I wonder how many words have actually been written about communication. Suffice it to say, there have been a great many. I suppose it is because we haven’t cracked it yet; this ability to convey messages so that what we say is heard in the way we mean it, and conversely, what we hear is received in the way it was meant. Indeed, the road to clarity always seems to be under construction.
Even if we try to simplify our communication processes, barriers come up that can sabotage the message and render it ineffective by the time it gets to those who must act on it. There are a lot of reasons for this. Here are four that come to mind:
There are many factors that make up what we refer to as “culture” but to me, cultural difference is about attitudes and beliefs that come from our personal environment and experience. As such, two people could get the same message but interpret it in two entirely different ways simply because their frames of reference and language differ.
Small things that tell you a lot about someone.
In this article, we will talk about how to recognize subtly toxic people.
No one wants to waste time and energy around people who consistently behave in unhealthy ways and add negativity to our lives. Yet, many of us sometimes get stuck in toxic relationships that have a negative impact on our mental health and even on our self-confidence.
The problem is some people may seem friendly, charming, respectful, and even emotionally mature, when we don’t know them enough. Some of their behaviors may seem inoffensive at first, while the reality is they are not, and they can actually damage relationships in the long-term. This is why it’s essential to learn to recognize these unhealthy habits.
What follows are four behaviors of subtly toxic people:
You have a goal, but are worried you will not achieve it. So many issues are popping up that need dealing with, obstacles and other unexpected ‘stuff’ keeps interfering with your daily plan and / or overall daily structure. Stress kicks in, which means focusing is harder and so less is achieved … sound familiar?
All of these thoughts and mind chatter do not have to result in your getting off track or losing sight of your goal. The trick is to take charge of your thinking and push the ‘reset’ button. By this I mean, ‘reset’ the moment, not the direction you are heading or the goal you intend to achieve.
Resetting the moment means handling whatever is causing you stress. Stress is an emotional issue and will not vanish with the flick of a switch in your brain. Unless, of course, you already....
Change is not easy, nor simple. If you have been told you should change, but are not really convinced that this is true, you are more likely to fail at completing the process. Personally, I recognize the process to be complete when I no longer remember ‘what I was like before.’ Someone still in denial about the need to change will not get very far.
Chances are there will always be excuses in the form of: I do not have the time for this right now, I am busy, I already know how to…, it is not my fault, you do not understand, ‘a leopard cannot change its spots,’ I am too old, etc.
Change can only really happen if you are ready to take action.
Research shows that 90% of the strategies designed for change assume people are ready to take action. In reality, only 20% of the people already involved in some process of change are actually ready to take action. This helps explain why so many attempts to keep New Year's resolutions, lose weight, change behaviours, etc, are doomed to failure.
It is most helpful and supportive and will increase your chances of successfully completing a
Feel like constant meetings are hanging you up? Set a regular meeting with yourself.
Meetings and more meetings. Just as you finish one call, you are dialing into the next one. Need to go for toilet break? Forget it -- there’s another meeting. This meeting situation was already insane before the pandemic, and it it has only gotten worse now with so many people working from home.
There are dozens of articles about how to spend less time in meetings, how to reject meetings without looking bad, about 2/3 of our life being spent in meetings. All these articles trying to help us save ourselves. Yet many of us keep falling into the meeting trap. I have yet to find the magic formula for myself, however I do believe I am becoming more aware about how I am actually spending my time versus how I want to spend my time.
Miscommunication and mistrust are common when work is over email, text, and video. We need digital body language to foster understanding.
As the youngest child in an immigrant Indian family, I picked up basic English grammar fairly easily. But while English may have felt natural, I still lacked a lot of the contextual cues that came naturally to my American-born peers.
I remember once inviting a school friend to join my family for dinner at a local restaurant. At one point, my friend whispered to me that the waiters thought our party was “rude.” It wasn’t what anyone said; it was our tone and our cadence. You see, in Indian English, when people ask for something, they often use an intonation with a falling cadence so it comes off sounding like a statement rather than a question. Most Americans are accustomed to requests that end in a rising cadence. At that moment, I knew exactly what my friend meant: Without realizing it, everyone in my family sounded like we were ordering around the staff.
