Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Is Money Management Part of Your Career Management?

Several years ago, I was conducting a workshop on Emotional Intelligence. An attendee approached me initiating a discussion regarding the emotional intelligence of her boss. As she revealed the details of what clearly was a painful emotional and mental experience, I asked the most obvious and logical response to her story "Why don't you quit?" She desperately responded, " I can't afford to!"

I responded to myself, "In theory, you can't afford not to!" As she shared, she disclosed that the dynamics with her boss were so bad, she was getting physically ill. She was experiencing headaches and developing gastrointestinal issues.

That conversation years ago was a defining moment for me as a career coach. Up until that point I've never encountered a client who was in a situation that personally destructive. And though there were all sorts of coaching points regarding how she could be managing her responses differently in a highly dysfunctional environment, by the time I'd learned of her situation, the dismantling of her health and wellness had begun.

From that memorable moment forward, I vowed to include the message of financial planning in my initial coaching assessment. It pains me deeply to hear people enduring terrible, unhealthy work environments because they can't afford to quit.  I say, "Never, if you can at all avoid it, be in a position where you are held hostage to these kinds of situations because of money."  Also consider that this scenario is more prevalent with women than men.

So, I consider financial planning a partner to career planning and management. 
Career management tip: Money management is a career happiness partner.

A colleague reached out to me recently and shared this: 
" As a working-age woman, I was surprised to learn from a recent CNBC article that only 53% of us have started planning for retirement compared to 65% of our male peers!"

Today is Women's Business Day (Sept. 22). Whether you are male or female, I invite you to adopt the life impacting message of this post -- career planning and financial planning go hand in hand.

And just when you think it might cost you, consider this resource for free tools from Personal Capital - click here to learn more about their retirement planner tools.  Never be in position where you have to put money above your health.

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Are You Ready To Be a Workplace Grown-up?

I know this sounds like a very odd question. You're probably saying to yourself, "What do you mean, I'm a grown-up."  Well sure you are.

But most of us will agree, we have our moments -- particularly at work, when some crazy event, incident or person sends us back in time and we feel as if our teenage self has invaded our bodies once again.

The workplace seems to be the perfect testing ground for adulthood (as demonstrated by the steady stream of employee training requests I receive for getting along, communicating better and managing conflict, to name a few).

It's the laboratory of human behavior -- the place to test whether we can maintain our perceived maturity and professional decorum or revert back to unedited reactions, attitudes, behaviors, and tactics that were boldly expressed during the years when technically "didn't know any better".

And though I could go the more sophisticated route in this post and connect all this to emotional intelligence, I'd like this post to be quite simple in making a point by asking this question, "Are you willing to be a workplace grown-up?"

What's a workplace grown-up you ask?  It's someone who takes 100% responsibility for who they are and how they act no matter the circumstances. Tough calling I know -- but these days sorely needed now more than ever.

In a recent study released by the Six Seconds Group - emotional intelligence is on the decline. Uh oh -- who will be the grown-ups now?

An important side note -- crazy makes more crazy. In leadership and management language that means immature adults managed by unskilled managers heightens workplace dysfunction.

In fact have you ever witnessed unhealthy behavior in an employee triggering counterproductive behavior in a manager?  Yep -- I have...I was the manager.

And there in lies the key to the solution. It goes like this -- admit it - own it - grow muscles in successfully managing it.  Muscles?  I call skills related to self management muscles, some are stronger than others -- some more developed in others.  In my EQ workshops we talk about triggers and the need to identify and manage them.  Learning to manage them I call developing "emotional muscles".

Here's the catch -- in order to develop a muscle, it's got to be worked (you know, like in the gym).  That means repeated exposure to the thing -- the weight -- that will cause the muscle to grow.  And this leads us full circle back to the tittle Are You Ready To Be A Workplace Grown-up? Are you ready for the heavy lifting it will take to develop emotional muscles in areas that may be weak.

How will you be able to gauge your muscle / strength development? The weaker the trigger the stronger the muscle. If the trigger is still strong, the muscle is still weak.

In the larger view of life, emotional intelligence is an essential life skill to happiness and success in all areas. It's worthy of your time, effort and attention, not only personally, but professionally as well -- for individuals and organzations.

Consider bringing an EQ seminar to your organization. I consider it one of 5 Individual Employee Core Competencies in the workplace - learn more here

And for those decision-makers who doubt the value of the investment to introduce EQ into their organizational cultures -- there is plenty of evidence that the return-on-investment is substantial. Check out this latest study done at Fed Ex reflecting performance growth among managers due to EQ development. - click here

Does your company need management training - most companies do - click here to learn more

This post by the way was inspired by a guest post from my dear friend +Alan Allard  - How to Embrace Everything You Do

Here's to growing those muscles!

Here's a link to the Six Seconds Group to learn more about the study - click here
Website Resource Page - lots of good stuff on it ...like  EQ interview questions, additional studies

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Are You an Expert Question Asker?

Questions Are a Powerful Communication Tool

In the spirit of the 1% - one skill for sure we need to have in our professional skill portfolio is the ability to ask the right, the best question.

Why? Questions are a highly effective and necessary communication tool in many ways.

Here are just a few powerful uses of the question:
__  it stirs and speaks to the subconscious (where everything we really are is housed; especially our core truths).
__ it helps people learn how to think, process, and come to their own conclusion (very useful in persuasion).
__ it helps people consider a new line of thought
__ it's a way of building rapport
__ a way of expressing care and concern
__ it's a great way to communicate with someone who resists being "told" what to do
__ it helps quickly redirect an unpleasant conversation

Questions provoke, inspire, lead, teach, motivate to name a few - thereby making it an essential element for your personal and professional communication toolkit.

Of course how you ask a question matters as well.   For example if it's done with an "interrogating" tone...that may evoke the opposite of what you want - shutting someone down vs. opening someone up.
Tone in communication can be used very strategically.

Question Asking 101
One of the easiest ways to get started developing the skill of question asking is starting with what I call the power 6 - 6 words we learned in our elementary years: who, what, when, where, how, why. I recommend you begin practicing with these.

For some of us (those with management styles that are more directing), getting the feeling of and developing the habit of being an "asker vs. a teller" will be a very interesting and informative practice.

Additionally as you use these questions, determine what you want to accomplish with them.  Do you want to...

  • have someone consider something different?
  • teach them a lesson?
  • encourage them to learn to problem solve via developing options?
  • feel cared for

So here is our coaching question from this 1% lesson - In what area(s) do you need to enhance your communication effectiveness?  How can being a skilled question asker help you achieve that?...and ok...I can't resist - 1 more question - What are the benefits of developing this skill?..to you? ...to your team?

By the way, the book this blog is based on is in the question format.  The book is designed as a coaching book - it's more of an "asking" book vs. a "telling" book. If you haven't gotten a copy yet, I recommend the workbook version - which includes the questions.  This version is also available on Kindle. - E-store  (scroll to the bottom)
Bonus Tip: Take the time to consider how your fellow team members communicate. Observe. Do you think your team or department could benefit for a communications or team building workshop? I consider the ability to work effectively with others an essential individual contributor core competency. Learn about that and employee trainings in this category.
This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

Check out our latest releases: Brain on Fire & 15 Shifts - E-store