Member Login

Leadership

How to Improve Your Intuitive Thinking

Category: 

 

Improve Your Intuitive Thinking

The instinctive genius that enables a CEO to craft the perfect strategy could require an uncanny ability to detect patterns that other people either overlook or mistake for random noise." ~Alden M. Hayashi, “When to Trust Your Gut,” Harvard Business Review, February 2001

Some business experts extol the powers of intuitive thinking. Others caution leaders to beware of faulty reasoning and inherent biases.

Many executives will tell you that decisions should be based solely on a thorough analysis of data. But a new breed aims to achieve breakthroughs by harnessing the power of intuition.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, leaders must make complex decisions quickly, even when faced with uncertainty. Data and numbers rarely provide a complete picture. Making sound decisions in a chaotic climate requires us to strengthen our intuitive thinking. Refining our intuition ensures more accurate and innovative insights.

Unfortunately, most organizations don’t have time for a slow process of hearings and review. Decisions often cannot be tabled. We have to make them quickly by:

1.  Processing the best available information

2.  Inferring from it

3.  Using intuition to act

Over the years, various management studies have found that executives routinely rely on their intuition to solve complex problems when logical methods (such as cost-benefit analyses) simply won’t do. The higher you climb within an organization, the greater your need for intuition, notes Hayashi, a senior editor at the MIT Sloan Management Review, in his aforementioned Harvard Business Review article.

Honing your intuition is no longer optional. Most leaders recognize this sobering reality. They know that intuition’s fallibility must be balanced with appropriate analysis. We must nonetheless improve the quality of our intuition if we wish to succeed.

Let’s start with a clear definition of intuition, analyze how it works and outline steps for improving your intuitive skills.

Disrobing Intuition

“The real challenge is not whether to trust intuition, but how to strengthen it to make it more trustworthy.” ~ Gary Klein, PhD, The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut to Make Better Decisions at Work (Crown Business, 2004)

While some enjoy promoting its seemingly magical qualities, intuition isn’t some mysterious gift or touchy-feely psychic ability.  There’s science behind it, which means you can learn how to leverage your intuition for optimum results. We need to treat intuition as a strength that can be acquired and expanded by building—and making better use of—a rich experience base.

Intuition improves as we learn to process and fully understand the situations we face. The more experiences we have, the stronger our intuition becomes. Repetition (practice) sets the stage for competency. Intuitive decision-making improves when we acquire more patterns, recognize how they play out and develop a larger repertoire of strategies.

You cannot improve intuition with experience alone. You must continually challenge yourself to make tough appraisals and learn from the consequences. Intuitive leaders rely on keen observation, pattern recognition and mental models.

Pattern Recognition

Repeated experiences are unconsciously linked to form patterns. A pattern is a set of connected cues. When you spot a few of the cues, you can expect to find others.

As we gain experience at work, we assemble a catalog of recognizable patterns. Over time, it becomes easier to match a situation with a previous pattern. Learning to detect patterns may prove challenging, but your practice will eventually pay off.

Pattern recognition explains how leaders can make effective decisions without conducting a deliberate analysis. They’ve learned which cues are relevant. Truly inspired decisions require a more sophisticated mechanism: cross-indexing. The ability to see similar patterns in disparate fields elevates your intuitive skills.

Action Responses

Patterns include routines for responding, known as “action scripts.” If we see a situation as typical, then we can recognize the typical action to take. We develop hunches about what’s really going on and how we should respond.

Using our intuition, we translate our experiences into judgments and action responses. When intuitive leaders see familiar patterns, their response is usually obvious.

Pattern recognition occurs instantaneously, without conscious thought. We make intuitive judgments so quickly that they seem mysterious. Professor Klein’s diagram demonstrates the science behind these judgments.

Situations generate recognizable cues, and patterns trigger typical action responses that, in turn, affect the situation.

The Role of Analysis

Analysis has a proper role as a supporting tool for making intuitive decisions. Not all situations and experiences are the same, obviously. The extent to which we apply previous action scripts or devise new ones depends on our ability to analyze projected consequences.

Professor Klein recommends using “pre-mortems”: discussions that imagine scenarios with various applied actions and consequences. Intuition helps us decide how to react, and analysis ensures our intuition won’t mislead us.

Know—and Check—Yourself

Self-checking and feedback are crucial for sound intuitive decisions, so some organizations have made these processes part of the culture in their executive suites. Intuitive thinkers admit their instincts are often plain wrong. They understand that human nature can cloud decision-making. For example:

·   We will often take unnecessary risks to recover a loss (the classic gambler’s syndrome).

·   We tend to see patterns where none exist—a phenomenon that statisticians call “over-fitting the data.”

·   We tend to be revisionists. We frequently remember when we didn’t trust our gut and should have, while conveniently forgetting when we were fortunate to have ignored our instincts.

·   We set up a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we hire or promote someone, for instance, we consciously or subconsciously expend extra effort to ensure the person’s success, obscuring whether our choice was actually a good one.

Decisions are fluid, and leaders know when to change them. We enjoy the greatest power of intuitive decision-making (coupled with continual feedback) when we hone the process into an effective management style for quick action.

Intuitive People

“People who believe in trusting their intuition tend to be more successful in life. Oprah Winfrey, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson are all well-known gut trusters.”~ Lynn A. Robinson, MEd, Listen: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis (Globe Pequot Press, 2009)

Certain characteristics define executives who outperform their peers in intuitive decision-making.

·   They’re open to feelings and impulses.

·    They seek continual learning experiences and are unafraid of asking questions.

·   They’re inquisitive and keenly observant.

·   They have a good sense of what will happen next.

·   They can articulate how a current situation has developed.

·   They’re aware of their fallibility and are open to alternative interpretations.

·   They’re confident when dealing with time pressures and uncertainties.

·   They anticipate problems in time to avoid or defuse them.

·   They aren’t put off by unexpected events; they use them to find new solutions.

·   They understand their routines and are aware of system limitations and traps.

·   They’re self-aware and acknowledge potential biases.

10 Tips for Improving Intuitive Thinking

“Developing your intuitive sense is similar to learning any new skill—the more you practice, the more proficient you will become. Learn to trust your decision-making ability by paying close attention to what your intuition is telling you.” ~ Romanus Wolter, “Trusting your gut instincts,” Entrepreneur, November 2005

None of us starts a career with the expertise we need. We learn as we go. Some of us broaden our skills better than others because we pay attention, notice what works and what doesn’t, and build a repertoire of experiences (both good and bad).

Professor Klein offers 10 critical tips for growing your intuitive abilities:

1.  Be the best. There’s no guarantee you’ll be an intuitive savant, but this strategy is backed up by empirical evidence. Pay attention to your first impulses when faced with a tough call.

2.  Use analysis to support your intuition. Imagine which actions your impulse suggests taking; then anticipate what could conceivably go wrong.

3.  Put more energy into understanding the situation than into deliberating over what to do.

4.  Don’t confuse desire with intuition. Intensely wanting something to happen is not a reason to ignore commonsense intuition.

5.  Override your intuition when it misleads you.  Intuition is fallible. Your mind excels at holding onto inaccurate beliefs and faulty biases. Try forming an alternate story to get unstuck from a stubborn mindset.

6.  Think ahead. Intuition helps us create expectations, connect the dots, flag inconsistencies and warn us of potential problems. A “pre-mortem” discussion helps teams run through a strategy to see how it will play out. In short, learn to foresee problems.

7.  Uncertainty adds excitement to decision-making. Intuition helps manage this emotion.

8.  Use the right decision-making strategy. There’s a time to rely on intuition and a time to analyze all of the factors that go into a decision. If the issues are complicated and no one has good intuitions about the situation, analysis makes more sense.

9.  Consult the experts. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, learn to trust the intuitions of experts with experience. Experts will see cues you won't notice and will introduce options you may never envision.

10.  Stay alert for intuition barriers. Red flags should go up when everyone is expected to follow specific systems and procedures, regardless of the situation at hand. Understand when to question the data, and find out how parameters are acquired. You should clarify each step of your organization’s standard operating procedures to understand their purpose. Computers (or computer-like people) are no substitute for human experience or astute pattern recognition.

Practice and feedback are the secrets to developing skilled intuition. Work on noticing situations, recognizing patterns and discerning best possible actions. You’ll eventually enjoy the rewards of sound intuitive-thinking skills.

If you struggle with this aspect of leadership, consider seeking help from a trusted mentor or executive coach.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

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 leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring 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.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

Categories: 

How Leaders Can Build Trust

Category: 

The Trust Filter

The first thing people do when listening to you is determine whether to trust you. This decision is made almost entirely unconsciously.

Leaders can build trust in many ways:

·  Project Warmth and Competence. This is perhaps the most important component of gaining others’ trust. How well do you communicate friendliness, loyalty and empathy? Do you come across as intelligent, skillful and effective? According to Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, perceptions of warmth and competence account for 90 percent of the variability in whether others perceive you positively or negatively.

