My Appearance On KING5 New Day Northwest

I was a guest on the KING5 New Day Northwest program on the topic of how to deal with difficult co-workers.

My 5 tips:

1) Consider first that you also might be perceived as “difficult”.

2) Don’t avoid the problem, deal with it (before running to the boss or HR to “solve the problem”).  Avoiding it leads to mounting frustration and resentment.  And going to the boss before trying to resolve it yourself makes you look bad.  Take the initiative to address the issue with your co-worker.

3) Identify what kind of relationship you want with your co-worker.  Identify your intention for the relationship and communicate this to the co-worker.

4) Identify and relay what your part is in the conflict.  “This is how I see I have contributed to our challenge…”

5) Identify and offer feedback to the co-worker about what behavior you have been experiencing from them that you deem is problematic.  De personalize it by describing their “behavior” not just saying they are “being rude” or “aren’t being a team player”.  Ask for what you want/need to make work life better.

 

Your EQ is Key to Career Success!

Research has powerfully proven that if you are a professional, particularly one in a leadership role (or want to be promoted into one), your emotional intelligence (EQ) capacities can make or break you. What matters is how others (staff, colleagues, key stakeholders/clients and other senior leaders) perceive your EQ abilities like self-awareness, emotional reactivity, adaptability and interpersonal communication in difficult or stressful situations.

In my many years of executive coaching experience I have met few leaders who really know how others truly perceive them. Staff is often reluctant to give leaders with hire/fire authority tough feedback. Additionally, few leaders have been given a confidential 360-feedback review. Sadly, leaders with the greatest EQ challenges are frequently those who have the greatest blind spots. Some find out after it’s too late.

Your EQ is essentially hard wired into the brain in early childhood. Its what helps or hinders you in being interpersonally effective in challenging, stressful or conflict workplace scenarios. If you are a leader you simply can’t afford not to pay attention to growing your skills in this arena. If others don’t trust you or you fail to persuade with your communication style you won’t last long in a leadership role.

EQ Career tip #1. Take my EQ assessment and find out your EQ strengths and challenges. I thoroughly researched the most popular EQ tools/tests available and have great faith in the profile that I have used successfully with hundreds of clients. I am offering 10% off through Feb 29th on this popular, practical and reliable tool.

EQ Career tip #2. Ask those around you to share impact/feedback with you. Don’t make assumptions about how others perceive you.

The good news is that EQ can be improved!! EQ is my coaching sweet spot. I know the formula to help you improve what matters most to your career success. It starts with a phone call—invest in yourself and call or email me today!

Call me to discuss: 425 736 5691(cell) or 360 682 5807 (office)
or email: pinelakemo@comcast.net

Referrals are greatly appreciated!! Please pass my practical tips on to any others you think would benefit.

Reactivity and Your Career

THE HOLIDAYS are stressful. Add in this year’s recession, with one in five workers worried about losing their jobs, and it’s not surprising that many workers are downright grumpy. Many companies have cut back on bonuses, even sacred holiday parties, while asking workers to “do more with less.” As a result, nerves get frayed and tempers can flare.

Tempers flare when the amygdala part of our brain gets triggered and sets off an alarm, firing powerful adrenaline stress hormones in response to perceived threats (like fear of losing your job). There are many ways we can perceive “danger” in our workplaces. For example, believing a co-worker is trying to make us look bad to the boss can be seen as a threat to our livelihood (and therefore our survival). Hearing a co-worker say something that we perceive is insulting or demeaning can be seen as a threat to our self-esteem. Scenarios where we perceive threats put us at risk for losing control of our emotions — otherwise known as an amygdala hijack.

Losing one’s temper or composure in the workplace puts jobs and careers at risk. Most companies won’t put up with it. Workers with anger management issues are seen as a serious risk.

