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In Search of Executive Wisdom

In Search of Executive Wisdom

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the president of a professional services firm. We talked about whether wisdom can be developed or learned.

My executive coaching client and I discussed how both knowledge and experience have influenced his ability to make wise decisions. I am coaching my client to reach deep within and tap into his wisdom and creativity.

"A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go but ought to be." ~ Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady

Every person in an executive role aspires to be wise and is expected to exercise wisdom in their decisions. Unfortunately, far too often senior leaders are more concerned with meeting the numbers and fail to come close to being astute.

The question is, can wisdom be practiced as a leadership competency in today's incredibly complex environment of corporate governance? What are the consequences of ignoring it?

While volumes have been written about wisdom over the ages, from philosophers and theologians to psychologists, it remains hard to define. Everyone believes they know it when they see it, especially in retrospect, without being able to pinpoint how or why.

We crave wisdom and hope our decisions will be viewed that way. We strive for brilliant decision- making in business, career, and work situations, and even more so when it comes to family, community, and moral issues.

Defining Wisdom

The Oxford English Dictionary (1998) states that wisdom is "the capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgment in the choice between means and ends; sometimes less strictly, sound sense in practical affairs; opposite to folly." Thus there is a combination of judgment, decisions, and actions.

Robert J. Sternberg, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University and a leading researcher of wisdom, sees it as the application of tacit knowledge in pursuing the goal of a common good. It requires a balance of intra-, inter-, and extra-personal interests and a balance of responses to environmental and global contexts over short and longer periods of time.

When leading others in organizations, matters of wisdom become complicated. Wisdom begins with consciousness of one's self and deepens with the awareness of the tension between the inner "I" and the outer world. In the case of executives, the outer world includes customers, suppliers, employees, the organization, financial profits, shareholders and the environment, often globally.

According to Sternberg (2005), "Effective leadership is, in large part, a function of creativity in generating ideas, analytical intelligence in evaluating the quality of these ideas, practical intelligence in implementing the ideas, and convincing others to value and follow the ideas, and wisdom to ensure that the decisions and their implementation are for the common good of all stakeholders."

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to search for their executive wisdom? Wise leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to make good decisions.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I exercise wisdom in my decisions?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help your search for executive wisdom. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

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Does Your Organization Employ Zombies?

Does Your Organization Employ Zombies?

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the president of a professional services firm. We talked about how some of his employees were actively disengaged.

My executive coaching client and I discussed how to motivate and energize his workforce. I am coaching my client to create a more positive workplace culture that will fully engage his people.

Does your organization have zombies? A frequent character of science fiction novels and movies is the zombie – a soulless being with vacant eyes who wanders around purposelessly. The statistics on workforce engagement are shocking. According to research, only 29 percent of employees are motivated and energized. What, then, is happening to the other two-thirds of the people working in organizations?This is an even worse scenario than the old joke in which a manager is asked how many people work in his company and he responds, “About half of them.

Measuring employee engagement is critical for executives who should analyze their business for the second half of the year. Since 1997 the Gallup Organization has surveyed over 3 million employees in three hundred thousand work units within corporations. This survey consists of 12 questions—called the “Q12” — that measures employee engagement on a five-point scale indicating weak to strong agreement. The analyses of survey results show that those companies with high Q12 scores experience lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, better customer loyalty and other manifestations of superior performance.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to better engage their employees? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more positive culture.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Does my organization employ zombies?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you create a more positive workplace culture. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

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How to Break Out of the Eight Traps of High Achievers

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the president of a professional services firm. We talked about how he could break out of the eight traps of high achievers.

My executive coaching client and I discussed how it is more important to focus on success and fulfillment than perfection. I am coaching my client to overcome the eight traps of high achievers, and focus more on success than perfection.

