Jackie Kellso

Posts Tagged ‘business relationships’

Not Fighting Back is Exhausting and Rewarding

In anger management, avoiding arguments, breakdown in communication, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, communicating, communicating by phone, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, David Rock, dealing with a difficult coworker, Detach and Breathe, diplomacy and tact, disagreements, fight or flight, Gurus, interpersonal skills, professional behavior, Uncategorized on April 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

A few years ago, I was challenged by a very difficult client in a fairly visible, corporate position. She would routinely drop the ball on important details and cause mayhem in accomplishing tasks. She bullied and blamed others for problems that she caused. When confronted with a problem (of her making) would say, “Do you know who I am?” (Oh yes, she did!) Anyway, I had to deal with a lot of stress just to ensure that my service to her company was successful, beyond, and in spite of her.

So there I was, someone who touts herself as being an expert in interpersonal effectiveness, and I was failing to build a bridge of trust and rapport with this person, despite all efforts. And after dealing with her for so long, I frankly disliked her so much that it felt too insincere to want to build rapport. Yet, I had to remain professional.

In the midst of all this, she sent me an urgent email to call her ASAP. Taking a deep breath, I called. She then reprimanded me for failing to read the details of one of her emails, berated me for writing back without having done so, and projected onto me her own feelings of being so out-of-control by claiming I was chaotic and acting like a wreck.  Rage boiled and I could feel the sizzle in my brain. I thought I was going to explode and tear her fragile sense of importance into little tiny shreds. (That would have been my old way of coping with someone like this.) But no, I decided to walk-the-walk and model what I teach others to do.

I noticed several things happening as I was holding back my anger and thinking about what to do. First, I know that the act of thinking clearly during high-levels of negative emotions uses more stored glucose than the release of intense emotion. As a result, I found myself getting physically and mentally exhausted. The FIGHT response, my automatic protector, had a full tank of cortisol (stress hormone) at its disposal. My pre-frontal cortex (executive brain) was working really hard to find my way around these feelings and take charge of the conversation. And that was the good news. I had been working to build muscles to think when stressed, and had access to it. I simply used my mantras, “Detach and Breathe” (I wrote an article about the importance of using mantras to manage stress) and, “My feelings are none of her business.” They worked!

Once I got my emotions under control, I used a technique that David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute refers to as “Choose Your Focus.” The idea is to stay out of the DRAMA, PROBLEM and even DETAIL and move up the ladder to where constructive dialog can occur. The areas of focus are on the PLANNING and SOLUTION. So, here’s what the conversation sounded like:

CLIENT: “You need to calm down. If you had read my email you wouldn’t have had to write so many. This is absurd and it cannot continue this way.”

ME: “I think we’re talking about a breakdown in communication, and that’s fixable. So, if I understand correctly, we still need to determine the dates for the training.”

CLIENT: “Yes.”

Once she agreed, I held to the facts, and followed up the conversation with an email. It’s really that simple looking in; you just don’t go down there with the other person. But the effort to keep calm is zapping!  She will never know how much energy I spent keeping myself in a neutral and thinking place.

As challenging as this situation is, I see her as my Guru keeping my skills sharpened. It is so true that “Your Most Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher.”

Calmly 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.

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Coffee Talk with Colleagues: Loose Lips Sink Ships

In business, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, gossiping, leadership, office politics, people skills, professional behavior, professional development training, sales, training, Uncategorized on January 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm

“Let’s have cawfee, we’ll tawk!”  How many of us frequently grab that cup o’ Joe with a colleague, for that quick, yet productive meeting?  A good idea unless the jazz, low lights and chocolate-y cupcakes encourage the conversation to spin out of control.

Recently, at a mid-town Starbucks, I overheard a man and woman (both of whom were wearing expensive-looking suits, holding the very latest Smartphones, and sipping double espressos) talk about the utter hatred they had for their boss, about how they weren’t earning enough commission and how when the market got better they would both look for other jobs.  She said, “Bill, I can’t believe you feel this way, too!”  He said, “Oh yeah, I’ve felt this way for years.  Maybe it’s good to finally talk about it.” I thought, the only way either of them is going to be safe sharing this information with the other is if they are siblings or spouses. But they weren’t, because the woman discussed her plans to be with her family for Easter and the guy mentioned his fiance and their upcoming wedding. Before they got up, they agreed not to share each other’s feelings, and on terms for a client meeting for which they were teaming-up.  I felt for them because the tension and strain of the work environment was affecting their morale, leading to this discussion.

