Do Your Colleagues Know You Care?

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“Caring about the happiness of others, we find our own.”—Plato

A highly successful manager told me she was disappointed. She had devoted many years of long days and nights to her organization and felt like she was disposable and not cared for by her boss.  Another person told me that his boss said he could not save his job in a corporate downsizing. He did not feel valued and appreciated for his contribution. Another high achiever does not feel recognized for her extraordinary impact and feels her boss does not really know or care about her.

Unfortunately, these are not isolated events.  I hear complaints from people at all levels saying they don’t feel valued. This lack of genuine care results in frustration and disengagement.  You have heard the statistics by Gallop that employee engagement is less than 35%. They define engagement as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to the work and workplace.”

So much energy is wasted when people don’t feel personally valued or cared about.  When we feel we are not valued or seen as an individual, we lose motivation and trust.  Managers can become so focused and pressured for results that it is easy to forget to demonstrate care for colleagues.  We can fail to show we care about family members and friends too.

Reflect on your past bosses.  How was it different for you when you knew your boss cared for you?  A colleague told me he is so much happier and more productive with his new boss who takes a personal interest in who he is and what he wants.  

When people know we care about them a sense of trust and safety evolves. When people know we care about them, we are better positioned to give them direct feedback and we are better positioned to create results together.

How can you demonstrate care?  First make the conscious decision to be caring. Visualize demonstrating care to each person on your team or in your family. It is likely to look different depending on individual styles and needs.  Ask your colleague or family member about how they are doing and show interest in their lives both in the workplace and outside. Be sure to give empathy and work to understand their perspectives. Be vulnerable yourself and share your perspective and share developments that are happening in the organization. Be candid and open yourself.  Take time to connect. 

Reflect on your colleagues and others. How are you showing you care?

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Illuminate Possibility

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“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”—Thich Nhat Hanh

“I’m so stressed, I will never get it all done.”  “We are never going to make our numbers.” “We have not gotten enough support.” “Why is the plane delayed again?” “You let me down.”

It is our nature to complain and see what is missing.  We have a negativity bias where we tend to see what is not working.  This served humans during the cave days when a more optimistic view could result in being eaten.  Most of us are not in such danger these days. However, Rick Hansen says that negativity is like Velcro, while positivity is like Teflon and easily slips away.  

We know that our mindset influences how we perceive the world and that influences our behavior which impacts others. We can each take responsibility to positively influence our workplaces, families and communities by our open mindset. We can be negative and create a draining environment or we can lead others to see what is possible by our example.

New research in the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience, cited by Michelle Gielan in her book Broadcasting Happiness, shows that shifts in how we reflect and communicate with others can have significant effects on business outcomes.  For example, studies show that positivity and optimism have resulted in “31 percent higher productivity, 25 percent greater performance ratings, 37 percent higher sales and 23 percent lower levels of stress.”

It takes effort to build the habit of appreciating what is working and seeing possibilities.  On a recent family trip it was easy to hear complaints about being tired, the disruptive weather, late planes and the packed schedule.  Yet, when I could notice my own tendency toward negativity and shift to the positivebeing  grateful we were together and appreciating the opportunity we had to fly and that we could be flexiblethis small shift made the trip more positive for me and thus for my family.

I am not saying it is easy to make these shifts and like any habit, it takes practice to build the muscle of noticing our instinct and shifting to our desired behavior.  Yet, the second-hand effect of being positive and seeing possibilities makes the effort worthwhile.

Work to notice negativity in yourself and others and develop the habit of noticing and radiating possibilities.

Contact us at any time at Potentials.com.

Are You Open to Being Influenced?

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“Let go of your attachment to being right, and suddenly your mind is more open. You’re able to benefit from the unique viewpoints of others, without being crippled by your own judgment.”—Ralph Marston

T., an executive coaching client, was clearly an expert in his field. He was recognized both inside and outside his organization as being very bright. The company valued his contribution and considered him a key player.  He received awards and recognition for his innovative ideas and programs.

T. was asked to work with an executive coach to round out his leadership style.  After I interviewed peers, colleagues and clients, it became clear that while T. had strong leadership skills and influenced how things were done and interpreted, he was not open to being influenced.

Many people complained that T. did not listen and always thought that he was “right.”  The challenge is that he felt he was the most knowledgeable person in the room or the team.  T. tended to cut people off and left people with the sense that he felt he was better than most.  He was able to use his quick wit and fast mind to his benefit most of the time. However, as he progressed in more senior roles, his overly confident style and lack of openness began to hurt him.

