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Do you know the 5 fundamental laws of valuing others?

 

Blog Picture 4.22      When people at a networking event ask me about my career, I often say that I teach people how to value others. Many are surprised at this remark and almost every time they reply, “Well, does it work?” Oddly enough, this type of work seems to be in great demand. What has happened to our society that has made us forget how to value people who are different from us? Did we ever really know how to do this?
     
      Gallup has defined 5 fundamental laws when it comes to teaching a StrengthsFinder session. These fundamentals benefit teams, families, and any group with two or more people involved. I also feel like they would go a long way, if applied, to teach us all how to be better citizens and social media users. Continue reading “Do you know the 5 fundamental laws of valuing others?”

Are you STRETCHED or STRESSED in your job?

businesswoman-having-head-pain-PYQ8FP6.jpg      In October of last year, I received my DISC certification. DISC is an older personality assessment that has been used in the workplace for many years. Developed by William Marston in the early 1940s, the DISC assessment defines four distinct behavioral styles and provides a framework to better understand yourself and others. Marston was specifically interested in the physiology of emotions and what particular emotions are evoked as people interact with their environment. He was also the same man who invented the Polygraph and the super hero, Wonder Woman. I am a personality junky and have 7 different certifications so DISC was a great edition to my assessment ‘toolbox’. However, something about the DISC assessment really stood out to me. 
      
      Whenever you complete the DISC assessment, your results include two graphs that represent your Adapted Style vs. your Natural Style. The graphs of a recent client of mine are shown below. The Natural Style graph (right) represents how the client is naturally wired. This is their default pattern of behavior. The Adapted Style graph (left) represents how the client sees herself needing to behave in order to do her job more effectively. When a shift is only a 20% change (percentages shown on far left side) between the two graphs, an employee is being STRETCHED. The difference in their behavior is noticeable, but usually manageable. But, when the shift is 30% or greater, the employee may be misaligned or unsatisfied in their role and could be STRESSED.

The 4 DISC Behavioral Styles Are:

D=Dominance, I=Influencing, S=Steadiness, and C=Conscientious  

      The graphs above show a 40% shift in the Steadiness ‘S’ style from the Natural Style to the Adapted Style. When in her Natural Style, the client is patient, loyal, steady, a team player, indifferent, and remains still. In her Adapted Style, however, the client is non-emotional, deliberate, amiable, and dependable. She is able to take the emotion out of her work and focus on deliberately completing tasks. This could potentially cause stress, because the feelings/actions in her Adapted Style do not all come naturally for her.

      During a DISC coaching session, I typically pause when we get to the graphs and allow my clients to reflect on their results. I then ask them the following questions. (You can take the DISC assessment here and use these questions as a self-reflective attempt at investigating the WHY behind the shift between your Natural and Adapted Styles.)

  1. What about your environment is causing the shift between your Natural and Adapted Styles?
  2. Is this shift really necessary/required in your adapted environment? Would you be more successful and/or productive behaving more naturally?
  3. What demands/conditions of the environment are causing this shift? How is the shift affecting you?
  4. What is the risk both short and long term of the shift?

      Understanding your tendencies to be stressed or stretched in your job is important for your success and development. If you continue to be stressed in your role, the stress could have the following negative impacts:

  1. Your problem-solving abilities may suffer.
  2. Your relationships and interactions with others could worsen.
  3. Your pace of work could be less productive. 
  4. Your level of happiness in your job could be jeopardized. 

      If you feel that you are stressed in your job, please reach out to me at traci@icapsolutions.net to schedule a coaching session on how to work around your shifts! Guard yourself against these negative impacts by gaining self-awareness and addressing the shift issue head on. 

If Your Boss Doesn’t Speak To You, Find A New Job

Two young women laughing behind their male colleague

Yesterday, I was working with two managers of a sandwich shop. We have been working together for the past six months to work around the various issues they have been experiencing as managers. I have provided them with an assortment of management coaching tips to use as they run the sandwich shop, but yesterday I gave them the dreaded advice.
 
“I think you need to look for another job.”
 