Without even knowing it, this inappropriate sharing of feelings is likely to become the undoing of any real trust between them, over time.  He could become her boss, she his. They could get a new boss whom she likes but he doesn’t.  You just never know how circumstances will change.

Having a cup of coffee with a colleague can enhance a good working relationship because those few moments away from the daily numbers-crunching grind to have a rich, aromatic daily grind, can inspire open communication, information sharing and improved negotiations.  That being said, the step out of the office can also loosen one’s inhibitions and potentially jeopardize work relations.

This is why conference rooms were built. People don’t typically conspire to blow-up the boss or talk about their job interviews or affairs after a meeting has ended.  No one can fault you for wanting to be the consummate professional.  So, here are some tips to keep yourself on track and in the mind-set of doing business when out of the office:

1. Be the listener.  In case your associate is mouthing off, you can nod your head to show understanding and sympathy without engaging in the negativity.  Tell your partner that you are sorry to hear about these problems, but that you don’t feel you are in a position to discuss the situation. Suggest that an impartial, third party be consulted for support.

2. Start talking about the business at hand. Gently drive your partner back to the thing you came to discuss by asking for input and suggestions.

3. Openly watch the time.  Say something to the effect of, “I only have another 10 minutes, what haven’t we covered?”

4. Confirm your neutrality. As you are leaving, wish your associate a peaceful resolution and reaffirm your interest in working on this and future projects together.

It is so tempting to gossip when you feel you have found someone who sides with you. But there is tremendous danger in engaging in conspired negativity, and from my experience, ALL gossip leaks, even among friends.  So, take the high road; you may even encourage the gossip to end.

Happy communicating,

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.

How to Manage Your Personal Power with an Insecure Boss

In aggression, arguments, assertiveness, avoiding arguments, breakdown in communication, business relationships, career challenges, career path, career-related problems, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, dealing with a difficult coworker, dealing with a male boss, Detach and Breathe, diplomacy and tact, disagreements, effective communicating, emotional balance, empowerment, gossiping, handling tough boss, insecure bosses, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, person to person dynamics, personal growth, personal power, professional behavior, professional boundaries, professional development, team-player, Uncategorized, women in the workplace, work-related problems, working with a younger boss on September 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm

I have been told many times that I am like a lightening rod; I tend to ignite a riot. Let me say this: I don’t mean to, my energy is like that. It creates reactions in others and it makes people like me difficult in a corporate environment. I think independently, I’m self-motivated and truly out-of-the box in the way I approach things. This can be very rattling for those who adhere closely to “the way things are done here.”

As a coach, having worked to become self-aware and accountable for my actions, I always try to use my lessons for the betterment of others. So, I only share this background about myself because work can be hell for a person like me who reports to an insecure manager. I was a victim and contributor of hell for many years during my twenty-plus-year career in advertising sales, until I made the decision to work with my authentic self in a constructive way. Until then I was clueless about managing this energy of mine.

Now, as a brain-based coach and trainer, and I hear stories like mine from the highest levels of corporate leadership to mid-level and even junior level professionals. If this is your plight, you must first acknowledge that you may be delivering a sting with your beam. Here are a few questions for you. See if you say yes to more than two.

  1. Do you make unilateral decisions when you know your boss should be included?
  2. Do you dismiss his/her ideas?
  3. Does your boss side with your co-workers instead of you?
  4. Is your boss inaccessible unless to criticize you?
  5. Does s/he steal your ideas without acknowledging you?
  6. Are you being blocked from a deserving raise or promotion?
  7. Are you overlooked for invitations to important meetings?

It’s time to stop blaming your boss for being bad, wrong, insecure, etc., and start looking at what you can do to create a positive connection.

Here are some critical dos and don’ts:

  1. Directly acknowledge what your boss does that impresses you – be sincere.
  2. Seek your boss’ opinions on real issues (don’t make things up just to ingratiate yourself) and apply what you receive to your work.
  3. Maintain your composure regardless of your boss’ mood swings.
  4. Show respect for his/her views.
  5. Do not gossip to anyone about your boss. It will come back to you with a vengeance.
  6. Do not attempt to become friends – keep your professional boundaries at all times.
  7. Demonstrate that you are a team-player. Share the glory!
  8. Be your confident self and be humble.

