Awareness

What has happened to Civility?

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When you look at the current political rhetoric, it can be quite difficult to listen to. Quite apart from the element of fear that politicians are attempting to induce, there is also something painfully lacking that could be characterized as common decency. Rather than positively promote what you can do, the tendency is to discredit your opponent by whatever means, which to many boils down to a sheer lack of civility.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, authors Porath and Pearson suggested that the price of incivility (rudeness or lack of respect) is hurting morale and ultimately the bottom line (and indeed our country’s reputation). They go as far as to suggest that “leaders at work (and in politics) can counter rudeness by monitoring their own action and fostering civility in others.” Common sense and life experiences would suggest a general nodding agreement with this sentiment.

There are a variety of strategies that can be employed consciously to ensure civility.

1. Respect – everybody deserve this no matter who the other person is and irrespective of where they fall in the diversity spectrum.

2. Self Awareness – watch yourself and solicit feedback to make sure that how you show up is consistent with your intentions.

3. Vulnerability – put yourself out there and do not fear moving outside your comfort zone or making mistakes.

4. Optimism – see the good first, seek the opportunities and make choices accordingly. Where you focus (optimism) is where you typically tend to go.

5. Compromise – make agreement the main focus; by understanding differing points of view it will help move towards a decision that is for the larger good.

All of these behaviors also lead to reciprocity. In politics, though current experiences would tend you to think differently, that might be a decision to vote for you. You will find the more civil you are, the more civil others will be with you.

Take Control of Work Life Balance

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Jack Welch, former CEO of GE once remarked “There’s no such thing as work / life balance. There are work / life choices; you make them and they have consequences”

Whatever the theory and whether you are running your own business or working for somebody else, all too often it does feel overwhelming and consuming. The push for financial success and personal sacrifice has become standard. If you are burning the candle at both ends and unhappy, what can be done?

Step 1 – Awareness
The first place to start is to recognize that you have a challenge and wish to do something about it. Awareness precedes change and is truly half the battle. Once you begin to embrace the idea that there is a better way, your mind becomes open to the possibility and opportunities will present themselves.

Step 2 – Choice
When you recognize that something needs to change you must accept that priorities need to be established, decisions need to be made and the implications of your actions understood. With each action comes a reaction and therefore establishing some boundaries to the choices you will make are important.

Step 3 – Action
It is now time to step up to the plate and do something. Action speaks louder than words and these challenges can only be met head on with taking control and committing to doing something about it.

Do any of these resonate with you? The only one that is stopping you achieving balance is you; make a choice and take control!

 

The Power of Civility

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What does it take to make a relationship work? Or perhaps more importantly, what is typically at the heart of a relationship breaking down. When you meet somebody for the first time common courtesy (for the most part) and benefit of the doubt puts the relationship somewhere on an even keel. Then depending on the subsequent course of action and behavior, it either goes up or goes down. One of the key behavioral drivers to this is the degree of civility, or perhaps lack thereof.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, authors Porath and Pearson suggested that the price of incivility (rudeness or lack of respect) is hurting morale and ultimately the bottom line. They go as far as to suggest that “leaders at work can counter rudeness by monitoring their own action and fostering civility in others.” Common sense and life experiences would suggest a general nodding agreement with this sentiment.

There are a variety of strategies that can be employed consciously to ensure civility.

1. Respect – everybody deserve this no matter who the other person is and irrespective of where they fall in the diversity spectrum.
2. Self Awareness – watch yourself and solicit feedback to make sure that how you show up is consistent with your intentions.
3. Vulnerable – put yourself out there and do not fear moving outside your comfort zone
4. Optimism – see the good first, seek the opportunities and make choices accordingly. Where you focus (optimism) is where you typically tend to go.
5. Compromise – make agreement the main focus; by understanding differing points of view it will help move towards a decision that is for the larger good.

All of these behaviors also lead to reciprocity. You will find the more civil you are, the more civil others will be with you. As Gandhi so eloquently said, “be the change you want to see.” It starts with you.

Perception is one’s view of Reality

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perception 2How do people perceive you and how important is this really? The predominant relationships within a business environment are typically with one’s boss, peers and direct reports. They could also be customers, vendors, shareholders, etc. The quality of these relationships is formed primarily from the perceptions that exist between parties. And if it’s not good, it can do untold damage to reputation and more critically one’s ability to perform and succeed.

The secret is that in order to change another person’s perception of you, you have to change YOU. Here are a few ways of doing just that.

  • Develop greater self awareness by observing yourself more attentively in action. What are you doing that might be conveying an unintended message? How do you respond to what others have to say? What are you not doing that you should be?
  • Seek out feedback from others on how you are perceived. Sometimes we do not realize the impact we have and the negative perceptions we generate. We all have blind spots. Have you ever heard yourself saying, following feedback from others, “I never knew I always said that” or “I didn’t realize I was having such an adverse impact”?
  • Develop awareness of other people’s needs. Walk in their shoes, be empathetic and try to imagine how you would view things if roles were reversed. The more you give the more you get. Genuinely help others to succeed and they will facilitate your success also.
  • Hone your communication style that builds connections. Look for opportunities to make subtle changes such as listening more attentively or asking questions that the room can benefit from (rather than to show everyone how smart you are). Make your conversations more about other people’ needs and they will see you in whole different positive light.

