Taking a moment to identify individual and group needs and then deliberately making the effort to address those needs will greatly enhance your leadership and the effectiveness of your team.
Posts by John Stoker:
A while back I wrote an article detailing ideas for connecting with various generations. As Generation Z is now starting to enter the workforce, I thought it was important to provide some tips for interacting with them as well. Last summer, my two Zs came home from college, and I experienced them in a different way.
Studies show that it takes five positive acts to counterbalance one negative. Knowing how to receive critical feedback is an art well worth learning, particularly if you want to be able to improve and continue to receive the kind of information that will help you grow and develop. Here are ten tips for making the feedback you receive work for you.
I recently spoke at a multi-day educational conference on different aspects of emotional intelligence. At the end of each presentation, people came up asking for some advice or coaching in situations where people are bullied. Some people asked, “What can I do if I am being bullied?” Others asked, “What can I do if I see others being bullied?” It appeared as if these people were overwhelmed and suffocating in the emotions that accompanied their experience. Listening to people’s experiences prompted a fair amount of introspection and a desire to address the issue of bullying whenever it occurs.
After a recent presentation, someone approached me and asked, “I noticed that when you share your learning with us, you often give us things to do rather than telling us what not to do. Why do you do that?” I responded by stating that when someone tells you what not to do, your brain focuses on that, often leading you to do what you are told specifically not to do. For example, if you were teaching someone to ski, you would not tell them, “If you lose control, don’t look at the trees!” Making this statement would lead people to look at the trees. Rather you would say, “If you lose control, remember to look down the hill in the direction you want to go.”
I was recently visiting with a friend who just so happens to be a vice president within her company. I could tell that she was frustrated so I asked her about it. She told me that she was frustrated because of something that had happened in an important meeting. She indicated that one of her colleagues had spent most of their meeting complaining about having to fire one of his key people. When she asked why he had to terminate the individual, he indicated that his employee was not meeting his expectations. When she asked him if he had given this individual that feedback, he stated, “No. I hate doing that kind of thing, but now I have to get rid of him anyway, which is even harder.” She was troubled by not only his lack of candor, but also of his unwillingness to manage his own expectations.
These questions are usually asked out of frustration, and they will not help you get the answers you seek. Such questions tend to be disrespectful and demeaning, especially as they are usually accompanied by a negative tone and motivation. Unfortunately, all of us have likely either asked or been asked these types of questions.
For 13 summers, I worked in the Grand Canyon as a whitewater guide to pay for my college education. Running the river was the highlight of my young life to that point in time. I loved the beauty of the canyon and river, as well as the excitement and changing nature of our experiences. In order to keep my passengers and me safe, I learned very quickly to be focused not only on what was happening right then, but to look ahead, have a plan, consider what could happen, and have a plan for managing those contingencies.
Part of the problem with not being able to listen between the lines arises from our perception of what the person is saying or what they want. People tend to make assumptions based on their own experiences, current emotions, and state of mind. Unfortunately, these assumptions often tend to be incorrect. Recognizing the inaccuracy of our assumptions and challenging them by asking questions will greatly clarify what we are hearing and help to avoid misunderstandings.
It seems like everybody has a different way they prefer to communicate be it via text, email, Facebook, or face-to-face. This challenge is not uncommon for many of us that work with or live with people from a variety of different generations.