Your authenticity is not at stake when you are aware of how to use your brightness and get along with others. People perceive you by how you make them feel. Bosses are just as vulnerable as any of us – and if you’re a boss you know this to be true.

Lastly, corporate cultures can vary and it’s important to know when you don’t belong. On the other hand, use any tension and adversity you are experiencing to teach you about you. It’ll make your experience valuable beyond the years you spend in any particular job.

 

 

Brightly and happily yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. 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.

You’re 50 and Your New Boss is 30. Now what?

In assertiveness, baby boomers, business, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, diversity, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, generation x, generations in the workforce, gossiping, interpersonal skills, leadership, managing, millennials, networking, office politics, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, training, Uncategorized, working with a younger boss on September 1, 2016 at 10:15 am

I’m a Baby Boomer, born in 1959, and I’ve had this experience.  I was once VP of a sales department, having been overlooked for the open SVP slot.  A woman, 10 years my junior, became my boss.  I immediately read what I thought was fear in her eyes and I did what I could to show that I supported her. For several months she kept telling me, “You’re great!  What would I do without you?” Then at around the three month mark, she fired me. Not based on my performance, not because I was acting out against her.  I asked her point blank, “Why?” and her response?  “You’re not a fit.”  You can imagine what that felt like!

Not all younger boss scenarios end badly, although they may be challenging. If you’re currently reporting to someone who’s your junior, and there’s tension around this reality, then this article’s for you.

Here you are, sharp as ever, valuable as hell, and watching your peers leave (voluntarily or by being pushed out).  Inevitably, you are wondering what’s going to happen to you and your job. Plus, you have this younger person as your boss. From your perspective, you might be tolerating what you see as the bumps and blunders your manager goes through to gain respect and be an effective leader (only to show signs of vulnerability and feelings of inadequacy). Just think of how threatening it must feel to manage someone older than yourself!

You may be observing that he or she likes to run things a bit loosely. This person is likely to want more contact via email and text and less in-person contact. Your manager might be in a state of unconscious incompetence (which is another term for, not knowing what we don’t know) and may think your view on leadership is antiquated.

The truth is, good leadership is ageless. That being said, your younger boss comes from a different era, and has generational tendencies for which you should be aware.

Here are some traits associated with our younger colleagues, the ones about whom I am referring.  They likely born after 1975 and before 1987.  (The full span of “Generation X” is 1965-1981 and of “Millennials” is 1982-2000).

Techno-literate

Grew up embracing diversity and informality

Want to achieve balance between fun and work

Self-reliant

Enjoy a lack of rigid structures

(*Source: The Generations, Gary Trotta’s Training Games, Inc.)

Some of these tendencies are a breath of fresh air! So, what to do when there’s a conflict or you feel critical of your boss’ ways? Try to see things from your boss’ perspective. Imagine you’re 30 again and people the age of your parents report to you. Threatening, maybe a little? Much to prove? There’s a really powerful interpersonal dynamic that can become an opportunity to show your ability to dance with change, with people of all ages, and with the demands of the job.

When you see them struggle, offer assistance without being obsequious, pedantic or passive-aggressive. Just be you with all of your experience and wisdom.  Ask about your manager’s vision for the department and the role he or she sees you playing in it.  Occupy your space with confidence. Show interest in your boss’ perspective and demonstrate respect.  Become curious and enthusiastic about working together.

Besides, what are the options?  Just walk away? Fight the system?  Disregard the new manager’s responsibility for you?  We Boomers have been through a lot and we know that change is inevitable.

If we can accept what’s happening, grow with it and be a role model of flexibility and integrity, we can lead our younger managers to victory.

Enjoy the ride,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. 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.

That Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher

In aggression, assertiveness, business relationships, career, communicating, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, gossiping, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, office politics, passive-aggressive, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, Uncategorized, Winning, working with a younger boss on May 25, 2016 at 1:24 am

The most challenging people are our greatest teachers. We can use our reactions to them to start taking control of ourselves.