T. could not understand why so many people complained about him to HR. He felt justified in telling people that they did not have the answers needed.  The company struggled with how to keep his talent without his challenging style. These days, no matter how bright or capable an individual is, no one has all the answers.  We will only succeed by being open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

Fortunately, in this case, T. learned that effective leaders not only influence others, but are also open to being influenced. As he practiced listening more, giving empathy and reflecting what he heard, he developed an entirely new relationship with colleagues and clients. His new mindset of openness became contagious. People became more open to sharing their ideas as well as supporting his efforts.

T. had not thought about the power of being open-minded and listening to others.  When he practiced being open he became a much more effective leader and continued to be valuable and progress in his career.  The biggest surprise for him was the deeper connections and more trusting environment he fostered. To his delight, he and his team excelled at an even higher level than he dreamed possible.  Energy was shifted from complaining and stress to more positive avenues.

T. and his company were fortunate. I recall a similar experience where people advocated that a company keep a leader due to his knowledge and expertise.  People put up with his abrupt style. He was not open to feedback or input. People did not trust him and felt he was not open to other’s ideas. However, after a few years and after strong people left the organization because they did not want to work with him, he was finally asked to leave.  It was a loss for him and the organization. However, without the ability to listen and be open to others and create a trusting environment, this leader could not be effective.

Ask yourself, “Am I open to being influenced as much as I am focused on influencing?”  Envision a see-saw. How balanced is the ride?

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What kind of presence do you bring?

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The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.—Nhat Hanh

One of my executive clients shared that he was attending a company conference. He said he was looking forward to seeing some old friends. When I asked him about new acquaintances, it became clear that he had not focused on building new relationships. In fact, there were people that he clearly did not want to engage. He had negative views of some participants based on past history and he did not see the value of investing in others. In essence, he anticipated being open to a few he knew and closed to most others.

This is not uncommon. Most of us are busy and stressed these days and we make choices on how to spend our energy and where to invest in others.  We each have habitual patterns around how we interact in different settings.  Often, we fail to notice that we have options and can consciously choose how we show up.

It had not occurred to my client that as a senior leader, people would be paying attention to him and that how he interacts with them would make a difference in their motivation and how they perceived him and the company.

I gave my client an experiment. I suggested that he consciously work to be open to a wider group of people at the company conference. By setting the intention to be welcoming and curious, he found that he entered the meeting differently. He was not exclusive but included others, even those with whom he had a preconceived negative perception. It took a conscious intention for him to ask open-minded questions and then really listen to people.

My client was surprised at what he noticed with his new behaviors. He did indeed connect with more people than he expected. He learned about various perceptions and issues that helped him and his team to be more effective. Some people offered to support him. He felt more connected to his peers and the organization.

By choosing to be open, curious and generous in his welcoming stance, my client showed up as a leader. In addition to receiving positive feedback, he helped to create a positive environment at the meeting and in the company.

I believe that all of us can shift negative stressful environments by setting our intention to be open and creating a respectful, welcoming stance. When we engage in open-minded conversations and give others empathy we are positioned to find common ground and a shared vision. Emotions are contagious and it is hard to be innovative and creative when we don’t feel welcomed by others. Too much energy is diverted to protecting ourselves.

It is useful to examine our habitual patterns and experiment with new behaviors that support openness and respect. We read each other and know when someone is genuinely interested and when we are invisible.

Experiment with being more present, open and welcoming and notice the impact on you, others and the environment created.

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Emotions are Contagious

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Emotions are contagious. We’ve all known it experientially. You know after you have a really fun coffee with a friend, you feel good. When you have a rude clerk in a store, you walk away feeling bad.”—Daniel Goleman

“He’s saying all the right things, but I don’t trust him.” “Something’s not right.” “I feel on edge around him and I’m not sure why.”

These were comments made about a new senior leader of an organization. People told me he did thank others and seemed to involve people. His words were positive and supportive, but they felt uncomfortable and judged by him. In this environment of uncertainty, his colleagues felt nervous around him. Trying to manage their feelings of being judged and their lack of trust took a lot of energy away from creative innovation. Rather than speaking freely and brainstorming, people were more careful around this leader and then their worry became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The leader became more critical and harsh.

When I talked with the leader, he was indeed judging his team and he was frustrated with what he identified as “laziness and lack of insight.”  The new leader was worried about making progress and felt stressed with making changes. Yes, he was polite on the outside, but people sensed his real emotions, even when they were not exactly clear on what caused their discomfort. In reality, emotions are contagious and we are constantly picking up emotions and concerns.

