Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘generations at work’ Category

How to Recognize when you’re Bringing your Inner 9-year-old to Work

In ages in the workforce, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, Emotional Intelligence, emotions management, generations at work, growth mindset, Imposter Syndrome, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, personal development, personal growth, personal life at work, professional behavior, professional development, Professional Reputation, self-awareness, work-related problems, work-related stress on February 4, 2021 at 2:54 pm

Corporate life is the perfect laboratory for inner development. For every negative thing that the workplace triggers in us — aggression, low self-confidence, avoidance, the “imposter syndrome”, procrastination, hate, fear, inability to learn, the need to please, — you name it — the dynamics of a competitive, results-oriented, shared environment can become the springboard for deep personal growth. 

Corporate life, by nature, creates a family-like dynamic: managers may inadvertently play parental figures (whom we wish to please or rebel against) and colleagues might show up as jealous siblings. When adults move into careers with an unhealed emotional life, work can become pretty dysfunctional. This is because grown-ups can drag their inner 9-year-olds into the present. Signs of this can be a lack of self-awareness, unchecked emotions and behavior, and overall poor Emotional Intelligence. 

For all you know, you are unknowingly triggering the 9-year-old in a coworker. Or, your boss is bringing your 9-year-old to the surface. The key to help you see if this is happening is to watch for patterns. Here are some:

*Do you have the same kind of struggle with a boss no matter the job?

*Do your performance reviews routinely disappoint you?

*Are you at times called out for behavior that offends others?

*Have you been overlooked for a promotion multiple times?

*Do you tend to have conflicts with colleagues?

*Do you fear asking for what you want and wish your boss would just acknowledge your value?

When I worked in advertising sales, it took me over 20 years to realize that my 9-year-old had been holding me back; causing me to act out aggressively to overcome the fear of being annihilated by the power of a boss’s authority. This eventually led to a wonderful healing, but not until I was good and ready.

One day at work, I called a dear friend, because I was in the middle of a rage about having to deal with a manager whom I disliked intensely. At that time, I was a VP for a growing internet company, and became infuriated when my boss made a decision that I felt would cause a major problem for my sales team.

So, I called my friend asking her how to deal with this, because I was maxed out. By that point in my sales career, I had had many managers whom I disliked, mistrusted, fought with, thought little of and here it was again, in my face. I spewed all of my frustrations to my friend, asking her, “Why do I always have to deal with managers who are so stupid and thoughtless and who undermine me? 

She asked, simply, “Can you surrender?” “Surrender!” I shouted. “Why should I do that?” 

Several years later, in a new job, with a similar manager, the pattern emerged yet again. He was someone with whom I fought constantly and I finally reached a breaking point. One day, battle-fatigued, I complained to the head of HR that he had cut my team’s summer Fridays down to 4 days while other sales groups in the company could enjoy 6 days. I knew my complaint would get back to him. So, the next day, when he called me into his office, I was prepared for a fight. 

“You don’t support me,” I said. “Really?” he sneered. “You don’t support me!” he barked. 

Now I was 23 years into my career and it finally dawned on me that he was right. He was my boss, he had hired me, and I wasn’t letting him manage me. I had been shutting him out of everything I could for two years. In that moment, I flashed on my friend’s advice about surrendering. My rebellious 9-year-old, had always needed to be right; to feel in control and to keep a distance between myself and my managers. Regardless of my managers’ limitations, I was responsible for the disregard for their authority and responsibility. All because I could not surrender. 

“From here on in you will feel my support 100%,” I said in earnest. “We’ll see,” he said.

I then ran to my desk and wrote on two different colored post-its, the words, DETACH and BREATHE. I was determined to let him manage me even if I disagreed. I owed this to myself and I knew it. I wanted to be free from this pattern.

I posted my notes onto my computer, at home on my refrigerator, my bathroom mirror, and I repeated them over and over.  I wanted to change.

During this time, I realized that I didn’t actually own anything at work, everything was the property of my employer; I was there to get a job done to the best of my ability, with the hierarchy intact.

Within two months, my boss and I relaxed around each other. He allowed me to make unilateral decisions. He rarely told me what to do or how he wanted it done. Trust had been built. By 44-years-old, I had finally learned my lesson. I didn’t have to be right and I didn’t have to feel in control.

It was soon thereafter that I felt the urge to pursue my next career, the one I have now. I believe that my freedom allowed me to move on. It’s been 18 years and I think back to those times now, with gratitude, for all of the managers I had, who were my mirrors, reflecting back to me exactly what I needed to see, so I could grow.

