Jackie Kellso

Posts Tagged ‘David Rock’

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.

Bully for You; How to Stop Being an Office Bully’s Target

In aggression, assertiveness, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, bullying, business relationships, career, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, David Rock, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, NeuroLeadership Group, office politics, passive-aggressive, people skills, professional behavior, professional development, Psychology Today, self-esteem, Uncategorized on January 6, 2014 at 1:55 am

If I may be so bold, unless you wish to be, you are not in your job to be anyone’s “punching bag” or the butt of sadistic manuevers to undermine you or your work.

If you’ve been spending countless nights worrying about how to deal with your bully, or asking yourself what you did to deserve this creep in your life and are experiencing a downturn in your productivity and/or desire to stay in your job, you may be interested to know that there is actually something you can do that is neither vengeful nor in any way harmful to any party (I know, revenge would feel so sweet!) and in fact can be a nice boost to your self-confidence.

First, let’s take a look at bullying.  According to Psychology Today, “Bullies couldn’t exist without victims, and they don’t pick on just anyone; those singled out lack assertiveness and radiate fear….” Does this sound like you?  But, you may ask, “Yeah, but I’ve still done nothing to deserve this.” Psychology today states that, “Bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age, if the normal aggression of two-year-olds isn’t handled well.”

Sadly, you are dealing with a person who is emotionally stalled and you are simply playing in the wrong sandbox.

Bullies are not exempt from feeling threatened. In fact, self-esteem and status are directly linked to behaviors that make people react as both threatening and threatened and this type of reaction mainly comes from a perceived loss of status.  David Rock, author of “How the Brain Works,” and “Quiet Leadership” describes that, “Status means we are always positioned in relation to those around us:  literally, where we are in the ‘pecking order.'” Dr. Rock, CEO and owner of the NeuroLeadership Group and co-founder and executive director of the Neuroleadership Institute, is a pioneer of brain-based research and its application for creating positive, organizational change. His work has proven that as social beings, we react to social threat as if we are experiencing physical threat; as if our survival is at risk.  He has identified the five core areas that trigger unconscious threat reactions and shows us that through awareness and a mindful approach, that we can shift from threat to what he calls ‘a reward state.’

These five areas are:  Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.  (Dr. Rock has many published articles that are worth reading on the subject.  I recommend, “SCARF:  a Brain-Based Model for Collaborating with and Influencing Others.” ) But, for the purposes of helping you with your bully, here’s what I think you should know:  you can raise your own perceived status without lowering your bully’s, and in doing so, create a more peaceful dynamic.

1. Align and Engage. You must stop making yourself right and the bully wrong.  By focusing on what makes you different you are causing yourself to feel more isolated. Part of Dr. Rock’s SCARF model is that Relatedness has much to do with feeling good. Allow yourself to tell your bully that you can see his/her point of view and can even agree to it (only if this is the case – don’t be fake!).  This may trigger the sensation that you are lowering your own status, but you aren’t.  You are showing how BIG you really are.

2. Keep Your Feelings to Yourself.  There are times when transparency is very important to the health of a good working relationship.  This is not one of those times. Empower yourself with this mindful and silent phrase, “My feelings are none of his/her business.”  This means that if you are feeling panicked and want to cry out in the name of unfairness, stop! Even the slightest comment from someone who’s not a bully (but is playing with status as a high card) can make us feel bullied.  There is a senior member of a team that I’m on who was assigned a huge project (working with a previous employer of mine) and I was not included on the project.  When I suggested that I could offer history and help he said, “No, they only want to work with me.”  I was enraged and felt my status drop with blunt force.  It felt blindingly unfair. I almost told him to…well you know what that is…how unfair this was, blah blah blah.  Instead, I said to myself, Jackie, these feelings are none of his business. I detached immediately, feeling empowered by my self-control. I said, “I’m happy for the team and I know you’ll do a great job.”  He smiled and thanked me.  Most importantly, I took the high road.

3. Get Mindful.  Ask yourself what is it that kicks you in your pants around status, or any of these other social factors.  What kind of conditioning do you have that is still plaguing you?  It’s your job to discover what makes you tick and where you need to grow. Read about it.  Talk with a professional.  Ask for support. Stop blaming the bully and start taking responsibility for the victim, that is, you.