I first understood the contagious nature of emotions when I was young. I had been bitten by a dog and was fearful of large dogs. Of course, every large stray dog zeroed in on me on the playground. How could the dogs sense my fear?

Animals and humans sense and share emotions easily. We think we are separate individuals and that our emotions are private. However, functional MRIs show that as we interact, others are absorbing our feelings continually and often without awareness. We are affected by the emotions we absorb and they influence our actions.

We are inducing emotions in others as we experience them and vice versa.  For example, when a parent is stressed or angry, children respond by being distrustful or anxious.

Emotional transfer works in two ways. First, we unconsciously mimic those around us. Have you ever noticed that your arms are crossed when the person you are interacting with also has crossed arms? We unconsciously mimic other people’s facial expressions and gestures automatically. If someone is experiencing stress or judgment, we naturally tighten our body too. Second, in addition to mimicry, we empathetically respond to other’s emotions. If someone is happy, we are more likely to feel positive. If someone’s face seems fearful, we are likely to experience fear, imagining there is something to fear. Recent research supports that our brains easily and quickly transmit emotions. This capability helps us to survive.

A study conducted by Mendes and colleagues brought mothers into her lab in San Francisco with their young children. They attached sensors to the mothers and babies and separated them. One group of mothers was asked to give a speech about their strengths and weaknesses in front of strongly judging raters and another group gave their speech to themselves in front of a mirror. The mothers with the judges picked up the emotions of the judgers and in turn their children adopted the same sense of fear and did not want to play with the researchers. On the other hand, the positive mothers transmitted their positive energy to their children who continued to be happy at the lab.

What does this contagious nature of emotions imply for leaders? A lot. First, leaders need to pay attention to their own emotional states. It is useful to name our emotions and then take actions to support positive emotions recognizing that others are picking up our emotional state and are likely to act from it.

I notice that my worry or stress impacts my child’s stress. When I am more positive and relaxed, I sense my child is too. The same is true when I work with teams. My positive, hopeful and expectant state is often mirrored to me by team members.

It is valuable to recognize that we are unconsciously influencing others. We can make it our intention to be mindful of our state and work to positively influence others. We can work to allow others to benefit from our hopeful states.

With some coaching and increased awareness the leader mentioned above was able to shift his judging and became more open and genuinely supportive of his team members. In turn, they became more comfortable and the team was better able to create a shared vision and pursue challenging goals together.

Pay attention to your emotional state and notice your impact as well as how you are influenced by the state of others. Given that emotions are contagious, how will you infect others today?  Ideally, you will experience an oasis and spread positivity.

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How Do You Influence?

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“People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for.”—Harper Lee

Arun, a project leader could not understand why he was not able to convince colleagues of the urgency required to develop a new technology. In the same way, Jerry, another leader, was frustrated. Despite all the facts and data he provided making the case for a change in the procurement process, it seemed to go unnoticed.  Both of these leaders had years of experience at senior levels in organizations. They had strong track records in implementing goals. However, they were frustrated that they were not influential in garnering support for what they knew was “right” for their organizations. Colleagues shared that they appreciated the intelligence and ability to get things done of these leaders. However, they did not get high marks on their ability to influence or emotional intelligence. Arun and Jerry are not alone.  Implementing and influencing are different skills.

Often we try to convince people of our view by sharing research, data and statistics. You believe global warming is a problem, you share compelling facts with your colleague or friend and can’t understand why the person is not realistic and adheres to your view.  We see a lot of polarization in workplaces and families around myriad issues. The division takes energy that could be used for collective innovation and creativity.

It is becoming clear that we can’t change views by simply providing data and facts.  It is particularly challenging these days when we all have Google at our side and we can find data to support any view. Since we each gravitate and in essence are rewarded by information that supports our views, it is hard to influence others with facts and information. This confirmation bias limits our openness to different views.

When we take actions based on our beliefs, such as voting for a candidate, we become even more convinced that our perspective is right.  The more we believe we are “right” the harder it is for us to consider other views.

When trying to influence others, we need to first be aware of our view and recognize that we have biases and we could learn more. This openness and curiosity will have a profound effect on our interactions.  While we know it from experience, our emotions and energy are contagious.  If we believe we are right and that the other person “should” behave or comply, the other person senses our emotion and desire to “control” and naturally becomes defensive and gravitates even more strongly to their held view.