Your journey may look very different from mine. But, if you are reliving the same pain at work – over and over again – you may have the opportunity to look in the mirror to members of your work-family to see who the 9-year-old is and if it’s you, congratulations! You are on your way!

Happy journeying!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Inconvenience of Accepting Others

In accepting others, age discrimination, ages in the workforce, aggression, anger management, arguments, avoiding arguments, being different at work, building rapport, bullies at work, business relationships, career-related problems, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, connecting with people, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, disagree agreeably, diversity, empathic listening, feeling accepted, feeling safe at work, female discrimination, generations at work, generations in the workforce, inclusion, Liked by coworkers, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, person to person dynamics, professional women, Respect, respect by coworkers, Uncategorized on March 29, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Who gets on your nerves most at work? Whom do you avoid? What conflict keeps you up at night? How well are you functioning with others who clearly don’t like you? Who’s disrespecting you? How do you deal with these issues?

If you can find yourself in these questions, whether as the antagonist or the victim, I ask, is this what you’d hoped to create? Of course not!

It’s the norm to be uncomfortable accepting the fact that we have no control over others’ behaviors, tastes or perspectives. The part of our brains that demand certainty and comfort will go to battle to protect us against this threat, which is why we seek and approve of colleagues who demonstrate mutual understanding and familiarity.

It’s easier for a corporate culture to maintain the status quo, where judgment, prejudice, jealousy, and even hatred thrive, than to create a welcoming environment for all.

This is an important lesson that comes with having a career. How long are we going to provoke negativity and/or get sucked into it? It’s our responsibility to accept diversity and to include others who are different. The lack of this, where bias and exclusion are the norm, is destroying employee retention, morale, productivity and people’s lives! By allowing yourself to contribute, you are also getting held back; and I mean, not rising to your potential as a person.

The more we focus on what we don’t like, what we don’t control and how awful it is, the more it is going to weaken our resolve to be effective. On the flip side, for the people who are being isolated or excluded by us, it causes a huge amount of stress and shuts down the ability to think clearly, problem-solve and make decisions. Hence, they are losing traction to be most effective. Both sides lose.

Here are some steps that, albeit inconvenient, can turn things around to make positive impact:

  1. Focus on the real issue; not your emotional trigger. So instead of thinking, What a jerk he is to tell the client we don’t have the resources to fix the problem; think, Although I don’t like his response, I don’t have all the facts to understand why he said that.
  2. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. In using the instance above, instead of telling your co-worker he’s wrong, the goal is to avoid an argument. You might say, “I heard you tell the client we can’t fix the problem, which you must have analyzed. I’d like to understand your position–can you share with me how you came to that conclusion? We may have differing reports.”
  3. Analyze the value of diversity. There’s an old saying: If two people are of the same opinion, one of them isn’t necessary. Why fight the fact that your reality includes people who aren’t like you? How would this shift impact you as a person, let alone as a professional?

The truth is we can’t be eclipsed by another — that’s a myth that ambition and competitiveness, mixed with fear, fosters. Our contributions matter, so we don’t lose ourselves by allowing for others’ differences. Be inconvenienced and be a model for others. With hope, you will ensure that everyone you work with is treated with respect.

Respectfully,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Entitlement isn’t the Problem You are Having with Millennials

In ages in the workforce, baby boomers, breakdown in communication, business relationships, communication, communications between generations, entitlement, generation x, generations, generations at work, generations in the workforce, GenXers, improve communication, managing conflict, millennials, professional behavior, professionals over 50, respect by coworkers, Uncategorized on June 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm

You came into the workforce in the 1970s or 80s or 90s. Guess what? The Veteran population (born before 1946) thought you were little know-it-alls just waiting to take their jobs. And you did. There is nothing new about the inconveniences brought about by new generations entering the workforce.

Truly, can we blame Millennials for feeling entitled? Millennials have an entrepreneurial spirit and don’t tend to view corporate life as one big climb up the ladder in a vertical formula. This makes sense: their heroes are themselves Millennials! We didn’t have billionaire, entrepreneurial heroes. (Lee Iacocca wasn’t my hero when I entered the workforce as a secretary in 1982!)

Millennials had more opportunity to learn a wider range of things in college than we even had names for. Millennials do tend to get bored and want to jump ship if they don’t feel challenged. They feel freer to communicate with higher-ups and want to have a voice. They are a loud crowd!