·  Trust Them First. We are naturally inclined to reciprocate favors and extend trust to someone who has trusted us first.

·  Pay Attention. Leaders who make eye contact, smile, nod, recognize individuals by name and really listen are the ones who excel at communicating. While this may seem obvious, too many executives appear hurried and oblivious to others.

·  Share Your Stories. When you share past experiences (especially your mistakes), you become vulnerable, thereby extending trust to listeners. This helps build high-quality relationships.

·  Walk Your Talk. People need to see you make good on your promises and carry out your stated intentions. Actions speak louder than words. Overconfidence is a trap for leaders, who must learn to project a realistic sense of themselves. Great leaders show modesty, yet remain confident in their words and deed

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

I coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, trust, and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results? Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Forbes and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness. After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

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/drmaynardbrusman

http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Trustworthy Leaders Project Warmth and Competence

Category: 

 

Mindful Leaders Manage Perceptions

Even at the highest levels of government and business, leaders struggle to communicate their intentions.

A leader’s words may be misinterpreted, misquoted and/or taken out of context. Leaders cannot succeed without telegraphing their thoughts and intentions.

The Perception Process

Listeners experience a flurry of brain activity as they try to understand what you’re saying. They’re sizing you up, forming opinions of you and your message, comparing you to others, and remembering similar situations and opinions.

Most of what happens in perceivers’ minds is automatic and unconscious. This is Phase 1 of the perception process, and it is riddled with bias.

In Phase 2, perceivers use the part of the brain concerned with logic and reason. This is a much more effortful thinking process, one that requires energy. Consequently, they avoid it to conserve brain resources.

More often than not, Phase 2 is never activated. People form opinions of you and your message with Phase 1 assumptions—and then they move on.

Two Flawed Assumptions

“Statistically speaking, there are only weak correlations between how others see us and how we believe we are seen,” notes social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson in No One Understands You and What to Do About It (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015).

Without even realizing it, we’re likely operating under two flawed assumptions:

1.     Other people see you objectively as you are.

2.     Other people see you as you see yourself.

Neither of these beliefs is true. You’re much harder to read than you imagine.

For example, your emotions are much less obvious than you realize. Strong emotions are easy to read: fear, rage, surprise, disgust. But the more subtle emotions we experience daily—frustration, annoyance, disappointment, impatience and respect—may not actually register on our faces. When they do, they’re usually indistinguishable from other emotions.

How “Judgeable” Are You?

Some of us are more knowable than others. Leaders who are easier to understand deliberately express themselves in ways that encourage more accurate perceptions. Psychologists refer to this as “judgeability.”

If you don’t tell people what they need to know, their brains will fill in the blanks, creating a personality profile that may or may not be accurate.

Perception Biases

Perceivers rely on rules of thumb so their brains don’t have to work too hard:

1.     Confirmation Bias. When people look at you, they see what they’re expecting to see. They hear what they’re expecting to hear. They seek (and will probably find) evidence that matches their expectations.

2.     Primacy Effect. First impressions strongly influence how we interpret and remember information. People resist changing opinions once they’re formed.

3.     Stereotypes. Most people are biased, yet they deny being so. We are unconsciously influenced by stereotypical beliefs about gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, professions, socioeconomic classes and education. Our brains are wired to quickly sort friend from foe. We cannot turn off this feature, but we can become conscious of it.

4.     Halo Effect. We tend to assume that people who possess one positive quality also have many others.

5.     False-Consensus Effect. We assume other people think and feel exactly the way we do. We erroneously believe our bad habits are universal and normal.

3 Perceptual Filters

You never start from scratch when meeting new people. Their brains are rapidly filling in details about you, even if you’ve never met them before.

We view others through three lenses or filters:

·      Trust

·      Power

·      Ego

The Trust Filter

The first thing people do when listening to you is determine whether to trust you. This decision is made almost entirely unconsciously.

Leaders can build trust in many ways:

·      Project Warmth and Competence. This is perhaps the most important component of gaining others’ trust. How well do you communicate friendliness, loyalty and empathy? Do you come across as intelligent, skillful and effective?

·      Trust Them First. We are naturally inclined to reciprocate favors and extend trust to someone who has trusted us first.

·      Pay Attention. Leaders who make eye contact, smile, nod, recognize individuals by name and really listen are the ones who excel at communicating.

·      Share Your Stories. When you share past experiences (especially your mistakes), you become vulnerable, thereby extending trust to listeners.

·      Walk Your Talk. People need to see you make good on your promises and carry out your stated intentions.

The Power Filter

Power changes the way we see other people, especially when there’s a power differential.

When leaders speak, they must be mindful of how their power influences their message. Failing to address the issue leaves room for perceivers to fill in the blanks.

The Ego Filter

The ego lens has one goal: to protect and enhance the perceiver’s self-esteem. Perceivers will always protect their self-esteem, including their decision to receive or reject a leader’s message.

Successful Communication

Identify your ingrained assumptions, biases and filters so you can manage them more effectively. Halvorson suggests the following strategies:

1.     Take your time. Always remember that your first impression may be dead wrong. There are always other possible interpretations of someone’s behavior.

2.     Commit to being fair. We sometimes forget to be fair when we judge someone. The more you consciously implement fairness, the more accurate your perceptions will be.

3.     Beware of the confirmation bias. Once you form an impression, you’ll seek evidence to confirm it. You’ll ignore other behaviors, even (and perhaps especially) if they contradict your impressions. Have the courage to confront your biases and accept reality.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

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 leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring 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.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.


“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

How Great Leaders Manage Perceptions

Category: 

 

“You can influence people’s perceptions of you by playing to their needs. Once you understand how to make other people feel comfortable with you, you’ve won their approval.” Corporate marketing consultant Camille Lavington, You’ve Only Got Three Seconds (Main Street Books, 1998)

Even at the highest levels of government and business, leaders struggle to communicate their intentions. Most of us have some demonstrable deficiencies when it comes to influencing others.

A leader’s words may be misinterpreted, misquoted and/or taken out of context. Communicating and managing perceptions remain significant challenges. Leaders cannot succeed without consistently and accurately telegraphing their thoughts and intentions. If you want to shape others’ perceptions, you must take control of the messages you send.

Major problems occur when listeners distort your words to fit their existing views. Their prevailing agendas and beliefs may prevent them from liking, trusting or even noticing you. This workplace dynamic is seldom logical or fair. In fact, it’s often biased, incomplete, unconscious, inflexible and largely automatic.

Think of your last verbal workplace exchange. You probably thought you explained yourself well and that your listeners understood you. Here’s the unvarnished truth: You—and they—likely didn’t. How, then, can we ensure that people hear what we say?

The Perception Process

Perceivers (your audience) are prone to perceptual errors governed by rules and biases we can identify and anticipate. Understanding this predisposition allows us to unlock the perception puzzle. As leaders, we can alter our words and actions to send desired signals.

Listeners experience a flurry of brain activity as they try to understand what you’re saying. They’re also sizing you up, forming opinions of you and your message, comparing you to others, and remembering similar situations and opinions.

Most of what happens in perceivers’ minds is automatic and unconscious. This is Phase 1 of the perception process, and it is riddled with bias.

In Phase 2, perceivers use the part of the brain concerned with logic and reason. This is a much more effortful thinking process, one that requires energy. Consequently, they avoid it to conserve brain resources.

More often than not, Phase 2 is never activated. People form opinions of you and your message with Phase 1 assumptions—and then they move on.

Most leaders are unaware of these basic brain behaviors, so they never take the time needed to push their listeners past quick, stereotypical judgments.

Two Flawed Assumptions

“Statistically speaking, there are only weak correlations between how others see us and how we believe we are seen,” notes social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson in No One Understands You and What to Do About It (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015).

Without even realizing it, we’re likely operating under two flawed assumptions:

1.   Other people see you objectively as you are.

2.   Other people see you as you see yourself.

Neither of these beliefs is true. You’re much harder to read than you imagine. You may think you’re an open book, but this is magical thinking. You’ll always be a mystery to others, even if you think you’re doing enough to make yourself knowable.

For example, your emotions are much less obvious than you realize. Strong emotions are easy to read: fear, rage, surprise, disgust. But the more subtle emotions we experience daily—frustration, annoyance, disappointment, impatience and respect—may not actually register on our faces. When they do, they’re usually indistinguishable from other emotions.

Psychologists call this the “transparency illusion.”Great communicators will go the extra mile, clearly articulating what they’re feeling instead of expecting others to deduce it.

How “Judgeable” Are You?

Some of us are more knowable than others. Leaders who are easier to understand deliberately express themselves in ways that encourage more accurate perceptions. Psychologists refer to this as “judgeability.”

Introverted leaders who reveal little about themselves will have a hard time with judgeability. Similarly, if you aren’t shy about sharing your accomplishments, you’ll also meet listeners’ resistance (unless you clarify your intentions). For example, telling people you graduated at the top of your class or turned around a failing company isn’t as effective as articulating the strengths that helped facilitate these results.