You’ve got a challenge in the office — that thorn in your side, or actually, more like a knife in your gut.  You dread every minute you have to interact with this person. You have dreamed about ways to get rid of him or her, coming up with some ominous fantasies that have words in it like, “extermination.”  Or, perhaps there’s such a lack of trust and respect that you believe s/he’s going to attempt to hurt your job or career.

On a day-to-day basis you find yourself snapping, yelling, arguing.  You and your enemy go at it freely. Co-workers are warning you that they’re sick of your complaining, but you’re stuck deep in the mud. When you do find someone else with whom you can commiserate, you share war stories and eat up valuable work time letting off steam behind closed doors.

Maybe you’ve even tried the exact opposite approach– showing too much appreciation, flattering him or her, praising this person to the point where you feel nauseous and certainly disingenuous. And, it’s still not working.

Good news!  You’ve been blessed by having this individual cross your path.  Let me explain.

Recently, an ambitious 20s-something, whom we’ll call Joe, told me about his boss’ executive assistant — a woman in her mid 50s (whom we’ll call Gina).  Joe was beside himself with exhaustion because Gina refused to return his work on time, or if at all, despite the fact that it’s part of her job.  Gina’s attitude is profoundly bitchy and argumentative.  It reduces Joe to arguing, yelling and then finally backing off. Since their boss won’t intervene or help Joe, Joe ends up doing the work himself.  Even worse, despite complaints about Gina by others, the company refuses to let her go or even send her to anger management courses.

Joe, being exhausted and frustrated, realized that he was about to throw away a great job for this co-worker.  Instead, he came to me to learn how to deal with Gina. Here was the process we used to help him realize he was being given a tremendous opportunity to learn from her.

1. Look at yourself through the other person’s eyes.   She is twice his age.  Been with the company for years.  She reports to Joe’s boss and yet is being asked to support Joe, who is of a lower status. This might seem unfair to her and her tenure. She doesn’t care about his success.  She’s tired of helping the young kids with their grunt work who never ask what she thinks.

The exercise of guessing of what might be on her mind opened up Joe’s mind for change. This made him more sympathetic to her. He decided that he was done screaming, fighting and seeing her as his enemy.

2. Analyze the lesson. What did Joe learn?  That Gina was his Guru.  She was the impetus for him to become more self-aware and aware of others. She helped to prepare him for dealing with difficult people in the workplace and it got him to pursue skill development. Gina was Joe’s mirror. The reflection showed him just how bad his behavior could become in the face of an opposing force, and he didn’t like himself for it one bit.

3. Accept what we cannot change. Joe’s plan was to continue seeking Gina’s assistance, as it was his right and her job. If she said no, he would accept it and move on.  Because he was done fighting with her, he was willing to do the work himself without getting into a verbal brawl.  Joe’s self-esteem rose for having the control to accept what he couldn’t change.

Think of your challenging person as your greatest teacher. Whatever negativity he or she is bringing up in you, IS IN YOU to begin with, and is merely having an outlet.  The question is — what about you is being reflected back?

If you’ve become someone you can’t respect as a result of someone else’s behavior, you are being given a golden opportunity to grow, without ever trying to win or change the other person.  We can only ever control what we say and do anyway, so might as well use the situation to teach us how to detach enough to control ourselves.

These ‘difficult’ people are catalysts for our transformation. They may initially bring us to our proverbial knees, but we can choose to get back on our feet.  Thank these “villians” my friends, they are our greatest allies.

Enjoy the lesson!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. 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.

Dear Millennials: Protect Your Brain from your Heart

In brain, connections, friends with co-workers, friends with colleagues, heart, millennials, personal life at work, professional boundaries, work relationships, workplace connections, young professionals on May 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm

On the tail of Mother’s Day, I was thinking back to what I was like at age 27, the year my mother died.  I was already a successful and ambitious sales person in the media business when this happened, and it shook my whole world.  I was thinking about how vulnerable I felt at the time and what I did to fill the void.  And, since I was single and work was my primary focus at the time, filling the void meant forging strong relationships with colleagues.

A year after my mother died I landed my biggest and most important job to that point, a hot hot hot cable network!  No gig was cooler than that place in the 1980s, when I got this job. (MTV, folks!) I was great at what I did and managed to succeed even with my personal grief.  But inside I felt deeply alone and was trying to live my life without my mother in it.  Well, the woman who had hired me was a bright, lively, warm person, a few years older than me, and reached out her hand in friendship.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled!  We became good friends.  I went to her house, she went to my house, we talked on the phone, we cried to each other, shared secrets, the whole shmeer.  The professional boundary had been smashed.  I was in heaven because I worked for the coolest company, and had me the strong, comforting, female, authority figure for which I longed.