High performers exhibit eight typical behaviors, write Thomas J. and Sara DeLong in “The Paradox of Excellence” (Harvard Business Review, June 2011):

1.  Driven to achieve results: Achievers don’t let anything get in the way of goal completion. But they can become so caught up in tasks that colleagues get pushed aside. Transparency or helping others feels like a waste of valuable time.

2.  Doers: Because nobody can do it as well or as quickly as they can, they drift into poor delegation or micromanagement.

3.  Highly motivated: Achievers take their work seriously, but they fail to see the difference between the urgent and the merely important—a potential path to burnout.

4.  Addicted to positive feedback: Achievers care how others perceive them and their work, but they tend to ignore positive feedback and obsess over criticism.

5.  Competitive: Achievers go overboard in their competitive drive; they obsessively compare themselves to others. This leads to a chronic sense of insufficiency, false calibrations and career missteps.

6.  Passionate about work: Achievers feed on the highs of successful work but are subject to crippling lows. They tend to devote more attention to what’s lacking (the negative), rather than what’s right (the positive).

7.  Safe risk takers: Because they are so passionate about success, they shy away from risk and the unknown. They won’t stray far from their comfort zone.

8.  Guilt-ridden: No matter how much they accomplish, achievers believe it’s never enough. They want more. When they do complete a milestone, they don't take the time to savor the moment. They expect to be successful, so they deny themselves the chance to fully appreciate the joy of achievement.

Breaking Out of Traps

First, take a hard look at yourself. Identify any of the eight traps into which you’ve fallen. Which traps escalate your anxieties and cause you to engage in unproductive behaviors?

Next, adopt new practices that give you the courage to step out of your comfort zone. This isn’t  easy, and it won’t happen overnight. Many leaders require help from a trusted peer, mentor or coach.

It’s a hard truth, but the talent and skills that got you “here” won’t take you “there.” Your best thinking may not be enough. As intelligent as you may be, you simply cannot know what you don’t know.

If you’re smart and ambitious, you likely have a coach or have experience with one at some point in your career. It’s time to review or renew your coaching relationship.

Work with your coach or mentor on these six steps for freeing yourself from traps:

1.  Forget the past: How much are you basing your career decisions on past experiences, either good or bad? Most of us make irrational comparisons between a past bad experience and a current situation. We are notoriously poor predictors of our future emotional states.

Most of what we surmise about our past failures is circumstantial. Look at the past with a different perspective — one that takes into account randomness or luck.

We are never in control of situations as much we think, and blaming or crediting ourselves is often irrational and inappropriate. Sure, we’ve accomplished a lot, and we’ve made mistakes. That was then; this is now.

What counts is stepping up to learn new tasks and skills. An open mind — one that is willing to admit limitations, as well as strengths — means you’re available for new challenges. You’ve conquered your fear of making new, and inevitable, mistakes.

Too much reliance on the past will stifle your courage to “fail upward” and use missteps as learning opportunities for growth.

2. Develop and use your support network: When you pride yourself on being an independent self-starter, it’s difficult to ask for help. You tell yourself you don’t want to bother people unnecessarily.

You may fear feedback because you don’t want to hear your work isn’t up to par. You may even choose to consult a colleague who’s going to tell you what you want to hear. If so, you’re hurting your chances of stretching and growing.Instead, challenge yourself to ask respected individuals for regular feedback, even if it’s painful at first.

Having a structured feedback plan makes it easier. Find a mentor who’s familiar with your work, and tell him you’d like to run something by him. Ask these three questions:

a.  What should I stop doing?

b.  What should I continue doing?

c.  What should I start doing?

3.  Become approachable in a high-achiever way: Learn to ask questions. Doing so doesn’t imply you’re ignorant, as long as you phrase them correctly. Let people know you’re trying to explore different perspectives and that you’d like to learn their opinions or thoughts.

Share small mistakes with others. When you practice acknowledging uncertainty or confessing to mistakes, you’re showing your human side. This makes you more approachable and trustworthy.

When you open up to others, you send a powerful message. Others will reciprocate with their own stories, and they’ll be more willing to help you out.