You see, their boss doesn’t speak to them. She walks in the shop, looks around, takes some notes, and then leaves.  She communicates through email (if they’re lucky) and returns phone calls at a snail’s pace. When it comes to discussing their performance, she uses their assigned mentors to have those “hard” conversations instead of doing so herself. How can someone have performance conversations when they ignore their employees?
 
A recent study by Gallup revealed the top reason people leave companies. They don’t leave for better benefits, higher pay or better work hours. They leave to get away from their managers.  A mind boggling 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by his or her manager.  While companies tend to promote top performers, it’s important to recognize that not all hard workers make good managers.
 
Over the course of the last 15 years, we have found 8 “MUST DO’S” that hold true when managing people:

  1. Make sure they rest well.  Nothing burns out a great employee faster than overworking them. Research from Stanford University shows that productivity declines when a worker exceeds 50 hours in one work week. 
  2. Pay them attention. Ignoring your employees is one of the deadly sins as a manager.  Gallup’s research also states that employees need positive feedback from their managers at least once a week.
  3. Help them develop.  Great bosses challenge their employees to read books, articles, and attend classes that interest them and that help drive both their personal and professional development.
  4. Ask for their input.  Ask for your employee’s feedback. Invite them to brainstorm with you.  Not only will you refine your ideas, but you will make them feel valued and heard. This results in them being more creative and collaborative.
  5. Make quality hiring decisions. Quality employees want to be surrounded by other quality employees. Hiring the bottom of the barrel is a demotivator to your quality employees. Promoting the wrong people is even worse.  When someone has worked their butt off but gets passed over for someone more popular, you can bet that the employee will walk.
  6. Develop and maintain trust.  Overpromising and under delivering is a real problem.  When you keep your word, you grow in the eyes of your employees because you prove yourself trustworthy and reliable. 
  7. Celebrate hard work and contributions. Rewarding employees with a “good job,” a letter of encouragement, or a public praise is important.  It is a real downer to have gone above and beyond, and your boss never notices or mentions your efforts.
  8. Respect them. Smart managers understand that their employees are like tomato plants.  Some need a little more watering, soil, fertilizer, and time in the green house than others.  An individualized approach is important to recognize success, understand hard times, and even give feedback in appropriate ways.                                    

If you manage people and want to get the best out of them, then you must think carefully about how to treat them. Make them WANT to work for you. 

If you need help with your management style, let us show you some personality assessments that can help you. Contact us today at traci@icapsolutions.net to schedule a session!

The #1 Question We Get Asked In An Interview

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Over the last 90 days, I have interviewed about 30 people. Interviewing is super fun to me. I am just generally curious about humans. I love to learn about others and dive into what makes each person unique, yet quirky at the same time.  Over the past 15 years, we have worked to refine our interview process by changing the questions we prep ahead of time. We want to make sure to be as thorough as possible while also giving the candidate the REAL information about ourselves and our organization.
 
We have a specific 5-step process when we interview internal candidates.  After a thorough search, we first set up a 15-minute phone interview. This process is very important in this day and age. So many candidates lack phone etiquette skills and this allows us to quickly rule out those who can’t carry on a conversation. Next, we have the candidate come into our office for an in person interview with both of our owners. We go through a series of questions to decipher the habits, regulation, self-awareness and competencies of the potential employee.
 
At the end of this in-person interview comes a very important piece of the process. We ask the candidate if they have any questions for us.  Holding my breath, I am secretly pray that they do.  “Please have looked at our website”, I say to myself.  “Please ask a question about technology”, I hope. But, every single time in the last year the question is…….
 
“How is your culture here?”
 
This question isn’t just asked by Millennials, but a question that every candidate regardless of age, race, gender or social economic background is dying to know.  Their questions are not about our benefit packages, not about pay, not about work hours, and not about our community involvement.  The thought is always the same…..
 
Do your employees get along?  Do you have a problem with gossip?  Will I feel left out as a newcomer? Will you value me as a person?
 
Peter Drucker made popular the statement “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast” and I would add that it eats lunch and dinner too, so don’t leave it unattended.  Most organizations are spending so much time on strategic plans and 3-year goal setting when their culture is just as, if not more important.  Culture does not belong in the HR department and it can’t be improved by just having an occasional potluck lunch. It is more than just having a set of values and a vision statement.
 