A year passed.  Suddenly, this boss moved over to a new department, gained a higher status in the company, and I got a new boss — this one, not so warm and friendly.  But it didn’t matter because I still had this great relationship that would support me and be there for me, just from a different department.  So I thought.  I soon realized that she wanted to cut me loose, and move beyond me.  I was crushed, I tell you, to my core.  I wrote her letters, I called her, I tried to understand the sudden disinterest in being my friend.  I never got a straight answer.

It took me awhile to heal.  I had let my heart shoot my brain, basically!  I now know it’s because the hormone oxytocin (which acts as a neuro-transmitter in the brain) is released when there’s a powerful connection.  It’s what we all seek, of course, especially when we are in need.  Work is a sea of opportunity to connect. The danger in this is that many people in corporate life are in it to win it; ambitious to the point of using people along the way.  And, even if they aren’t trying to use people, they have to recover and protect their own boundaries, in order to be most effective and have the best chances of success.  I can’t say to this day what her motive was to befriend and then unfriend me. Once she broke my trust, I felt I never really knew her in the first place. But, in hindsight, if she’d known how to handle it better she would have.

I’ll never forget this powerful lesson. No matter what is going on in your personal life, work is a dangerous place to become vulnerable to others.  Sure, I made some very nice friends throughout the years, some of whom are reading this right now, but the difference is having a friend vs. trying to find healing through a co-worker.

I wanted to write this to you from the perspective of someone now approaching 57, who has made lots of mistakes and has learned from each one of them. Your work life is different in many ways than mine was at your age.  But still, people are people, and as nice as they may be, your best bet is to keep a professional boundary so that your personal life doesn’t encroach on all of the amazing opportunities and business relationships that await you.

Always learning and growing,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. 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.

Are you a Prisoner of your Mind?

In Accedemia Gallery, Angel in the Marble, Belief Systems, brain-based coach, Clear Thinking, freedom, Hall of Prisoners, Michelangelo, mindfulness, personal growth, Prisoner of the Mind, psychology, seeking the truth, Statue of David, Uncategorized on January 23, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Standing in the Hall of Prisoners, at the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy, just feet from the very famous Statue of David, are unfinished masterpieces by Michelangelo that, in their state, appear to be slaves, prisoners or captives of the marble from which they are emerging.  As one approaches the glorious, free, angelic David, these sculptures, against the walls of a long hallway, seem to be telling the story of the human mind. Are these tortured souls in various stages of enslavement, or depending on perspective, of setting themselves free?

The images of these frozen captives, in juxtaposition with the gloriously free David, makes one think:  Am I a slave to my baggage?  Am I waiting to be free?

  Prisoner - Michelangelo

As lore has it, when people asked Michelangelo how he accessed David from a slab of marble, he said, “It was easy.  I perceived the Angel in the marble and carved to set it free.”  If we put a psychological spin to this, the idea is of chipping away at the parts of ourselves that no longer fit, or are wasteful; baggage we lug around, like slabs of marble.  And, as we let the chips fall away, we access our true selves; the pure beings we were born to be.

If Michelangelo was our maker, we would all start out as a slab of marble.  Then it would be our energy, our force, our will to reveal ourselves to him so that he could see the being lodged in there.  It would be the clarity of who we are, our demand to be seen, our mindfulness, our fierceness to rise that would trigger him to see how far he must carve to set us free. We would demand and get our freedom.

And so with this powerful metaphor in mind, I ask:

1. Are you a prisoner of your beliefs and thoughts?  How do they keep you stuck and walking in circles?

2. Do you take risks that challenge you beyond your comfort zone?

3. Do you surround yourself with people who want to see you win; who promote your growth and see your potential? If not, who or what are you allowing to keep you down?

4. What parts of your life keep you captive – whether the people, the job, extra weight, emotional pain, etc?  What rock are you hiding behind?

