A project manager notices a draftsman struggling over a simple aspect of blueprint. The project deadline looms, and they are all under tremendous pressure. As she approaches her colleague, the project manager notices that her hands are clenched, her thoughts are fixed on angry feelings about the difficult deadline, and she feels frustrated because the draftsman is not further along.
She relaxes a bit and asks the draftsman-What’s going on, is something wrong? His response is a litany of frustrations of his own, about not having enough information to finish the drawing., about how much he was asked to do in so little time.
Sympathetic, the project manager asks more detailed questions about what he is up against. Her speech is lively, animated, her gaze direct. She lets him know she feels overwhelmed by the pressure, too.
Her line of questioning leads him to see that he actually has more inthought, and formation than he that he can, in fact, finish the drawaing. He is buoyed, eager again to get back to the task. The manager even makes a joke about how everyone was missing some data on this project, especially the vice president who had made such a crazy commitment in the first place. They both laugh and get on with the work at hand.
What did the project manager do that was so right? She was emotionally present at work. She was fully attentive and involved in her work. Such person perform their best. Others experience them as accessible and engaged, and they contribute their creative ideas, energy and intuitions fully.
Presence begins with self-awareness. Manager… was attuned to her feelings, her clenched hands cued her to the anger she was feeling about the situation. And her empathy made her receptive to picking up the draftsman’s sense of frustration without taking it as a reflection on herself. Her ability to be comfortable with these distressing feelings let her deal with them effectively rather than avoid them. Instead of dismissing draftsman’s frustration or preemptively criticizing his performance, she drew him out. And she was able to highlight information that transformed the frustration to enthusiasm, ending the encounter with a joke that put th onus where they both felt it to be- an EMOTIONAL JUDO MOVE that tightened the bond between them.
When fully present, we are more attuned to those around us and to the needs of the situation, and we fluidly adapt to what is needed-in other words, we are in the flow. We can be thoughtful, funny, or self-reflective, drawing on whatever capacity or skill we need at the moment.
From- Working with EI
Today was a big day at office. Our boss was to appear for an interview to become a board member in the company. We were holding all big decisions and tasks in last week, to give him breathing and preparation time.
Since yesterday evening boss had shouted at me for a job not done, I was in two minds whether to wish him luck before the job is done. I decided against it and waited for the job to be done till today morning, when I got confirmation and I told junior to intimate boss that job has been done, then only I sent the best wishes message. I was thinking of –Company Board will be lucky to have you, but it felt like a message from Board Chief, so I rephrased it- praying that Board is fortunate to have you. For a change boss replied with a thanks message. Normally he is not the acknowledging type.
So we waited and boss came back in forenoon, all smiles. We all were hoping that he gets selected. Though we would have lost a good boss, but company would have gained by his elevation.
In the meanwhile, another junior told me that she thought deeply if to send a message or not, and decided not to send the message. Reason- boss might feel that she is happy with boss’ going away. I was confused so she explained that similar incident had happened in the past and the wished person had taken it badly. To each her own.
Happy asked me if I had sent the wishes, I said yes. But the question itself was puzzling, what did happy want, I send it or not, or was happy brooding over who else, other than happy sent it. Whatever.
Then came my impulsive junior. He started monitoring the interview committee site since morning, though we knew results won’t be out before evening. In between, I met boss 1-2 times and we were pretending all was as usual. Though all of us, especially boss was eagerly awaiting the results.
And how we got to know was also funny. Boss was near our cubicles discussing some office things, surrounded by people, and impulsive junior calls him impatiently and says-please see. We half-guessed that it was the result. Boss saw and went back to room. In hushed murmurs, news spread that boss was not elevated. We were all sad, as we genuinely wanted boss to succeed. But as bad luck would have it. And this impulsive junior was openly cursing himself, for being the harbinger of bad news to boss. Impulse does that to you, right.
And the last image of office I have is boss passing by my seat, with big genuine smile on face. That is GRACE UNDER PRESSURE.