Feeling angry isn’t the problem; the problem is inappropriate behavior. You may not be able to choose how you feel, but you can choose how you respond. Here are tips for responding appropriately:

  • If you feel out of control, take a timeout and remove yourself from the situation. Walk around the block or leave for the rest of the day (infinitely better than losing it in front of your boss or colleagues).
  • Calm down your body’s natural adrenaline response. Try deep breathing from the belly, visualizing your “happy place” or silently repeating a calming word. This will help decrease blood pressure and heart rate, which naturally increase with feeling angry.
  • Identify and acknowledge your emotion. Just naming it can be helpful. Take responsibility for your own feelings and share them directly to clear the air by using an “I” statement. (“I feel angry when …”) Unexpressed anger can result in passive-aggressive behavior (like getting back at someone indirectly with cynical or critical comments vs. confronting issues head on), which can harm relationships.
  • Identify what triggers your anger. Self-awareness is key to controlling how you respond. Working with a coach or therapist can help. A professional can help you connect the dots, increase your self-awareness and learn new behaviors — work you can do to hugely benefit your career.
  • Find a release for your emotions outside work: exercise, kickboxing, chopping wood, etc. Exercise is a powerful release for pent-up emotions.
  • Check your assumptions and perceptions. It’s our appraisal of the behaviors of others that often cause us to react with anger. Humans often jump to inaccurate conclusions. We often guess at the motives or intentions of our co-workers. Electronic communication is particularly fraught with danger for misinterpretation. Check in with the “offending” person to see if your perceptions are accurate. Ask clarifying questions. Be open to the idea that you might have it wrong.
  • Slow it down. Think before you speak. Saying the first thing that pops into your head is rarely a good thing when you’re upset. Rapid-fire responses are what get people escorted out of buildings. Before you speak or hit “send” on an e-mail, check in with yourself and ask: How could this be misunderstood? What is my intention here? Do I want to vent, blame or resolve this? When you speak, use “I” statements and avoid blaming; if you respond with “You …,” odds are you will trigger a defensive response from the other person.
  • Take time off over the holidays to rejuvenate and recharge your batteries. Spend time “disconnected” from the office (that means no compulsive checking devices!). Give yourself a break — you deserve it.

Inappropriate outbursts can define how you are viewed in the workplace. Many people are unaware of how poorly their behavior reflects on them (or affects co-workers). There is help available for those with challenges in this area of emotional intelligence.

Workplaces are filled with frustrations. You won’t succeed trying to eliminate feelings of anger. You are still human. What you can change is how you react and respond.

Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and emotional intelligence abilities.  I coach leaders all over the world via Skype.  Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com

Defuse Loose Cannons

AS AN EXECUTIVE coach/consultant, I commonly get calls like the one I got last week from an HR professional who, along with the company CEO, was looking for help with a valued employee also considered a loose cannon. These “problem employees” can be a huge challenge and risk to companies. Why? Loose cannons can and do sink ships. Though often these individuals are uniquely qualified super “executors” who get results, many also leave a wake of disruption behind them in accomplishing their objectives. This leaves management with a tough decision, contemplating if the pain is worth the gain.

Many of these exceptional performers have extraordinary technical or execution skills, but are unfortunately significantly deficient in interpersonal or emotional intelligence. Many are blind to how they are perceived by others and often have no idea how close they are to losing their jobs.

According to the Collins dictionary, a loose cannon is “a person or thing, with the potential to cause considerable damage, that appears to be out of control.” Allowing loose cannons to run amuck is risky business. Unchecked, their erratic behavior can cause other valued employees (and clients/customers) to leave. They often negatively affect morale and the performance of others — all of which leaves senior executives evaluating options and desperate for help.

The good news is that these situations are frequently recoverable, but only with the right boss approach and the right help for the employee. A change in behavior is often required from both.

If you are the boss, what can be done to save your loose cannon from sinking your ship?

1. Deal with it. These scenarios have a tendency to only get worse, and their impact on the organization frequently runs deeper than is apparent. Develop an appropriate plan to address the problem employee.

2. Remain composed and calm. Loosing your cool will only inflame an already potentially explosive situation (modeling good behavior is important).

3. Give feedback that cannot be misunderstood. Focus on the behavior instead of making it “personal.” Avoid generalizations such as, “You are unprofessional.” There are many possible interpretations of a word like “unprofessional.” Specify acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Enlighten them about how their behavior is causing a problem for others.

4. Be prepared to follow through. As the boss, you are ultimately responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. You need to be able (and willing) to let go of any employee who is abusive or putting others (or your business) at risk. As the boss, if you can’t draw a line, you are likely part of the problem. Managers often have difficulty standing their ground or being assertive; however, most can’t afford not to deal with this. The decision to terminate a valued but troubled employee is a major decision. Get help to work on your ability to be assertive and increase your authority.