4.  Focus on the long term,but concentrate on next steps: Long-term success requires a willingness to take short-term risks. Fear of failure or of looking inept, however, can stop you from taking chances.

You have to be willing to leave your comfort zone to complete the new tasks required for changing career demands. Long-term goals can withstand minor setbacks. Look at the big picture, and give yourself the necessary latitude to make a few missteps along the way.

5.  Adopt a positive mindset: Recent studies reveal that a happy, positive mindset is a prerequisite for success — not its byproduct. When you approach a project by focusing on what’s good about it, you set yourself up for great results.

Try framing an assignment as a challenge instead of a problem, and you’ll be better able to think calmly and creatively. When your boss gives you extra work, you have two choices: feel put upon and overloaded, or take satisfaction in knowing she trusts you to get the job done.

6.  Embrace humility, practice and patience: Doing the right thing poorly is painful at first but well worth the effort. Sure, it’s more satisfying to do something well, but think about the best use of your time. Routines and easy success can set you up for stagnation.

To move your game to the next level or in a new direction, be willing to exhibit vulnerability and even humility. Professional growth takes practice and patience. Most of us need to move beyond our comfort zones to enjoy continued success.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for high achiever leaders? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more positive culture.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I caught in any of the traps of high achievers?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help free you form any of the 8 traps of high achievers. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Executive Wisdom - The 8 Traps of High Achievers

Executive Wisdom

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the president of a professional services firm. We talked about how he was driven to achieve his goals and addicted to perfection.

My executive coaching client and I discussed how it is more important to focus on success and fulfillment than perfection. I am coaching my client to overcome the eight traps of high achievers, and focus more on success and having work life balance and more discretionary time.

The 8 Traps of High Achievers

 “Many high performers would rather do the wrong things well than do the right thing poorly.”
~ Thomas J. DeLong and Sara DeLong, “The Paradox of Excellence,” Harvard Business Review, June 2011

Leaders are high achievers who continually grow as professionals. But in many organizations, there are high achievers who are floundering. They’re smart, ambitious professionals who aren’t as productive or satisfied as they could be. Many ascend to leadership positions and reach a plateau in their professional growth.

Throughout their careers, they’ve been told they’re high potentials. They should be flourishing, but they often let anxiety about their performance compromise their ability to learn and grow.

Fear of revealing their limitations may cause high achievers to undermine their careers and hamper their leadership abilities. Many know they can and should be doing better, but they fail to ask for help.

If you’re a high achiever, then you’re used to winning and accustomed to turning out remarkable performance. But what happens when you’re in over your head or on an accelerating treadmill that’s going nowhere fast?

For example, when challenged by new technologies or strategic game changes, you’re probably unwilling to admit it and often refuse to ask for help. The very strengths that led you to the fast track can steer you toward poor performance.

High performers exhibit eight typical behaviors, write Thomas J. and Sara DeLong in “The Paradox of Excellence” (Harvard Business Review, June 2011):

1. Driven to achieve results: Achievers don’t let anything get in the way of goal completion. But they can become so caught up in tasks that colleagues get pushed aside. Transparency or helping others feels like a waste of valuable time.

2. Doers: Because nobody can do it as well or as quickly as they can, they drift into poor delegation or micromanagement.

3. Highly motivated: Achievers take their work seriously, but they fail to see the difference between the urgent and the merely important—a potential path to burnout.

4. Addicted to positive feedback: Achievers care how others perceive them and their work, but they tend to ignore positive feedback and obsess over criticism.

5. Competitive: Achievers go overboard in their competitive drive; they obsessively compare themselves to others. This leads to a chronic sense of insufficiency, false calibrations and career missteps.

6. Passionate about work: Achievers feed on the highs of successful work but are subject to crippling lows. They tend to devote more attention to what’s lacking (the negative), rather than what’s right (the positi

7. Safe risk takers: Because they are so passionate about success, they shy away from risk and the unknown. They won’t stray far from their comfort zone.

