Building Higher Trust 91 Too Many Meetings

September 23, 2022

In many organizations, the standard paradigm for meetings means the people feel there are too many meetings. The null hypothesis on meetings is that they are one hour in duration. Let’s say a manager sends a text to her administrative assistant to schedule a meeting.  He will assume the duration is one hour unless told otherwise.

We still use the old convention

We come by this paradigm through convention, and it is an opportunity to challenge the status quo. Suppose the administration person scheduled the meeting for 44 minutes. What would be the outcome? 

In most organizations, it would mean that everyone invited to the meeting saved about 15 minutes. As a side benefit, the 44 minutes spent at the meeting would be far more productive. It is because we set aside the standard paradigm. People got the message that every minute is important.

Improve time utilization

There are numerous things that can be done to improve the time utilization at meetings, Here are nine of my favorite techniques;

Nine Antidotes:

  1. Suggest that the person leading the meeting be extremely mindful of the duration. Our time at work is precious because it is finite.
  2. Shock people into a realization of what is actually happening:  Set up the meeting to start at 2:20 pm and end by 2:50 pm. That would be a 30-minute meeting.
  3. Put a premium on how we spend time in meetings. Make sure the agenda is specific as to time devoted to each topic and stick to that schedule. Have a person assigned to keep things on track.
  4. Acknowledge the need for important side issues, but do not let them derail the meeting.  Handle them efficiently or find another venue to deal with them.
  5. Start and end each meeting on time.  Become known as a stickler for this. It is not polite to others to arrive late for meetings. It is also not polite to attendees for the leader to extend beyond the advertised finish time.
  6. Have a set of expected behaviors for your meetings and post them. Hold each other accountable for abiding by these rules.  
  7. Have some time set aside in each meeting to reinforce good behavior. Feel good about things that are going well. If we spend 100% of our time dealing with the bad stuff, we will never smell the roses.
  8. Agree to disagree. You do not need to wrestle every disconnect to the ground. Move on.
  9. Settle differences outside the meeting environment.

Conclusion

All these rules are common sense. It is too bad they are not common practice, because they help preserve our most critical resource: our time.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations

 

 


Leadership Barometer 163 Great Leaders Are Enablers

September 21, 2022

Great leaders are enablers while poor leaders are barriers. You can tell a lot about the caliber of a leader by asking questions of people in the group.

On this dimension, there is a stark contrast between great leaders and poor ones.

Great leaders ensure people feel like winners while poor leaders make people feel like losers.

Great leaders show that greatness every day. They are enablers.

In organizations with great leaders, people view their leaders as enablers. They provide a clear and believable vision of the future that is truly compelling to the workers. They also involve the workers in the generation of that vision.

They provide the resources and support required to reach that vision. They encourage and empower people to put their best efforts into the journey toward success.

They are humble and not aloof.  They gladly do their fair share of the work and make sure to coach any slackers. They remove people who cannot do their part.

They celebrate the small wins along the way. They make people feel respected and even honored to work there. If there is a problem, the leaders work to reduce or eliminate it. They are great problem solvers and make sure to minimize any blockages to getting things accomplished.

Contrast with poor leaders

When leaders are weak, you see the exact opposite. Employees see leaders as barriers. They get in the way of progress by invoking bureaucratic hurdles that make extra work or waste time.

They use a command and control philosophy that stifles empowerment. People get the feeling that they are being used or even abused.

They insist on long large meetings that feel like purgatory. They are either mind-numbing or punishing.

There is a foggy vision or the vision is not that exciting to employees. If they struggle to make it happen, the result will not be so great.

For example, I felt that in my final years with a company I once worked for. The vision was very clear they had to shrink their way to success. This meant huge stress. More workers would be let go year after year. What an awful vision! I left and never looked back.

In these organizations, people feel they are operating with both hands tied behind their backs. This leads to poor performance, and so the leaders pour on more and more pressure to compensate. It is a vicious cycle that reminds me of the water funnel in a toilet. In fact, it is very much like that. 

Conclusion

If you want to measure the caliber of a leader, just ask some questions. Find out if people think that leader is an enabler or a barrier to progress. Their answer will tell you quickly how talented that leader is.Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations


Reducing Conflict 59 Why Not?

September 19, 2022

When trying to reduce conflict use the phrase “why not” more often to lower the tension. The difference between “why” and “why not” seems very subtle.  I think there is a psychological case for using the latter more often.