Anyone who has experience as a parent with a teen, or a manager will know the futility of telling another person to believe or do something.  However, when we are curious, empathetic and open, we create the space for understanding. Our emotional state of openness becomes contagious and the other person is often less resistant.  When we find common ground, the other person is less defensive and can become curious and open too. While we tend to focus on differences, we have a lot more common ground than we tend to realize.

Tali Sharot shares research in her book The Influential Mind that shows that as we interact with others our brain patterns become aligned.  When study participants were working together on a project to make financial decisions, their brain patterns were aligned when they shared common ground and they were more open to influence.  However, when pairs disagreed their brains became less sensitive to the information presented by the other.  The studies suggest that by focusing on common ground and creating an emotionally positive environment, people are more open to influence.

Sharot explains that scientists were not able to convince parents to vaccinate their children by just sharing data.  However, by emphasizing the common ground of care for children and the desire that they not suffer from horrible diseases, three times more people chose to vaccinate.

When we can catch our desire to tell or convince people and become open to listening and connecting emotionally and finding common ground, we are more likely to influence others.  We need to be open-minded and engage in conversations where we are empathetic, listening and seeking common ground.

Both Arun, the project leader and Jerry, the leader supporting a new procurement system, were able to alter their strategies of trying to convince and shifted to being open-minded, curious, empathetic and finding common ground.  They used the OASIS Conversations process and created a positive and productive environment and achieved their business goals.

Catch yourself when you are trying to control rather than influence others. Notice when you are not open and curious and resort to pushing and citing research without finding common ground and creating an open environment. Remember that emotions are contagious and you will benefit from being open yourself.

Contact us any time at Potentials.com.

What kind of explorer are you?

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“The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”—Dr. Seuss

“I am still learning.”—Michelangelo at age 87


Many leaders and organizations are experiencing great uncertainty. The rules seem to be dramatically changing and people often report that it feels like the ground is shaking.

With the rapid introduction of technology, globalization and innovation, we each are called to be resilient and to continually reinvent ourselves. You are no doubt hearing reports that many jobs are changing with the emergence of artificial intelligence and other world changes. Futurists are predicting that we are approaching significantly more marked changes in the next decade.  A colleague suggested the analogy of being on a plane to a dramatically different land. We need to ask if we are prepared for what we will experience after landing. Rather than being jolted and alarmed, we need to be open and curious like an avid explorer and learner.

I have traveled a lot and seen travelers who are alarmed when faced with different ways and keep wanting things to be “right” as they are back home. Others enjoy experimenting with new ways and work to understand different perspectives and grow from the experience. 

We need to embrace the unknown and to commit to continuous learning and to be open to disruption. We also need to be kind to ourselves and to each other. Adapting is not a linear process and not easy either. Just like an avid traveler, we also need connection and support more than ever and at the same time we seem to be more isolated. In a more stable time the paradigm for change was to experience unfreezing and then refreezing and stability. Now, we need a different mindset. We need to be open for what we will find as we disembark from a plane ride to a distant land. We need to stay open, curious and embrace our love of learning without hoping for stability.

We also need to ensure that employees and students are continually learning. A report by the National Research Council suggests that a combination of cognitive, intrapersonal and interpersonal skills—flexibility, creativity, initiative, innovation, intellectual openness, collaboration, leadership, and conflict resolution—are essential for keeping up in the 21st century. More than preparing people for a specific role or career, people need to know how to learn, embrace change and be open-minded with strong conversational skills to work in complex global environments with diverse perspectives.  We each need to be flexible to learn new skills and continually change roles.

Ed Gordon, author of Future Jobs and of the Gordon Report (www.Imperialcorp.com) posits that just as adjustments were required as we shifted from the Industrial Age to the Computer Age, we are experiencing a similar disruption as we enter the Cyber-Mental Age with a focus on innovation and intelligent machines. The U.S. labor market suffers from a lack of workers with the education and career skills needed in the tech-driven advanced economy. At the same time, workers are looking for jobs. Organizations are realizing the need to provide training and workers are recognizing the need to learn new skills. Some communities are bringing together various stakeholders including businesses, community members and schools to provide training and learning opportunities in Regional Talent Innovation Networks.  Many organizations are feeling the pain of job vacancies and the lack of qualified workers and are expanding their training programs in order to have the talent they need. A challenge is that not all have mastered the critical skill of “learning to learn.”  With this skill, people will have the confidence that they can explore and adapt to work in new and different ways. We each will be called to be flexible and resilient as marketplace conditions change. It will be easier with the confidence of being able to learn and with an explorer mindset. As leaders, we need to help others to embrace “learning to learn” and being an open and curious explorer in unknown lands.

