Posts Tagged ‘Building Bonds’

A lesson in emotional intelligence–from the critters

Article contributed by Amy Sargent.

I built a little pond on my plot at my community garden last year. I’ve put a lot of loving work into it, gathering and arranging rocks, purchasing a bubbling solar fountain, and nudging plants to life around its perimeter. I collected cattails from a nearby stream and replanted them along with a few lily pads and other water plants. One of my neighbors even put fish in it which we both feed.

So you can imagine my frustration arriving every day to discover the rocks have been thrown in, plants are torn up and knocked over, and the pump is disassembled in pieces at the bottom of the pond. The foam pump float has been ripped apart, full of tiny fingernail imprints. Grrr! Who would do this?!

My garden neighbors have a wild child whom I caught several times last year playing in my pond, throwing rocks, trampling plants, etc. The parents would yell at him to get out but he paid them no mind. So my assumption–of course–was to blame this hellion for the daily destruction. I know it’s a small thing in the big scheme of life, but I found myself getting really cranky that these parents would not discipline their child enough to keep him out of other people’s stuff! All the ‘facts’ matched up: he is an unruly kid and needs to stop.

Just when I had developed a real attitude about the poor little kid (and his parents), I read an article about the damage that raccoons can do to a garden pond. Raccoons! And as I started looking a little closer at all the signs, I see now that it is obviously one of these masked critters who is the culprit and not the little boy! Especially because the parents assured me (yes, I spoke with them) they haven’t even brought him to the garden this summer! Here I spent a few stressful weeks dissing on these parents and the kid, in my mind, and even talked to the garden manager about it, in my ‘kindhearted righteousness’. So imagine my chagrin at the realization.

Which got me thinking…

Sometimes we make negative judgments of people when we really don’t have all the facts. We think we do. But we don’t. We create a story in our mind based upon our views and outlooks and determine it is the truth…when it’s just not. It’s easy to do. And it’s hurtful. And wrong. And it’s a good way to ruin relationships and assure our hearts will become bitter.

Have anyone you’re judging today based upon YOUR set of facts? Someone you KNOW is in the wrong, and has bad intentions…so you think. What if…what if you’re wrong? What if there’s a different perspective, some whys you might not be aware of, some facts you haven’t noticed, which are missing from the narrative you’ve so carefully crafted? I’d like to encourage you to learn from my mistake…and let’s all take a lesson from the critters. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. Quit pointing the finger. Accept that maybe your own closed mindedness may be the real ‘bad guy.’

I’ve got some apologizing to do.

Then I’m going to forgive myself.

Then I’m going to go water that garden.

Is your communication obsolete?

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” –Robert Frost

Article contributed by Amy Sargent.

Do you know your communication style?

The DISC assessment, based upon the theory of psychologist William Marston, and developed into a behavioral management tool by Walter Clarke, measures our style of relating to others, which directly effects how we communicate.  Of the four styles, which do you lean toward as you communicate with others?

1-DOMINANCE.  These communicators provide direct answers and tend to be brief, and to the point.  They ask “what” questions instead of “why” or “how” and stress logical benefits using factual information. They can tend to be blunt and demanding at times, and may seem to lack empathy or basic social skills. You won’t find these folks spending too much time with chit chat.

2-INFLUENCE. Those who communicate with this interactive style are relaxed and sociable, and enjoy verbalizing their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.  They enjoy social activities and will bore quickly if you dive into the details. Their communication is inclusive and motivational.  They like the limelight, and will quickly shut down if others attempt to persuade or influence them.

3-STEADINESS. Those who communicate in this style are agreeable, cooperative, and value knowing their individual role within a team setting.  They show appreciation with their words and focus on the “how” and “why”.  They tend to enjoy sincerity and a friendly, approachable manner of speaking. They may have difficulty prioritizing their ideas as they can be people-pleasers, but respond well to clearly defined goals and objectives, and thrive when assured follow-up and support.

4-COMPLIANCE. These communicators value accuracy and like to skip the socializing piece. They thrive on the specifics: precise expectations and uniform standards.  They’ll provide you with the straight-up pros and cons, support their ideas with accurate data, and communicate in a systematic and focused manner. They may resist vague or general information and you may find them double-checking everything you say or do.

Knowing yourself and your inclinations are a good first step in improving your communication. And understanding the communication style of others can help you better work as a team player and support them in becoming their best self as you learn to communicate in a way that enables their natural tendencies. But though each of these four styles can be effective, they also can become obsolete — depending on your behaviors.

The question to ask is not which style do I utilize, but “How well does my style enable me to listen deeply and send clear, convincing messages to those I’m communicating with?”

Here are some indicators that your way of communicating may need some updating:

  • You talk more than you listen in conversations with colleagues or loved ones
  • You fail to hear what others say, even though you thought you were listening
  • You catch yourself interrupting often
  • You don’t connect well with others and struggle to establish rapport
  • You judge the ‘why’ behind what others say before finding out their true motivations
  • You rarely ask for others’ opinions or insights
  • You fail to make eye contact or give non-verbal feedback when someone else is talking
  • Threats and emotional outbursts are a mainstay of communicating for you
  • You sometimes lack tact and diplomacy
  • You can come across dogmatic when expressing your own ideas
  • You refuse to let others change your opinion — even if you realize they may be right
  • You ask very few questions in conversations

No matter your style of relating and communicating with others, these negative attributes are behaviors — and behaviors can be changed.