Asking why makes people defensive

When you ask people why they are doing something you put them on the spot.  They normally will have a defensive reaction that tries to justify what they are doing or thinking. That reaction sets off an adversarial exchange in many situations.

Asking why not is a softer approach

If instead, you would suggest “why not consider this alternate approach” it seems less threatening. Let’s unpack a situation that happens often to leaders as an example.

Typical leadership issue

Many leaders are quick to give their opinion about a current topic. That action often cuts off discussion among the group and leads to a lack of creativity. One way to approach this leader is with a question about why. “Why do you always give your response before others have a chance to respond?”

That approach would trigger a defensive response from the leader.  “I am just trying to be transparent so people know where I stand.” If you then point out that the action stifles open discussion, you are likely to get a negative reaction.

A better approach

Ask instead, “Why not let others speak before revealing your own feelings?” That more positive approach would be more likely to lead to a constructive conversation. You are really asking what would be the impact if the leader changed the pattern. The leader does not need to defend his historical approach.

Conclusion

You can still get into a tangle by using why not, but I believe the odds are better. It seems like a more constructive approach that should lower the rancor.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.  For more information, or to bring Bob in to speak at your next event, contact him at www.Leadergrow.com, bwhipple@leadergrow.com or 585.392.7763.


Building Higher Trust 90 Trust Improves Communication

September 16, 2022

Improved Communication is a common denominator of a culture of high trust.

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to choose words very carefully? It probably felt like you were on a tightrope.  This feeling is indicative of a low trust situation where communication is tedious at best.

In this hostile environment, people are ready to pounce on any opportunity to misinterpret or bend whatever you say.  You must be hypersensitive to every word and inflection to avoid people misreading your intent. In a virtual situation, it is even more difficult because body language cues are more limited.

The advantage of trust

Once you achieve an environment of trust, all forms of communication become easier.  Big mistakes are rare. Any small communication glitch will surface and be dealt with before it becomes an issue. You can relax and be yourself in all your communications.

Imagine the freedom of not having to guard everything you say. In an atmosphere of real trust, people are not coiled like snakes waiting for a false step. If something comes out wrong, people will tell you. You can apologize and know your apology was accepted by their body language.

In areas where trust is high, you can see lots of evidence of it. Groups that have high trust act and react differently from those with lower trust levels. There is an esprit de corps among people. They laugh more and seem to have a great time being together. They sometimes have problems just like everyone else, but they climb over them quickly and move on. 

Body Language

The body language in these groups is one of love and support for one another.  People will not tolerate backbiting or badmouthing.  Respect is on their faces.  They volunteer to help each other willingly and go out of their way to be kind. 

When they describe their improvement programs, they beam with pride. People are truly engaged in the efforts to improve.

If you walk into a conference room full of people with high trust, it takes only a few seconds to sense it.  People don’t even have to talk. Goodwill is in the air.

Unfortunately, even in the best groups, things are not amicable all the time. Occasionally, there will be setbacks and problems to overcome. In a culture of high trust, problems can turn into opportunities.

Getting past problems 

A hallmark of a trusting environment is that letdowns don’t impact the climate very long.  Human beings are fallible. No two people can work in close proximity without one letting the other down eventually. Remote work situations are especially susceptible to misunderstandings.

In an atmosphere of high trust, a lapse will trigger a discussion that is open and honest. The exchange will be laced with love rather than doubt or anger. The bad feelings did not have a chance to escalate.  The existence of a gaff only ends up enhancing the relationship because you extinguished the problem so quickly.

The flip side 

If the atmosphere is one of low trust, everything said will go through a filter of doubt. If a point is misinterpreted, chances are it will lead to rancor. Trying to communicate in low trust is like trying to walk yourself out of quicksand. You can make all the right moves, but the reality is you are going backward.

Improvements are easier

In an atmosphere of high trust, you get tremendous progress from improvement initiatives because any disconnects will quickly surface. This avoids pursuing a mechanical improvement program that lacks support from all constituents.

The suggestions offered here will work, provided there is good consensus among the team. Test for this commitment often and don’t operate in a vacuum. This is especially important in a virtual or hybrid situation. Do not let a lack of physical presence destroy the beneficial culture of trust.

Conclusion

Work on a culture of higher trust and openness.  People really appreciate the ability to speak their mind and not have to worry about others misinterpreting their intent. The benefits are obvious.

 

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations

 

 


Leadership Barometer 162 Fail More Often

September 13, 2022

In our society, it is considered a bad thing to fail.  From our earliest memory, we are all taught to succeed at what we try. It does not matter if it is taking a few steps on wobbly legs or negotiating an international merger. We are conditioned that success is the goal and failure is anathema. We are taught to feel great when we have a success and to feel awful when we fail.

