Word-Of-the-Week #885: Explain

July 22, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Explain to offer reasons for the actions, beliefs, or remarks of (oneself). 

Are you clear about what your core value and beliefs are? Do you feel you have to justify yourself? Or do you have a strong need to be accepted and “fit in?”

Once again, Steve Straus, author of STEVE’S 3-MINUTE COACHING, sent a very thought provoking piece.

Principle: Explain 

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.)

“Life is too short to have to explain yourself.

Explaining, justifying, working to be understood, trying to be being accepted, these and other activities are a waste of your time. Thinking that you need to do them is the result of conditioning which has programmed you to play the game that way. 

Instead, consider a different approach.

Who are you, really? What are your core values and beliefs? Are you clear enough to let them be shown? Or do you need to hide them so you can ‘fit in’? 

What is your life, your journey about? Do you know what you want to have happen? Where you’re heading? And why? 

Do you live in integrity (the Coaching definition)? It’s when what you think and feel and say and do are the same. All parts of you are in alignment. 

The person – and they exist in the world in legion numbers – who has paid attention to the above points, and handled them, radiates a clear energy and message. They are who and what they are. 

They don’t have to explain themselves. 

Coaching Point: Been feeling the need to explain yourself lately?

See all past issues and subscribe here Steve’s 3-Minute Coaching

Copyright © 2021 Steve Straus, All rights reserved.

This week’s focus is to not have to explain yourself. Do you live in integrity? Do you radiate a clear energy and message? Are you comfortable being who and what you are?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #884: Emotions

July 15, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Emotions – strong feelings. 

Do you work with/for people who are genuinely concerned about your feelings? How aware are you of their feelings?

This week features another timely Neil Senturia article, “When someone at work is having a bad day, do you care enough to ask why?”

“How you doing”? The verb “are” is missing because this is how the meat butcher in Brooklyn talks to his customers when they come in the door. Linguistic accuracy is irrelevant here. What is critical and significant is that he cares enough to ask. It is the importance of “emotional acknowledgment.”

Alisa Yu, Stanford PhD candidate, has written a paper exploring this issue and her conclusion is that “it is a powerful technique which leaders can use to build trust with their employees.” Seems obvious to me, but when Stanford checks the box, I feel validated.

The power comes from the simple act of listening to the emotions of your employees and listening includes looking. When Nicole, my assistant of 29 years, is unhappy, I can see it. Then I say to her, “You seem unhappy, is there anything I can do?” She will deny feeling unhappy (she does not want to ever appear weak), but just the act of my acknowledgment is a soothing behavior. It is an unspoken dance we have. Twenty-nine years, let’s just call it compatible neuroses.

It is important here to note that even though you may notice someone’s feelings, that does not mean that they are in the mood to deal with them. You can’t turn responses on and off like a faucet, but often it is enough to simply indicate your awareness.

Nota bene: Your awareness must be presented in an authentic manner. It cannot be delivered on your way to lunch. When a leader is genuine in expressing concern for the employee, good and powerful things can result.

Yu says, “The worst thing leaders can do when employees are feeling bad is to do nothing.” I have a client on the management team of a big company, and he feels dismissed and unappreciated by the CEO. I suggest that he confront the CEO and share his “feelings.” My client rejects that idea, saying it would get him fired. I do not share that point of view, but if telling the CEO about feelings is cause for termination, then he should quit anyway.

I have another client who was promised “an ownership interest” after four years. It seems the CEO has terminal memory loss, and my client is at a crossroads. He decides to go out on his own, and he quits. The CEO is astounded and angry, “How could you leave me like this?” But the key to the puzzle is simple. The CEO has been tone-deaf emotionally for the past two years, so what does he expect?

Yu says, “When you acknowledge emotions, you humanize and validate the person being acknowledged.”