8. Guilt-ridden: No matter how much they accomplish, achievers believe it’s never enough. They want more. When they do complete a milestone, they don't take the time to savor the moment. They expect to be successful, so they deny themselves the chance to fully appreciate the joy of achievement.

You may recognize yourself as a high achiever. Or, perhaps you started out that way but have let yourself fade into the background. You play it safe, maybe even telling yourself that your average performance is above the norm — so why risk more?

When you’re used to having things come easily to you, it’s only natural to shy away from assignments that test you and require you to learn new skills.

When you have a successful self-image to protect, you find yourself avoiding risk. Instead, many high achievers like yourself hunker down and lock themselves into routines at the expense of professional growth.

It’s possible to break this cycle and get back on track for career success. In fact, it’s not only possible — it’s essential if you want to flourish in top leadership roles.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who exhibit the eight traps of high achievers? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more positive culture.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I as productive and satisfied as I can be?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you overcome the 8 traps of high achievers. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

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Are You Trying To Make Pigs Fly (or Expecting Employees to Do Things They’re Not Cut Out to Do)?

A common complaint is about employees who repeatedly fail to follow through on specifically requested tasks. The reason for the lack of follow through is often something like “not enough time, couldn’t get to it.”  I cringe when I hear business leaders admit they begrudgingly continue to “accept” this excuse. (Accept is in quotations because they don't  really accept it, they became frustrated with it and want it to change as the status quo is unacceptable and negatively impacts on business results.)

When I first heard this from a couple of my own clients, I presumed that their employees just weren't committed to the job and helping the company achieve its goals. I was told in both cases that was not an accurate assessment as these employees were “good employees that were always on time for work, rarely took days off and worked hard while on duty.”

I then said, “Then its just procrastination as they are not comfortable doing what you are asking of them and they avoid it. They are “yessing” you and always defaulting to activities they are more comfortable performing, letting your priorities slip.”

The next day I received a call from one of these clients saying, “You were right, she admitted to me she wasn’t comfortable making the calls I was asking her to make."  No kidding!

You can’t make pigs fly!

And you can’t have a receptionist, hired because of a personality geared toward make people happy and liking your organization, make collection calls or missed appointment reschedules. You can’t have a vet technician who prefers to interact with animals over humans make outgoing phone calls for collections while also struggling with challenging conversations with patients over billing and appointments.

In small businesses I realize it is imperative for people to fill multiple roles and multi task. I get that. But if that is the job expectation, you better invest more time in hiring the right person for that dual role.

Stop hiring the first person that has someof the skills you determine are your highest priority and then try to squeeze in the other responsibilities after they’re hired, or without full disclosure during the original hiring process. This is bait and switch.

I coach my clients to paint the most challenging job expectations as possible so that reality will never be as tough as articulated in the meeting and have the employee sell themselves that they are a fit for contributing to that type of work environment.

Quite simply, you must invest time on the front end of the hiring process to:

  1. Create a job description that includes specific performance expectations and job outcomes and make it as comprehensive as possible for the position you are looking to fill.
  2. Develop specific behavior based questions of your applicants in the interview process that are geared to generate answers that will let you know how they would react to real life situations they may encounter in your work environment.
  3. Invest at least as much time in evaluating an individual’s personality, attitude and beliefs around work ethic, personal and professional growth and development, and working in teams, etc as you do investigating their work experience and education.

Make sure you have people who are working in their areas of strength 80% of the time if you want happy, productive employees.

Baseball teams do not have catchers playing center field, or third basemen coming in as relief pitchers. In football, quarterbacks do not play defensive line, and wide receivers do not kick field goals.

And, pushing a pig out an airplane door at 15,000 feet to try and teach them to fly will just give you a dead pig when they hit the ground with a loud “splat!” Trying to get employees to perform tasks they are not suited for will cause them to fall just as flat!