If you don’t tell people what they need to know, their brains will fill in the blanks, creating a personality profile that may or may not be accurate.

Perception Biases

Perceivers rely on rules of thumb so their brains don’t have to work too hard:

1.     Confirmation Bias. When people look at you, they see what they’re expecting to see. They hear what they’re expecting to hear. They seek (and will probably find) evidence that matches their expectations.

2.     Primacy Effect. First impressions strongly influence how we interpret and remember information. People resist changing opinions once they’re formed.

3.     Stereotypes. Most people are biased, yet they deny being so. We are unconsciously influenced by stereotypical beliefs about gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, professions, socioeconomic classes and education. We categorize people on various dimensions, including facial features. It’s human nature. Our brains are wired to quickly sort friend from foe. We cannot turn off this feature, but we can become conscious of it and make necessary modifications.

4.     Halo Effect. We tend to assume that people who possess one positive quality also have many others. For example, we often judge a good-looking person to be smart and charming, even without evidence.

5.     False-Consensus Effect. We assume other people think and feel exactly the way we do. We erroneously believe our bad habits are universal and normal. We also tend to believe that we have better values and are generally more honest, kind and capable than others (the false-uniqueness fallacy).

Managing Others’ Biases

You never start from scratch when meeting new people. Their brains are rapidly filling in details about you, even if you’ve never met them before.

The more you consider listeners’ likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, the better you can anticipate what they’re projecting onto you. Work on emphasizing your good qualities to  benefit from positive stereotypes and halo effects.

While humans are wired to make assumptions based on first impressions, we’re also capable of correcting those impressions—as long as we see value in doing so.

3 Perceptual Filters

We view others through three lenses or filters:

  • Trust
  • Power
  • Ego

When you speak or act, perceivers ask themselves:

·      How much trust should I grant?

·      What is the power differential here?

·      How much of an ego threat or self-esteem boost will I experience?

Studies show that employees ask themselves two questions when assessing their leaders:

1.     Do you have good intentions toward me (friend or foe)?

2.     Do you have what it takes to act on these intentions?

The Trust Filter

The first thing people do when listening to you is determine whether to trust you. This decision is made almost entirely unconsciously.

Leaders can build trust in many ways:

·      Project Warmth and Competence. This is perhaps the most important component of gaining others’ trust. How well do you communicate friendliness, loyalty and empathy? Do you come across as intelligent, skillful and effective? According to Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, perceptions of warmth and competence account for 90 percent of the variability in whether others perceive you positively or negatively.

·      Trust Them First. We are naturally inclined to reciprocate favors and extend trust to someone who has trusted us first.

·      Pay Attention. Leaders who make eye contact, smile, nod, recognize individuals by name and really listen are the ones who excel at communicating. While this may seem obvious, too many executives appear hurried and oblivious to others.

·      Share Your Stories. When you share past experiences (especially your mistakes), you become vulnerable, thereby extending trust to listeners. This helps build high-quality relationships.

·      Walk Your Talk. People need to see you make good on your promises and carry out your stated intentions. Actions speak louder than words. Overconfidence is a trap for leaders, who must learn to project a realistic sense of themselves. Great leaders show modesty, yet remain confident in their words and deeds.

The Power Filter

Power changes the way we see other people, especially when there’s a power differential.

When leaders speak, they must be mindful of how their power influences their message. Failing to address the issue leaves room for perceivers to fill in the blanks. Great communicators are always cognizant of this filter and respectfully enlist their followers’ engagement.

The Ego Filter

The ego lens has one goal: to protect and enhance the perceiver’s self-esteem. Perceivers will always protect their self-esteem, including their decision to receive or reject a leader’s message. Smart leaders address their audience members’ interests and benefits.

Successful Communication

If you want to be understood, first try to improve your ability to understand others. Identify your ingrained assumptions, biases and filters so you can manage them more effectively.

Halvorson suggests the following strategies:

1.     Take your time. Always remember that your first impression may be dead wrong. There are always other possible interpretations of someone’s behavior.

2.     Commit to being fair. We sometimes forget to be fair when we judge someone. The more you consciously implement fairness, the more accurate your perceptions will be.

3.     Beware of the confirmation bias. Once you form an impression, you’ll seek evidence to confirm it. You’ll ignore other behaviors, even (and perhaps especially) if they contradict your impressions.Have the courage to confront your biases and accept reality.

If there’s a huge gap between your intended message and how others hear it, you’ll need to closely examine your communication style and substance. Consider working with a trusted mentor or professional coach to analyze how you come across to others.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

Categories: 

Executive Coaching for Finding Your Leadership Strengths

Category: 

 

Strengths-Based Leadership

Which leadership style will prevail in the future?

If you want to improve employee engagement and productivity while reducing turnover, your organization must build on individual and team strengths.

Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a 30-year research project on leadership strengths. More than 3 million people have since taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, which forms the core of several noteworthy books:

1.     Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton (Free Press, 2001)

2.     StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press, 2007)

3.     Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham (Free Press, 2007)

In Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, New York Times-bestselling author Tom Rath and leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal the results of extensive Gallup research. Based on their analyses, three keys to effective leadership emerge:

1.     Know your strengths—and invest in others’ strengths.

2.     Hire people with the right strengths for your team.

3.     Understand and meet your followers’ four basic needs: trust, compassion, stability and hope.

3 Keys to Effective Leadership

1. The most effective leaders continuously invest in strengths.

When leaders fail to focus on individuals’ strengths, the odds of employee engagement drop to a dismal 1 in 11 (9%). But when leaders focus on employees’ strengths, the odds soar to almost 3 in 4 (73%).

That translates to an eightfold increase in the odds of engaging individuals in their work, leading to greatly increased organizational and personal gains. Employees enjoy greater self-confidence when they learn about their strengths (as opposed to focusing on their weaknesses).

Emphasizing what people do right boosts their overall engagement and productivity. They learn their roles faster and more quickly adapt to variances. They not only produce more, but the quality of their work improves. Gallup has also found powerful links between top talent and crucial business outcomes, including higher productivity, sales and profitability, lower turnover and fewer unscheduled absences.

2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and maximize their team.

The best leaders needn’t be well rounded, but their teams are. Strong teams have a balance of strengths in four specific leadership domains:

·      Execution: Great leaders know how to make things happen. They work tirelessly to implement solutions and realize success.

·      Influence: Leaders help their teams reach a broader audience by selling ideas inside and outside the organization.

·      Relationship-Building: Leaders are the glue that holds a team together. They create an environment in which groups perform harmoniously for optimal results.

·      Strategic Thinking: Leaders keep everyone focused on the possibilities for a better future.

3. The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs.

A leader is someone who can get things done through other people.” ~ Warren Buffett, business magnate

People follow leaders for very specific reasons. While researchers have spent the bulk of their time and funding on analyses of leaders’ individual traits, the follower’s point of view has gone largely unexplored.

As noted earlier, Gallup’s study of 10,000 followers reveals four basic needs. They want their leaders to display:

·      Trust: Respect, integrity and honesty

·      Compassion: Caring, friendship, happiness and love

·      Stability: Security, strength, support and peace

·      Hope: Direction, faith and guidance

Measuring Strengths

Gallup’s new online StrengthsFinder assessment helps you identify which of 34 theme-based strengths you have and they fit into the four domains of leadership strength: execution, influence, relationship-building and strategic thinking.

You can also take advantage of similar free online tools.

Defining Strengths

Strengths development requires you to understand several key terms:

A strength is your ability to consistently produce positive outcomes through near-perfect performance in a specific task. It is composed of:

      Skillsyour ability to perform a task’s fundamental steps. Skills do not naturally exist within us; they must be acquired through formal or informal training and practice.

      Knowledgewhat you know, such as your awareness of historical dates and your grasp of the rules of a game. Knowledge must be acquired through formal or informal education.

      Talentshow you naturally think, feel and behave (i.e., the inner drive to compete, sensitivity to others’ needs, being outgoing at social gatherings). Talents are innate and unique to each of us.

Finding Your Strengths

We display our strengths each day, and we don’t necessarily require a formal assessment to discover where we excel.

      Our yearnings can reveal the presence of a talent, particularly when we recognize them early in life. A yearning can be described as an internal force—an almost magnetic attraction that leads you to a particular activity or environment time and again.

      Rapid learning also signals talent. Your brain may light up when you undertake a new challenge. You’ll feel a whole bank of switches flick to the “on” position and feel invigorated.

      If you feel great satisfaction (psychological fulfillment) when meeting new challenges, you’ve likely identified a talent. Pay close attention to situations that bring you these en­ergizing feelings. If you can identify them, you’re well on your way to pinpointing some of your dominant talents.

      If you’re so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time (timelessness), you’re engaged at a deep, natural level—another indicator of talent.

      Glimpses of excellence are flashes of outstanding performance observed by you or others. In these moments, the task at hand has tapped some of your greatest talents.