As we shift in significant ways, we will benefit from working together rather than perpetuating polarization across differences. We need to learn with and from each other. I believe that adopting an open mindset and having the skills to effectively converse with people across disciplines, roles, locations and perspectives is one of the best ways to thrive in our current and evolving environment.

What are you doing as a leader to adapt an open-mindset embracing the uncertainty and continuous learning? What kind of connections and communities are supporting you as you explore new lands?

You are welcome to listen to an interview I had with Ed Gordon about the changing workforce conditions, the job-skills gap and the need to “learn to learn”  at https://soundcloud.com/ann-van-eron/interview-with-ed-gordon

What kind of an explorer and learner are you?

Leading with Aliveness

Leading with Aliveness

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive.” —Howard Thurman

What supports you in experiencing aliveness?

So many of my executive clients, colleagues in organizations and others I meet report feeling stressed and disconnected these days. It is not surprising. Most organizations are experiencing disruption and change is a constant. Often companies are cutting resources yet more and more is required. There is a sense of unease and polarization both in organizations and everywhere.  Our daily news is filled with challenges and conflict.

People want to shift from feelings of scarcity and stress and to create more connection and possibility. Yet most don’t know how to do so. We are all influenced by our environments. How do we change cultures to allow more connection and innovation?

Leaders need to start with themselves. They need to make it their intention to create positive and productive environmentseven one interaction at a time.

It is worth the investment in paying attention to your experience and then recalling your commitment to create an innovative and inclusive environment. Yes, this does mean slowing down a bit to become aware and to really see your colleagues and to listen. It means catching yourself when you feel competitive and want to win over someone.  By being self-aware and making small shifts in our interactions, people start to feel heard and seen and more alive, and then they relax a bit too and are more apt to bring forth new and creative ideas.

Leaders can ask themselves, “Am I open to possibilities and experiencing aliveness?”  It is useful to develop a small practice or habit to keep focused on your intention. Perhaps you appreciate your situation and colleagues as you travel to work. You may take a walk, enjoy nature or a hobby, breathe deeply or listen to an inspiring podcast. You can share your goal to listen and create an open-minded atmosphere with a friend or a coach and reflect on your progress.

As we make the intention to be alive and open and engage in meaningful conversations the climate begins to change. Changing the culture involves supporting others in also being more open and addressing the systems and norms of the organization to be supportive and aligned.

Renew your intention of creating a positive and productive environment and start with noticing and nurturing aliveness in yourself.

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Applied Emotional Intelligence

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“If you want maximal productivity and you want work that gets the best results, you want the people doing the work to be in the optimal brain state for the work. You are a person who can evict them from the zone of optimal performance by slothfully handling your own interactions with them. So it is up to you to take responsibility for your impact on their ability to do their best.”—Daniel Goleman

Studies show that people with high levels of emotional intelligence experience greater job performance, stronger leadership skills, greater mental health and wellbeing and overall more success. Research supports that intellectual intelligence only accounts for about 20% of success and emotional intelligence is the significant differentiating factor. 

How do we be emotionally intelligent? It takes practice, the development of habits of self-awareness, and increased awareness in our interactions.  

Emotional intelligence involves becoming self-aware and honing the ability to manage our reactions. In addition, it involves being aware of others and successfully managing our relationships.  

I have worked with many leaders and organizations to share the key habits of emotional and social intelligence. It is useful to appreciate that emotions are contagious and that we are influencing others as our relationships influence us. We need to pay attention and take responsibility to create a positive and productive environment. I often ask myself if I am experiencing an oasis with others or more of the challenging experience of being in the arid desert heat. The metaphor helps me to pay attention and work to create an open environment in which I am listening and curious.

There are a few key OASIS moves of emotional intelligence. First, Observationnotice your environment, recognizing that we are each noticing different things based on our background conditioning. Next, Awarenessmake it a habit of checking in and noticing your assumptions, emotions and how your background influences your thoughts and emotions. We know that our thoughts are influencing our interactions and by noticing our thoughts we have more choices than just reacting. The key skill is recognizing when we are closed or in judgment and Shift to being open. It is the open, oasis state that supports others in being open to us and to possibilities. Then you can focus on understanding what is Important to you, another and both of you. Then you are positioned to explore options and create agreements and Solutions