6. Have you felt unhappy, unsatisfied and unchallenged as of late? Are you searching for something more?

Your answers may surprise you, and I know first hand that seeking the truth can wreak havoc: it can cause you to make difficult decisions, make changes that require courage, leave you feeling a huge void, make you feel like you’re in a free fall.  But, as I have been on a very active journey to my truth, I can say that it was this very metaphor, given to me by a wise person years ago (with my best interests at heart) that launched me to completely change the direction of my thoughts and beliefs about myself, my relationships, my career, my health, and discover my purpose in life: to help others do the same.

I’m only a stone’s throw away!  Please share this article with others, whom you support, and feel free to reach out to me directly. I am a brain-based coach who helps people step out of the marble and into the light.

Shine on,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. 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.

Detach & Breathe

In aggression, assertiveness, body language, business relationships, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, executive coaching, gossiping, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing, negotiating, non-verbal signals, office politics, passive-aggressive, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, professional development training, working with a younger boss on October 19, 2015 at 12:08 am

Many people have been asking me lately about how not to overreact emotionally, aggressively or undiplomatically in a work environment when things go wrong (usually caused by someone else, of course!).  People also want to know how to stop those unconscious non-verbal signals that tell the truth about what they are really feeling in the face of not being able to say it.

I have such a simple, yet excellent solution that it almost seems silly.  But it works.  It’s called, “Detach & Breathe.” It’s something I came up with to save myself in a highly stressful work environment years ago. I had been struggling with a manager for two years, battling over his way vs. my way.  As a result, he had begun to cut me out of important decisions and it forced me to realize that my stubbornness was what had been hurting me. I had been so intent on being right that I had not allowed him to be ‘the boss.’  Lesson in letting go of having to be right, in the face of being smart!

One day, during a usual confrontation, I realized that I was battle-fatigued and had put my job into jeopardy.  He had authority and that was that. I had to let go of the idea of protecting “my turf” and doing things my way, despite the fact that he didn’t know as much about my job as I.  I said, “Rich, you know what, from now on, I will defer to you and I give you my word.  I’m done fighting and I want to show you that I support you.”

I went into my office and wrote DETACH and BREATHE on post-its and placed them at eye level on my computer.  For the next few weeks he’d tell me how and when to do something and before any response I would DETACH AND BREATHE and then say, “Yes.” Well, by the third week, he started giving me the latitude do just go ahead and do things my own way. He began to include me in decisions. He was done trying to capitalize on his authority because I had stopped fighting it.

So go ahead! It’s effective! Detach & Breathe when you:

1. Feel yourself getting angry, hurt, teary; if the emotion is intense and its display could hurt the perception of you.

2. Begin taking things personally, which is affecting your ability to think and act objectively.

3. Find you are struggling for power with a co-worker.

4. Want to condemn someone else and are ready to snap, yell or scream.

Besides, what else is there at this point?  Quit, get fired or have a stroke?

Place the words DETACH and BREATHE on two separate post-it notes and have them visible at all times.  Eventually the brain will automatically sound them off to you, but you must keep at it!

The only thing we are truly attached to is what we think and believe.  We must first look deeply within to see how these attachments are negatively impacting how we react.  Once we can detach, we are free.  I mean really free.

Sympathetically yours,

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.

Your Reputation. Is it Built on Character or Personality?

In business relationships, career, career coaching, character, character vs. personality, communicating, communication, communication skills, Dale Carnegie, effective communicating, executive coaching, How to Win Friends and Influence People, human relations, human relations principles, leadership, Michael Fertik, people skills, personal development, personal growth, personality, professional behavior, professional development, Professional Reputation, Reputation, self-help, Susan Cain, Uncategorized, Warren Susman on September 13, 2015 at 9:46 pm

If you think about the concept of professional reputation, when was the last time you wondered:  do my colleagues see how honorable, compassionate and humble I am? We generally don’t lose any sleep over this. There’s no cultural need to compete when it comes to character.  Now, that’s not true when it comes to personality. Have you ever felt competitive or even inadequate around others whom you see as being more charismatic, dynamic and magnetic than you?

Traits associated with character: integrity, compassion, generosity, humility, fairness, etc.  Traits associated with personality: charisma, dynamism, poise, magnetism, attractive, etc.  The questions are: which one creates the right reputation, and which one will help us move ahead in our chosen professions?