Remember you have considerable control over how others perceive you. In the words of Gandhi, “be the change you want to see”. These subtle changes can have exponential positive affects.

Change

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changeMuch has been written on the topic of change whether it’s around resistance to change, the need for change, the impact of change or something else. However you look at it, there is certainly an inevitability associated with it, so why not embrace it and take greater control of its impact?

As with many situations one can be either be at the cause or effect of some “change” event, or perhaps be the player or the victim. All too often people take a passive role and let life pass by rather than take the perhaps riskier position of being proactive and seeing change for all the positivity it can present. In the famous works of Gandhi, we should “be the change you want to see”.

To embrace change in this manner, the following 6 drivers might be helpful.

  • Awareness – this is where everything starts relative to the people and environment around you and, being mindful of where you are at in that moment, is also critically important.
  • Readiness – one needs to be willing and able to embrace whatever is about to happen and have dealt with all possible internal resistance.
  • Opportunity – with every challenge comes an opportunity, and seeing it through the lenses of positivity is critical.
  • Confidence – this is necessary in order to forge through the inevitable external resistance that will be encountered.
  • Energy – though the intellectual capacity might exist, the real drive will come from with within in terms of engagement, commitment and motivation.
  • Worth – make it impactful rather than “change for the sake of change”; then the next time there will be far less resistance.

Think about a change event you are considering, and assess what it means in terms of the above. What is you awareness level relative to its impact (for you and others)? How ready are you? What is the possibility that might result from this event? How confident are you? How driven are you to see it through? And finally, does the outcome really justify the effort?

Every day we deal with change and when you embrace it can be a true gift. That is not to say that all change is good but if you choose to embrace it (player/cause) rather than let it control you (victim/effect), it will serve you well. What do you think?

Why Civility?

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

What does it take to make a relationship work? Or perhaps more importantly, what is typically at the heart of a relationship breaking down. When you meet somebody for the first time common courtesy (for the most part) and benefit of the doubt puts the relationship somewhere on an even keel. Then depending on the subsequent course of action and behavior, it either goes up or goes down. One of the key behavioral drivers to this is the degree of civility, or perhaps lack thereof.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, authors Porath and Pearson suggested that the price of incivility (rudeness or lack of respect) is hurting morale and ultimately the bottom line. They go as far as to suggest that “leaders at work can counter rudeness by monitoring their own action and fostering civility in others.” Common sense and life experiences would suggest a general nodding agreement with this sentiment. Read more

Foreign Relationships

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With so much global expansion it has become commonplace for people to have interactions with fellow employees from other countries. Obviously this presents challenges such as with language or cultural differences, but there is another deeper rooted dynamic also at work that can be quite problematic.

However before we get into defining what this is and potential fixes, let’s explore a particular scenario to better understand the problem under review. Company X based in the US, highly successful for 10 years and it is acquired by Company Y from Germany. Notwithstanding the aforementioned language and cultural challenges the following might form the thought process of both these entities:

Company X

  • We have been independent for 10 years and like making decisions
  • We know what to do and don’t need outside help
  • We have been successful and will continue to be so

Read more

Awareness – Impact on Workforce Diversity

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Our perceptions about other people are very much influenced by availability of information or ease of access to it relative to that person. Whether it’s what we were exposed to growing up or the constant flow from the media, our brain becomes wired to deal with certain people based on these experiences and consequently we very often make some key decisions literally “without thinking”.

According to Dr. Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard University, it turns out that however fair-minded we like to think we are, we make snap judgments about other people based on our own unconscious biases. However, though you may behave differently because of this, Dr Banaji states that “there should be no shame or guilt, just a higher responsibility” for you to take action and do something about it. Read more

The Power of Perception

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

How do people perceive you and how important is this really? The predominant relationships within a business environment are typically with one’s boss, peers and direct reports. They could also be customers, vendors, shareholders, etc. The quality of these relationships is formed primarily from the perceptions that exist between parties. And if it’s not good, it can do untold damage to reputation and more critically one’s ability to perform and succeed.

The secret is that in order to change another person’s perception of you, you have to change YOU. Here are a few ways of doing just that.

Work Life Balance – Make a Choice and Take Control

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Jack Welch, former CEO of GE once remarked “There’s no such thing as work / life balance. There are work / life choices; you make them and they have consequences”

In the Spring edition of the New England Human Resource Association (NEHRA) publication contributor Dan Henry cited a Mayo Clinic research study that the causes of this “imbalance” was rooted in the following:

  • Globalization
  • International Presence
  • Advances in Technology
  • Longer Hours
  • Changes in Family Roles

Whatever the theory and whether you are running your own business or working for somebody else, all too often it does feel overwhelming and consuming. The push for financial success and personal sacrifice has become standard. For all the reason listed above its not getting any better and personal lives are suffering.

If you are burning the candle at both ends and unhappy, what can be done?

Read more