The Gallup Q12
(From the Gallup Management Journal, “Feedback for Real”
Author: John Thackray)
The Gallup Q12 is a survey designed to measure employee engagement.
The instrument was the result of hundreds of focus groups and interviews.
Researchers found that there were 12 key expectations, that when satisfied, form
the foundation of strong feelings of engagement. So far 87,000 work units and
1.5 million employees have participated in the Q12 instrument.
Comparisons of engagement scores reveal that those with high Q12 scores
exhibit lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, better customer
loyalty and other manifestations of superior performance.
The Gallup organization also uses the Q12 as a semi-annual employee
engagement Index – a random sampling of employee across the country.
The engagement index slots people into one of three categories.
• Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to
their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
• Not-Engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They are
sleepwalking through their workday. They are putting in time, but not
enough energy or passion into their work.
• Actively Disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re
busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine
what their engaged co-workers accomplish.
The results of the latest engagement index:
Engaged employees – 28 %
Not-engaged employees – 54%
Actively Disengaged – 17%
In other words, 71% of the workforce is either under performing or actively
undermining their work. 2
The Q12 Index
1) Do you know what is expected of you at work?
2) Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work
3) At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best
4) In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise
for doing good work?
5) Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about
you as a person?
6) Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
7) At work, do your opinions seem to count?
8) Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your
job is important?
9) Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing
10) Do you have a best friend at work?
11) In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you
about your progress?
12) In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?
Here’s the problem with reading the books that everyone else has read. It makes you more like everyone else. Checking off the various books from your high school curriculum, and then, perhaps the “100 Greatest Books Ever Written” is the educational equivalent of skating to where the puck is and not where it’s going.
Reading is about insight into the human experience, about understanding. What does following in the footsteps of everyone else get you? It gets you to exactly the same conclusions as everyone else.
Not to say that the books in our “canon” aren’t valuable, because they certainly are. It’s just that you have to remember for every Great Gatsby out there, there were 10 others written at the same time about the same thing that for whatever twist of cultural fate and cumulative advantage are mostly lost to us (one of the books on this list fits…
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1. In some places, like my hometown, when an emergency vehicle (especially an ambulance) turns on its sirens it’s like Moses’s parting of the Red Sea. Everyone immediately pulls over in a choreographed dance. I get a little shiver down my spine every time it happens. Sure it’s largely the product of socialization, but it carries so much respect for one another. *Does dance* We’re all in this together.
2. The fact that pretty much anyone who knows anything about Scandinavia thinks it’s at least a little bit awesome, even if it snows all the time and sun? What’s a sun? Yeah, Sweden is awesome. Know what makes Sweden awesome? The fact that is has one of the lowest inequality rates in the world. If you think Sweden is awesome, at least a little bit, it means you think equality is awesome, at least a little bit (I don’t care…
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Well at times bosses do go on bossing around, without any rhyme and reason. They will start lecturing on what should or should not have been done in a situation, without asking if I did something. Today was one such day. A set of newspaper clippings was to be organized from a small town 1000 miles away. There was this guy we had tied up with earlier this year for such jobs, again my idea and initiative, but no credit, but he was not responding today. Aniways we knew it is not that urgent as it is being made out to be, no sky is going to fall. In some departments, like the one, where we had to send these clippings, where every junior officer thinks of himself as god incarnate, and tries to earn brownie points with his seniors by pressurizing us minions. But our own boss goes out of the way to impress them, so we are left with no help. Okay, so boss who was bunking almost the whole day, calls up in evening and starts lecturing why clippings were not arranged. I tried to explain how we tried different sources, but he was not ready to listen. Neither did he ask his favourite executive in department, who is senior to me, to take care of the job. When it comes to facilities, perks, trainings, tours, exposure, seminars, conferences, committees, he is the favourite, but when it comes to shitty jobs, I am the chosen one. So I was given a piece of boss’s mind, without ever given a hearing to what all I tried. I WILL TRY THAT I DON’T DO IT TO MY JUNIORS.