Culture takes work. It takes investment. It takes leaders who are committed to creating a happy, healthy workforce.
 
If your culture is struggling, start today by fostering some intentional conversations. Conversations could help steer your culture to a new place. I would love to provide you with a free online booklet that might could help. Contact me at traci@icapsolutions.net to request the PDF.

What did you NOT learn in kindergarten?

Group Discussion

Once, when working with a team, the group could not finish a conversation without interrupting each other. I mean EVERYONE on the team kept interrupting. They acted like a bunch of kindergarteners. “Look at me!” “Listen to me!” I almost expected them to start jumping up and down when they couldn’t have a turn.
 
The tendency to interrupt others can be the result of someone who did not learn self-regulation as a child. The Cambridge Dictionary defines interruption as the act of stopping a person from speaking for a short period by something you say or do; to stop something from happening for a short period; to interrupt progress or momentum. 

When you frequently interrupt someone, 3 things are communicated to the person who was interrupted:
    1. My thoughts and opinions are more important than yours.
    2. I am not actively listening to your conversation.
    3. I am not here to collaborate, but to win. 

Another problem with interrupting is that interpersonal safety is also effected. Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team or environment is a safe space for interpersonal risk taking. It can be defined as “being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career.”  In other words, members of a team feel safe, accepted and respected. 
 
The next time you are running a meeting, think about creating a culture of respect by instituting a NO INTERRUPT rule.  Allow your employees to ask questions, share ideas and engage in discussion without fear of repercussions.  If you are the one interrupting, consider a time of self-reflection.  Why can you not allow someone to finish their sentences?  What strength of yours is in overdrive?
 
If this is an issue for you or one of your team members, we can help.  Personality assessments can reveal which talent is overcompensating and we can teach you how to self-correct this tendency.  Contact me at traci@icapsolutions.net to start the conversation.

The Blame Game – Which side are you on?

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*You left the stove on too high and now your meal is burnt. 
*You slipped going down your front steps because they were iced over.
*You were late coming home from work because you ran into a friend at the grocery store.

      When something like the above occurs, what is your first thought?  Do you immediately blame someone or something else? Or, do you resent yourself for always being responsible?

      There are two sides of the blame game.  The first is someone who ALWAYS finds someone else to blame.  Your wife distracted you while you were cooking, your landlord should have put salt down on the sidewalks before the bad weather, your friend held you captive in conversation at the grocery store. Some people can find anyone to blame but themselves.
 
      However, on the other end of the spectrum are people who blame themselves for everything, even when they had nothing to do with the misfortune.  They blame themselves for having bad weather at the family picnic they planned, they blame themselves for the children crying at the dinner table or blame themselves when the roof leaks.  Some people believe they cause every bad thing all or most of the time.  
 
Both sides of the blame game are unhealthy and here’s why:
      Unlike other games, the more often you play the blame game, the more you lose.  Learning to decipher your role in a bad situation (or even if you had a role at all) will help you grow from your experiences and achieve more fulfilling relationships and memories.
 
Here are 4 reasons why we play the blame game:

  1. Blame is a defense mechanism.  Blame helps you preserve your sense of self-esteem by avoiding awareness of your own flaws or failings.
  2. Blame is a tool we use when we are in attack mode.  Blame is also a way we can hurt others.
  3. We are not very good at figuring out other people’s behavior.  (This is why assessments in the workplace are important.)  We are very quick to make judgements or assumptions about others that are not the most flattering and/or the truth.
  4. It’s easier to blame someone else than accept responsibility.  There is less effort needed to recognize your contribution to how you are feeling and acting rather than just faulting someone else. 

     An emotionally, healthy leader learns not to be on either spectrum of the blame game.  They look first at themselves and take responsibility for their part before pointing blame at the other people involved. Healthy leaders understand the difference between blame and accountability. If you’re interested in getting help differentiating between the two for your team, please see our website theunstucklife.co!  

Traci Newkirk 
Chief Team Developer