Photo credit: Pexel
Why you don’t learn from failure
How many times have you heard that failure is a “teachable moment?” That you learn more from failure than success? In a 2017 commencement speech, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts actually wished the graduating class “bad luck,” so they’d have something to learn from.
Yet my colleague Ayelet Fishbach and I find that failure has the opposite effect: It thwarts learning. In a recent study, we presented over 300 telemarketers with a quiz. The telemarketers answered 10 questions on customer service, each with two possible responses (i.e., “How many dollars do U.S. companies spend on customer service each year?” The answer choices: 60 billion or 90 billion).
Some considerations about your remote working environment by Paolo Cuomo.
Just over 9,000 days ago I entered 37 Fitzroy Square, London and sat at an office desk for the first time. 380 days ago I entered the iconic Cheesegrater building and sat at an office desk for the last time. I hope it won’t be the very last, but it’s clear I won’t be back until mid-2021 at the soonest. Ignoring a project I did many years ago with night-shift supermarket workers, this is the longest by far I’ve not worked in an office.
When the UK and much of the rest of the world went into “lockdown” back in March/April 2020, it all seemed rather temporary. Of the many millions conducting our work interactions via email and Zoom, most took a short-term approach to our workspace — sometimes through limited choice, sometimes through natural inertia. Sure, a new mouse or a monitor, but still just stuck in the same corner or on the dining room table.
As the work from home extended, we entered the summer months with the siren song of working outside or, as in my case, spending large parts of the day on calls while walking. Thus no real reason to adjust.
Now here we are a year later.
Supporting employees who initially come across as timid can help these people feel comfortable at work and deliver great results for the company.
Experienced managers will have overseen teams comprising all sorts of characters and personality types, from the boldest extroverts to the quietest introverts.
Commonly accepted ideas in the world of work, and society as a whole, suggest the people who speak loudest and take control of social situations are the most capable and able to deliver results.
But that isn’t necessarily true. Natural introverts often have many qualities that can prove particularly valuable for businesses, so there’s a lot to be gained from supporting employees who initially come across as shy and timid.
Here are some of the ways you can do that...
One of the hardest jobs a leader has is giving corrective feedback to someone whose behavior is difficult, aka "the difficult employee." This person's behavior is adversely affecting the team, not just you. You've tried all the soft approaches like ignoring the behavior, making a joke about it, dropping hints -- and still he persists.
Finally the time has come to deal with this head on. You need to give him straight feedback. Most people would rather scratch their fingernails down a chalkboard than do that, but, hey, you are the leader, so it's your job. You bravely say yes, but wonder privately if, by talking to him straight, you're going to make things even worse.
What if you could give this feedback to him in a way that would solve the problem and even enhance your working relationship with him? What if he would actually thank you at the end of the conversation, grateful that you cared enough to talk to him about it? This is possible!
Here are 5 steps to follow in order to to make the biggest difference possible. You might consider experimenting with these steps also when the stakes are lower, BEFORE an employee get labeled as "difficult."
1. Prepare for the conversation ahead of time.
Just as life is constantly changing, the brain is constantly changing. It is through repetition that thinking patterns and consequently behaviour patterns, can be shifted, tweaked, changed or completely replaced with more positive empowering ones. Through repetition the brain rewires itself.
Science has proven the brain can rewire itself. This is fantastic news especially for anybody wishing to improve the quality of their life and engaging the support of a coach for this 'change' process. Making, and more importantly sustaining, any changes in thinking or in behaviour patterns, would be very difficult, if not impossible, without this scientific truth. Knowing this offers coaching clients not only motivation but also confidence to continue on the path to 'change', which sometimes can be a difficult one.
If an employee is missing targets, blowing deadlines, or handing in shoddy work, it can be tempting to push off any conversation about it and hope that things get better on their own. But you’re not just doing yourself and your company a disservice by staying quiet. An employee who’s falling short deserves to know it so that they have the opportunity to self-correct before things get too dire. And having to fire someone is even more uncomfortable than stepping in earlier.
