Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Leading Through Emotions at Work

If you want to have a life that is worth living, a life that expresses your deepest feelings and emotions and cares and dreams, you have to fight for it. 

~ Alice Walker

Considering we, as humans, are a series of emotions and habits, and our emotions can drive our commitment to well-serving habits, just as our habits can either quell or enhance our emotional states in reaction or response to people and situations, what happens when emotions are presented at the office, on Zoom/Teams, or with clients and colleagues in a way that creates discomfort? Can anything be done, or do we simply wait and hope for it to pass?

The answer is yes, you can do something, and here are approaches that will be emotionally intelligent, kind, and considerate to not tell someone they are wrong, rather give them an opportunity to sit in success. Much of these actions take place far before an incident, and others are for in the moment:

1)    Instead of creating and fostering an environment of emotionally-based questions or requests, such as “Do me a favor and get this report to me by Noon tomorrow” or “Don’t get mad at me, but…I need you to get the data regarding the XYZ widgets by Noon tomorrow”, ensure your language is focused on work, and appropriate in requests for the role and responsibilities someone has, meaning state requests such as “Because you are responsible for the data regarding the XYZ widgets, please share the ROI on the sales for 2022 by Noon tomorrow” and “Respecting you have a lot on your plate, is it realistic to expect the data regarding the XYZ widgets by Noon tomorrow?”

2)    When someone says something like “I don’t think So-And-So likes me” or “I think So-And-So has it in for me”, reply not with “Why is that?”, which can start innocently and then end in gossip and positioning, instead, shut down that language while being open to ensuring a safe workplace by stating “While ours is not a culture about liking and not liking, having it in for someone or blame, what specifically has happened that makes you feel uncomfortable with So-And-So when working together?” The difference is subtle, and yet you are not allowing that to subtly be acceptable that there can be people out for others.

3)    Should someone says “I feel like you don’t trust me” or “You dismiss me all the time”, or “You never let me finish an idea in the meeting”, rather than get defensive or tell the person “That’s not true”, or “I don’t do that”, or “You’re too sensitive” or “Calm down” say sincerely “You have the right to feel that way. Please walk me through the last time this happened for clarity and get us back connected positively and productively” or “Please forgive me for not being aware of that, I am open to hearing what you experienced”. Then, listen, and strive to relate with empathy rather than react with heightened energy. You want to avoid arguing or countering emotions. People’s emotions are not right or wrong, they are theirs, and working through them to an outcome and agreement is best.

4)    If you have gossip and bickering in the workplace, shut the action and activity down without shutting up people. Share that your workplace, organization, team, or group is not only a safe place, it is a space for support and collaboration, and there is not only no room for gossip and behind-the-back antics, it is an action such as one of those that will be the demise of the team. Share that if there is something factual to address, you will listen, and points of opinion are to be worked through by those involved directly. You are there to be supportive and to moderate, if need be, and that such engagement is to happen long before others are involved or told what has been occurring. This will garner openness and respect in order to keep alliances and cliques from forming.

Ultimately, you want, and you likely want your team members to feel and engage rather than get emotional and blame.

In nearly-18-years of my practice I’ve yet to meet an employee at any level who said, “I love working at my job because people are emotionally driven to blame” or “It’s great to get to work where there is an “in group” and the rest of us.” With that in mind, know that we are emotional beings, and that being known is how you can harness the emotions to appreciate and respect them without allowing emotional sabotage to take place. Let people have habits and emotions, and at the same time, let’s get in the habit of emotions being part of our experiences and not part of emotionally driven taking of sides, or dragging down culture, in the workplace!

#ProfessionalDevelopment #PersonalDevelopment #Kind #Leadership #Emotions #EmotionalIntelligence

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A Guide to Delivering a TOAST with Confidence

"I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks." 

~ Winston Churchill

Without a toast to say and share good cheer with those around you, are you really celebrating the day, the person, or the event you are attending?

It's enjoyable to get to work with a Father-of-the-Bride, a Best Man, or a Maid/Matron-of-Honor before a wedding in the public speaking work we do at Presenting Powerfully. Those toasts tend to get recorded, revisited, and let's face it, a lot of nerves and attention around them!

Still, whether it is for a wedding, or something else, the toast at an intimate dinner for two, a party for 50, a celebration of a product launch, retirement, the holidays, the New Year, or something else, is public speaking, and speaking publicly, even to a limited group can be impactful. So, have fun with it all while you take a serious look at the guide to getting the toast just right through covering these five aspects of the announcement/recognition (and please notice there is no ring to the glass, whistling, or knife/spoon making noise on the glass, either, you simply begin, and you may repeat/restate the first part (the initial "T" below to garner attention over demanding it with a harsh interruption of an abrupt sound):

T - Today/Tonight we are here to recognize/celebrate…

O - Often/Occasionally we find ourselves doing ___

A - And since/because/with that in mind, it is a pleasure to

S - Share (mention a few facts or tidbits about the person/project/event)

T - Thank you, and cheers to the person/team/holiday/couple!