We learn more from failure than from success 

Take away the stigma, and a failure is simply something that did not work out as planned. We obtain more information, momentum, resolve, inspiration, insight, and knowledge when we fail than when we succeed. 

To succeed is to get something done, but we have not learned very much. For example, without the corrective adjustments, we would never learn to walk or talk. It is the constant reshaping of past tries that causes our forward progress. 

Embrace failure

I think it is time to embrace failure and stop feeling bad about it. What we need in life is more at-bats rather than more home runs. Each time we go for something new, we risk failure, but not taking that risk is a bigger problem. We block our own advancement.

Thomas Edison

The most often-quoted example of this theory is the story of Thomas Edison. He found that carbonized bamboo filaments worked well for his light bulb. His most famous quotation is, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 things that won’t work.” 

He also championed being creative while simultaneously inventive. He was able to develop things that seemed like serendipity. They were really the culmination of a lot of hard work and numerous failures. He once said, “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to doesn’t mean it’s useless.”

Let go of the stigma

The key to embracing failure is to let go of the stigma. Seek out the learning potential in every activity. They ought to teach a course on failing in grammar school.

Teach kids that to fail, as long as something was learned, is the route to eventual success. Instead, we hammer home the idea that to fail is to not live up to expectations. Children learn to fear rather than embrace failure. That attitude permeates our society, and it has a crippling effect on every organization. 

Don’t quit trying

Another aspect of failure is the idea that we never really fail until we quit trying.  As long as we are stretching to achieve a goal, we have the potential for success. Recall the quotation from Vince Lombardi, “We never lost a game, but sometimes we just ran out of quarters.” 

Use judgment

I believe there needs to be good judgment when deciding how long to persevere.  I do not think Winston Churchill was right when he said “Never, never, never, quit.”

At some point, it is time to learn a lesson and leave the battlefield. It is okay to have a discarded scheme or to recognize a blind alley and cut your losses. It is important to recognize when we have run out of quarters. It is wrong to quit trying prematurely.  I think the difference between those two mindsets is the difference between genius and mediocrity.

I am not advocating that we fail on purpose. Doing things right should always be the objective. The only thing to avoid is making the same mistake over and over again.

Some people focus on being busy just to have something to do. Thomas Edison had a quote for that too. He said, “Being busy does not always mean real work.”

How to make the shift in thinking 

Try having an “Experience Award” at work for daring to try something unusual.  Honor people who stretch and try but fail, as long as they learn from the experience. Doing this will seem unorthodox and “over the top” to many stuffy managers who will not tolerate things that are irregular. Too bad these managers are leaving real creativity off the table.

Conclusion

If we learn to embrace failure, we can enrich our lives in many ways. The notion that we should always succeed is highly limiting in the end. When we recast the role of failure as a huge enabler of growth we actually win.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations


Reducing Conflict 58 The Mediator Role

September 11, 2022

When two people are in conflict, having someone play the mediator role is often very helpful. There is an important caveat that the mediator needs to do a good job or things can get worse. This article has some tips on how to mediate a conflict effectively.

Gain Control

The first order of business is to get the two parties to calm down and stop shouting at each other.  Typically when two people are in extreme conflict they interrupt each other. They do not even hear the points being made by the other person.

The mediator should get the parties to sit down across from each other in a quiet room. She should speak in a low and calm voice.  One helpful technique is to get the warring parties to agree on something.  I like to get an agreement that both people would like some kind of resolution. That way they can go back to work feeling better. 

By getting both parties to agree on something, you have established a platform that you can build on.

Objectives

It helps if the mediator has a few basic objectives in mind from the start:

  1. You want to end up with both parties feeling better.
  2. Each person needs to feel heard and understood.
  3. There should be some form of agreement on deportment going forward.
  4. Dispense with the idea of one party being right and the other being wrong.
  5. Seek out areas on which both parties already agree.
  6. State the area of disagreement as clearly as possible. Get to the root of the issue.
  7. Rule out any uncivil language or gestures. Keep it constructive.

Keep deliberations conversational

Keeping both parties calm and civil is a top priority. If they regress to shouting or other inappropriate actions, stop the process and regain control. It is essential that both parties feel heard and respected along the way.  You are seeking to facilitate understanding first before the agreement. It is a good idea to ask for cooperation in the dialog. If they forget, remind them of their intent to help.

