Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, once said: “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” It would seem a very obvious statement, wouldn’t it? Yet, it is not at all easy to achieve. But, these are the crucial skills that every organisation is looking for in its employees – that ability to get along with people.
Every day in our workplaces our relationships are challenged by people who see things differently to the way we see them. They come from such diverse backgrounds, different from us in gender, age, sexual orientation, race, language, education and physical ability. They have been socialised in very different ways. They have different values. What’s important to them may not be important to us at all. The outcome of all this is that every personal and professional resource we have is stretched as we endeavour to build meaningful and constructive relationships with these people.
And let’s not forget outside of work – our partners, children, family, relatives, next door neighbours and the members of the clubs and associations we belong to. That’s another challenge!
In these times we also have significant breakdowns in global relationships as countries, religious groups and disaffected people everywhere push their own agendas and fight for their voices to be heard. Every day, we see on our televisions, the struggle of people and nations to get along with other people.
So how do we do it?Read More
Like it or not, emotions are an intrinsic part of our biological make-up,
and every morning they march into the office
with us and influence our behaviour.
– Shari Caudron.
What Shari Caudron says is so true. We all have to understand the emotions we carry with us everywhere. We need to become aware of them. The way we express them brands us in the eyes of everyone looking on.
What do you do with the emotions you have about a poor performance discussion?
A natural reaction for the emotionally unintelligent would be to leave the room and explode to anyone who will listen. You could bad-mouth the manager. You could go on social media and talk about the injustice. You could completely disengage and work to rule for the next 3 weeks. Or you could become completely emotional, crying a lot, taking sick days, becoming quite depressed. All of these responses will do nothing to grow your career or enhance your personal brand, and they will destroy your professional credibility and certainly not encourage your manager to refer you for another job.
So how could you turn this devastating situation around and make it work for you by responding in an emotionally intelligent way?
Emotional intelligence is a career enhancing attribute, a career maker. Equally so, being emotionally unintelligent can be a career breaker. It is for this reason that every leading business school in the world has a course on emotional intelligence. If you can learn to recognise what you are feeling at any given time, can name that feeling for what it is, you can then manage it in a way that will enhance rather than destroy your professional credibility. Once you have learned how to manage your own emotions, you then become very adept at identifying what others are feeling. This means you respond in much more appropriate ways to achieve the response you want from those others. In time you become the highly sought after professional for the way you can manage the people issues in your organisation. You become the CEO of Relationship Management.Read More
Learning how to be resilient and bounce back when things go wrong is one of the most important soft skills for leadership today. If you are a leader today, or aspire to be one, then working on developing resilience will equip you well to manage the change, uncertainty, unpredictability and ambiguity of this new economy in which we are now working and living. Resilience is the psychological inner strength, the mental toughness, we bring to the events and experiences of our life. It is what helps us bounce back from every adversity to move forward again to achieve the goals we have set for our professional and personal life. Resilience is not something that can be learned theoretically in a training course or by following particular strategies meticulously over a few days or a week no matter how committed you are. It can only be learned in practice, by facing setbacks and obstacles and working through them. The old adage – Practice makes perfect – is never more true than in the development of resilience.Read More
Many people would see Anger as a “personal emotion”, not something that may impact on their career or professional development. Managing anger is something they attempt to do very privately. In fact, many of us see all emotions as “personal”. In fact, many of us see all emotions as “personal”. They are inside us, belong to us and most of the time we like to think we are in control of them. The worst thing someone could say to us, as a professional, is that we are “emotional”.
Trouble is that if we are often not aware of our emotions, neither are we aware of how public they are. As Shari Caudron says, they march into the office with us every morning and direct our behaviour for the day.
Managing anger in an emotionally intelligent way is a very important soft skill for leaders and managers.
Soft skills are those all important skills that are now essential to your career and leadership development. They are the skills that focus on the development of your personality, attitudes, behaviour and mindsets. When people come to a soft skills workshop, I assume that they want to learn skills to bring about that development. There is, however, a big disconnect here because so many want tips and strategies on how to make people do what they want them to do. Change my situation and the people around me. Give me some tips as to how I can do it, but don’t change me.
It doesn’t work that way. If you want to develop and enhance your soft skills, you need to work on yourself. You need to be absolutely committed to becoming the best version of yourself.
Mark has technical skills your organisation cannot afford to lose. No one else in the organisation has his level of expertise. You really want him to focus on bringing that expertise to research and development, enhancing the product development and service delivery in the organisation. Mark, however, has been wanting to move into management for the past 18 months, saying that having been with the organisation for 3 years at the same level, he deserves a promotion given his significant contribution.
You don’t deny any of that and you are quite concerned that if you don’t grant that management promotion to him, he may seek it elsewhere. So what do you do? You make him a manager. What happens next is an organisation’s worst nightmare.
We all know reactive people who constantly complain about what “They” are not doing and should be doing.
“They” are the people out there who are responsible for everything that goes wrong in their lives. “They” are the people who should fix it all up – their CEOs, managers, partners, their politicians, their governments.
Ghandi says that instead of us wanting “They” to make the changes we want in our lives and our world, we BE that change.
This is exactly what proactive people do.
Being pro-active was one of the late Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people. It was about taking initiative, but also learning “response-ability”.
So take action now, BE PRO-ACTIVE. Make your life everything you want it to be and in the process empower everyone who is part of your life to be the same.
Are you one of those many people I’m talking with today who feel your career has stalled? You believe you are doing a good job. In fact, your manager has told you so. Everyone seems to be happy with what you are doing, but you are missing out on all the promotions and opportunities that have presented themselves. You are frustrated, bewildered and often even find yourself struggling to contain anger. One part of you wonders what else you need to do to move on and up. The other part, you reveal to me, is that you fear you will be stuck where you are for the rest of your working life!
Learn the skills to break the nexus and how to apply them to create your own opportunities.
Be a leader, act like a leader, even if you don’t have the role or the title. You will imprint yourself in the consciousness of those who have the power to give you the next leadership role.
Yesterday Bruce Tulgan wrote an excellent article – What’s the Matter with Kids Today?- and why they lack basic skills. He started this way:
“This first-year associate in a midsized accounting firm, a recent top graduate of a top school, was cutting-edge in his knowledge of a new set of tools and techniques for mining and analyzing data buried within evidentiary documents obtained during pre-litigation discovery. One of the partners said, “This kid had done some projects in school using this new approach and his technical knowledge in this area far surpassed anyone else in the firm. But he kept running into roadblocks because his communication made him seem so immature. At first, he couldn’t get anybody to listen to him. Once we got him going on introducing the new process, I know it sounds petty, but he could barely look people in the eye or string three words together without saying ‘like.’” In short, “His inability to speak in a way that seemed even remotely professional was just rubbing people the wrong way, especially in meetings, though it wasn’t very much better when he was working with people individually.” One of the other partners explained, “We had to send him to a class.” One of the other partners added, “It took a lot more than one class.”Read More