GenXers rose up and flattened out hierarchy, feeling entitled to change reporting structures. This felt like anarchy to Baby Boomers who feel entitled to be respected for their experience and knowledge of how to successfully run a business.

See? Who doesn’t feel entitled to something? What’s wrong here is the fear and bias we are having with the differences in our ages and our cultures. You want to be a role-model for Millennials? Then start remembering what it means to shift your self-image from being a student to becoming a professional. Realize the hardships you had to face and the ways in which humility smacked the feeling of entitlement right out of you. And if this never happened to you, then ask yourself if people would describe you as arrogant and obstinate. Millennials just need time to grow-up; to run up against power threats and failures, and disappoint higher-ups, just like you had to. Meanwhile, stop blaming them for everything that’s making you uncomfortable with the changes that you don’t like.

I coach people of all ages on how to communicate and build interpersonal skills, and the most frequent complaint I hear is dealing with the other generations in the workplace. The answer is really simple. Use the discomfort to learn about your own unconscious biases, the need for confirmation bias (listening for those things you already believe vs. being open to new ideas) and your fears of not being in control. Then, apply TOLERANCE, the desire to UNDERSTAND, to INCLUDE, and to VALUE people who are not replicas of you.

After all, you’re entitled to be at peace.

Humbly yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Fish Rots from the Head Down

In ages in the workforce, avoiding arguments, baby boomers, bad boss, career challenges, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, employee engagement, engagement, executives, generation x, generations, generations at work, GenXers, leadership, managing, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, Millenials, people skills, personal development, personal growth, professional behavior, stinkin' thinkin', team-player, work-related problems on May 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Phrase of the day: Employee Engagement.  My metaphor: The Fish Rots from the Head Down. If you, a Baby Boomer (1946-1964), at the senior leader to C-level, have stinkin’ thinkin’, the rest of your organization will rot from under you.

Many high-level Baby Boomers think of the younger set of GenXers (born late 70s – early 80s) and Millenials (1982-2000) like this: “These entitled, spoiled kids who graduated with honors think they’re going to be VP right out of the gate!” I had to work my way up the ladder and prove myself, and they have to bite the bullet and do the same.”

Research now tells us of many reasons employees leave their companies.  Some of these include:  a lack of belief in senior leadership, lack of enthusiasm or clarity about the company’s mission and poor communication with direct managers. So leaders cannot risk leading with the mindset of ‘pain leads to gain.’

In fact, GenXers and Millenials don’t appreciate the sentiment. Whether empowered from early on by us, their Baby Boomer parents, or that there is significance to being born at the start of the Age of Aquarius, they are impatient to get to the top, to make a stamp on the world. Why? Because they grew up watching a young generation of talented grads become techie multimillionaires and they have been preparing to make their mark too. We Baby Boomers didn’t have those types of super-hero young, role models. Our role models were ‘The Establishment’. We’d never seen anything like what’s happening in the last two decades. We were ambitious, but we believed we had to work our way up in a linear, long-road haul to the top, as our Veteran parents and bosses (pre-1945) did.

My not-so-humble opinion on the matter: Stop rotting. If you haven’t moved beyond the 1980s work ethic and are holding young employees to these old standards, you are creating dysfunction in your company.

As challenging as this may be, it’s about becoming flexible. Here’s how to stop your head from spoiling the rest of the company:

  1. Encourage employees to spend a small percentage of their time – on your watch – creating projects they feel passionate about. Give them ownership of something meaningful to them, as long as it is in line with your company’s mission. Hey, it could open up possibilities for your business you had never anticipated!
  2. Don’t embarrass young employees for trying to bring new ideas to you. You’ll make them feel important if they feel heard.  This can encourage commitment and loyalty.
  3. Set boundaries, just make sure they are fair to all. Never play favorites.
  4. Keep cultivating your own skills. And although we can never evolve certain parts of the brain, parts that want what’s comfortable, we can build new neural pathways that can open-up our thinking and beliefs to embrace the NOW.
  5. Do what you can to learn about GenXers and Millenials. Understand their socioeconomic, psychological and cultural experiences. Become interested and make their life experiences matter to you.
  6. Be compassionate towards yourself. Everyone talks about managing others through change, but who manages you through this change (at this third quadrant of your career)? Fortunately, or unfortunately, you have to do it. (You can always hire a coach.:))

With Empathy,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.