Jackie Kellso

Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

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 September 29, 2017 at 12:55 am

Dear Reader,

Below are insights and tips for dealing with aggressive, ‘bullying’ co-workers. They are intended to give you some management tips for people who act aggressively towards you and might help you in the moment you are being bullied. That being said, before you read this article, know that bullying can range in severity and the tips I provide below are not solutions to being threatened, harassed, and intimidated. If this is your situation,  report this to your management and to your human resources department.  You may need to consult with an attorney who specializes in workplace harassment.  Please use your best judgment and stay safe.

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 maneuvers 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 co-founder 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 formed into the acronym SCARF:  Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.  (Dr. Rock has many published articles that are worth reading on the subject.) 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. Focus on alignment of your bully’s neutral comments. Where can you see his or her point?  Is it in an observation of how a project concluded?  Something easy for you to relate to. By focusing on where you can agree, it will show that you are not threatened, and are comfortable validating this person’s point of view. Part of Dr. Rock’s SCARF model is that relatedness or connecting with another has much to do with both parties feeling safe. Allow yourself to tell your bully that you can agree to something he or she said and why you agree.  (It doesn’t mean you agree in general to this person’s behavior.)  Look for opportunities where you can see his or her point of view. Always be sincere – I am not suggesting you become obsequious as a way to mollify the situation.  When you begin to do this, it 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 how you have patterned yourself as a victim.

4. Become Influential. Imagine feeding a starving child something nutritious.  Act as if you have the power to cultivate the talents of this bully (not by offering 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 can elevate his or her self-esteem.   For example, congratulate the 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 to get on his or her good side.  It’s to be above the dynamic and lead from strength.

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?  Your life is in your control, having nothing to do with the other 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; being passed over for a promotion, receiving less salary for the same work as another, 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 for yourself.

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.  Just focus on your ability to grow and the rewards will follow.

Always moving towards the rewards,

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 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.

You’re Dead to Us: Getting Edged out of a Job

In career, career change, career opportunities, Compassionate universe, create a new career, discover your passion, Getting Edged out of a Job, getting fired, getting laid off, keep negativity to yourself, leadership, life changes, life mirrors our inner beliefs, live your passion, living a dream, mission, moving forward in life, Mr. Wonderful, opportunity for change, Shark Tank, You're Dead to Me, You're Dead to Us on February 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Many professionals hit a certain point in their careers when suddenly they are fired or laid off (aka FIRED) or (and this is the sneakier one) moved from leadership positions to those of ‘special projects directors.’ This former non-position; now a quasi-unspecified position, is a little closer to the door — but management chose to sit you by the door rather than push you out of it.  They’re 1. Hoping you will find a new job and resign, or 2. Just resign, or 3. Waiting until some HR time-frame comes into play to actually cut you loose.

There are many ways we can find ourselves being pushed out. We are not invited to key meetings.  Our opinions are no longer being requested.  We are offered less and less opportunities to generate some form of work or income.  This is especially hard when we’re not told anything, rather just that the changes are being made and we find ourselves in a career and/or financial crisis.

So, as someone who has experienced the “You’re Dead to Us” phenomenon in 35 years of professional life, I thought I’d share how I made it beyond this type of situation to thrive, hoping this will help those who are going through what feels insulting, denigrating and unjust.

1. Curse!  Cursing is hugely cathartic. Cry. Mourn. Be enraged. Do this for as long as you need (this stage will end, by the way).  HOWEVER, do not display this behavior or say anything negative or share your personal feelings with any of your colleagues!  This is a private matter! Stay neutral around people and show that you’re going with the flow, outwardly.

2. Actions to take (with options):  a. If you can trust your boss, ask him/her “Why the changes? and “What caused these changes?” (NOT, “What did I do wrong?”).  You may receive information that will help you gain some valuable insight, or sadly, to use for legal action. b. If you do not trust your boss, you can go to HR, but they will report your query back to your boss. c. This is really really really really really really really hard to do, but this is the one I recommend: Ask yourself how moving on will support your vision for your career and life.