Are you trying to make pigs fly in your hiring and employee performance expectations?

If you are tired of avoiding and tolerating limiting behaviors in team members and aspire to inspire greater organizational and team performance, it's time to take action. You can apply for a gratis leadership assessment session here: http://www.workplacecommunicationexpert.com/strategy-sessions/

 

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How to Be More Positive at Work

Positivity at Work

Emotionally intelligent leaders over the past two years became aware of the need for resilience, and restructuring their organizations for a period of survival and stabilization. Now leaders must rebound and take the next steps for a sustainable future. They must refocus, inspire and innovate to lead successfully and grow their business.

My executive coaching client and I discussed how with the help of HR company leaders could create a more positive work environment. I am coaching my client on to help company leaders at all levels become more positive, and change the way people think and act to create a more positive culture.

Raise Your Positivity

Scientists are experimenting to discover new ways to boost positivity. Because of the brain’s neuroplasticity, we can rewire it to create new thought habits and become more positive.

Like any new activity, this requires practice. It may take a while for positive thinking to become natural and habitual. Try these three frequently cited exercises to create positive thinking habits:

1. Practice gratitude. Keep a daily gratitude list. Ask yourself questions like “What went right?” and “What was the best part of today?”

2. Practice positive feedback. Catch people doing things right. As you practice this skill and express your appreciation more often, people will shine. You’ll also become more aware of what works.

3. Envision your best possible future. When you daydream about your future, you set yourself up for goal-directed behaviors. Having a vision for the future is reassuring when the going gets tough. Envisioning your best possible future helps you persevere and provides hope and energy.

Unfortunately, few leaders pay attention to positivity in the workplace. Positivity training programs don’t seem serious enough for business allocations, and some leaders may think they’re already pretty positive.

Indeed, most people score about a 2:1 positivity/negativity ratio. While it’s rare to find people who enjoy a 3:1 ratio, remember that it’s the true tipping point between average and flourishing.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to create a culture of positivity? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more positive culture.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I practice gratitude on a daily basis?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you create a culture where all employees are more positive and fully engaged. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

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How to Create Collaborative Business Teams - The 3:1 Positivity Ratio

Collaborative Business Teams

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the president of a professional services firm. My executive coaching client and I discussed how firm leaders could create a more positive work culture. I am coaching my client on to help firm team leaders become more positive, and change how their business teams think and act to create a more positive and productive culture.

The positivity/negativity ratio has been found to be a critical parameter in ascertaining what kinds of dynamics are possible for business teams. It is measured by counting the instances of positive feedback (e.g., “that is a good idea”) vs. negative feedback (e.g., “this is not what I expected; I am disappointed”).

For years, organizational psychologist Marcial Losada, PhD, studied the characteristics of high-performing business teams. Dr. Losada’s research findings can be summarized as follows: If a team is highly connected, its members will tend to maintain an equilibrium between internal and external focus, as well as between inquiry and advocacy. They will also maintain a positivity/negativity ratio above 3:1.

If connectivity is low, the team will be more internally focused, it will advocate strongly, and its positivity/negativity ratio will be below 3:1.

The Tipping Point: 3:1 Positivity Ratio

Dr. Losada’s research correlates with Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s in her book Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity and Thrive (Crown Archetype, 2009), in that both independently arrived at a 3:1 positivity-to-negativity ratio for optimal functioning (whether for individuals or teams).

Psychologist John Gottman, PhD, an expert on marital relationships, found similar data for successful marriages. In flourishing marriages, positivity ratios were about 5:1. Similarly, research by clinical psychologist Robert Schwartz, PhD, cites an optimal positivity ratio of 4:1.

Most people (more than 80 percent), when reporting their experiences over the course of a day, report about a 2:1 positivity/negativity ratio.

For a small percentage, however, the ratio will be over 3:1. This correlates with high performance, life satisfaction and other measures of flourishing.