Another incident that happened today was a junior coming to me and reviving my faith in giving credit to team. Though she is very conscious, touchy and all, but she came out from boss’s room and told me, sir, boss liked the photo we got edited last week, and was appreciating the agency. But I told boss that it was your idea and not agency’s idea to redo the photo. I was not expecting this maturity and broad heart from her, I would have imagined that she would have gladly accepted the praise, without ever mentioning my name. But she did and pleasantly surprised me. That she came out and told me, and I believed her also speaks of trust in our relationship. So I am tempted to consider my self a better boss to my juniors, than my boss is to me. This junior can sit idle for long hours without feeling any repentance, which I find strange, but then she works sincerely when required, is obedient, cooperative and cheerful. So I rate her better than juniors who do insubordination, are two-faced and dishonest.
Another colleague who had expressed his desire to sit away from me, as I keep reminding him of jobs to do, was taken aback today, when I taunted that I will remind him weekly since he does not like my daily reminders. Well that was my midway solution and also I wanted him to know that I know what he said about me to others. He today tried to reconsider his decision of seat change, discussed with others and me too. So tactic worked, though this time I insisted that he sits away because I am not very keen on sitting with him specially if he was not happy with it. He also tried to patch up with me by showing some soft-porn cartoon, ultimate in male bonding, and offering to give some movies in pen drive.
Such are the ways of the world.
I had the privilege of interviewing Arthur Hays Sulzberger (1935-1961), publisher of NYT. He told that when 2nd World War flamed across Europe, he was so stunned, so worried about the future, that he found it almost impossible to sleep. He was never able to banish his worries and find peace until he had adopted as his motto 5 words from a church hymn: One step enough for me.
Lead, kindly light…
Keep thou my feet: I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
At about the same time, a young man in uniform- somewhere in Europe- was learning the same lesson. His name was Ted, and he had worried himself into a first-class case of combat fatigue. He explains- I was utterly exhausted.. I was worried for fear we might be making embarrassing and serious mistakes. I was worried about whether I would come through all this. I was worried whether I would live to hold my only child in my arms- a son of 16 months, whom I had never seen. I was so worried and exhausted that I lost 34 pounds. I was so frantic that I was almost out of my mind. I was terrified at the thought of going home a physical wreck. I broke down and sobbed like a child. I was so shaken that tears welled up every time I was alone.
I ended up in an Army dispensary. An army doctor gave me some advice which has completely changed my life. He informed me that my troubles were mental. He said-
Ted, I want you to think of your life as an hourglass. You know there are thousands of grains of sand in the top the hourglass, and they all pass slowly and evenly through the narrow neck in the middle. Nothing you or I could do would make more than one grain of sand pass through this narrow neck without impairing the hourglass. When we start in the morning, there are hundreds of tasks which we feel that we must accomplish that day, but if we do not take them one at a time and let them pass through the day slowly and evenly, as do the grains of sand passing through narrow neck of hourglass., then we are bound to break our own physical or mental structure.”
One grain of sand at a time….one task at a time.
From- How to stop worrying ans start living
seagull management is really funny yet perceptive observation.
Not too many people get out of bed in the morning, head in to work, and say to themselves “I’m really looking forward to screwing up today!” Sure, there are always a few bad apples with horrible attitudes that seem to thrive on getting away with doing the least amount of work possible, but by and large most people want to succeed on the job. So why do we struggle with so many under-performers in the workplace?
“I think most people don’t want to under-perform,” Kathie McGrane, Course Manager/Management Analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said to me in a recent conversation, “they’re just under-led.” Kathie’s insightful comment got me thinking about the ways leaders unknowingly sabotage the performance of their people. Here’s five common ways:
1. They don’t intentionally focus on building trust – Trust is the bedrock foundation of any successful relationship. There isn’t a business or…
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