Talents are the foundation for developing your strengths. Use your StrengthsFinder report or another assessment tool to identify them. Hone them for a more fulfilling life.

34 Personal Strengths

The Gallup Organization identified 34 distinct personal strengths after interviewing 1.7 million professionals over 40 years:
 

Gallup’s 34 Strengths
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press, 2007)

 

1.

Achiever

Constantly driven to accomplish tasks

2.

Activator

Sets things in motion

3.

Adaptability

Adept at accommodating changes in direction/plan

4.

Analytical

Requires data/proof to make sense of circumstances

5.

Arranger

Enjoys orchestrating many tasks/variables

6.

Belief

Strives to find ultimate meaning in everything he/she does

7.

Command

Embraces leadership positions without fearing confrontation

8.

Communication

Uses words to inspire action and education

9.

Competition

Thrives on comparison and competition

10.

Connectedness

Seeks to unite others through commonalities

11.

Consistency

Treats everyone the same to avoid unfair advantage

12.

Context

Reviews the past to make better decisions

13.

Deliberative

Proceeds with caution and a planned approach

14.

Developer

Sees others’ untapped potential

15.

Discipline

Makes sense of the world by imposing order

16.

Empathy

In tune with others’ emotions

17.

Focus

Has a clear sense of direction

18.

Futuristic

Eyes the future to drive today’s success

19.

Harmony

Seeks to avoid conflict and achieve consensus

20.

Ideation

Sees underlying concepts that unite disparate ideas

21.

Includer

Instinctively works to include everyone

22.

Individualization

Draws upon individuals’ uniqueness to create successful teams

23.

Input

Constantly collects information/objects for future use

24.

Intellection

Enjoys thinking and thought-provoking conversation; can compress complex concepts into simplified models

25.

Learner

Constantly challenged; learns new skills/information to feel successful

26.

Maximizer

Takes people and projects from great to excellent

27.

Positivity

Injects levity into any situation

28.

Relator

Most comfortable with fewer, deeper relationships

29.

Responsibility

Always follows through on commitments

30.

Restorative

Thrives on solving difficult problems

31.

Self-Assurance

Stays true to beliefs; self-confident

32.

Significance

Others to see him/her as significant

33.

Strategic

Can see a clear direction in complex situations

34.

Woo

Can easily persuade

Each of these strengths contributes to the four leadership domains:

Gallup Leadership Strengths
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow,
by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (Gallup Press, 2013)

 

EXECUTING

 

ACHIEVER

CONSISTENCY

FOCUS

ARRANGER

DELIBERATIVE

RESPONSIBILITY

BELIEF

DISCIPLINE

RESTORATIVE

 

INFLUENCING

 

ACTIVATOR

COMPETITION

SIGNIFICANCE

COMMAND

MAXIMIZER

WOO

COMMUNICATION

SELF-ASSURANCE

 

 

 

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

 

 

ADAPTABILITY

EMPATHY

INDIVIDUALIZATION

DEVELOPER

HARMONY

POSITIVITY

CONNECTEDNESS

INCLUDER

RELATOR

 

 

STRATEGIC THINKING

 

 

ANALYTICAL

IDEATION

LEARNER

CONTEXT

INPUT

STRATEGIC

FUTURISTIC

INTELLECTION

 

Growing Strengths for the Future

“People have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.” ~ Tom Rath

Many people fall into the trap of trying to “fix” their deficits and flaws instead of expanding their strengths.

Use the Gallup data to identify your talents and convert them into strengths. You can then increase your leadership effectiveness and build stronger, balanced teams.

Remember: Leaders stay true to who they are. They make sure they have the right people around them. Those who surround themselves with similar personalities will always be at a disadvantage, as they’re too insecure to enlist partners and team members with complementary strengths.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

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 leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring 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.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

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

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Strengths-Based Leadership

Category: 

 

Strengths-Based Leadership

Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a 30-year research project on leadership strengths. More than 3 million people have since taken the firm’s StrengthsFinder assessment.

In Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, New York Times-bestselling author Tom Rath and leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal three keys to effective leadership:

1.     Know your strengths—and invest in others’ strengths.

2.     Hire people with the right strengths for your team.

3.     Understand and meet your followers’ basic needs.

3 Keys to Effective Leadership

1. The most effective leaders continuously invest in strengths.

When leaders fail to focus on individuals’ strengths, the odds of employee engagement drop to a dismal 9%. But when leaders focus on employees’ strengths, the odds soar to 73%.

Emphasizing what people do right boosts their overall engagement and productivity. They learn their roles faster and more quickly adapt to variances.

2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and maximize their team.

Strong teams have a balance of strengths in four specific leadership domains:

·      Execution: Great leaders know how to make things happen.

·      Influence: Leadership their teams reach a broader audience by selling ideas inside and outside the organization.

·      Relationship-Building: Leaders create an environment in which groups perform harmoniously for optimal results.

·      Strategic Thinking: Leaders keep everyone focused on the possibilities for a better future.

3. The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs.

Gallup’s study of 10,000 followers reveals four basic needs:

·      Trust: Respect, integrity and honesty

·      Compassion: Caring, friendship, happiness and love

·      Stability: Security, strength, support and peace

·      Hope: Direction, faith and guidance

Measuring Strengths

Gallup’s new online StrengthsFinder assessment helps you identify which of 34 theme-based strengths you have and they fit into the four domains of leadership strength: execution, influence, relationship-building and strategic thinking.

You can also take advantage of similar free online tools.

Defining Strengths

A strength is your ability to consistently produce positive outcomes through near-perfect performance in a specific task. It is composed of:

   Skillsyour ability to perform a task’s fundamental steps. Skills do not naturally exist within us; they must be acquired through formal or informal training and practice.

   Knowledgewhat you know, such as your awareness of historical dates and your grasp of the rules of a game. Knowledge must be acquired through formal or informal education.

      Talentshow you naturally think, feel and behave (i.e., the inner drive to compete, sensitivity to others’ needs, being outgoing at social gatherings). Talents are innate and unique to each of us.

Finding Your Strengths

We display our strengths each day, and we don’t necessarily require a formal assessment to discover where we excel.

   Our yearnings can reveal the presence of a talent, particularly when we recognize them early in life.

   Rapid learning also signals talent. Your brain may light up when you undertake a new challenge.

   If you feel great satisfaction (psychological fulfillment) when meeting new challenges, you’ve likely identified a talent.

   If you’re so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time (timelessness), you’re engaged at a deep, natural level.

   Glimpses of excellence are flashes of outstanding performance observed by you or others.

34 Personal Strengths

The Gallup Organization identified 34 distinct personal strengths after interviewing 1.7 million professionals over 40 years:

Gallup’s 34 Strengths
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press, 2007)

 

1.

Achiever

Constantly driven to accomplish tasks

2.

Activator

Sets things in motion

3.

Adaptability

Adept at accommodating changes in direction/plan

4.

Analytical

Requires data/proof to make sense of circumstances

5.

Arranger

Enjoys orchestrating many tasks/variables

6.

Belief

Strives to find ultimate meaning in everything he/she does

7.

Command

Embraces leadership positions without fearing confrontation

8.

Communication

Uses words to inspire action and education

9.

Competition

Thrives on comparison and competition

10.

Connectedness

Seeks to unite others through commonalities

11.

Consistency

Treats everyone the same to avoid unfair advantage

12.

Context

Reviews the past to make better decisions

13.

Deliberative

Proceeds with caution and a planned approach

14.

Developer

Sees others’ untapped potential

15.

Discipline

Makes sense of the world by imposing order

16.

Empathy

In tune with others’ emotions

17.

Focus

Has a clear sense of direction

18.

Futuristic

Eyes the future to drive today’s success

19.

Harmony

Seeks to avoid conflict and achieve consensus

20.

Ideation

Sees underlying concepts that unite disparate ideas

21.

Includer

Instinctively works to include everyone

22.

Individualization

Draws upon individuals’ uniqueness to create successful teams

23.

Input

Constantly collects information/objects for future use

24.

Intellection

Enjoys thinking and thought-provoking conversation; can compress complex concepts into simplified models

25.

Learner

Constantly challenged; learns new skills/information to feel successful

26.

Maximizer

Takes people and projects from great to excellent

27.

Positivity

Injects levity into any situation

28.

Relator

Most comfortable with fewer, deeper relationships

29.

Responsibility

Always follows through on commitments

30.

Restorative

Thrives on solving difficult problems

31.

Self-Assurance

Stays true to beliefs; self-confident

32.

Significance

Others to see him/her as significant

33.

Strategic

Can see a clear direction in complex situations

34.

