To praise or not to praise? That is the leadership question!

To praise or not to praise? I believe that the short answer is “praise”, but, if I leave it there, the blog post would be a tad short and probably not too useful, so, here are my further musings!

As those with a fundamental knowledge and understanding of human psychology know, what we human beings like, or rather need, is to be treated kindly, to feel valued, appreciated and loved. It is, quite simply, part of being the social creatures that we are!

When we get signals from others that this is the case such as when we are authentically treated kindly and  praised by someone, our amazing brains release fabulous hormones – chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin. This gives us a feel-good hit and, quite simply, we feel good.

For those of you who are interested in the neurochemistry and neuroscience, serotonin is released when we feel proud or valued and oxytocin when people are kind to us and we feel liked or loved. N.B. Love, in a workplace and leadership as opposed to a romantic sense, is defined here as having a sense of appreciation for and closeness to others.

For a great explanation of the importance of these and other neurotransmitters read Simon Sinek “Leaders Eat Last” – link here to one of the many places where it is available :- http://www.amazon.com/Leaders-Eat-Last-Together-Others/dp/1591845327

 So why is praise important? When we feel proud, valued and appreciated, our brains are running on great neurochemistry and we are more likely to feel positive, motivated, learn quickly, be creative and perform well.

 Praise

So, as a leader and, in fact, as a human being, which of your behaviours will help your team or your peers or your own leaders to feel supported, proud and valued?

Lead in a way that cultivates a culture where praise and celebration at all levels,  are the hallmarks of your style as a team or organisation. Be strong and kind – they can blend well together!  Spread the praise around too….. after all, your peers and your own leaders have a right to their own great neurochemistry too. It can be lonely at the top – who praises the leaders?

Many leaders and managers wait for formal 121’s or even for appraisal time to deliver praise and positive feedback to employees. My question is – why wait?

As a manager,  you are with your team most days.  It follows therefore that most days there will be positive behaviours and minor or major successes that you can use to deliver authentic feedback to your staff. I believe that authentic, time relevant praise – that is specific to an individual, even better, specific to an individual’s action or behaviour is worth its weight in gold.

“What about the need to let people know about their mistakes and shortcomings?”  I hear some of you say…. Well, think about it. We do indeed all make mistakes and have development needs. I believe strongly that the development feedback, delivered kindly in the context of a culture of praise and success, will be more likely to generate change in the employee. In the following example, which employee is more likely to develop and thrive?

  1. The one who is told to improve and given feedback on all of the reasons why he or she is not making the grade and thus feels demoralised and undervalued?

Or

2. The one who gets praised when he or she does well, is supported to develop in areas where improvement is needed and can work on making further improvements from a foundation of confidence and self-worth?

As an emotionally intelligent leader, and one who is keen to further develop EQ, you can tailor praise and feedback to suit the individual styles of team members. One style does not fit all! Experiment and ask for feedback on your feedback – it’s always useful.

Want to know more about the importance and value of praise and of helping people to feel important and valued? Here is a link to a great article highlighting research that supports the ideas within this blog post. https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/praising-employees-leads-to-higher-productivity-research-finds

My recommendation, start to make praise and positive feedback part of everyday conversations and ……let me know what you notice.

Until next time

Bridget.

Emotional Intelligence at Work. What’s it all about?

There’s a lot being written about EQ or Emotional Intelligence. It is said that having a high EQ is a greater indicator of our success than having a high IQ which in itself challenges many peoples’ belief systems.

If you are a manager, leader or team member and haven’t yet explored the positive benefits of working to raise EQ, I hope that this blog will give you a taste and hunger to learn more!

So, what is EQ and why is it important?

There are 4 main components ( 5 if you read Daniel Goleman’s work – he adds Motivation.) but let’s focus on the 4 below for now!

  1. Self Awareness – ability to be aware of own emotions in any given moment
  2. Self Management- ability to manage and alter own emotional state.
  3. Awareness of others- people’s perspective and emotions in any given moment
  4. Relationship management – Ability to build rapport, communicate and relate to others effectively in any given moment.

Reflective Learning Activity:-

I invite you to:-

  • Look back at the list of skills above and reflect upon your abilities in each for a moment or two.
  • Think about times when you do this and times when you don’t ( we ALL have those!)
  • Now think of yourself in an average day at work and consider how, upping your ability in each of the EQ skills, could enhance your experience and excellence!
  • What difference would being better at each skill make to how you behave and excel?