Each of these moves can easily be learned and are concrete ways to be emotionally intelligent and create positive and productive interactions. We have opportunities to practice throughout our days at work and at home. For example, Ray, a manager,  became frustrated when he believed a team member did not complete a project.  He noticed tightness in his chest and his feeling of irritation. Here he recognized that he was not experiencing an oasis with the team member. He acknowledged his contraction and shifted to being open and curious about what happened. He remembered to “assume positive intent.”  He was able to say to this teammate, “I notice that I have not seen the report I expected today.” Since he was open, he was able to engage in a conversation and learn what was most important to his teammate. When he listened, it supported his teammate in being open and interested in his needs. After some open dialogue and empathy, they came to an agreement that the teammate had too much on his plate and had misjudged his capabilities. His teammate would be more forthright about his commitments to ease planning in the future. Now that the team member understood the importance of the report and the deadline, he shifted priorities and completed the report. The open dialogue and agreement on the solution and next steps supported the team member and enhanced their relationship. In addition to securing the report, Ray, the manager created a working environment of trust and openness. The investment Ray made in being emotionally intelligent benefitted him at work and at home. 

We can all learn to enhance our emotional intelligence. What have you found useful?

Contact us anytime at www.potentials.com.

How is blame working?

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“When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. —His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

After working at a company for nine months, a manager complained bitterly about the organization and his colleagues. He believed he was brought into the company to bring about needed change. His expertise would clearly benefit the company with their changing market demands and increased competition. He knew what the company should do. There was one problem. People were not open to his ideas or even to him for that matter. Of course, many experienced hires have a similar onboarding experience. The newly hired expert has a paradigm of how things “should be” and comes across as negative and not understanding. The experienced hire begins to feel anxious because he or she wants to demonstrate value.

The challenge this manager had is that his solutions seemed so obvious to him. After all, they worked at his previous employer and he was an expert. However, rather than influencing his new colleagues, he blamed them for not listening or adopting his solutions.  Not surprisingly, the blame did not endear him to his new colleagues and complaints about him grew. Eventually, HR suggested he work with a coach.

It is human nature to blame others.  We naturally feel like the “good guy” or the innocent victim.  It feels good to “be right” and we are supported when others agree that we are right.  However, the cost of staying in this stance can be high. Many new hires don’t make it in their new companies or they continue to feel alone and as if they are fighting an uphill battle.

I am reminded of the saying that when we are pointing a finger to blame the other person that more fingers are pointing toward us. You may also recall the parable of a man in a boat who demanded that an oncoming boat change course. The other boat kept heading right toward him and eventually hit him. He was furious. Then he realized that the boat did not have a navigator and must have broken free and was floating down the river.  We can only try to manage or change ourselves.  The blaming takes a lot of energy that is diverted from the business problem we are eager to solve.

How do we manage our instinct to blame? First, we need to get empathy and understanding from a caring friend or coach and also give ourselves compassion.  It really is difficult to come into an organization with new ideas. It is also stressful to feel you need to prove yourself quickly.  It is upsetting to see results slip when you sense you could make a difference.  You paid a high cost to move to a new organization and you and your family are counting on being successful. It is frustrating to feel blocked out of conversations. You’re disappointed that behaviors that were appreciated in your previous organizations are not recognized at the new organization. You don’t feel valued.

Don’t underestimate the importance of empathy and self-compassion. It is not easy to join a new organization and introduce change for anyone.

Choose to want success and connection more than being “right.”  Assume that people have good intentions and are doing the best they can. Work to notice when you are blaming and focus on learning. That’s right. Look for what you can learn and be humble. It will take multiple times to shift from judgment to being open-minded.  It is a great muscle to develop and use this experience to build the muscle. It will serve you in multiple areas of your life.  When we get trapped in the victim mentality we need to jump out of the cycle to change the dynamics.

Then, you need to work to understand and give empathy to your new colleagues. When we are able to calm down and see different perspectives, we can often see a mistake we made or are continuing to make.  Each culture is different and it is hard to interpret some of the unwritten rules. Upon reflection, this manager realized that he had publicly doubted a colleague’s solution. This kind of action was expected and rewarded in his previous organization. No wonder this important peer did not share information now and be open to his ideas.  With understanding, small changes can make a difference.

When my client was able to shift from blaming to understanding, he was much more acceptable to his colleagues. He began engaging in meaningful conversations. He experienced more ease and he was able to share his views and build a solution with his colleagues that gained market share for the organization. Over time, he gained a positive reputation as someone who was emotionally intelligent and a team player.

Where are you frustrated and blaming others? What has supported you in shifting to being open-minded?

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