Woo

Can easily persuade

Each of these strengths contributes to the four leadership domains:

Gallup Leadership Strengths
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow,
by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (Gallup Press, 2013)

 

EXECUTING

 

ACHIEVER

CONSISTENCY

FOCUS

ARRANGER

DELIBERATIVE

RESPONSIBILITY

BELIEF

DISCIPLINE

RESTORATIVE

 

INFLUENCING

 

ACTIVATOR

COMPETITION

SIGNIFICANCE

COMMAND

MAXIMIZER

WOO

COMMUNICATION

SELF-ASSURANCE

 

 

 

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

 

 

ADAPTABILITY

EMPATHY

INDIVIDUALIZATION

DEVELOPER

HARMONY

POSITIVITY

CONNECTEDNESS

INCLUDER

RELATOR

 

 

STRATEGIC THINKING

 

 

ANALYTICAL

IDEATION

LEARNER

CONTEXT

INPUT

STRATEGIC

FUTURISTIC

INTELLECTION

 

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

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 leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring 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.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

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

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

Categories: 

Emotional Intelligence-Based Executive Coaching for Developing Empathy

Category: 

Managing with Emotional Intelligence:

The Power of Empathy

The business community has embraced the concept of emotional intelligence and its importance ever since Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book, Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998). The challenge is to demonstrate that such competencies significantly impact employee performance.

Studies in corporations that have adopted emotional intelligence training have shown that “EI” can be trained and it is effective. There are overall improvements in productivity and profits.  Furthermore, up to 90% of the difference between outstanding and average leaders is linked to emotional intelligence. “EI” is two times as important as IQ and technical expertise combined, and is four times as important in terms of overall success.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your own feelings and those of others, and the ability to motivate yourself and others, as well as to manage your own emotions and those of others. Essentially, there are four competencies:

1.    Understanding yourself, or self-awareness

2.    Managing yourself, or self-management

3.    Understanding others, or social awareness

4.    Managing others, or social skills

Perhaps it would be better to simplify the concept. Emotional intelligence increases when people commit themselves to building practical competencies in the context of every day situations. Nothing can be more powerful than developing empathy skills during everyday conversations on the job.

One of the foundation skills that contribute to a manager’s or leader’s success is the skill of empathy. It starts with self-awareness, in that understanding your own emotions is essential to understanding the feelings of others. It is crucial to effective communication and to leading others.

Lack of empathy is a primary cause of interpersonal difficulties that lead to poor performance, executive derailment, and problems with customer relationships.

Empathy as a competency skill is poorly understood by those who need it most, and it is even more difficult to train and acquire. Most people believe you either have it or you don’t. Many hard-driving managers lack a propensity for developing empathy because they assume it’s for the more “touchy-feely” types. Some very intelligent leaders are walking around blindly using only their powers of reasoning and wondering why everyone doesn’t see things their way.

Research by the Center for Creative Leadership has found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competency, and in particular, these three primary ones:                                                                                                                                       

1. Difficulty in handling change.

2. Not being able to work well as a team.

3. Poor interpersonal relations.

Without an adequate capacity to understand the other’s point of view, some managers lack sufficient flexibility for change, cannot work well with team collaboration, and cannot relate well with the very people that affect the results they are trying to achieve.

What Is Empathy?

Empathy can be defined as the ability to see things from the other person’s point of view— to be able to “walk in someone else’s moccasins.” Goleman defines it as the ability to read other people. Other definitions include the concept of identifying with the other person or their situation. This implies more than a cognitive understanding, more than just remembering a similar situation that you may have gone through yourself. Empathy means that you can recall some of those same feelings based on your own memories. There is a sharing and identifying with emotional states.

What does this have to do with running a business, managing a company and dealing with bottom-line performance issues? Obviously, if managers were to take the time to listen with empathy at everything that was said, nothing would get done. Furthermore, one cannot fall prey to being swept up into every person’s story. Managers and leaders must keep the focus and guide people to goal completion.

According to Goleman, empathy represents the foundation skill for all the social competencies important for work:

  1. Understanding others: sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns
  2. Service orientation: anticipating, recognizing and meeting customers’ needs
  3. Developing others: sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities
  4. Leveraging diversity: cultivating opportunities through diverse people
  5. Political awareness: reading the political and social currents in an organization

Managers and leaders are usually high in those traits and characteristics that lead to successful goal completion, such as high achievement orientation and high focusing abilities. That’s why they get promoted to management positions. Success depends a great deal on having focus, being able to persevere, and being able to concentrate. But focus alone can result in undesirable consequences if not counterbalanced by empathy. Focus alone will not result in the fulfillment of goals. Focus and empathy will.

Empathy skills are those that involve paying attention to other people - for example, listening, attending to the needs and wants of others, and building relationships. When empathy skills are high, one is more likely to inspire the troops. When a manager understands his/her people and communicates that to them, he/she is more liked and respected. That is how practicing empathy results in better performance. When a manager is respected, the people they lead are more likely to go the extra mile. Empathy and focus need to be balanced, and when they are, managing skills are optimally effective.

Both managers and employees need empathy in order to interact well with customers, suppliers, the general public, and with each other. Managers need it even more when they are assigning a task to someone who won’t like it; when offering criticism to someone who predictably will get defensive; when having to deal with someone who isn’t liked; when dealing with employee disputes; and when giving bad news such as telling someone that they won’t be promoted or that they’re being laid off. The first step in dealing with any negativity is to empathize. The next step is to focus back to the goals and the tasks at hand.

At the outset empathy involves real curiosity and a desire to know or understand. There is a genuine interest in what the person is saying and feeling. You cannot have empathy without asking questions. Some typical ones are:

1.    “Can you say more about that?”

2.    “Really? That’s interesting. Can you be more specific?”

3.    “I wasn’t aware of that. Tell me more.”

4.    “I’m curious about that…let’s discuss this in more depth.”

5.    “Let me see if I understand you correctly…here is what I hear you say…”

Managers and leaders who are high in empathy skills are able to pick up emotional cues. They can appreciate not only what a person is saying, but also why they are saying it. At the highest levels, they also understand where a person’s feelings might come from.

Those that do not have empathy have a tendency to misread the other person. They do not ask questions to clarify. They do not pay attention to non-verbal cues. Those people who are analytical by nature will listen to the words, facts and figures and completely miss the real message of what is being said.

If we remember that only 7% of the message is carried in the words and the rest is in the non-verbal cues, then listening to the content of what is being said may actually be misleading.

Learning the Skill of Empathy

How then to learn effective empathy if you are one of those task-oriented managers who is primarily focused on achievement? The good news is that your achievement orientation and focusing abilities will help you in acquiring empathy skills. The bad news is that it may not be natural at first. Fortunately, empathy is a learned capability and like other competencies, it can be acquired.

Here are some steps to take to begin improving empathy as an effective management tool. Like all the emotional competencies, it is better to practice with an experienced coach who can monitor and give effective feedback. Reading a book and taking a class can both help to gain a greater cognitive understanding of what is involved. However, empathy skills must be learned experientially, that is, practiced in the field in real-time.

Ten Ways to Develop Empathy

1.    Keep a note of situations in which you felt you were able to demonstrate empathy and a note when you felt you did not. Make a note of missed opportunities to respond with empathy.

2.    Become aware of incidents where there may be some underlying concerns that are not explicitly expressed by others.

3.    Make a note of possible emotions or feelings that the other person may be experiencing. Keep an open mind and never assume, merely explore the possibilities.

4.    Develop a list of questions to ask at your next encounter with that person. Try to make the questions open-ended, that is, questions that can’t be answered by yes or no.

5.    Practice listening without interrupting. Wait until the other person is complete with their point of view before offering yours.

6.    Avoid being defensive in order to create an open dialogue where possibilities can be explored freely.

7.    Allow creative time for people to express opinions and ideas without judgment.

8.    Practice active listening: always check out the meaning of what was said with the person speaking. Paraphrasing what was said helps to clear up misconceptions and to deepen understanding.

9.    Always bring focus back into the conversation. Remember that optimal effectiveness is achieved by a combination of focus and empathy.

10. Work on achieving an effective balance of focus, goal orientation and empathic listening.

The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence

The following examples of research offer a bottom-line rationale for emotional competency training in hiring, selecting, and retaining personnel, developing performance measurements, and in managing customer relationships.

After supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies such as how to listen better and help employees resolve problems on their own, lost-time accidents were reduced by 50 percent, formal grievances were reduced from an average of 15 per year to 3 per year, and the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000 (Pesuric & Byham, 1996).

In another manufacturing plant where supervisors received similar training, production increased 17 percent. There was no such increase in production for a group of matched supervisors who were not trained (Porras & Anderson, 1981).

The US Air Force used the EQ-I (Emotional Quotient Inventory, Multi-Health Systems, Toronto) to select recruiters and found that the most successful recruiters scored significantly higher in the emotional competencies of assertiveness, empathy, happiness and emotional self-awareness. They found that by using EI to select recruiters, they increased their ability to predict successful recruiters by nearly three-fold. The immediate gain was a saving of $3 million annually.

An analysis of more than 300 top level executives from fifteen global companies showed that six emotional competencies distinguished star performers from average: influence, team leadership, organizational awareness, self-confidence, achievement drive, and leadership (Spencer, 1997).

