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Trustworthy Leaders Project Warmth and Competence

 

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.

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