If you were toasting Joe and Ronna on their engagement, you could TOAST with the following in a clear, loud voice, without apology or noise to get attention:

"Tonight we are here to celebrate and congratulate Joe and Ronna! Occasionally we get to shine this light on each of them separately, and now we get to see them glow as an engaged couple. And, because of their example of love, and kindness, and the way they make the most out of life, along with their 2 years of dating, we will soon get to see them take the next step as husband and wife. Thanks for all you do to inspire us, congratulations, and cheers! To Ronna and Joe!" (Raise glass.)

Should you be ringing in Valentine's Day, or Galentine's Day at a group event, you could stand with your drink in hand and say something like:

"Good evening! The middle of February is a wonderful time for reflecting and looking forward with love and hope in our eyes and hearts. Often it is about the romantic gestures and the traditions, and with those in mind, please know that it's also about the support and friendships we all LOVE to embrace and appreciate. In 2023, we saw two of you marry, one of you adopt a child, and three of you grow your businesses to new heights with your passion for your work...all while we each cheered one another on! We are here for each other. We inspire and pick one another up. For all of those reasons, I thank and celebrate you, and here’s to everyone here having a happy Valentine's Day that fills your heart with love!" (Raise glass.)

Once you get comfortable with the format, and embrace the flow, you will realize you can toast anyone anywhere with the TOAST method, and the honored or honorees will feel special while the guests will enjoy the impact and brevity of your sincere comments. 

So go ahead, raise a glass, and cheers to many enjoyable TOASTs in your future!

 #Toast #Celebrate #Leadership #Ihatepublicspeaking #publicspeaking

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Knowing the Difference(s) in Price & Worth/Value, Price & Cost, Expense & Experience, and Spending & Investing

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. 
~ Blaise Pascal

Has anyone ever asked you "A penny for your thoughts?" I don't know about you, but while that expression is a kind way of getting someone to open up, the value proposition is simply non-existent!

We have these oddities, especially with time and money...

So often people say/ask "How much does that cost?" when the real question, the internal question is 'What is it worth to you?' or 'What is the value of having this?' since the cost is particularly relevant to what you believe the worth is and/or the value of the item/experience. 

Say someone has 6 pairs of shoes with them on a trip and an attractive, right-sized pair of shoes at a lovely local store is $200, that cost becomes more about giving up space in their luggage, in other words, the opportunity cost plays a factor. What could they do with the money if they don't buy these shoes? And then, what will it cost them to rationalize another pair of shoes to themselves (or friends who managed to go 3 weeks with 2 pairs of shoes)? The worth of the shoes that potentially make an outfit during that trip is higher than the worth of the same shoes if they will sit in a bag getting toted around from hotel to hotel, city to city without getting worn. That leads us to price. The price of not getting the shoes aligns somewhat with the opportunity cost. Sure there is a price of $200, and then there is the price of if this purchase goes on a credit card. If the price of getting the shoes is paid in terms of being cheap when everyone is at dinner. Price is more than a currency exchange, it can be about energy and attitude, too.

The cost/worth/price idea gets us thinking about our wallets, our choices, and even our rationale for making or skipping purchases...and it need not stop there!

Time is our most valuable resource, so when engaging with someone, or many someones, do think about cost, worth, and price, meaning how many minutes or hours present as the direct cost, the worth is what you will gain from the engagement, and the price, or opportunity cost is what else you could be doing with that time. When someone says "Gotta minute?", they scarcely, if ever, only take a minute, and if someone, unfortunately, asks to "Pick your brain", they are taking time and energy from you, so you have a choice to give it or not.

Still, both the shoe example and a meeting with someone can also be an investment or a simple spend. How so? The investment idea is that the shoes will last a long time, and/or they will go up in value. A simple spend though is that the money or time was ours, we spent it on the meeting or the shoes and didn't see anything other than less than a fair trade or value, so we spent our time or money, for it yielded no return or less than what we deemed acceptable.

Now, moving on to whether the choice to buy the shoes or spend time with someone is an expense or an experience keeps most of us intrigued in a slightly new way. It's rarely both an expense and an experience because the idea of an expense means you got little out of it, and you have written it off, meaning it bears little worth to even revisit, whereas an experience means there was something in it that was/is non-tangible. Say the shoes were those to benefit charity and you like the charity so the experience of contributing outweighs that the shoes were an expense to move forward and away from quickly. Also, the shoes could be a wonderful reminder for years to come about the trip itself and that alone makes the purchase of the shoes an experience. Similarly, a meeting with someone can spark another connection, doing business together, avoiding an issue or problem, or none of those mentioned. If any of the connect, business and avoidance play out, then the meeting was an experience that moved you or a project ahead, and if it is not one of those, it was likely an expense.

What to do with these point-counterpoint positions and considerations? Here are the takeaways for implementation:

1) When you are asking for someone's time, present an agenda and goal that is of value to them focused on them, and then deliver to it.

2) When considering a purchase of any size, go beyond price to cost, other options, and the value for you having it versus not having it, as well as the timing and situation.

3) Keep in mind your sense of risk and adventure may be far different than other people's, so judge not what people buy or do with their time, as it is their process, or systems of process that lead them to satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their choices.

By simply and wonderfully allowing your mind and your decision to consider these options,  before putting money or time toward an item or an interaction, you will likely live your life with intent and experience the outcomes fully and openly! 

#Leadership #Choices #Value #Expereince #PersonalDevelopment #ProfessionalDevelopment