Financial advisors at American Express whose managers completed the Emotional Competence training program were compared to managers who had not. During the year following training, the trained managers grew their businesses by 18.1% compared to 16.2% of those whose managers were untrained.

In a large beverage firm, using standard methods to hire division presidents, 50% left within two years, mostly because of poor performance. When they started selecting based on emotional competencies such as initiative, self-confidence, and leadership, only 6% left in two years. The executives selected based on EI were far more likely to perform in the top third: 87% were in the top third. Division leaders with these competencies outperformed their targets by 15 to 20 percent. Those who lacked emotional competencies under-performed those that did by almost 20% (McClelland, 1999).

The Business Case for Empathy

The more an organization can understand and empathize with the key motivators of their employees and customers, the more likely that organization will have sustainable success. ~ Chip Conley, author of Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow

In an uncertain economy, empathy may seem like a soft business skill. It can, however, serve as a catalyst for new growth, innovation and employee engagement, all of which drive profits and long-term results.

The more an organization demonstrates care for its customers and employees, the greater the potential for uninterrupted growth, higher profits, improved products and happier employees. Empathy may, in fact, be the most underappreciated and overlooked strategic business tactic.

Empathy is a powerful social force. Physiologically, each of us is hard-wired to care. Specific brain cells known as “mirror neurons” enable us to experience other people’s emotions. This capacity contributes to our levels of intuition, thoughtfulness and insight.

As we cope with the daily challenges of an increasingly fast-paced world, we need to reclaim our basic empathy abilities, which often get lost in the shuffle of stultifying business routines. Organizations can learn to become empathic to forge connections with customers and employees.

“Companies prosper when they tap into a power that every one of us already has—the ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with other people,” writes Stanford University Adjunct Professor Dev Patnaik in Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy.

Real People in the Information Age

Most organizations over-rely on data, to the exclusion of face-to-face customer contact. It’s important to remember that we are intrinsically social animals, with an innate ability to sense what others are thinking and feeling.

We rely on our intuition to help us make decisions. But in large groups, contact is lost—as is our instinct for determining what’s going on outside the group. Corporations can become far too insular.

If you stay in touch with colleagues and customers, you’ll have a better sense of what’s going on in the world. You’ll also surpass competitors at spotting new opportunities.

Large institutions often choose to rely on data and market research for information on customer experiences, abandoning face-to-face interactions that preserve relationships. These businesses invariably become far removed from their customers’ day-to-day lives.

Harley-Davidson is one notable exception, its office a shrine to the motorcycle culture the company helped create. Offices display photos, memorabilia and banners from rallies. Customers and employees ride together. Engineers, accountants and administrative staff acquire an intuitive understanding of the customers who buy their products.

Harley-Davidson’s leaders mandate that company executives spend measurable time on the streets with motorcycle riders. While many employees don’t ride, the company nonetheless instills its lifestyle and values. Empathy is a key element of this corporate strategy.

In Your Customers’ Shoes

Modern technological improvements in data-mining provide strategic plans, sales forecasts and manufacturing reports. Companies become so dependent on these models that they can lose touch with reality.

Firms use all of this information to create maps—market segmentations, research reports—of how customers use their products. But these maps are poor substitutes for actual human contact. Many managers make critical decisions based on numbers, without any personal feeling for the people they serve. They fail to spot new opportunities and innovative solutions for customers.

Nike has built an entire culture that celebrates the potential for athletic greatness in each of us. The company’s headquarters resemble an athletic center; its employees take breaks for running, basketball and soccer games. The people who develop running shoes are usually runners themselves. They possess a basic intuition that cannot be captured in any market report.

Other major companies have learned the value of empathy:

·       IBM helps customers keep their information technology up and running by staying as close to them as possible.

·       Microsoft succeeded with the Xbox because it was designed for gamers by developers who love games.

·       Apple makes computers, iPhones, iPads and iPods for people who covet cool, easy-to-use products. The company’s organizational culture reflects its customers’ lifestyles.

Business happens on the street, in stores and in homes. When companies have a real connection with end users, they come up with better product designs. Harnessing the power of empathy closes the gap between abstract data and reality.

Consumers don’t buy goods based on demographics. Nobody, for example, opens his wallet because he’s a 25- to 30-year-old white male with a college degree. As people go about their daily lives, problems arise that beg for solutions. Consumers are willing to spend money on solutions that will get the job done. Your ability to empathize with them and anticipate their needs determines whether your product or service will sink or swim in the marketplace.

It’s worth noting that Sony cofounder Akio Morita and Apple’s Steve Jobs were famous for never commissioning market research. Instead, they’d just walk around the world watching what people did. They put themselves in their future customers’ shoes.

When a Company Lacks Empathy

Some business executives dismiss the need for empathy, favoring the more concrete and defensible virtues of rational analysis. They have a point. So did Blockbuster executives when faced with Netflix’s debut.

Blockbuster witnessed Netflix’s dramatic growth in the very early 2000s and chose to do nothing. Company leaders saw the world from a solitary vantage point: atop a $6 billion business with 60% margins, tens of thousands of employees and a thriving nationwide retail chain.

Blockbuster’s management team certainly didn’t view the world from its customers’ perspective: late fees that drove renters up the wall, a limited range of movies that eschewed anything that wasn’t a new release.

Netflix’s ultimate market domination is a cautionary tale for other complacent companies. The Blockbusters of the world go belly up because they sell what they want to sell—not what their customers want to buy.

Empathy helps companies stay grounded. Face-to-face encounters with the people you serve provide context for market research and other data.

The Way Things Used to Be

Overly simplified, abstract information often carries authority inside organizations. Knowing and understanding your customers is the antidote.

“The problem with business today isn’t a lack of innovation; it’s a lack of empathy,” writes Professor Patnaik.

Empathy is the ability to step outside yourself and see the world as other people do. For some companies, it’s also a rarely discussed engine for growth.

Harley Davidson gets it right once again. The company hires fans and publicizes its connection with consumers. Leaders work hard to stay in touch with consumers’ changing needs.

This is the way business used to be conducted two centuries ago. For thousands of years, craftsmen made things for people they knew. Tailors, cobblers and other tradesmen understood what their customers wanted.

This approach ended with the Industrial Revolution. As more goods were mass-produced in factories, suppliers and consumers experienced a growing rift—one that we’ve been struggling to repair ever since. It’s much harder to succeed when you create products for people you don’t know—individuals whose lives seem alien to yours or who are halfway around the world.

Connecting through Social Media

Information technology is reshaping the company/consumer relationship, often bringing benefits to both. The misuse of technology, however, can erode customer care.

Despite living in an age where technology has made always-on data connections ubiquitous, we are more disconnected from the people we impact than at any other time in history. Even with the proliferation of social-media sites, we continue to miss opportunities for genuine dialogue.

Fortunately, many companies are changing this. They know their customers crave the ability to provide immediate input on specific products and services. Consumers prefer to buy products from businesses that know and care about customers’ needs. Managers and front-line employees must listen empathically to what consumers have to say. When managed properly, social-media sites allow open communication.

A 2011 study conducted by Parasole Restaurant Holdings and newBrandAnalytics found what consumers say online increases staff ownership of the employee/customer relationship.

Indeed, technology can actually enrich relationships between customers and employees. But it requires commitment from senior managers, who must:

1. Affirm their commitment to active, empathic involvement with customers

2. Understand the ways in which current procedures and systems mediate interactions with customers

3. Promote the deployment of social networks and other technologies to help customers tell their stories

4. Encourage and enable workers and managers to hear them

Only when employees can step into their customers’ shoes can companies add authenticity to the claim, “We care for you.”

Inside the Empathic Organization

Professor Patnaik has created the term “Open Empathy Organizations” for those that encourage employees to focus on empathy as part of the company mission. Success requires employees at all levels to be genuinely interested in other people, and there must be multiple ways for them to interact.

Open Empathy Organizations also provide ways for employees to buy and use the company’s products and services. Netflix gives DVD players and free subscriptions to employees, who can learn firsthand how customers experience the company.

Similarly, gardening giant Smith & Hawken boasts a large garden at its company headquarters. Leaders encourage employees to plant and tend to crops, while familiarizing themselves with the company’s products. At such empathic companies, employees begin to understand how their work plays a positive role in their customers’ lives. Staffers become more attached to the results they see at work.

Employees perform at optimum levels when they know they make a difference. When they are encouraged to demonstrate care for customers, they become more engaged and energized.

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

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 leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring 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.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Mindful Leadership: Two Minds, Fast and Slow

Category: 

 

We coach leaders to cultivate clarity, creativity, focus, purpose and trust in a full engagement culture.

Two Minds, Fast and Slow


The brain has two systems for thinking, explains Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman in
 
Thinking, Fast and Slow:

   System 1 for fast thinking

    System 2 for slower thinking

System 1, the fast, or automatic, mind reaches judgments and conclusions quickly, but often prematurely. Intuitive and aware, it makes associations with already-stored and easily accessible information. It is eager to achieve order and understanding, and therefore subject to making errors.