Take notes

It helps to document areas of agreement so there is a list of things both parties agree upon. That list forms the basis for forward progress during the session. It also contains evidence that both parties can refer to later. 

Sometimes Reversing roles is helpful

If each party cannot see the logic in the other person’s argument, getting them to reverse roles can help.  By taking the side of the other person, then there is at least a full understanding. That can represent progress toward an agreement.

A resolution can be to agree to disagree

Sometimes full agreement is not possible. It does not prevent the two people from working well together in the future. Make allowance for there being two legitimate ways of viewing a topic and move forward with that understanding.

Before adjourning get both parties to verbalize any agreement

It is important for both people to say what was accomplished in the conversation. Full agreement was not possible. At least the rancor is now resolved and both parties can part ways feeling better.

Summary

Playing the role of the mediator is a tricky assignment.  You can be more successful if you follow the ideas listed above.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.  For more information, or to bring Bob in to speak at your next event, contact him at www.Leadergrow.com, bwhipple@leadergrow.com or 585.392.7763.


Building Higher Trust 89 The Trust Button

September 9, 2022

What if there was a magic “Trust Button” that leaders could hit any time they wanted to increase trust? Ask yourself this question.  How many leaders do you know who would use the button if they knew about it?  The good news is that the button is available to all leaders, and it is FREE. All it takes is a change in the leader’s behavior to enjoy the benefits of higher trust.

Numerous possible actions

There are hundreds of actions that leaders can do to increase trust.  I do an exercise in my seminars. Groups can think up more than 50 things in just a couple minutes of time. I contend that there is just one action that rises above the rest when it comes to creating trust.  The reason comes from nearly forty years of studying the phenomenon both as a leader and as a consultant.  

The most important enabler of trust

I believe that psychological safety is the magic button to create strong trust. Leaders who understand this concept and how to achieve it have a significant advantage in creating trust.  They are also more effective at maintaining and repairing trust. Let’s take a closer look at why this simple concept is so powerful.

Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished for speaking up with ideas, questions, or concerns. Unfortunately, many work cultures do humiliate or punish people who speak up. Physicological safety is very low in these groups and the growth of trust is snuffed out.

Reinforcing Candor

I believe the culture of any organization is established from the top.  It is the behaviors of leaders that set the tone for how people are treated. If people who dare to give their candid feelings are punished by the leader, then trust will not grow.

That is why I preach that the trust button is activated when leaders “reinforce candor.” It is easy to understand how this would work Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult for many leaders to accomplish it.

Why Leaders have a difficult time reinforcing candor

Leaders are saying and doing things every day that they believe are right. It is almost impossible to do things that you truly believe are wrong. The leader feels justified in every decision, statement, email, or other means of sharing ideas.

If an underling makes a statement that questions the rightness of a decision, the leader will become defensive. In defending the original decision, the leader ultimately punishes the employee. Trust is trashed in the process.  If you report to a leader who cannot reinforce candor, you learn to remain silent.

I believe that dynamic is the root cause of why leaders have a hard time pushing the trust button. I teach leaders to modify their behavior to reinforce candor and make people glad they brought it up. Some leaders are able to modify their behavior accordingly in most cases.  Those leaders are able to enjoy the benefits of a high-trust organization.

What are the benefits?

If you have a high trust group EVERYTHING works better. Productivity is generally 2-3 times as high as a low trust group.  Turnover is very low or zero.  People have more fun. The quality of work and engagement of people shoot up.

Conclusion

Try shifting from a culture of fear to one where people are reinforced when they bring up concerns. The difference in performance will amaze you.   

 

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations

 

 


Leadership Barometer 161 Rotate Leaders

September 7, 2022

You need to rotate leaders to keep them fresh, but there are precautions. Leaders who stay in the same job too long get stale and lose their edge. If you have been in the same position for more than 10 years, you would likely benefit from a change.

When developing leaders, rotating positions is an effective method of keeping things fresh. It gives leaders a chance to grow. The topic of this article is when and how to rotate leaders for maximum benefit.  It helps both the organization and the leaders.

Have a specific game plan

It is a good idea to have a long-term game plan for the development of each leader. This requires a lot of planning and dialog. It is a collaborative process that needs attention. You get a sense that somebody is watching out for your career trajectory.  Discussions of personal desires and potential opportunities are beneficial. They let you know that you are valued and have the potential to grow. 

How often to rotate leaders?

The first question is how often you should rotate leaders. My own bias is to avoid moving a leader more often than every three years.  The reason is that it takes roughly three years to get the maximum learning out of a leadership assignment. 