5. Get expert help for the loose cannon. It’s important for the employee to understand he is valued and you are willing to invest in him. Expert coaches who specialize in emotional intelligence can help individuals identify tendencies and problematic behaviors and learn new behaviors. They are trained to act as a mirror for their clients so they can become more self-aware. They provide continual focus, support, practice and feedback in a safe environment. Internal HR professionals are often ineffective in these scenarios because they can be viewed as the company stool pigeon or someone who can get the individual fired. In contrast, an outside coach is viewed as an impartial, nonthreatening partner to help them through a difficult situation.

The challenge in these scenarios is closing the gap between the loose cannon and the boss. It’s not uncommon for me to discover that bosses unwittingly have set up a systemic dynamic that is part of the problem. Often roles and expectations haven’t been clearly defined, which is a catalyst for blow-ups between the “problem” employee and others. The good news is there is help.

Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership abilities.  I coach leaders all over the world via Skype.  Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com

Anxiety in Workplace

In small doses, anxiety can be a useful emotion. It helps alert us to danger and can spark us into taking needed action. But when anxiety is chronic and hinders us (driving negative behavior or paralyzing us), it’s time to address it.

Wise leaders understand that emotions are contagious. Anxiety left unchecked can spread like wildfire in today’s environment. Companies and senior managers need to take a proactive approach to managing anxiety or risk it paralyzing their work force.

Here are a few coach’s tips to address and reduce workplace anxiety:

  • Discuss relevant matters openly and appropriately. Bring your team together to talk about their stress and emotions. Tell them what is going on; give as much information as possible. The worst thing senior leaders can do during these turbulent difficult times is to go silent. Communicate often. Discuss how the organization plans to get through the tough times ahead, letting individuals know how they can contribute.
  • Foster an environment that promotes fairness, compassion and transparency. People are in turmoil — to ignore this is ill advised. This is a time to be available if you are a leader; listen well and acknowledge the concerns of staff. Caring about the emotional health of employees is important. Leaders can’t afford to be oblivious to what is going on with their people emotionally — it results in collective distress, which leads to poor performance. Recognize when workers are “flooded” (overwhelmed by their emotions in a fight-or-flight reptilian brain response) and allow them time and space to recover.
  • Keep your people connected (and I don’t mean electronically). It’s not healthy for people to hide out in cubicles struggling to concentrate day after day. We need human-to-human contact. It helps soothe anxiety and fear. Research shows that positive human contact reduces stress hormones. People in pain are helped when others reach out to them (allowing them to function more effectively again). Allowing time for employees to share human emotions and feelings is not only good for business — it’s being a good human being.
  • Leaders’ emotions are particularly contagious, so managing anxiety is important. People look to their leaders for cues about how they should respond. How leaders “show up” emotionally can have a huge impact (positively or negatively) on an entire team or organization. Leaders can’t help their people manage their emotions unless they first manage their own behaviors.
  • Develop self-soothing methods. There are numerous techniques that can help — tightening and then relaxing muscles, awareness of breath (slowing it down), deep cleansing breaths, meditation, listening to classical music or talking a walk around the block. All can help you feel more centered and calm.
  • Dig yourself out. Reduce physical and electronic clutter — it adds to anxiety and drains energy. Find a workable system to track e-mails and filing. Clear time in your day to organize, prioritize and plan.
  • Learn to notice and track your anxiety. One in 10 people are prone to anxiety disorders (get professional help if this is you!). It can be helpful to track and record in a journal or matrix what triggers anxiety for you. See if by keeping track over time you notice any patterns. Identifying the negative internal tapes that accompany anxiety can be helpful in getting rid of them. Practice noticing the thought pattern and letting it go or “shooting” your automatic internal critic.

· Offer skill development, coaching support and training for your people. Given the extreme stress levels in today’s workplace, this is a prime time to offer staff or management conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and/or communication training. There are learnable skills, techniques and tools that will help people work through differences more effectively in today’s turbulent, uncertain environment.

Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and emotional intelligence abilities.  I coach leaders all over the world via Skype.  Call me:  360 682 5807 or email: mmoriarty@pathtochange.com