The key for the leader is to learn how to recognize emotions correctly. They are often subtle and nuanced, and you need to work at seeing the body language as well as the words that signal discomfort. The fact that you are aware and share that awareness does not obligate you to personally solve the problem. But it is meaningful to simply tell the other person that you are involved and engaged in their larger human world, beyond just the work they do.

On a personal note, I was recently “treated shabbily” financially by an old friend. My nature is to not let things fester, and I called him on it. He did not change his point of view, but I felt terrific that I had at least expressed my feelings. You need to remember that there are always two sides to emotional acknowledgment, and you can only be responsible for one of the sides.

One of my techniques for the exploration of feelings is to “act out” both sides of the dialogue. Like a tennis game between you and the other person, I try out some of the dreaded words — “I would like to discuss my role in this project” — and then pretend to be the other person and then what they might say, back and forth, with different sentences and points of view. I literally stand up and perform the entire interaction, each time with a different set of “if-then” possible answers. The result of this improvisation is that it makes the demons less fearsome and the possible paths to an understanding or at least detente, more likely.

Rule No. 671: How you feelin’?

This week’s focus is on dealing with emotions. How comfortable are you in expressing your feelings? Do you feel that leadership is genuine in expressing their concern for you? Do you trust that they have your best interest at heart?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

 

Word-Of-the-Week #883: Enhance

July 8, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Enhance – to raise to a higher degree. 

How strong are your communication skills, both oral and written? How comfortable are you at making presentations? Could you be a better listener?

This is the follow up to last week’s LA Times article written by Career Coach Joyce E.A. Russell, Communication skills a must–have.”

To recap: “You have to be clear and concise and get to the point quickly or you will lose your audience. When speaking, you have to have a good strong voice and moderate your voice tone to keep listeners’ attention. Practice with friends and listen to their feedback if they tell you that your oral communication skills need work. Have them listen to you on the phone or Skype to let you know how clearly you come across because these are often tools used for hiring.”

The article continues by saying, “Writing skills are also important. Too often, students lack writing skills or are not given help to improve. They get feedback on the content of their papers, but not on the actual writing itself. Very few people get training on how to compose and respond to emails, and it’s clear that the messages are teeming with problems (such as using all caps, ignoring proper grammar and spelling, and lack of professionalism).

 

If you find out you need to enhance your communication skills, get the help you need right away. Take a course to correct your writing skills and join Toastmaster or Dale Carnegie clubs to improve your speaking. Or try taking an improve class.

If you are already employed, see if your company offers some training in these areas. Ask someone who has strong communication skills to mentor you.

Take a sales or negotiation course – those often will provide great opportunities to practice your persuasion and influence skills. Watch TED talks to get tips for how to make a presentation.

All of us can keep practicing and improving our communication skills – whether it’s writing, presenting, listening or simply conversing with another person

This week’s focus is on how to enhance your skills. Do you edit your writing to make sure you are using proper grammar and spelling before sending? Have you ever joined Toastmasters or Dale Carnegie to improve your speaking? How much time do you spend on continuing education each month?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #882: Skills

July 1, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Skills – developed talents or abilities. 

How effective are your communication skills? Do you have a good strong voice? Do you moderate your voice tone to keep your listeners’ attention?

I will be out of town so I’m taking the liberty of re-running this from the LA Times article written by Career Coach Joyce E.A. Russell, Communication skills a must–have.”

“Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive of Marriott International, recently shared his views on leadership, his company and what employers are looking for in their new hires at an event at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. In the discussion, he mentioned that one of the most important things employers look for in job applicants is something that has always been core: strong communication skills, both oral and writing.”

“If you’re a master at running a spreadsheet or a financial model, but really don’t have the ability to understand the assumptions that are in it or debate the assumptions in it then you’re not going to go as far as you could go otherwise,” Sorenson said.

“He said communication skills are fundamental in reaching an audience, influencing them and sharing your message. Having analytical skills are important too, but you still have to be able to articulate in a clear and concise manner. These skills have remained important over time for all workers, and he doesn’t think that will change any time soon.