The critical first year

The first year you spend getting to know the existing systems and people.  It is a mistake for a new leader to start moving people and systems too soon.  Spend a few months observing what is happening and understanding it well before attempting surgery. That does not mean disengagement, just avoid being too directive at the start.

An exception to the rule 

There is an exception to the rule of moving slowly at first. Sometimes the new leader is inheriting a crisis situation that requires emergency actions.  Picture a battle where a military general was killed in a war that was a nearly hopeless situation.  The replacement general needs to take command immediately and direct activities from day one.

As a new leader, in the first year, you begin to formulate a plan. How will you use existing resources to obtain best performance? What additional resources do you need?  Good leaders listen well and make the strategic moves with high collaboration of the people.

The second year is execution

The second year you spend implementing the plan and dealing with any issues that arise from miscalculations or setbacks.

The third year you make it work better 

The third year is a critical time because you retool the strategy and policies in a process of learning.  If you are rotated out to another job before this phase is completed, the learning will be minimal.

After the third year, the process becomes redundant as you seek to refine what you have already accomplished. As you spend more years on the same job, less and less learning is happening. You have already been there and done that.

It is not essential that all leaders move after the third year. As a general rule, it is better to leave them in place for at least that duration. 

How to select the next assignment 

The next question is what kind of assignments to look for when rotating a leader. Avoid assignments that are parallel in nature, like moving from one department to another one in the same area.  The major benefit of rotating leaders is that the individual grows by operating outside the comfort zone.  Consider a new assignment in a different country or in a completely different function from the prior assignment.  

Conclusion 

As you develop your leaders, make sure there is some flow into your organization and some flow out.  Try to view leadership development as a flow of talent that is unselfish.  Do not hang on to the best resources just because they are performing well.  Give them a chance to move to other areas. If you do, then you will build a reputation as one who grows leaders. That is a positive reflection of your own leadership abilities.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations


Reducing Conflict 57 Emotional Intelligence Post COVID

September 5, 2022

Enhancing the level of Emotional Intelligence will reduce conflict in your organization, especially post-COVID.

In the 1980s several social scientists developed the concept of Emotional Intelligence (commonly called EI). EI is a measure of the ability of an individual to work well with people at all levels. Higher Emotional Intelligence is a good predictor of success in professional life and also in social activities.

Founders of the concepts

Keith Beasley coined the term Emotional Quotient (EQ)in 1987. The term “Emotional Intelligence” was popularized by Daniel Goleman in the mid-1990s. Goleman wrote several books and articles on the topic and he is still active today.

It is possible to develop one’s Emotional Intelligence rather easily at any point in life. We have the ability to train our brains to react differently to current conditions. That is a highly liberating thought. It means that we can reduce conflict in our lives through study to develop higher EI.

Another helpful book

One of my favorite books on Emotional Intelligence is by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves entitled Emotional Intelligence 2.0. If you have not been exposed to this book, perhaps this article will whet your appetite to purchase it.

More relevant in a post-COVID World

Although they published the book 13 years ago, the techniques are critical in our post-COVID world. EI allows people to hear each other accurately so true needs surface. EI fights against a “command and control” mentality on the part of leaders. Unfortunately, many leaders still have a command and control mindset and do not even realize it.

During the pandemic, most people were working remotely. As managers tried to keep productivity high. they resorted to many different tracking systems. People felt lower trust and higher scrutiny for more than two years.  In the hybrid situation, people are still feeling lower trust, and that has a negative impact on productivity.

Managers need to redouble their efforts to improve Emotional Intelligence based on their actions. Read and heed the information in Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

About the book

The authors start out by giving a single-sentence definition of Emotional Intelligence “Emotional Intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” This leads to a description of the four quadrants of EI.

1. Self Awareness – ability to recognize your own emotions
2. Manage your emotions – manage your emotions to enable helpful behavior
3. Social Awareness – understand emotions in others (also called empathy)
4. Relationship Management – manage interactions for successful outcomes

The book contains a link to an online survey that lets you measure your own EI. This survey is an interesting exercise, but it lacks validity because people with low EI have blind spots.

Be careful about rating yourself

You might rate yourself highly in EI when the reality is somewhat lower. At least you can compare your current perceptions to a future state after you have made some improvements.

How to use the book

Most of the book consists of potential strategies for improving Emotional Intelligence in the four quadrants described above. You get to pick the quadrant to work on. Also, you select strategies that would work best for you.

