flow of conversation by asking many questions. They rarely share their own experience. So, they don’t get much feedback so their Emotional Intelligence is suspect.
- Aggressive (large ‘blind self’ – yellow box) give plenty of feedback but don’t ask for it a lot – their Blind Selves dominate. They aren’t as aware of themselves or environment. This hampers their ability to work collaboratively or take in feedback from others. They have a low level of Emotional Intelligence.
- The Well of Potential (large ‘unknown self’ – brown box) these folks neither ask for feedback, nor give much feedback – if they started to open up, they would experience a great deal of professional and personal growth because they would be developing their Emotional Intelligence.
After seeing Julie & Julia, my girlfriend left the theater inspired to do more cooking – I left with the realization that this blog is a perfect vehicle for me to self-disclose. I can decrease my ‘private self’ while increasing my ‘public self’. As I write this I realize that will take additional courage on my part – yikes. I’ll get feedback!
I’m rarely at a loss for words. I think nothing of standing in front of 500 people to lead a professional development seminar. But spilling my guts in front of a video camera to post a new blog is scary. I get the shakes even writing this!
Back to the movie …
Julie trembled in her boots as she blogged about her frustrations, joys and commitment to learn how to cook the Julia Child way. She opened her Private Self to make her experience more public. I connected with her more deeply because of it.
Executives with high emotional intelligence are better able to lead and motivate their people.
Sharing their Private Selves is an important behavior. I realized that just standing up in front of a room and blogging are public activities, but it doesn’t automatically mean I’m revealing or connecting.
There is learning here for me, as there is for the CEO’s, sr. managers and executives that I work with.
Lets drop the hesitation. Pick-up a bit of courage. Boost our Emotional Intelligence. So, we’ll no longer miss an opportunity to gain more feedback and build deeper connections.
I’m committed to doing so – thanx Julie!
With time, courage, and your feedback, I’ll explore my Unknown Self, become more comfortable with my new Public Self, and get better results through improved Emotional Intelligence.
Are you comfortable sharing your Private Self in your business life? Think it might be important to develop your Emotional Intelligence? What do you think?
Download Feedback-Self Disclosure Matrix
June 19th, 2009
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke of Reneevations discuss self awareness and choices that each of us can make to heighten our emotional intelligence. How you manage your energy really impacts how successful and fulfilled you are in your professional and personal life.
Choices to manage/move your energy:
- Make More of the Situation = be creative in the face of adversity – create a solution that serves you better,
- Make Less of the Situation = direct your energy toward a more positive outcome in lieu of being ‘stuck’,
- Make Nothing of the Situation = CrisMarie discusses how she made less of and then nothing of her 1988 Olympic experience.
Life is an energy game – make your best choice today!
April 21st, 2009
Emotional Intelligence is smart!
It is key to the success of highly developed and functioning teams. When individuals are aware of the five elements of emotional intelligence they have a deeper ability to navigate individual and team effectiveness.
There has been lots of buzz about Emotional Intelligence for years, as well as lots of confusion about what it is.
The five core elements of Emotional Intelligence that we use when working with teams:
- Self awareness: the ability to connect with my emotions and articulate the source,
- Self management: the ability to manage what I do in the midst of that awareness,
- Empathy: once I experience self awareness I can increase my empathy for others,
- Social skills: I can navigate my relationships using my self awareness, management and empathy,
- Leadership assertiveness: not to be confused with ‘leadership aggressiveness’. With assertiveness I can competently come forward with my viewpoint and opinion to influence others and to promote effective decision making.
Consider the impact that elevated emotional intelligence may have within your core team.