System 2, also known as the reflective mind, is slower and more methodical. It is capable of rational thought and even metathought: the ability to consciously observe one’s thinking processes from a distance. It challenges assumptions and generates alternatives, objectively evaluating and analyzing them.

System 2 helps us take conscious and intentional actions—but it’s also slow and requires lots of energy. It therefore often cedes control to the automatic mind, which conserves energy resources.

Great leaders learn to train Systems 1 and 2 to work synergistically. They nurture their reflective mind to be more proactive and sagacious, while training their automatic mind to increase its associative powers. They are ultimately rewarded with more creative ideas for the reflective mind to consider.

You can become a more mindful leader by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put authentic leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more mindful? Mindful leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a mindful leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help develop authentic leaders .

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion, by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

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 leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring 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

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

Categories: 

The Future of Work: 5 Skills for the Robotic Age

Category: 

 


We coach leaders to cultivate purpose, creativity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.
                       

The Future of Work:

The challenges of 21st-century work—rapid innovation, unrelenting change and unprecedented uncertainty—have created a stress pandemic.

Depending on your disposition, you may view the future as ripe for a spectacular explosion of creativity or poised on the brink of self-destruction. Either way, there’s no going back.

The tools and skills we’ve developed over the last century inadequately address imminent challenges. We’re caught between two paradigms: a collapsing industrial platform and an uncertain new one.

“Information Age” insufficiently captures the spirit of where we’re headed. We will be forced to interpret unprecedented information streams and navigate vast knowledge networks to solve new problems.

Too Much Information

The world’s ability to store, communicate and compute information has grown at least 23% annually since 1986. Digital information increases tenfold every 5 years.

Amazon seeks to make every book ever printed available in any language in less than 60 seconds. Google’s mission is to organize all of the world’s information and make it universally accessible.

But we’re not yet ready to deal with these interconnected, nonlinear and amorphous challenges. Our skills remain too basic. We must break free of static, linear thinking and move toward dynamic, holistic information processing.

Man vs. Machine

Our educational system has taught us to copy, memorize, obey and keep score—skills we now ask machines to handle. Computers have taken over many of our jobs.

In February 2011, the IBM computer “Watson“ trounced two Jeopardy! champions over a 3-day competition. Watson’s cognitive-reasoning skills were far superior, with access to 200 million pages of structured and unstructured content (4 terabytes of disk storage, including the full text of Wikipedia).

Even before Alex Trebek finished reading a clue, Watson’s 2,880 parallel processor cores began to divvy up the workload. At 33 billion operations per second, they could search 500 gigabytes of data (roughly 1 million books) in the blink of an eye. Watson could also hit the buzzer in less than 8 milliseconds.

During the 3 seconds Watson took to deliver a correct response, various algorithms worked across multiple processors to return hundreds of hypothetical answers. Watson was programmed to hit the buzzer only after reaching a 50% confidence level. By the end of the game, Watson had surpassed previous champions’ winnings by almost 200%, easily becoming the first nonhuman Jeopardy! champion.

In February 2013, IBM announced that Watson’s first commercial software application would be used for utilization management decisions at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Ninety percent of nurses who use Watson now follow its guidance.

This is an example of how robots, machines and computers will ultimately take our jobs. We must harness our creative energy in new ways to stay ahead of the “robot curve.”

Creative Destruction

In 1942, economist Joseph Schumpeter coined the term creative destruction to describe the continual process of economic and technological innovation. Modern-day examples include:

·   Telephone replaces telegraph

·   Automobile replaces horse-drawn carriage

·   Digital camera replaces film

·   Smartphone replaces cell phone

The need for efficient transportation and communication will persist while their delivery systems will always change.

“Help! A Robot Ate My Job!”

If you haven’t yet heard this complaint, you will. Today’s widespread unemployment is not a jobs crisis; it’s a talent crisis. Technology is taking every job that doesn’t require a high degree of creativity, humanity or leadership.

In times of rapid change, success favors those who can make big leaps of imagination, courage and effort. Innovation and creative destruction are rampant in the first two decades of the 21st century. The call for new ways to work will become even more pressing.

10 Areas Ripe for Innovation

We tend to think of new technology as the space where game-changing innovations occur, but fertile new ideas may reside elsewhere. The Doblin Group, a Chicago think tank, has identified 10 areas where innovation can deliver competitive advantages:

1.     The business model: how a company makes money

2.     Networking: including organizational structure, value chain, partnerships

3.     Enabling processes: the capabilities a company buys from others

4.     Core processes: proprietary methods that add value

5.     Product performance: including features and functionality

6.     Product systems: extended systems that support the product

7.     Service: how a company treats customers

8.     Channels: how companies connect offerings to customers

9.     Branding: how a company builds its reputation

10.  Customer experience: including the touchpoints where customers encounter the brand

Think of problems as opportunities to find worthy and inspiring solutions. In Metaskills: 5 Talents for the Robotic Age, business adviser Marty Neumeier encourages leaders to use the following questions as inspiration points:

·      What’s the “either/or” that’s obscuring innovation opportunities?

·      In which areas do the usual methods no longer achieve predicted results?

·      What’s the “can’t-do” that you can turn into a “can-do”?

·      Which problems are so big that they can no longer be seen?

·      Which categories or sectors exhibit the most uneven rates of change?

·      In which area is there a great deal of interest, but very few solutions?

·      Where can you find too little or too much order?

·      Which of your talents can be upscaled in some surprising way?

·      Where can your passion take you?

5 Skills for the Robotic Age

We need to stay on top of the robot curve—the constant waterfall of obsolescence and opportunity fed by competition and innovation.

Neumeier presents five metaskills that—so far—robots cannot handle:

1.     Feeling encompasses intuition, empathy and social intelligence. Humans draw on emotion for intuition, aesthetics and empathy—skills that are becoming more vital as we enter the robotic age.

2.     Seeing is the ability to think whole thoughts (also known as “system thinking”). We understand parts of a system when we appreciate their relationship to each other, rather than in isolation. Before tinkering with a system, we need to ask:

a.    What will happen if I do nothing?

b.    What may be improved?

c.     What may be diminished?

d.    What will be replaced?

e.    Will it expand future options?

f.      What are the ethical considerations?

g.     Will it simplify or complicate the system?

h.    Are my basic assumptions correct?

i.      What has to be true to make this possible?

j.      Are events likely to unfold this way?

k.     If so, will the system really react this way?

l.      What are the factors behind the events?

m.   What are the long-term costs and benefits?

3.     Dreaming requires you to apply your imagination—one of the brain’s more mysterious capabilities. Innovators transform their dreams into practical solutions. You dream by disassociating your thoughts from all that is linear and the logical. Like most things, dreaming improves with practice. Unfortunately, it’s never taught in business schools—a gross omission that discourages innovation.

4.     Making involves mastering the design process, including skills for devising prototypes. Creativity is nothing without craft. The act of making something turns imagination into brilliant products, services and successful businesses. Think of it this way:

a.    In design, sketching is the mother of invention.

b.    In science, it’s the experiment.

c.     In business, it’s the whiteboard diagram.

d.    In writing, it’s the rough draft.

e.    In acting, it’s the run-through.

f.      In inventing, it’s the prototype.

g.     In jazz, it’s jamming.

You must constantly push yourself beyond your limits and pay attention to the tasks that trip you up. In design circles, this is known as fast failing. Successive drawings and models are designed to illuminate the problem and, in the process, spark intuition among collaborators. It will be interesting to see how 3D printing will be used to enhance the design process. Unfortunately, too many organizations value process and standardization at the risk of suppressing surprising results.

5.   Learning is an ongoing process. We must continually master skills to adapt. We then apply our newfound knowledge in innovative ways. Learning is enhanced through good moods, action and emotional experiences. We become masterful through deliberate practice.

These five metaskills can keep you two or three steps ahead of the machines, algorithms and outsourcing forces of the robot curve. They’ll also bring you greater creativity, a higher purpose and a deeper sense of fulfillment.

So far, the human brain has many advantages over machines, but the gap is closing. You’ll need to routinely upgrade your skills to remain essential.

Will You Be “Future Smart”?

Game-changing trends will continue to affect business, technology, the workforce, the economy, security and the environment. We’re well aware of many of them: climate change, energy demand and population growth.  We can only guess at others.

Thriving in this future requires you to become predictive, adaptive and agile—what global futurist James Canton, PhD, calls Future Smart. Exponential new technologies will emerge in digital money, mobile commerce and big data. An explosive new middle class of more than 1 billion consumers will enter the marketplace. We can look forward to:

·      Regenerative medicine that extends our life span and rebuilds our bodies

·      Robots and drones that drive our cars, teach our kids and fight our wars

·      Smart machines that design, manage and service 40% of all global businesses—energy, commerce, finance and manufacturing—without humans

·      Always-connected digital consumers who challenge every business to change its strategy

·      Climate-change wars that redefine security and resources

Most of us are ill prepared to meet these challenges, which are coming faster than we think. Armed with knowledge, those who are future smart can take action to reinvent themselves, their businesses and their world.

