Elisabeth Goodman writes:
A lot of the tensions at work come from assumptions and misunderstandings. Our work with clients is often about these. The so-called 'solutions' are often about raising awareness: our own and other people's. And having the tools and the courage to do this.
So, this issue is going to focus on the value of these things:
- Surfacing what's going on in our interactions with each other
- Sharing how we prefer to work, communicate, interact
and how to do all of these things!
I hope you enjoy this issue and find something of interest in it. Do get in touch if you would like to arrange coaching with me.
ACC - International Coaching Federation
(P.S. If you, members of your family or friends, would like an opportunity to explore your artistic creativity in a supportive environment, our in person Art for Wellbeing workshops are underway in South Cambs, UK. The next one is on Saturday 2nd July from 2-4 pm)
It may be late afternoon on a Thursday, or early morning on a Friday as you read this issue of eManagement Tips, or some other time.
Whenever it is, take a moment to think of a memorable moment today, or yesterday, or this week.
What makes that moment memorable? It may be some aspect of your work that went particularly well, or badly. Or an interaction with somebody that stands out. Or some other experience that you've had.
What happened? In detail? What did you do, think, feel or say?
What can you learn from that? About yourself, other people, the work that you did?
What might you do differently or the same next time?
Taking a moment or moments to pause and think about our experiences and what we can learn from them can, according to James Bailey and Scheherazade Rehman,"separate extraordinary professionals from mediocre ones".
Bailey and Rehman's research suggests that we learn most when we experience surprise, frustration or failure! Did you experience one of these emotions in the context of the memorable moment that you've just reflected upon?
How useful has pausing to do this reflection been to you?
To what extent is self-reflection part of your regular routine? Might you consider making it more so?
When or how could you most easily integrate self-reflection into your day or week?
What kind of events or occurrences would you most like to ensure you stop and reflect upon?
Bailey and Rehman suggest that you make reflection part of your life; that doing so will help you to significantly accelerate your development. It's certainly something that I have experienced in my own development as a coach, and as an individual. It's also something that we integrate into our work with people in one-to-one and group coaching.
You can read more about what Bailey and Rehman have to say in Don't underestimate the power of self-reflection, Harvard Business Review, 4th March 2022.
Surfacing what's going on
One of your direct reports has turned up late for work. It happens again a few days later, and then again. You're not sure whether you should mention it. Or how. After all your company policy is flexible working.
You hear raised voices down the corridor. Next time you see the people involved, they are studiously ignoring each other. But the work is still getting done.
What do you do?
Do you talk about it?
We expect good performance at work. But good performance is not just about getting the task done, it's about building and maintaining our relationships with each other. We may need to discuss the emotions, thoughts and behaviours involved - and to do it with genuine interest and compassion for each other.
One way to surface what's going on is through an evidence based approach:
- I noticed that you've been late a few times this week
- I noticed that the two of you were speaking quite loudly to each other
and demonstrating a genuine desire to understand the other person's position in relation to that:
- What's causing that to happen?
- What was that about?
You might need to state some expectations or boundaries:
- Although we have a flexible working policy, I do need to be able to trust you to deliver the work that is expected of you.
- Although I don't expect everyone to like each other at work, I do expect you to understand each others' point of view; to openly exchange and consider each other's ideas.
The final step is to all agree what's going to happen next, by when, and how you will check in to confirm the new behaviours.
How does this approach match anything you are doing already? What could work better? What could you usefully surface now?
Sharing how we prefer to work, communicate and interact
The Covid pandemic, and all the changes it caused in working practices has helped many people gain a better understanding of what helps and what gets in the way of them being at their best, both at work and in life in general.
As most of you will know, my work as a coach is about helping people to exercise choice and realise their potential in the workplace. It's about helping you and others to recognise your values and strengths, and develop your leadership / management, interpersonal and communication skills, self-organisation and ability to deal with change.
My work with you and others is about helping you to advocate for what you need in your work environment, interactions with others, and working practices that will enable you to be and give of your best. It's also about understanding, valuing and tapping into the richness of everyone's Neurodiversity.
Knowing all of these things about yourself is one step, sharing it with others is another!
If you would like a little help with exploring this more fully, why not consider one or more of these:
- Complete an online questionnaire that can help to surface your strengths and individual style of going about things, communicating and interacting with others (for example using the MBTI, or the Belbin Team Roles)
- Engage in some team activities and discussions to explore how you can all use each others' strengths and interact with each other more effectively
- Complete and share individual profiles about what would help you to be and give of your best (see for example the MIND Wellness Action plans)
- Get some one-to-one coaching to discuss this more fully
What have you already done to identify and share what would enable you to be and give of your best? What else would you like to do?
See the RiverRhee Consulting website for more details