So many organizations base their work on teams now. This creates interdependence that can be both a blessing and a curse. If there is someone on a team that is a weak link, it can affect everyone on the team and their productivity in negative ways.
Weak links have various natures. They can be emotionally unintelligent, lacking in necessary skills, uncooperative, strongly independent and unwilling to collaborate or imbalanced in their emotions (for example, anger).
Do you have a weak link on your team? Best to address this sooner, rather than later. It takes skill, but rooting out weak links and working to strengthen or eliminate them gets your team working at its best.
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A bias is a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation. Often, biases are unconscious. They can come from direct experience, or vicarious experiences (e.g. experiences of other people, stories, culture).
In the workplace, your biases and those of others can be harmful. It behooves you to be aware of yours and to be able to identify those of others. An example of a workplace bias may be: men (or women) are better leaders. If you or someone you work with has this bias, it’s easy to see the havoc it can cause.
What are your biases? Do you know? If not, give some thought to the perceptions and beliefs you have about the people you work with. Then, come up with actual interactions you have had with them and determine if they confirm your perceptions and beliefs. If they do not, you may have a bias there that is best to be aware of.
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In my last blog post, Shifting Perspective I wrote of how your perspective influences the way you see situations and the power that lies in shifting your perspective. There’s another facet in this that involves proactively creating a new perspective. Doing so allows you to handle a situation in a positive way. Say that you find yourself caught in a difficult interaction or are feeling down about your current situation. You don’t want to stay there. One way to get moving is to create a perspective that motivates and encourages you.
How do you create a fresh perspective? Start to see the positives in the situation – for example, a lesson the situation is teaching you, the negatives the situation reveals that you can now begin to change or the truth that the situation exposes. Once you identify the positives, change your perspective accordingly and act from there. With a fresh perspective, you can tackle the toughest situations successfully.
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Sometimes, even the slightest shift in your perspective changes the way you see your life, your work or a particular situation. Do you ever consciously focus on how your current perspective is affecting the way you experience things?
If you are looking at something through a lens of anger, excitement, sadness, being tired, worry, fear, comparison with your past or comparison with others, you may not be seeing what is truly there. When you are looking at a situation, it behooves you to do a “perspective check” to make sure you are centered and looking through a clear lens. We al know that rose-color glasses or foggy ones can alter your vision.
Try to maintain a clear perspective and shift away from lenses that skew the truth. Doing so, can serve you well.
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If tomorrow you talked only half as much as you would on a normal day, what do you think your day would be like? Our society overemphasizes verbal communication.
There are many ways to give and receive information and to communicate with others. What if you took a walk in silence and observed visually? What if you looked for signs from others, communicated by their body language? What if you discerned how others were feeling by their facial expressions? What if you created something non verbal to express your feelings or ideas to another person?
Try decreasing your reliance on communicating verbally. You may be pleasantly surprised by what other types of communication you can use to inform and understand others.
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Frustration can race like fire, once it starts. Best to have a way to manage your frustration, so it does not consume you. Have you experienced frustration in the past week or two? Think of what happened. How did you handle it? Did you manage your frustration or let it get the better of you?
Frustration is a powerful energy once it gets going, but you can manage it. Here are a few ways: step back and away from the situation to cool off, stop and figure out its cause and what you can do about it or channel your frustration into constructive action. You are more powerful than your frustration – keep it under your control.
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Recently I listened to an episode of This American Life titled In Defense of Ignorance. In the episode, they discussed The Dunning–Kruger Effect, a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. The theory was developed in experiments conducted by Dunning and Kruger of the department of psychology at Cornell University in 1999. The study was inspired by the case of McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, because lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, it would prevent his face from being recorded on surveillance cameras.
Have you seen the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action in your workplace? You deal with all kinds of personalities in your workplace and need to use your emotional intelligence to remain effective. What do you do when you run into people with an unshakable sense of superiority? How do you keep doing your work well amongst them?
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1. What “button” of yours has the situation pushed? What is the source of your defensive feeling?
2. Is it a good idea to remove yourself from the situation for a time to center and assess before you respond?
3. If another person is involved, what does your emotional intelligence tell you is the most effective way to respond to them?
4. Is the situation even worth responding to or is it more effective to walk away?
5. What is the source of your defensiveness? What are you protecting yourself from?
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When something “hooks” me, either in a good way or bad, I find it useful to ask myself “does it matter?” The reason I do this is that some experiences and situations can knock me off balance and my response can be out of proportion to what is happening.
The next time you have an experience that creates a strong reaction, try asking yourself does it matter? Doing so allows you to gain perspective and respond from a place of power. Asking the question centers you, allowing you to get through experiences in control of yourself and to avoid creating messes you have to get out of later.
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How far are you reaching now to advance your career? Reaching puts you ahead of the crowd, gets you beyond the status quo and keeps you growing. There are many ways to reach. Here are a few:
• Identify a skill that can use improving and take a class, find a mentor or employ another way to improve that skill.
• Identify a career goal that stretches you and go for it.
• Ask someone you trust what he or she thinks you can improve relating to your emotional intelligence and work to do so.
• Pick a personal goal that stretches you and go for it. For example, running a marathon or entering a speech contest. Personal improvement has a positive effect on work performance.
Reaching serves you. Find something to reach for in the next month and be the best you can be!
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