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” — Brian Tracy

If you find you’re at a place where your way of communicating needs some updating, try some of these on for size:

  • Learn what an open-ended question is, and start using them in every conversation
  • Become a good listener. Make eye contact, tune in to what is being said, and ask questions for clarification.
  • Stop thinking about what you’re going to say next so you can focus on the person who is talking
  • Use positive body language like smiling, uncrossed arms, and nodding where appropriate to welcome others’ ideas and input
  • Hold back your judgments if you don’t agree and seek to understand the why behind what they are saying
  • Practice speaking your words with clear enunciation and well-thought-out ideas if needed to ensure accurate delivery
  • Express gratitude and appreciation often; validate what the other person is saying
  • Match your emotions to the situation  and refrain from outbursts of negative expressions of feelings
  • Be patient when others speak and give them the time they need to express their thoughts.  Try not to finish their sentences or sum up their words before they are done speaking.
  • Fill in the blank: What is one additional behavior you can try this week to improve your communication skills?  ___________________________________________

Now get out there and practice, practice, practice!

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” –Jim Rohn

 

 

 

 

He’s a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

grinch

Article Contributed by Amy Sargent

It is the common assumption that the problem with the Grinch is that he was stingy. We’ve coined the phrase “he’s being a grinch” to refer to someone who doesn’t have the “holiday spirit”:  withholding presents, not decorating the house, refusing to join in the holiday festivities. But there’s an even deeper issue that resided in the small, shriveled up heart of the Grinch, one that many of us struggle with as well:  he didn’t know how to build bonds.

Building bonds is a competency of emotional intelligence and is vital in the workplace. It’s the ability to nurture and cultivate relationships in a way that surpasses the superficial and allows us to connect with others on a deep level. Those who build bonds make and maintain personal friendships among work associates, are able to appreciate the individual differences in perspective and background of their team members, and can rally the troops when needed. Those without it struggle with earning the respect of those around them because of a lack of trust.

Ask yourself these questions to discover whether you are grinch-link or not in the competency of building bonds:

  • Do I easily sever relationships when the going gets rough?
  • Do I have a limited number of teammates I can turn to when I need help?
  • Do I believe that being liked at work is overrated?
  • Do I feel that being friends with people I work with is not professional?
  • Do I compete with more often than I collaborate with my peers?

If you answer yes to any of the questions above, you may want to consider doing some work to begin to improve your ability to build bonds with others. Completing an emotional intelligence assessment and/or working with a coach can be helpful. But there are small steps you can begin taking, today even. Greet your coworkers with a “good morning” on your way to your office or cubicle. Keep your office door open when possible. Suggest meeting with coworkers informally (coffee, breakfast, lunch) on a regular basis, to learn more about them. Offer to help colleagues out when they seem overloaded. Be sure to focus on the people around you as much as the tasks at hand. Attend company parties. Remember co-worker’s birthdays. Engage in community activities and/or sign up to attend professional conferences to connect with others in your industry.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you”.  — Dale Carnegie

These are just a few steps you can take to begin to improve your ability to build bonds. If this has been a struggle for you, for a while, it may some time before your coworkers are asking you to carve the roast beast. But continued efforts in this area will bring about closer, more connected relationships in the long run.

Avoiding Career Derailment with Improved Social & Emotional Intelligence

A recent Right Management survey about leaders and the competencies that most impact their success reveals the importance of developing social + emotional intelligence for individuals throughout the organization, and especially at the top.

The survey results indicate that the number one factor contributing to the failure of senior leaders is the inability to build relationships and a team environment. In fact, 40.2% of leadership turnover was attributed to this one derailer.

This is significant.

It is also preventable.

Increasing an individual’s social + emotional intelligence in the competency areas of building bonds, building trust, and teamwork/collaboration goes a long way to ensuring the organization’s investment in talent pays real, measurable dividends by averting unnecessary leadership turnover and growing employee engagement and commitment.

HR professionals who add social + emotional intelligence training as a key component of their leadership on-boarding and continuing development program create a competitive advantage for their organization and contribute to business transformation in their industry.

Need some proof? Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceutical Company increased the organization’s emotional intelligence by 18% and saw a 600% ROI (Cherniss, 2003). PepsiCo began initiating emotional intelligence training in the 1990s and has seen over a 1000% ROI, decreasing executive turnover by 87% (McClelland, 1998). And Andrea Jung, Chair & CEO of Avon says, “Emotional Intelligence is in our DNA here at Avon because relationships are critical at every stage of our business.”

Each of these organizations saw the value of developing social + emotional intelligence competencies in their leaders and made the commitment to transform their organizations and produce unprecedented results.

If you are interested in bringing social + emotional intelligence assessment, training and coaching into your organization, contact any of our Social + Emotional Intelligence Certified Coaches at the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence. We can be reached at Hello@The-ISEI.com or go to our website www.The-ISEI.com to learn more.

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