Delivering the news effectively, though, is a delicate art. “It’s important to remember that this person has emotions and feelings attached to the information they’re receiving,” says industrial-organizational psychologist Amy Cooper Hakim, author of Working with Difficult People and founder of the Cooper Strategic Group.
As a rough guideline, just follow the golden rule: “Handle this conversation the way you’d want it to be handled if you were on the other side,” says Justin Dauer, author of Cultivating a Creative Culture and executive at the technology company bswift. “As long as the dialogue is less oration-based and more collaboration-based, there are a lot of positives that could come out of it.” Here’s how to pull it off.
People are inundated with information, and their brains have reached a saturation point. If you want to get someone's attention, you must be brief, according to Joe McCormack, who spoke at IdeaFestival 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.
There are three tendencies that keep most people from being brief:
There are no quick fixes for work-related stress, but taking a day to recharge can be powerful for our mental well-being.
At Thrive, for example, we offer Thrive Time: a half or whole day off to recover from a spurt of intense work, which doesn’t count toward vacation, sick time, or other paid time off. Thrive Time is meant to recharge us, so we can return re-energized and feeling creative and productive again. Whether your company offers a similar policy or more general paid time off, if we’re not mindful, a day off can slip by, and instead of feeling refreshed when we return to work, we feel regret for how we spent our time away.
To make the most of a day off, consider these three tips:
Last week, a client asked me, “How can I delegate more effectively?” It made sense that she wanted to dig deeper into this. Delegation is a superpower for leaders — it’s one of the most powerful ways to scale yourself and your impact. I strongly believe: great leaders delegate better than average leaders.
Part of this is causality, though. If you don’t delegate, you’re probably going to burn yourself out as an average leader and never finish the journey to becoming a great leader.
In some ways, delegation was always one of my strengths. But it was also something I leaned into too much once in a while. I was quick to pass on responsibilities and give others opportunities, but it was sometimes a scattershot approach. And it didn’t always come with the clear guidelines and support that makes delegation effective.
So, where is the balance? How can we unlock this deep well of efficiency and effectiveness? Like most leadership topics, it begins with the leader.
1. Address Your Own Control Issues
by Leah Njoki
Ever been asked to say a few things about yourself? Perhaps you said you’re a good communicator, attentive to details, or a team player. The point being, we all define ourselves in a certain way.
Here’s the paradox, though; It’s not what you say that is an accurate representation of who you are, but rather what you show yourself to be. That’s how people judge you. They respond to the image you project. As such, it’s critical to focus on what you do rather than what you say.
If you want to sell yourself to the world in an authentic way, focus on these four really small things because they say a lot about you. This way, you’re guaranteed to make a lasting impression and command respect from people.
1. How you keep time
By Nicole Loher at Her Agenda
Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash
Between the upcoming election, a second possible COVID-19 lockdown in the US, a shifting job market, and much more, there’s a lot to distract us from our goals.
In a recent survey, 61.1% of participants that worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic cited social media as the greatest source of distraction from work. On the other hand, 53.7% admitted that their smartphone has affected their productivity during the lockdown.
According to Daniel Goleman, author of Focus: The Hidden Power of Excellence, distractions come in two forms: sensory and emotional distractions. Sensory distractions are external, or the things happening around you, and emotional distractions are internal and often a symptom of mental distraction or your inner dialogue.
Try these five science-backed ways to help maintain focus:
By Susan Begeman Steiner
Diane was new to the job and was having a problem with a co-worker named Matt. The team that Diane was leading needed Matt’s expertise for their health-care project, but he didn't show up for team meetings. He would miss one team meeting after another, always for seemingly good reasons. Diane heard from others on the team that Matt was arrogant, anti-social and notoriously difficult to work with. Diane and her boss met with Matt and talked to him directly about the advantages of his participating on the team, but nothing changed.
By Marina Khidekel, Head of Content Development at Thrive Global
Photo by EIELEI on Unsplash
A recent study found that people who laugh (or even smile) frequently are less stressed in the face of anxiety-inducing events, and even show fewer physical and emotional stress symptoms than those who laugh less often.
Researchers are finding that laughter can act as a buffer for feelings of stress and overwhelm — and in particularly challenging times, leaning into moments of levity, joy, and silliness can boost our mental health and help us deal with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.We asked our Thrive community to share one thing that’s making them laugh during this challenging time. Which of these is bringing a smile to your face right now?