3. Life mirrors our inner beliefs. I have a theory that when things fall away (like jobs or relationships) it’s a signal that the little gnawing whisper in our heads that has been begging us to listen to it, is actually getting its secret wish, despite our mental control to stay put.  Ever hear yourself say, “Geez, I want to be a pirate, if only…” or “I want to discover the first sponges that don’t smell!” or “My passion isn’t here, it’s in rescuing elephants and I want to be in Africa doing that right now!”  So, if you’re being pushed out, you must ask, “Why is this happening now and how does this SUPPORT me?”

4. Create an interim plan of action.  This might mean going to recruiters or taking a job at Starbucks (actually that could be a cool job!) while you go back to school, or begin marketing a consultancy and get busy on social media looking for freelance work. Ask friends for leads. Or, take that vacation and luxuriate on the Riviera! It’s rare that we feel we are in our dream job when it falls away.  There is usually a dream yet unfulfilled.  The key is to remember that what is happening is meant to cut the apron strings so we are free to move forward.

5. Be excited! The use of our energy at this critical time will produce what happens next.  Yes, if you feel immobilized you must get help – go see a counselor, therapist or coach.  But once you can move through the pain, it’s so important to use your creativity and positivity to define a mission for your career and take the very next step towards that. After all, in the big picture of life, it’s never about defining who we are based on the job, but rather, on what we do with our dreams.

My belief is that the Universe is compassionate and that it juggles us around to put us on the right paths. Many spiritual teachers talk about how true compassion is ruthless. Is Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank”) compassionate when he says, “You’re dead to me?”  Was Tony Soprano?  Well, maybe not.  But I wouldn’t exactly consider them spiritual teachers! The bottom line is that it’s our job to look at the big picture when we are being edged out and perhaps say (silently) to the boss:  “Thanks for setting me free.”

 

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.

Shed the “Corporate” Persona and Just Be You!

In authentic power, character vs. personality, Connecting, connecting with people, Corporate Persona, diplomacy and tact, humanity, impress, kids, leadership, letting go, person to person dynamics, Reputation, self-image, self-improvement, sharing information, transparency, trust, working relationships on January 7, 2016 at 7:17 pm

It’s now 2:04pm on a Monday.  If I was addressing a classroom of three year-olds and said, “It’s time to act like little, furry, meowing kittens, everyone,” not one kid would say, “Hey, that would make me look silly.”  The kids would just go for it; taking the opportunity to show off their interpretations of kittens, with glee.  There wouldn’t be one child in that room that would be afraid of how he or she was perceived; there wouldn’t be a thought to block their natural sparkle.

On the other hand, it’s now 2:04pm on a Monday and we’re at a company meeting when the boss requires us to communicate what we truly feel on a subject.  We find ourselves falling over our words.  How do I say this without giving myself away?  How do I make the point without being vulnerable to criticism?  How do I share this honestly when it also involves my co-workers?  How do I present my ideas openly without getting slammed for them?

What happened to the three year-old who would act like a kitten if only asked?

We worry that we are at risk of creating the wrong perception because corporate life isn’t kindergarten and it doesn’t encourage the humanity, character, and honesty that are natural to us.  It uses us as job functions and demands a protocol and persona that makes us blend in.  So over time, we become encased in a shell of protection against the forces; we become so withdrawn from our true selves that we don’t take risks to reveal what makes us unique, to speak our minds, or even to be playful!

I say to you that it actually takes more energy to hide than to reveal who we are and that a veneer robs us of our freedom.  It ends up adding to our misery and our stress. The good news is that we can step out of that suit of armor at any time and simply be ourselves.

1. Tell the truth.  Always with kindness and compassion.

2. Dare to say what must be said (diplomatically and tactfully) without condemning others. Back up your point with evidence.

3. Let down your guard.  If you feel that demonstrating an idea in a goofy or frenzied way, do it to dramatize your point.  People will get a kick out of it and your message will be the one that people remember.

5. Look beyond the surface when interacting with others.  See the humanity and realness of your co-workers.  What unique qualities about them were behind a job well done? Recognize their attributes and tell them what you admire about them.

6. Protect yourself.  Don’t go out of your way to feel vulnerable by sharing too much. Rather, give people a a sense of how you feel and what you think by daring not to hide.  It builds trust.