I came upon an interesting article written by Reputation.com’s CEO, Michael Fertik, entitled, “We Just Hired a Chief People Officer (Why you should too).” In it he describes the importance of the move to drive the values of the company through its people. I love this idea because it’s a charge he’s putting upon his employees to sustain a ‘culture of character’.

Susan Cain, in her book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking,” spends a full chapter on “The Rise of the Mighty Likable Fellow,” which delves into the shift in the late 1800s from a “Culture of Character” (a term coined by cultural historian, Warren Susman) to an early 20th century, “Culture of Personality.”

Ms. Cain’s book discusses how the industrial revolution caused the shift in ideology as a result of people moving from quiet country-life into growing cities at the turn of the 20th century.  To find work, they had to compete.  They had to stand out.  And so, who among the great heroes should emerge out of this shift? Mr. Dale Carnegie. He became the expert in how to be liked, how to persuade, how to gain the attention of others; to thrive in urban life. Timing being perfect for such skills, Mr. Carnegie launched his first public speaking course in 1912 at the YMCA in Harlem, New York!

Susan Cain writes that Mr. Carnegie was a self-help “Culture of Personality” guru, and I can understand why that is true.  As an emerging leader of methods that helped people compete, get jobs, keep up with the Joneses, they needed winning personalities.  I am also compelled to add that he was a very powerful proponent of the importance of  character.  His book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” was a user’s manual and the title fulfills its promise. However, if you carefully read his 30 Human Relations Principles, (the foundation for the book’s material) they speak to character. Here’s a sampling:

Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

Give honest, sincere appreciation.

Show genuine interest in others.

Respect the other person’s opinion.

Let the other person save face.

These principles are about humility, compassion and gratitude.  Mr. Carnegie never lost sight of his own small-town upbringing and the importance of building a reputation based on being humanitarian.  103 years later, his work is still teaching us about the importance of character and how to build the characteristics associated with likable personalities.

So, what does reputation hinge upon?  I’d say that we should follow Mr. Carnegie’s thinking:  we need to have likable personalities that grow through skill-development (such as communicating well, presenting ourselves with confidence, etc.) in order to compete in this “Culture of Personality.” We should also remember that the constancy and source of our humanity – the foundation our personalities are built upon, flows out of true character.

Gratefully yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. 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.

How to Make a Positive, Succinct Point When Presenting

In business, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, messages, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, public speaking fear, sales, selling, speech preparation, speech writing, training on September 1, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Remember the end of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech?   “Think not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Imagine if he’d said it like this:  “Don’t misunderstand the role of being an American citizen. You can’t sit back while your government works to make you secure.   You have to step up to the plate, be proactive and support the whole.  We’re counting on you, and we’re in this together….or else.”

Not so good. Right? Certainly no one would be quoting it nearly 50 years later.  His actual words inspired and challenged people — giving them a fine reputation to live up to and a good cause to work towards.  A winning speech!

This is a great example of delivering a compelling point while conveying a positive message. It must be memorable and give listeners something to respond to; an action with an inherent value to them for taking that action.  We want to get buy-in and be perceived as leaders, too.

Generally, people absorb messages when they’re short.    Here’s the difference:

a. Don’t smoke — you’ll die too young from a devastating cancer of the mouth, tongue, lungs or brain. You’ll shorten your life, you’ll contaminate the air and give others health problems from second hand smoke.

b. Avoid getting cancer. Don’t smoke! You can live a long, healthy life.

Which message would you be able to quote?  Isn’t that what you would want your listeners to be able to do with your message?

Here are a few steps in preparing your positive, succinct point:

1. Identify the point of your message. This is frequently something you’d like your listeners to do, change, or follow-up on. Do you want them to take your advice, remember something you said or take on a challenge? Write that one thing down.  Make it ONE thing only.  The action you want them to take is the point of your speech.

2. Use this core point to gather information such as, facts, personal examples, anecdotes, to reinforce your point. Use this information to enhance and drive home your message.

3. Create a value proposition.  Your point must have a value to the audience or you will lose your ability to make impact.

When you deliver your message, here’s the order for making a succinct point:

a. Share your examples, anecdotes, facts, etc., rich with detail that ties your point to your message.

b.  State your point.

c. Make it clear to the listener that there’s a value to him/her for doing what you suggest.

Think not what your audience can do for you, but what you can do for your audience!

Go get ’em!

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.