Gratitude is a big topic as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in the US. Because 2020 has been such a topsy-turvy year, gratitude may be a stretch for some. But, there could not be a better time to start to build your resilience and gratitude in 2020.
In a recent interview with General James Mattis, he shared what he learned as a leader in the military. He highlighted the importance of trust, calling it the “coin of the realm” in leadership. And Mattis also spoke about promoting those who demonstrate the behaviors that an organization needs to be successful. One particular quote caught my attention, “Any organization gets the behavior that it rewards”, according to General Mattis. It immediately made me think about many of the behavior challenges with which organizations are dealing and the importance of rewarding effective behavior at work.
What are the rewards for effective behavior? read more…
Leaders can be memorable in more ways than one and they get to decide what that looks like. So much of leadership is about how he or she influences others. Early in my career, I was fortunate to have a great manager. I didn’t know it at the time because I was just starting my professional career in healthcare. I hadn’t had much experience at that point and was unaware of the importance of good leadership on individuals and organizations.
It was my first medical sales position and I was living in the Midwest. Somehow, I was included in the Western Region and didn’t mind at all having to go to Northern California for regional meetings. Greg was our Regional Manager and read more…
There are those who say that if being a leader was easy, anyone could do it. It takes commitment, skill and consistency to be a good leader, and a leader people want to follow. Yet, human nature can interfere with and derail a good leader, as well as business and personal relationships. Being a good leader takes a keen awareness to manage the responsibility for your actions, and those of your team or organization. The same can be said for having effective relationships.
What do those derailers look like? read more…
We are emotional beings. It is part of our hardwiring. We base many of our decisions on emotions, coupled with some logic from time to time. Emotions add to the rich tapestry of our experiences and relationships. They can also impede our growth and success if we are not aware of when our emotions become reactive.
Our reactions are fed by our emotions; negative reactions are fed by negative emotions such as anger and frustration. Anger and frustration can be fed by fear, stress, or a lack of clarity. Conversely, positive responses are fed by positive emotions such as optimism, joy, and enthusiasm.
How does being reactive impact your success?
Most of you have had experiences with someone who is reactive. Think back on your experience with a co-worker, boss or a friend who tended to react to things negatively. What did you feel when you were around them? How often did you avoid bringing things up for fear that they would react and create more tension versus respond in a way that could lead to a discussion? Consider the impact that has on communication and relationships. People avoid those who are reactive and that does not lead to success.
Reactive people are impulsive; they tend to write others off. They demonstrate little self-awareness and even less self-management. Being non-confrontational or avoidant is also a reaction. Ignoring people or ghosting them is a passive-aggressive reaction. These reactions alienate people and shut down their willingness to engage with and support you, impeding your ability to be successful.
Indications that you are reactive:
You often make decisions that are rash and not well thought-out.
You routinely take your feelings out on others and damage relationships.
You have a strong need to be right minimizing valuable input from others.
Your team is disengaged and less productive.
Your physical health is being impacted by high-stress levels.
Four ways to become less reactive
- Slow down. Take time to breathe. If you are feeling stressed, anxious or upset, it is difficult to think clearly. The best way to slow down is to take a few deep breaths. I know, it sounds simple but it works! Those deep breaths will reset you mentally, and physically. It may take a few more minutes for your emotions to catch up.
- Shift your focus. If all you see is the problem that will feed your anger, frustration, and stress. Shift your focus to the solution. What is possible?
- Avoid jumping to conclusions which can be another reaction. To clear up a misunderstanding the most effective way is to talk with and listen to the people involved. If you write them off without gaining that clarity that is another one of your reactions and reflects more negatively on you than the situation or people with whom you are upset.
- Check your perspective. Does it match up against reality? If you are leading with your ego, I guarantee you are turning people off, losing out on opportunities and disengaging your team. Allow others to have input and their opinions without making them wrong. Become more flexible in your approach.
Reactive behavior is habitual which means it can be changed with practice. Do a self-check today and look for opportunities to practice more self-awareness and self-management in your responses. Making a few simple changes to become more responsive versus reactive will positively impact your success, improve your relationships and health, and enhance your ability to influence others.
Sue Kenfield specializes in transforming complex human dynamics while helping leaders excel within organizations, teams, and individuals. We empower people and organizations to maximize their success by improving leadership, communication, and emotional/behavioral intelligence skills. We elevate performance, minimize turnover and improve the bottom line through our behavioral intelligence consulting, leadership and team development, conflict management, and executive coaching programs. Sue Kenfield is also available as a speaker on the topics listed above. Contact us to learn more.
Have you ever walked into a place of business and sensed a vibe or a mood? Workplaces have a “feel” to them which is directly related to the emotional tone set by the leader and the team, or teams. And, emotions are contagious. The leader is responsible for setting that emotional tone which requires read more…
Good communication skills are one of the most sought-after soft skills employers are seeking these days. It is no wonder given the influence of technology on communication and seeing the level of discourse on social media. Those skills are so important that restaurants are replacing teens with senior workers because they connect better with the customer. Effective communication is essential to good leadership, effective negotiations, and is the foundation of successful relationships in the workplace and beyond. How can you improve this essential skill set?
One of the hallmarks of effective communication is read more…
Did you ever start down a path of improving yourself and think, “Oh boy, what am I getting into here?” Did you turn back or did you keep going? Professional and personal development is not for the faint of heart. It is often a winding road with various twists and turns and sometimes even a few U-turns and caution lights. Inevitably, you will come face to face with some things that you may not want to know about yourself, things that are uncomfortable to acknowledge. And yet, the path forward is through that acknowledgment. How do you keep moving forward? Here are three keys read more…
Recently, I was asked to give a talk on accountability and an associate’s initial reaction was, “why would anyone come to a talk about that?” His reaction, though not atypical, made me smile and think. Has accountability become a foreign concept? What does it mean to be accountable? How is this competency impacting your leadership or your performance efforts? It is an important topic given its impact on success.
Why do people tend to shy away from accountability? My thought is that it sounds a lot like blame. Let’s define accountability according to Merriam Webster: “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” As a leader it also means to hold oneself and others accountable for high-quality results that are measurable, timely, and cost-effective.
It is not unusual to find avoidant type of behavior in leaders and teams particularly around accountability. It is almost as though accountability has become a four letter word. Many leaders see it as conflict or confrontation and would rather do anything else. Allowing others to hide or point fingers when responsibilities are not met will tear apart a team. It takes strong leadership to shift that experience to one of appropriate accountability.
Doing the Hard Work of Leadership: A few years ago high school football coach, Matt Labrum, read more…
Holiday family dynamics can be very interesting and often trigger an emotional response within people and negative expectations (this may have already occurred at your Thanksgiving gathering!). Couple that with the stress of the holidays and we can get a potentially toxic brew of tension. What can you do about it? You do not need to dread this holiday season or the time you will spend with family; self-mastery is just a few steps away.
Many of us would like to be more aware of our emotional intelligence and how we use it every day. What is emotional intelligence? It is an awareness of our emotions, the emotions of others and using that awareness to manage ourselves and our relationships with others. The thoughts we have about ourselves, our lives and others can drive our emotions which impacts our behavior. You can enhance your read more…