Archive | July, 2014

Management Self-Test

30 Jul

 

 

If you ask a room full of professionals who have at least 20 years of experience “have you ever worked for the boss from hell,”  about 40 – 60% will raise their hands.  If you ask entrepreneurs, 90% will raise their hands. There is explicit evidence that the quality of a person’s boss has a dramatic effect on how they preform and on how they feel. For Japanese salarymen, upwardly mobile professionals, the stress levels at work can become so high that the Japanese have a term to describe the worst effect – work death. One little known characteristic of these managers is they are oblivious to their effects on their direct reports. Having interviewed literally thousands of people in organizations, I have compiled a list of the most onerous behaviors of such managers and the three origins these characteristics. Perhaps the worst thing that can happen to an employee is to have a boss with all three of these attributes. Do you have any of these attributes?

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Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

23 Jul

 

 

An intriguing article about motivation in a recent issue of the New York Times. In general the use of Intrinsic – Extrinsic is used to describe motivation outside your skin vs. inside your skin. In the article the author uses use the Internal vs. Instrumental dichotomy. Both seem to work equally well.

The interesting element here is that the simultaneous interaction between these two general types of motivation can have opposite effects. Another important is the difference between motivation and consequences as well as the intersection of internal and instrumental.

 

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Optimism #5: Optimistic vs. Pessimistic Management

16 Jul

For those of you are not tired of hearing about optimism, consider that optimism is largely an attitude. An attitude is a combination of thought and feeling.

Becoming a manager/leader is ultimately an exercise in self-development, a life-long journey of making yourself a better person. The benefits to you are self-evident. What is perhaps more important are the benefits to your peers and direct reports.

There is a compelling body of evidence that emotion is contagious.

If you believe as I do, that emotion is the energy that propels human behavior then you understand that the direction of that propulsion is to some extent controlled by the value of the emotion (positive or negative).

Over the years, I have noticed some managers seem able to make any managerial technique work effectively, whereas others cannot make even the most rudimentary managerial tool work.  Emotional contagion is the first creditable explanation of this phenomenon I have seen.

“And this before all, to thy own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou cans’t not then be false to any man.”  – W. Shakespeare

Food for thought

For those intrigued by the nature of optimism, begin the journey by going to:

https://langhorne.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/optimism-1/

 

Optimism #4: The Small Kindness vs. the Micro-Insult

9 Jul

“In life, it’s not the elephants that get you, it’s the ants.” – Yolande L. (my mom)

“Optimism is the tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation, defined by how we self-talk to frame events.”     – Martin Seligman (paraphrase)

Now that you know how to improve your “outlook” by altering how you talk with yourself, consider the results of these behavior changes on you.

As we cruise through our lives, occasional small kindnesses and micro-insults happen.

There is accumulating evidence these small events have a disproportionate effect on our mood and thus on our performance.  In an earlier blog I mentioned firing a client because working with him left me exhausted and dispirited.

In general, optimists not only think in a positive manner, they speak and act in a positive fashion.  These behaviors give us an emotional boost.  They also shape our expectations.  I love to work with people I look forward to seeing.

Working with the pessimist: Negative overt talk, a micro-insult, unhappy body language, always expects the worst, the absence of those kind words such as thank you, I appreciate, etc. etc. etc.

Consider this: We create the environment around us.  Who do you want to be interacting with?  Who do you want to be?

TAKE NOTE: Last weeks blog had an incorrect address to Beyond IQ 

The correct address is: amzn.to/1bOYMke

Optimism #3: The ABCs of Becoming Optimistic

2 Jul


“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” – Lord Kelvin

“Optimism is the tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation, defined by how we self-talk to frame events:

Bad events are temporary setbacks,

Isolated to particular circumstances and

Can be overcome by effort and abilities”   – Martin Seligman

In any change effort, begin with measurement, in this case of yourself. Consider the ABC model of measurement. An event occurs, is it an Adversity?  Then ask yourself, how have your labeled this event, what is your Belief about it? Finally, what are the Consequences of this event, what is your emotional reaction to it?  Log these, this is your self-measurement tool.

Your change tool will be to modify your self-talk.  Seligman says we need to learn to mentally argue with ourselves – to create reasonable explanations as to why we should change.

Let me share an example: the honking, swearing driver.  For many years my social director mentioned to me I was really swearing at her, as the other driver could certainly not hear me.  This provided motivation.  So I began to count, from 1 to 10, when the situation (Adversity) happened.  This slowed down my emotional reaction and gave me time to think about my explanation (Belief) of other drivers (stupid) and why was I getting so upset (Consequences).

I convinced myself being upset by people I didn’t know was not too smart.  So, I started to deep breathe. This cooled me down emotionally and my brain began to function.  Then I simply repeated my mantra “Don’t let strangers upset you.”  It took many trials, it eventually worked and  generalized to other situations.  Whoopie!

In change plans, start with something simple, learn how to do it and then work gradually toward more difficult issues.  Only rarely do people see me upset.

For an in-depth discussion of how to improve your optimism goto: Beyond IQ and Scroll to Section 4: Let’s begin with optimism.