By Karen Bridbord, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist and Organizational Consultant
When I wrote about the inflection of workplace culture back in May, I was expecting the pandemic to be a distant memory by now. Remember when we all thought it was going to last three weeks? Yet today, six months into the most significant global health crisis of our lifetime, we find ourselves still grappling with uncertainty.
Instead of creating new rituals to uplift and ground us as we find ourselves, as I recommended in the beginning of the pandemic, we now must find a way to sustain ourselves. We’re collectively exhausted. This pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to act accordingly. This includes adjusting our company values and how they’re operationalized in our organizational cultures.
By Justin Black, Head of People Science, Glint Platform at LinkedIn
For organizations around the world, the past several months have brought a wave of unknowns. How do we set up our workforce to be successful in a fully remote setting? How do we make sure they’re safe, supported, and informed as things rapidly change? When will we return to the office and what will the impact be on our employees?
The ambiguity is compounded by COVID-19’s novelty — no real playbook exists to help organizations respond and recover from a modern pandemic. CEOs and HR leaders have looked to health and safety officials, peers, and industry experts to help guide their plans.
By Tim Davis
Photo by Cherrydeck on Unsplash
March 11, 2020 is a day destined for the history books: “WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak a Pandemic.” It was that day that, all around the world, leaders began scrambling, ripping through the pages of their crisis playbooks (or quickly creating them), searching for their pandemic play-by-play. Shortly after came the day the markets crashed on March 16, turning the crisis to both a health and economic calamity.
Though etched in our minds with great infamy, it’s days like these that I believe make true leaders. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t be the leaders we remember if it weren’t for the fiery trials that forged their legacies. This is true not only for politicians and activists, but also for business leaders. As president of The UPS Store, a business deemed essential throughout the pandemic, I’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t) when leading through a crisis, and how leaders can turn even a global pandemic into an opportunity.
Deep Patel - ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK VIP, Serial Entrepreneur
Self-sabotage occurs when your logical, conscious mind (the side of you that says you need to eat healthily and save money) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the side of you that stress-eats chocolate and goes on online shopping binges). The latter is your anti-self -- that critical inner voice that seems to hold you back and sabotage your efforts.
Self-sabotage involves behaviors or thoughts that keep you away from what you desire most in life. It’s that internal sentiment gnawing at us, saying “you can’t do this.”
This is really your subconscious trying to protect you, prevent pain and deal with deep-seated fear. But the result of self-sabotage is that we hesitate instead of seizing new challenges. We forgo our dreams and goals. In the end, we know we missed out, but we don’t understand why.
So what can we do to stop the self-limiting behaviors? Here are eight steps you can start taking immediately to stop self-sabotaging your success.
An article by Tony Schwartz
The last several months have been, in many ways, the richest, most exciting and most creative period of my life. Still, as I prepare to take off most of the month of August, I’m feeling edgy, worn out and a bit overwhelmed.
I’m sputtering to the finish line, running near empty.
“How often should you vacation?” I was asked after a talk I gave this week. It dawned on me that I’d let my own balance tip. My to do list had runneth over. I have not taken off more than two full days in a row for six months.
The consequence is that I feel not just tired, but less able to think clearly and creatively, more at the mercy of my emotions.
By Marcel Schwantes
In 2016, the World Economic Forum released its fascinating Future of Jobs Report, where they asked chief human resources officers from global companies what they saw as the top 10 job skills required for workers to thrive by 2020.
One skill projected for success in 2020 that didn’t even crack the top 10 list in 2015 was — you guessed it — emotional intelligence.
According to many experts in the field, emotional intelligence has become an important predictor of job success for nearly two decades, even surpassing technical ability.
In one noteworthy CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals, it was found that “fifty-nine percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low [emotional intelligence].”
In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said they’re more likely to promote someone with high emotional intelligence over someone with high IQ.
Companies are placing a high value on workers with emotional intelligence for several reasons. In my own studies and observations over the years as a leadership coach, here are six that really stand out....
Self-Help Book / Personal Development