Improve Your Ratio

You can take a self-evaluation of your positivity/negativity ratio at Dr. Fredrickson’s site, www.positivityratio.com. To improve your ratio, you must decrease the number and intensity of negative moments, increase the positive moments, or both.

The goal is not to eliminate bad thoughts. Negative emotions are appropriate and useful. Properly used, negativity keeps us grounded, real and honest. It provides energy at crucial moments.

We need to become aware, however, of gratuitous negativity. For example, if you work with someone who’s annoying, you probably plug into negativity with each encounter. This is an entrenched emotional habit—and while it may be justified, it’s detrimental to your success and well-being.

Fortunately, simple awareness of negativity has a curative effect. Once you learn to spot it, you can defuse it. This is similar to the practice of mindfulness meditation, where you observe your thoughts without judgment.

To reduce negative thinking, adopt these useful techniques from the field of cognitive behavioral psychology and Dr. Fredrickson’s book:

  1. Dispute negative, black-and-white thinking habits (always/never, most/least, internal/external).
  2. Break ruminative thinking (use distractions to change mood).
  3. Become more mindful (observe without judgment).
  4. Reduce bad news streams.
  5. Avoid gossip and sarcasm.
  6. Smile more often at people.

Are you working in an organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to create more positive and creative business teams? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more positive culture.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I part of a high performing business team where members are highly positive?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you create a culture where all employees are more positive and fully engaged. Youcan become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

7 Tips for Collaborative Leadership – Connecting High Performance Teams

Collaborative Leadership

I was recently working with one of my San Francisco Bay Area executive coaching clients – the president of a professional services firm.We talked about how some members of his leadership team didn’t share information throughout the organization. They lacked social intelligence and the motivation to connect with people unlike themselves. In our increasingly connected business and social world as evidenced by social media and globalization, a collaborative leadership style is often required.

My executive coaching client and I discussed how with the help of HR as business partner, firm leaders at all levels could create a more collaborative work environment. I am coaching my client on to help firm leaders become more collaborative, and change the way people think and act to create a more positive and productive culture resulting in more profits.

Collaborative leaders over the past two years became aware of the need for resilience, creativity and innovation restructuring their organizations for a period of survival and stabilization. Now leaders must rebound and take the next steps to thrive and create a sustainable future. They must refocus, inspire and continuously innovate with their teams to lead successfully and grow their business.

Connecting High Performance Teams

According to a July-August 2011 article Are You a Collaborative Leader? Authors Herminia Ibarra and Morten Hansen, collaborative leadership is the capacity to engage people and teams outside one’s formal control and inspire them to work toward common goals – despite differences in convictions, cultural values, and operating norms. Collaborative leadership is the opposite of the old autocratic command–and-control leadership style.

Ibarra and Hansen discovered that collaborative leadership requires strong skills in four areas: playing the role of connector, attracting diverse talent, modeling collaboration at the top, and showing a strong hand to keep teams from getting mired in debate. Their research suggests that these skills can be learned, and can help executives generate improved performance.

At their core, collaborative leaders are connectors. In his best-selling book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell used the term “connector” to describe people who link people, ideas, and resources from diverse social and business worlds.In successful businesses, connectors are critical facilitators of collaboration.

Collaborative leaders are effective at doing the following seven things.

1. Blog about trends, idea, and people they meet outside their organization.

2. Engage diverse talent from everywhere to produce better results.

3. Make global connections thatdiscovers new opportunities.

4. Collaborate at the top to modeldesired behavior.

5. Assume a strong role directing teams to increase the speed of decisions and ensure agility and execution.

6. Create diverse teams focused on achieving results.

7. Engage talent across generations tapping into their intrinsic motivation.

Collaborative leaders make sure employees at all levels and locations have access to relevant information and essential resources. They ensure that the people who are leading collaboration have the authority to make final decisions. Accountability is based on achieving shared goals. Collaborative leadership works best when innovation and creativity are critical.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who are committed to lead collaboratively? Collaborative leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a culture where people are positively connected.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a collaborative leader?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their high performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you create a culture where all employees share information, work collaboratively and are fully engaged. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Do You Want to Train Your People or Do You Want to Fix the Problem?