One of the most crucial communication skills is listening. You have to focus (eye contact, head nodding, asking questions) to really understand what other people have to say. Some people don’t know how to actually look at other people and give them their undivided attention, yet eye contact and demonstrating that you are truly paying attention to another person is pivotal to helping him or her feel heard. If you are fiddling with your phone, communication will break down.

When speaking, you have to have a good strong voice and moderate your voice tone to keep listeners’ attention. Sorenson emphasized that his experience as a trial lawyer probably helped him develop his strong speaking skills. You have to be clear and concise and get to the point quickly or you will lose your audience.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

Practice with friends and listen to their feedback if they tell you that your oral communication skills need work. Have them listen to you on the phone or Skype to let you know how clearly you come across because these are often tools used for hiring.”

This week’s focus is on your communication skills. Are you able to articulate in a clear and concise manner? How effective are you in influencing others? When looking at another person do you give them your undivided attention? Stay tuned….more to come next week!

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #881: Gaslighting

June 24, 2021 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #881: Gaslighting 

Gaslighting manipulating (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Do you know who Betty Broderick is? We just finished watching the Netflix miniseries and one expert witness claimed that her husband had been gaslighting her for years. Then I had a conversation with a neighbor who spoke about being gaslighted. That felt pretty eerie since it was in the same week!

So I chose this week to feature What is Gaslighting? This type of psychological abuse leaves survivors questioning every memory they have.” It just happens to be a great follow up to Hubis last week too!

You’re overreacting. It wasn’t that bad. 

You’re just being emotional. 

That never happened—you’re imagining it. 

Any of these accusations alone could drive a person crazy, but when they’re part of a regular barrage of criticism aimed at controlling an individual, they’re more than rude—they’re abusive. 

Called “gaslighting,” this type of abuse uses statements like the above to create doubt in a person’s mind by making them think, basically, that they’re going insane, says Janie McMahan, licensed marriage and family therapist. 

The name comes from a ‘30s play called Gas Light in which the main character attempts to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights in their home, which were powered by gas, and then denies the lights are changing. (Then the movie version was released in 1944 with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.) 

This type of psychological abuse is part of the power and control found in domestic abuse, says McMahan. “Gaslighting makes [survivors] doubt themselves and not see the real issue, which is that they’re being abused.” It’s not uncommon that, after a while, a survivor will start to think, “Well, is this right? Am I really not justified in feeling this way?” says McMahan. 

McMahan remembers sitting at dinner one night with a friend and her boyfriend, who was known to be emotionally abusive. “He called her ‘an f-ing bitch,’” remembers McMahan. When his girlfriend called him out on it, he replied earnestly with, “I didn’t say anything. You must be hearing things.” 

Gaslighting is often found in conjunction with other types of abuse, such as physical or verbal. Abusers may try to convince the survivor that what they remember happening, in fact, never did. Or, abusers will ask their partners, “Why can’t you just get over it?” 

McMahan says gaslighting may also come at the start of a relationship. Abusers want their partners to begin doubting themselves from the get-go. “They [survivors] begin thinking they’re a little bit ‘off,’ emotionally and mentally,” says McMahan. Essentially, they begin thinking they can’t trust their instincts. Their self-esteem can plummet. They feel less than the other person—less intelligent, less capable. McMahan says it can lead to the survivor not having a sense of self, believing they no longer have an identity or a voice. “It keeps them in these relationships,” McMahan says.

Lastly, know that gaslighting is a type of manipulation, says McMahan, and anyone can fall victim. “It happens across the board. It can happen to men and those in same sex relationships. Gaslighting is very subtle. It’s not until you’re pretty deep into it that you realize it.”

This week’s focus is looking for any signs of gaslighting. Has anyone in your life ever made you doubt yourself? Or told you that you overreact and/or are too emotional? Do you trust your instincts and intuition?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Next Page »