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience  elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise? ” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

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 leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring 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.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindful leadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

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

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/drmaynardbrusman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Mindful Leadership: Overcoming Leadership Blind Spots

Category: 

 

We coach leaders to cultivate, creativity, clarity, focus and trust in a full engagement culture.
 

“Leadership is a struggle by flawed human beings to make some important human values real and effective in the world as it is.” ~ Steven Snyder, Leadership and the Art of Struggle

There’s no escaping it: Everyone has blind spots. No matter how hard we try to be self-aware, everyone—including the best leader—has unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but glaring to everyone else.

Our behavioral blind spots create unintended consequences: They distort judgment, corrupt decision-making, reduce our awareness, create enemies and silos, destroy careers and sabotage business results.

Leaders are particularly vulnerable. They often buy into the overpowering belief that they should have all the answers and easily handle challenges great and small. They exploit their powers of self-confidence at the expense of introspection and self-questioning. For many, the need to be right trumps their mandate to be effective.

These leaders fail to see that their behaviors can be destructive to themselves and others, even when their intentions are positive. They forget that others judge them on their behaviors and results—not by intentions.

Research Revelations

A blind spot is a performance-hindering mindset or behavior of which you’re unaware or have chosen to overlook. A recent Business Week article cites some important research:

       A Hay Group study shows that an organization’s senior leaders are more likely to overrate themselves and develop blind spots that can hinder their effectiveness.

       A study by Development Dimensions International, Inc., found that 89 percent of front-line leaders have at least one skills-related blind spot.

The Hay research suggests that, as executives rise within an organization, the less likely they are to see themselves as others perceive them. They often lose touch with those they lead—not surprising, given their increased isolation and the executive suite’s “rarified” atmosphere. As they reach the pinnacle of their profession, they have fewer peers and greater power. Honest feedback and open dialogue often become rare commodities. This poses a serious problem, as researchers have found a direct correlation between high performance and accurate self-awareness.

You can learn to spot leadership blind spots by:

       Establishing 360-degree feedback processes (even in the executive suite)

       Providing executive coaching

       Fostering a culture that values open feedback and dialogue (particularly at the top)

Two Minds: Fast and Slow

“Blind spots are the product of an overactive automatic mind and an underactive reflective mind.” ~ Snyder


The brain has two systems for thinking, explains Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow:

       System 1 for fast thinking

       System 2 for slower thinking

The fast, or automatic, mind reaches judgments and conclusions quickly, but often prematurely. Intuitive and aware, it makes associations with already-stored and easily accessible information. It is eager to achieve order and understanding, and therefore subject to making errors.

System 2, also known as the reflective mind, is slower and more methodical. It is capable of rational thought and even metathought: the ability to consciously observe one’s thinking processes from a distance. It challenges assumptions and generates alternatives, objectively evaluating and analyzing them.

System 2 helps us take conscious and intentional actions—but it’s also slow and requires lots of energy. It therefore often cedes control to the automatic mind, which conserves energy resources.

Great leaders learn to train Systems 1 and 2 to work synergistically. They nurture their reflective mind to be more proactive and sagacious, while training their automatic mind to increase its associative powers. They are ultimately rewarded with more creative ideas for the reflective mind to consider.

Five Common Blind Spots

An Internet search for “blind spots” produces a virtually endless list of disastrous leadership decisions, based on common cognitive biases that led to faulty thinking.

We can group the most common blind spots into five key categories:

  1. Experience
  2. Personality
  3. Values
  4. Strategy
  5. Conflict

The Experience Blind Spot

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” ~ Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, The Road Ahead

Success boosts confidence—and while it can feel especially good, it leads to errors in thinking.

We rarely examine or analyze what led to a successful outcome, including luck’s role in the process. We automatically assume we were right on the money. Our automatic mind consequently encodes the strategies and tactics we used, along with the confidence we gained.

When we encounter a new situation, we spontaneously draw on our memories of success, without questioning whether prior strategies fit the current circumstances.

Thus, a long history of accolades and achievements can potentially produce troublesome blind spots. There is danger in assuming that past results will guarantee future successes. Intuition takes over, shutting down the need for proper investigation and analysis.

The experience blind spot comes into play when you move into a new role or change jobs. It also surfaces when you’re entrenched in a job and neglect to pay attention to shifting priorities and environmental changes.

The Personality Blind Spot

Personality-based blind spots are epidemic. You cannot avoid them unless you have a high degree of self-awareness, monitor your thoughts and make frequent course corrections.

Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses. But when carried to the extreme or inflamed by stressful situations, even our core strengths can become career-damaging weaknesses.

For example, if you’re naturally optimistic, your thinking is biased toward the positive. This is usually good if you’re charged with inspiring others. But there are times when optimism backfires and leaves you blindsided by negative realities—something you miss until it’s too late.

Similarly, an affable personality usually benefits from strong interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, he may also avoid necessary conflict. For every strength, there’s a related blind spot.

Personality blind spots are often hard to discover because we value our strengths so highly. We often fail to see the downside of what works so well for us. But with increased awareness, you can train yourself to detect emerging blind spots.

Ask yourself:

       Am I playing to the downside of my strengths?

       How will I know when my strengths blind me to my inherent weaknesses?

       Who can be a sounding board as I work toward increasing self-awareness?

Blind spots restrict our options. Soliciting diverse perspectives helps expand our awareness.

The Values Blind Spot

When your attitude and emotions are out of sync with your values, you become uncomfortable and unbalanced—a state psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.” In short, what we say and do is incongruent with what we believe and who we are.

Values blind spots can occur on a personal or group level. They are particularly insidious when you’re somewhat aware of them, but fail to take appropriate corrective action.

In business situations, a values blind spot can affect large groups. Can you think of a time when an implicit incentive to maintain the status quo conflicted with a change initiative? That’s a typical values blind spot in action.

Strategy Blind Spots

Organizations often reward conformity and punish critical or questioning voices.

When a collective worldview becomes self-reinforcing around a set of practices, assumptions or beliefs, there is potential for groupthink. Creativity and agility suffer because conformance is valued above change, and risk is discouraged.

Strategy blind spots can occur in any organizational area. They’re not restricted to values. Unfortunately, they are often spotted in hindsight, after an important opportunity is missed.

Leaders who prize openness and transparency have the best chance of spotting strategy blind spots. They encourage input at all levels, fostering a culture of trust where ideas are honestly debated.

The Conflict Blind Spot

Conflict can be healthy in relationships and organizations where trust has been established. Diverse perspectives challenge tunnel vision and the status quo, while promoting learning and innovation. When issues are constructively debated, new solutions emerge.

But it’s human nature to want to defend and win an argument. Conflict becomes destructive when positive energy turns negative and erodes trust. Empathy and insight are tossed aside when we filter incoming information through the lens of what we believe and want. We categorize others as the enemy, who must be wrong.

Instead of debate, conflict becomes a power struggle that prevents you from seeing any solution (other than winning your point). The automatic mind is in full force, fueled by strong emotions, and the reflective mind is ignored.

You must reactivate your higher intelligence to find your way out of a conflict blind spot. Slow the discussion; perhaps even take a break. Breathe deeply and re-center yourself. When you return to discussions, acknowledge common ground instead of focusing on gaps. What problem do you both want to solve? What goals and values do you share?

Overcoming Blind Spots

“Only in acknowledging our own flaws and vulnerabilities can we become authentic leaders who empower people to perform to the best of their abilities.” ~ Snyder

A blind spot’s effects may not show up right away. Without paying careful attention, you may miss the warning signs. It’s therefore critical for you to proactively work toward discovering them, before you feel the effects.

Consider working with a professional coach who can help you collect data from your boss, colleagues and coworkers. Your coach can administer a personality test and then show you how to evaluate and interpret input.

Also take a look at past or current struggles to determine whether blind spots have hindered your performance. What can you learn from your mistakes? What would you do differently in the future? Reframe situations from others’ perspectives.

When you have a vague awareness of a blind spot, fight against the normal psychological inclination to remain anchored in safe, established patterns. Change occurs only when you engage others in the process.

Above all, don’t blame others for your blind spots or comfortably coast along in unproductive patterns.

You can develop these qualities by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more positive? Positive leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a positive leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Transformational leaders can create a full engagement culture driven by purpose and passion by working with an executive coach and culture change expert. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

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 leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring 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.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop 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.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

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/drmaynardbrusman
http://google.com/+maynardbrusman

 

 

 


 

 

 

Pages

 
Box 1009, East Greenwich, RI 02818
Phone: 401-884-2778
Fax: 401-884-5068
info@summitconsulting.com
 
© Society for the Advancement of Consulting. All Rights Reserved. Web Site Design and Hosting by
WebEditor Design Services, Inc.