When I ask Human Resource directors and corporate training directors, and even CEO's about how they feel “training” is going to help their organizations, I usually learn that they have grossly over-estimated what “training” can be expected to do.

 

Often there are issues occurring in the work environment that training can not help and can even make the problems worse.  A lack of directnessin communicating can be devastating to a work environment.

 

Throwing “training” at a work environment problem, which often means it is steeped in low trust and respect between team members, will exacerbate the problem. This plays out in almost every training I deliver where none of the managers or organizational leaders participate in the trainings. At the end of the trainings, at least 30% of the feedback forms I receive respond to the question “What could have been better about this training?” with “If all of our department team members, including our managers and other company leaders had this training.”

 

If the individuals most responsible for the team or organization’s culture and performance are not participating with their team members, the training to “fix” a problem is guaranteed to do more harm than good.

 

Another issue is that often the issues the training addresses offer solutions that require sensitive or challenging conversations between individual participants in the training. Since the open forum of the training environment is not the appropriate environment to address these issues head on, participants become frustrated and resentful of the training and it just reinforces the negative situation.

 

Here’s another example. In a meeting with the VP of Human Resources and  VP of Operations for a large manufacturing firm, the first half of which we discussed management and leadership training for their middle managers and shop managers, I used the phrase “toxic” to describe some of the work environments I’ve helped transform.

 

The VP of Operations shot back in his next breath, “Toxic, hmm, that’s what we’ve got.”  To which I informed him that training was not going to fix it.

 

They both nodded their heads in agreement and the conversation took a turn in a new direction.

 

We began focusing on inviting the President/CEO and other senior leadership team members to discuss addressing issues at the very top of the organization. And training will not be on the agenda, at least not initially. It is going to take some significant team development and trust building activities and consistent accountability to a new approach to leading and communicating in this company.

 

So, the next time you think you need “training” for your organization ask this question –

 

“Why and what 'problem' are we trying to solve?”

Categories: 

Indirect Communication and How It Undermines Trust in Organizations

There are many different things within an organization that can kill trust and one of the biggies is ‘communication’. Further, one of the most destructive communication sins when it comes to trust is what I call ‘indirect communication.’

 

Most of us have both experienced ‘indirect communication’ and/or have practiced it, at one time in our lives.

 

In organization speak it is called other things like, ‘back stabbing,’ ‘throwing people under the bus’ (my all-time favorite), ‘going behind one’s back,’ or ‘going over someone’s head.’ That’s one form of ‘indirect communication’ most often engaged in by co-workers trying to gain a competitive advantage with a boss by dragging someone down.

Another form is when a supervisor, leader, manager (call them what you will) attempts to address behavior issues with a blanket memo or staff meeting when the issue is only with one person.

 

Instead of dealing one-on-one with that individual the supervisor calls everyone together to go over the ‘policy and procedures’ manual thinking that reminding the whole team of the guidelines will solve the issue and save them having to confront the individual.

 

What usually happens is that everyone in the room knows who the perpetrator is and becomes more resentful of that person for pulling everyone into it, and loses trust in their leader who has exposed their weakness because the issue is not being dealt with one-on-one.

 

The real work environment killer is that the individual perpetrator doesn’t ‘get it.’ They don’t see themselves or their behavior as a problem and the directive goes right over their head so they keep doing it.

 

This happens more often than you may think and it is a trust and work environment killer. I know because I have experienced first hand many times.

 

How about your company? How is indirect communication negatively impacting your organization? 

 

Being informed is halfway to solving the problem, which is why I am giving all readers a copy of this special report "The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication” downloadable from: http://www.HowToImproveLeadershipCommunication.com

  

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