4. Become Influential. Pretend you are there to cultivate the talents of this bully (not by offering any feedback or advice; as per Dr. Rock, this could trigger a status alert and backfire!).  I mean to support this person in becoming more productive and create a window for his person to behave in a way that will accelerate his/her career.   For example, congratulate your bully on something well done. Do it publicly. Be specific.  Acknowledge what is good.  There’s a chance that this bully is starved for recognition.  This is not about ingratiating yourself as a lowly servant begging for a crumb!  Imagine feeding a starving child something nutritious.  You have the power!

5. Value The Lesson. I’ve written about this very topic before. That Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher!  How do you use this situation to propel yourself forward? What is your strategy from here?  It’s really in your control, having nothing to do with controlling another person.

6. Do Right.  You are a player in a hierarchical structure that is designed for its own survival, not yours. Fairness is one of the five social factors that Dr. Rock describes and it can kick us in our proverbial pants when we feel things aren’t fair. We’ve all seen it; huge salary vs. experience discrepancies, nepotism, lay-offs, closed-door policies, etc.  It’s the inherent dysfunction that ravages every organization where leaders lack self-awareness and actual leadership skills.  So you learn what it is to engage others, to raise the morale, to play fair and to be a good team-leader.  It’s a phenomenal opportunity to leverage your autonomy, and create rewarding outcomes.

I know…none of this is easy.  But as my Popop used to say to the very aggressive, sometimes bullying little ten-year old me, “The first one who yells loses.”  Your bully is losing whether you join in or not, so really there’s no threat to you.  Just focus on the greatness in you both and the rewards will follow.

Happy Connecting!

Jackie

(Note:  if you are experiencing any form of severe bullying, that is, being threatened, harrassed, and intimidated, you must report this to your management and to your human resources department.  Please use your best judgment and stay safe.)

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 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How To Get Out of Your Own Way

In brain-based coaching, coaching, empowerment, get out of your own way, life skills, personal development, personal growth, self-esteem, self-help, self-image, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, transformation, Uncategorized on June 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

You’ve heard the expression.  It means blocking ourselves from promotions, financial independence, loving relationships, good health, etc., and is creating personal chaos, conflict and unhappiness.  Gary Zukov, author of best-selling book, “Seat of The Soul,” might say, and I paraphrase, getting out of one’s way means to align one’s personality with one’s spirit.

The question is, how?  Think of this metaphor:  just as Michelangelo had to carve into a slab of marble to access his famous David, we must chip away at those parts of ourselves — thoughts, emotions, beliefs and actions — self-made layers that over time have blocked access to our spirits.

Stuff to chip away:  low self-esteem, lack of fulfillment and/or purpose, anxiety, fear, living only in the comfort zone, addiction, isolation, inferiority or superiority complex, aggression, passivity…a host of reactions to life and personal myths (about who we really are) that diminish the spirit.

The trouble is, we believe these myths and don’t typically question their validity. There has been much written to help us out get of trouble. Byron Katie has written, The Work. In it she probes us to ask ourselves if our thoughts are based in fact or fiction. Albert Ellis’ methodology called, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, helps us become cerebral and learn now to rephrase our thoughts and emotions instead of being prisoner to them. Daniel Goleman has written many books on what he calls, Emotional Intelligence, and how our self-awareness and awareness of others launches inner change and teaches us how to evolve out of old patterns.  David Rock, founder of The NeuroLeadership Institute, teaches about the brain, and how when triggered into threat (real or perceived) we react in predictable ‘hard-wired’ ways that undermine our ability to be as highly functional as we can be.

Even with the highest level of motivation, this ‘chipping away’ takes focus and time, but is thankfully something within our control: our ability to stop our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and actions from blocking us.

1. Make it a priority to align your personality and spirit.

2. Journal about the thoughts, emotions, beliefs and actions that are non-you and need to be chipped away.

3. Take a hard and objective look at what stays and what goes, based on your goals.

4. Allow yourself to be motivated by people who are ”walking the walk”.

5. Have the courage to let go of what you don’t need anymore.

6. Observe how others are getting in their own way.

7. As you see it falling away, thank the old stuff for protecting you in the past.

8. Enjoy the opportunity to make positive impact on others.

9. Look for relationships that are supportive to this strengthened yet vulnerable you.

10. Become transparent – let others know you are actively transforming yourself.

Getting out of your own way is a very powerful, life-affirming, self-loving act.  It brings meaning and depth to our lives and brings us closer to fulfilling our life’s purpose.  In the words of Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, “Our own life has to be our message.”

Onwards and upwards,

Jackie

You may also find a reprint of this article on Find the Masters blog:  http://blog.findthemasters.com/how-to-get-out-of-your-own-way

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.