Moving on :- what is so important about emotional intelligence and what will increasing our EQ get for us?

We are each unique and social beings, as a species we thrive in groups and thus, at home and even more so at work, with very few exceptions, interact, on a daily basis, with a multitude of other totally unique human beings.

Being Emotional beings

We are also, thank goodness emotional beings as opposed to computers or robots, we each have a fully functioning emotional spectrum and a full range of feelings that vary throughout any given day, hour or even moment!

Part of the joy of my job is working with people to help them gain insight into how they create their emotions and how to manage them more effectively. These are the first stages of developing EQ. Following this, comes coaching on how to raise awareness of others and to communicate more effectively to get better outcomes more of the time!

So- more on the whole issue of emotions:-

If you could select a way to feel from a menu of emotions, these and more would all be on your list :-

 

  • Confident
  • Positive
  • Happy
  • Motivated
  • Excited
  • Joyful
  • Curious
  • Chilled
  • Calm
  • Relaxed
  • In control
  • Sad
  • Low
  • Frustrated
  • Annoyed
  • Stressed
  • Embarrassed
  • Hurt
  • Scared
  • Anxious

and many more…..

Rest assured, your very amazing brain, and mine, knows exactly how to create each and every one of the emotions on the menu…and a few more. You have a wonderful ability to generate the different neurochemicals that lead to different feelings and understanding this is key to developing EQ.

Quite clearly, the way that we feel in any given moment is going to impact hugely on how we filter and process information AND on how we respond, react and behave towards other human beings in your workplace or home.

(Remember at this point that all other human beings are all experiencing their own cocktail of emotions in any given moment.) This is what makes working together and communicating so interesting!

Think of a workplace scenario such as a meeting :-

If all human beings in your workplace scenario are feeling positive and are aware of self and others, can manage their state and are socially skilled – people will relate well to each other and generally be happier, functioning well and be more productive. Think what this means to wellbeing and team effectiveness at work!

If one or more of the human beings is low on EQ, feeling angry, fed up, low or anxious and NOT able to change it, oblivious their own and to the other person’s emotional state and socially unskilled, all the players will be left feeling negative and functioning below their best.

Building higher levels of EQ

When you stop to reflect on the above, it is clear that when we work on all four skills within the EQ model, we will be able to build and develop our EQ. This means that we will feel better more of the time AND be able to manage and change our state when necessary.

We will also be more aware of the emotional state of those around us, reflect on how THAT is affecting their behaviours in any given moment AND be skilled in establishing and maintaining rapport and relate well to others!

The joy of EQ is, that whilst we each have an existing level of EQ, we can enhance and develop our skills in each of the four areas. I work with many individuals and teams that do just that!

Until next time

Bridget

Resources.

For Executive Coaching

Contact me via  www.bridgetclapham.co.uk  or email direct to bridget@bridgetclapham.co.uk to explore ways to enhance EQ and increase wellbeing and performance at individual, team and organisational levels.

Books and links

There are many. Here are just two from the selection available that will be of interest if you want to read more!

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves is excellent. In explaining EQ and giving some strategies for development.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Emotional-Intelligence-Travis-Bradberry/dp/0974320625/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence. Why it can matter more than IQ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Emotional-Intelligence-Matter-More-Than/dp/0747528306/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460554195&sr=8-1&keywords=daniel+goleman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The birth of a blog! Really Useful Stuff!

Welcome to my blogging adventure, sharing really useful stuff to folks around the world!

Let me elaborate… In my work as a Coach, working with leaders and people at work, with private clients and with students I often send them stuff which relates to the coaching and which is intended to help them to live a happier, more successful and generally more positive life.

The “stuff” can take the form of my own thoughts and alleged wisdom relating to the coaching we have shared to video links, Ted talks, Images, quotes and articles to compliment the coaching. The usual response from my clients is to say:-

“Thanks Bridget, that stuff you sent was really useful.!”

Reflecting on this led me to think that over  the years I have amassed a wealth of resources, some ( lots actually!)  in my head and some in my PC! Why send stuff to just one person when it could be shared to a wider audience?

I will be honest with you folks. I haven’t a clue about how to make best use of the software resources designed to help me blog so I am on a steep learning curve. I invite you to join me and to support me as I build up an online resource of stuff. Who knows how really useful you will find it!

Until next time

Bridget Clapham. http://www.bridgetclapham.co.uk