7. Think of yourself as a leader who is transparent.  It’s the key to shedding ‘the persona’ on behalf of the person you are. It creates safety and support for others to follow; it breaks apart the veneer.

By taking this concept under consideration, you will feel a new sense of power and freedom in being authentic.  It can activate your creativity, you can have more fun at work, and might even find yourself purring once in awhile…

Personally 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.

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.

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.

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.

The Good News about Being a Square Peg in a Round Hole

In anger management, arguments, assertiveness, being different at work, breakdown in communication, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, career challenges, career-related problems, Catalyst, communication skills, communications between generations, coping with pressure at work, corporate life, David Rock, diplomacy and tact, empowerment, entrepreneurs, get out of your own way, gossiping, Gurus, human relations, interpersonal skills, lack of relatedness, leadership, life skills, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, NeuroLeadership Group, office politics, ostracized, outcast, person to person dynamics, personal development, personal growth, personal power, personality, professional behavior, professional boundaries, professional development, Professional Reputation, Reputation, self-esteem, self-help, self-image, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, Square Peg Round Hole, team-player, transformation, women in the workplace, work-related problems, working with a younger boss on March 6, 2015 at 4:55 pm

You’re 25, 35, 45, 55, 65.  Your work is excellent regardless of your position. You are skilled, qualified, effective.  You’re making positive impact towards the bottom line for your employer.  You’re not perfect, but you’re fundamentally a nice, kind, quality human being.  Yet, somehow people judge you, misunderstand your intentions, or simply don’t like or trust you:  there’s a look in their eyes as if you have two heads and your skin is blue.  They blame you for the way you say or do things.  They are intolerant of your being different from them.

You feel like the oddball and cannot blend in with the group.  This is a known stress-inducing thing, in fact, David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute calls this a ‘lack of relatedness’ that professionals feel.  It causes a threat reaction in the brain, which can fuel the problem and lead to behaviors that further separate us from the group mentality (i.e., withdrawing, arguing, appeasing others, etc…).

I am a square peg.  My entire career, no matter what employer, I am plagued with being so different as to stir the pot, having experienced a host of things from being bullied, to being ostracized, being fired, being gossiped about, you name it.  However, I am so efficient and good at my job that this is never the issue that surfaces.  No one ever blamed me for being incompetent.  I’m just not like the others.

I’ve come to take responsibility for this and see myself as a catalyst.  I am a lightening rod.  I ignite a riot.  I have a strong, assertive energy that makes some people very uncomfortable.  I am honest and direct.  I am confident.  I have a way of working that gets results but is not the norm.  It rattles people who follow the rules and blend in. Now, none of this disqualifies me from having to practice all of my beloved techniques in human relations, communication, leadership and holding myself accountable when I do wrong, but it is a quality that I cannot change because it’s so fundamental to my presence and my spirit.  And I endure because there are people who see my value and embrace my differences.

Does this sound like you, dear friend?  If so, start thinking of yourself as a catalyst that wakes people up.  From a much higher perspective, you and your big energy are mirrors for others to have their own limits kicked-up, and when they are mature enough to take accountability for that, they get to change for the better. (And sometimes they pursue professional development coaches when they do! :)) And if they don’t they don’t – it’s a conscious choice to wake-up or not.  Just know they will always play the role as your Guru, reminding you to be okay with being different. Until then, sadly, you get to be blamed for their discomfort.  Know that some of the time you possess qualities that make them want to push you away, only because they cannot be like you.  How about them apples!

In fact, entrepreneurs are frequently people who are so tired of not being a fit, they leap off to be their own bosses, create their own gigs and work in more autonomous scenarios.  I am one of these, yet always mindful that clients can draw the square peg out of me and I have to be mindful that I am hired to be of service and to get along.

Do not fret, square one.  Round holes are good for your soul.  They help to refine and develop you in a way that allows you to get on with your life; get along in the world even when it’s awkward.  It becomes a life-long workout of blending in to make your life work.  It gives you the objectivity to choose how to behave so that you are being your best.  Good news is that round holes can never demand you to fundamentally change.  You are like the horse that is given water but cannot be made to drink it. Enjoy your power.

Squarely 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.