The approach is to work on only one quadrant, using three strategies at a time for the most impact. They also suggest getting an EI Mentor whom you select.

Work on your EI for about six months and retest for progress, then select a different quadrant.

Training your own brain

Train your brain to work slightly differently. Create new neural pathways from the emotional side of the brain to the rational side of the brain. I like to use a video analogy of plowing a driveway in your brain to describe how it works.

We are bombarded by stimuli every day. These stimuli enter our brain through the spinal cord and immediately go to the limbic system. That hemisphere is the emotional (right) side of the brain.

That process is why we first have an emotional reaction to stimuli and often flash out at other people. The signals have to travel to the rational side of the brain for us to have a conscious reaction. We then decide on our course of action. To do this, the electrical signal navigates along a kind of driveway in our brain called the Corpus Callosum.

The Corpus Callosum is a fibrous flat belt of tissue that connects the right and left hemispheres. How quickly the signals move through the Corpus Callosum determines how effective we will be at controlling our emotions.

As we improve our EI, what we are doing is plowing the snow out of the way in the Corpus Callosum. The result is that the signals can transfer more easily and we see less conflict in our lives.

Working with the concept of EI is an effective way to improve our effectiveness in this critical skill.

Roughly 60% of performance is a function of Emotional Intelligence. We now have an easy and almost-free mechanism to improve our interpersonal skills and reduce conflict.

Conclusion

I hope you will purchase this little book, particularly if you are a leader. It can change your life. For leaders, EI is the most consistent way to improve performance and be more successful with less conflict. The skills are particularly important in a time of turmoil such as the post-COVID environment.

 

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.  For more information, or to bring Bob in to speak at your next event, contact him at www.Leadergrow.com, bwhipple@leadergrow.com or 585.392.7763


Building Higher Trust 88 Trust and The Great Resignation

September 2, 2022

Lack of trust is strongly correlated to The Great Resignation that started in 2021 and continues today. Many leaders took a wrong turn in 2020, and it is costing them dearly years later.  I suspect most leaders could not articulate the wrong turn, so what chance do they have of reversing it? They lowered trust by increasing the “command and control” logic in response to many people working from home.

The old paradigm

Prior to the pandemic, the working world experience was the same for most people.  You got up, got dressed and fed, went to work, and arrived on time. All those actions were part of the daily routine for most people. It was expected behavior, so we all complied with various degrees of discipline. If we went too far off the beam, then there were negative consequences.

Abrupt change for most people

That pattern changed in March of 2020. Most of us now stayed home and did our work in a different setting.  We were forced to work with distractions that were not there before. Other family members’ needs were distractions. Even pets could be the cause for loss of concentration. We interfaced with each other using computers. The most common phrase in meetings became “You’re on mute.”

A  wrong turn

In this environment, many leaders decided that additional controls were required to maintain reasonable productivity. The classic “command and control” mechanisms that were in place before the pandemic were not adequate. Here is where the wrong turn happened. To feel comfortable, many managers resorted to tracking methods to ensure they were getting the full attention of their employees.

Lower trust

The tracking methods took many forms, from tracking computer keystrokes to frequent phone calls. All of the verification steps sent the same signal. People felt lower trust on the part of management. Perhaps they tolerated the abuse, but it left deep scars in the relationship with their leaders. Those scars are what triggered the Great Resignation.

An extreme example was the use of pecking bird toys. They would hit some keys every 30 seconds or so while the employee was in the bathroom. There were other extreme ploys that allowed employees to appear like they were working.

People started playing games

The lack of trust is what led people to adopt a “fool the clueless boss” mindset.  That feeling was the genesis of the Great Resignation. When people stopped and thought about all the Mickey Mouse rules, they became offended. They were willing to work in return for a living wage, but not at the expense of their dignity. Numerous workers decided the tradeoff was not worth it.

Forced Vaccinations

Some companies overstepped by forcing employees to get injected with experimental products. Many people quit rather than take a risk with unapproved substances. Some of the people who did comply had serious side effects and quit for that reason. The result was more strain on the labor shortage issue which had a negative impact on morale.

Bucking the trend

Some leaders did not fall into the trap. They expressed trust for their employees and showed empathy for them with the things they said and did. Most importantly, it was how things were presented to employees that conveyed real care and empathy. Those leaders actually enhanced trust in the time of great turmoil.

Conclusion

Leaders who tried to increase control during the turbulent COVID situation actually ended up losing more control. Those who were more inclined to trust their employees and showed it ended up as the winners.

 

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations