Posts Tagged ‘judgemental’

When one person lets down the team

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

I loved my team - we were dedicated, high performing, go-getting and made up of the most intelligent, action-taking, committed individuals I could have wished for.

Except for Martin. Team meeting - what to do when one person lets down the team?

Martin was the exact opposite. Every annoying habit you could conceive, he had. From turning up late, to repeatedly promising he’d do things and then not delivering, he was the one bad egg in the team of my dreams.

As his line manager, the stress of trying to shift his behavior was keeping me up at night. I felt like I’d tried everything: I’d check his understanding of his tasks and ask him to set his own deadlines, I’d ask him why he hadn’t delivered to his own deadline and what support he needed, I even tried to show an interest in him and his home life to see if there was something at home that was troubling him. Then I tried being tough, setting non-negotiable deadlines and threatening disciplinary action, which eventually was the process that was entered into. Martin was impossible, and in the end I asked my boss to remove him from my team and give us his entire workload, as I concluded that it would be easier to take on all of his responsibilities than the amount of time, effort and frustration managing him was costing me.

We breathed a collective sigh of relief when Martin exited our team and moved into another department. Finally, we could be high-performing once more, albeit feeling somewhat resentful of all the extra work we had to do under already pressurised conditions.

The unexpected twist

Several months later, I met someone who was now working with Martin. I was ready to commiserate when they told me he’d been promoted! I was floored. This incompetent, irritating, un-manageable person... promoted... how had he fooled them? My team were incredulous when I told them, it’s not as though we’d forgotten about Martin - his name had become a euphemism for non-delivery. But it bothered me nonetheless...

Several years later, I had changed roles a good few times in the organisation and was again fortunate enough to be heading a high performing team. Once more, we had uncompromising deadlines and pulled regular all-nighters to meet them. This time it was Amy who was the thorn in our side. Clearly intelligent, her role was essential to our success, as she was responsible for updating our ever changing project plans and PowerPoint presentations to the board. However, she made it known to us on a daily basis that she felt this task was way beneath her capabilities and frequently suggested that she had much better ways of doing things. I’d brace myself before every encounter with Amy, knowing that she was going to roll her eyes, highlight the inadequacies of our approach, complain and would input the data through deep sighs, tutting and a slowly shaking head.

Was this going to be Martingate all over again…?

A new approach to conflict

Amy bothered me. On the one hand, I’d feel perfectly justified in telling her to get on with it - it was her job after all and we were all under immense pressure, often not agreeing with the decisions made above our heads and having to do work that didn’t exactly satisfy us either a lot of the time. On the other hand, how many times in my career had I been shut down and told to JFDI (just do it) when I had great ideas about doing things differently? It wasn’t exactly motivating and it would be easy to see how this could escalate into full blown war if I wasn’t careful. But then she did have a poor attitude that was in real danger of bringing down the team, so it wasn’t as though I could leave things as they were, so what could I do?

Often at the times when urgent action seems necessary, it’s a good indicator for us to pause and reflect. With the Martin experience still ringing in my ears years later - and all the time and stress that it had cost me - I decided to invest some time in contemplating Amy’s situation and how I’d want to be viewing this in years to come. I concluded very quickly that whilst she clearly wasn’t a good fit for our team and it would be easy to make her wrong (just as I had with Martin), this wasn’t going to solve our issue, any more than imploring her to just do her job would.

When I looked at the situation from Amy’s point of view, I could see why she was frustrated and that some aspects of the role were beneath her razor-sharp intellect. I could also see that there were other departments in the organisation that could use someone with her desire for process improvement. That said, with my experience of her attitude, I didn’t feel I could wholly recommend her, but that was part of a conversation I could now have with her.

Speaking honestly

Instead of wasting weeks in conflict, trying to get her to change her behavior and venting to anyone who’d listen about how she was making life a misery, a much more honest conversation ensued with her than ever it did with Martin. I was able to tell her frankly why she wasn’t a fit for our team – and the kind of position I thought she’d be better suited to. I also explained that even though I understood her frustration, her attitude didn’t leave me feeling able to fully recommend her, but I did want her to succeed and shared the potential I saw in her.

Key to this dialogue was getting into a frame of mind that was empathetic to Amy’s situation. Imagine how she might have experienced being on the receiving end of the same words from someone who felt angry and aggrieved? Instead, together we were able to mutually agree a plan for her to move on and, funnily enough, her attitude in her remaining weeks with us was considerably better, and she even helped source her replacement!

Moving out of the vicious circle

What is less important in the War to Peace® methodology is the action we take. What’s far more important is the way in which we take the action, in other words, how we are being. So, in this case, the action taken was to remove an under-performer from the team. In the first case, it cost dearly and there was bad feeling for everyone involved. It could have been exactly the same in the second case had it not been for a change of attitude - mine not theirs.

I can only imagine how Martin feels about his time with and exiting our team. And I know how Amy feels about hers, because it turns out it was the first time she had experienced such frank feedback and she later shared the positive impact it had on her.

I am sure you’ll be able to think back to similar examples in your life. Times when you’ve managed to have what seemed like difficult conversations – in work or at home – with grace and aplomb. And others when you wish you could turn back time and do it all differently. I’m willing to bet it was your own attitude that made the difference.

Next time you find yourself facing a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario ask yourself what viewing the situation from your own narrow perspective is costing you (I know you feel justified because it’s affecting other people too, but it’s still costing you dearly to focus on this). You may be surprised at how imagining yourself on the receiving end of you may lead you to a change of heart - and a solution that you couldn’t otherwise see.

Healthy boundaries, easy change

If you ever find yourself frustrated by colleagues, team or family members, or just want to be able to handle challenging conversations without being a pushover or sacrificing your boundaries, then War to Peace® is for you. In our one-day, practical workshop you’ll experience our award-winning methodology for yourself and apply it to a real-life challenge that’s coming up for you right now.

Our first open access workshop with spaces available is on March 2nd. Click here to get your spot, and move into Spring with your biggest time-suck taken care of. (Because if you have a Martin or Amy on in your life right now, or find yourself landed with one in future, all the productivity hacks in the world won’t give you back your time or your sanity).

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.

 

 

What to do when one person lets down the team – and doing nothing's not an option. A true story from @halcyconglobal

 

 

 

Photo via Unsplash

Are you ‘sh****ing’ all over the place? 3 steps to breaking the habit.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

That’s ‘should-ing’, in case you were wondering…

Sometimes we’re so hard on ourselves aren’t we? We tell ourselves we shouldn’t have said that, we should be better at something, we shouldn’t have eaten that, we should have been kinder to someone, we should have understood something that we didn’t – our list of ‘should-ing’ all over ourselves is endless.

'Should-ing' on ourselves

What happens when you listen to that voice that tells you should or should not have said or done something? I’m betting that you do one of the following:

  1. Start justifying in your head why you did / didn’t do or say it
  2. Have an argument with yourself
  3. Beat yourself up
  4. Declare to yourself you will never do such a thing from this day henceforth (until you do, then you repeat 1-3)

Productive, eh? Super unhelpful too!

Situational 'should-ing'

This is what happens when we believe that something should or should not have happened e.g. we get fired, someone we care for gets sick, a rail crash occurs, we didn't get the pay rise we were expecting etc.

What typically happens when we believe that something should or should not have happened is that we feel bad. It can feel like our day (week / month / year / life) has been ruined because of this external thing. But is this really true? Can we know for certain that this isn't exactly what was meant to happen? That in fact something good may come out of this situation if we search for it?

The thing is, when we 'should' about it, it doesn't make the situation any better and it doesn't make us feel any better, yet we still allow these 'shoulds and 'should nots' to go unquestioned in our minds, leaving us feeling like a victim of our circumstances.

'Should-ing' on them

You might be okay with should-ing all over yourself, or about external events, but what ‘shoulds / should nots’ do you hold about other people?

A commonly held should is that “people shouldn’t lie” or “people should always be honest”. What happens when someone doesn’t live up to this should statement and they do lie or they are not 100% honest with us? Well, it’s likely that we will judge them, feel disappointed by them and may end up in conflict with them.

Whilst it may feel good to know that we'd never do something like that (unless of course we have one rule for us and another for them, I mean sometimes our circumstances were such that it would have been impossible not to, right....?), if we leave our sh****ing ways unquestioned, we may be inviting the very thing from people that we say we hate.

Just take a look at our FREE Spiral of Disempowerment Tool™  if you would like to see how this can play out in our relationships.

The truth about 'should-ing'

Our shoulds come from our beliefs, which are filled with some common misconceptions:

  1. Our beliefs are the truth
  2. The truth is obvious
  3. Our beliefs are based on factual data
  4. The data we select are the true facts

The reality is very different, as shown in Peter Senge’s Ladder of Inference:

Slide1

So the things that we believe to be 'facts' and the ‘rights and wrongs’ of life have actually been developed through our lenses of culture and experience, which have resulting in us making assumptions and drawing conclusions that we believe to be true. The more times we climb the ladder, the more entrenched this belief becomes and the more factual and real it seems to us, as the reflexive loop means that we are unconsciously searching for evidence that we are right.

Knowing this can help us to question some of the ‘shoulds’ and 'should nots' that are no longer serving us.

How to overcome your unhelpful 'should-ing' ways

Spend some time this week noticing the times you ‘should’ on yourself or others and:

1.  Ask yourself, who made up this 'should / should not' rule and is it serving me?

If it is one of your own and it’s working for you, well great!  Just notice the times that it doesn’t serve you in your relationship with yourself or with others.

So, for example, if you notice yourself in conflict with someone, it is likely that they have said or done something that you think they shouldn’t have and it’s worth seeing whether applying your ‘should’ belief to someone else works as well as it does in its application to you e.g. it could be that someone learned to lie from an early age because they learned that truth telling had violent consequences. Perhaps for them, telling lies was the only way to survive and it is still serving them in some way that we don’t know about.

2.  Ask yourself - is this ‘should or should not’ really true?

Imagine some occasions when it would be better if they had, for example, lied. If this is one of your shoulds and you hold onto it very tightly, it maybe that it would be very difficult to ever surprise you (e.g. with a party or the perfect gift) or it maybe that no-one will ever want their children to be near you around Christmastime for fear you may tell them the ‘truth’ about Santa.

3.  If your shoulds are not working for you, then make up a belief that does!

Spend some time making up the beliefs that do work for you. We say ‘making up’ because, as we know from the Ladder of Inference, all the beliefs from which our shoulds and should nots derive are made up, so we may as well choose the ones that work well for us.

One of our favourites beliefs at Halcyon Global for when things don't go the way we planned them to is: “It’s as meant”. We don’t know if this is true or not, but the whole time we believe that anything should be different to how it is, it causes us distress. We have no more evidence of the 'should's' validity than this new 'it's as meant' belief, so go on, make it up and see what is available to you when you believe it.  

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you know someone who would benefit from learning how to feel better about their relationships with their family, colleagues and friends, we are running our next open-access War to Peace® workshop in London on 13 October. To book a space, click here. Please note, we have just 8 spaces left.

P.S. Pass it on!

Found this useful? Then please share this article using the icons below and do leave us a comment.

Click to Tweet

 

“3 ways to stop you from 'sh****ing' all over the place. Break this habit today!”

 

 

Please leave your name and email address at the top or bottom of this page to receive more articles like this.

©Halcyon Global 2017

Photo Credit: Oleksiy Mark/Shutterstock

Are you seeing red with someone?

Monday, July 18th, 2016

2691907919_000994eb09_n

Jasper had been worried about money for about three years. Since his partner Ruth had become ill and unable to work, things had been tight. At first, they saw it as a sort of a challenge – they swapped energy providers and switched to own brand products at the supermarket and celebrated the savings they had made. They rented a cottage in the UK rather than going on holiday abroad. They cancelled their gym memberships and walked their dog Benjamin a lot more. They dipped into their savings pot because that’s what savings were for, right?

The last six months had felt bleak though. It was no longer a game. Any holidays at all were a distant memory, the savings fund had dried up and they never put the heating on despite freezing temperatures. They were defaulting on their mortgage payments and, to make matters worse, Ruth’s health was declining fast. Jasper couldn’t see any possible happy ending – he stood to lose his partner and his home and he felt desperate.

---

Karen had been overjoyed when she got the job four months ago. It was a significant promotion for her and she loved the company she worked for, the position itself, which saw her having to be creative and innovative, and most of all she liked the team she was working with.

Well, all except one person. Since she had arrived, Karen had made a big effort to befriend her colleagues by chatting with them at work and socialising with them as much as possible after hours but Jasper seemed to resist all her attempts to strike up conversation. Every time Karen tried to engage with him, either by asking him opinion on a work related matter or just offering him a cup of coffee, she was met with unsmiling eyes and a polite but very brief answer to her question and nothing more. Jasper seemed to almost be going out of his way to avoid Karen and never joined in with the social activities when she was there.

Jasper’s reactions bothered Karen and she spent a lot of time worrying that maybe she had done something wrong or said something to annoy him. She just couldn’t shake the idea that it was something to do with her – maybe Jasper thought she wasn’t up to the job? These concerns were starting to make Karen doubt her abilities and question her new role in the company.

---

When people that we come across are distant, abrasive or even aggressive, it’s very normal to put up our defences and go to War with them. Depending on what sort of person we are, these reactions can be self-questioning, aggressive, or judgemental (we use a framework called the ‘5 Shades of Red’ to better understand this on our War to Peace workshop). Whichever Shade of Red we go to, our reactions invariably only make the situation worse for ourselves and the person we are at War with, even if we try to hide how we’re feeling.

In the situation above, Karen has a very self-critical reaction to Jasper’s behaviour, which makes her unhappy and question her ability to do the very job she was overjoyed about just a few months before.

Another person in Karen’s position may have also gone into the Red but reacted by complaining about Jasper to the other members of the team, in an attempt to gather allies and make themselves feel somehow ‘more right’ about their difficult colleague.

Still others may have confronted Jasper, made disparaging remarks or denigrated him to the boss.

Yet, as we have seen, Jasper’s behaviour has very little to do with Karen and very much to do with the big worries he is carrying around with him.

It’s very easy to take the behaviour of others personally. But what if we stood back and imagined that other person’s apparently abrasive behaviour has nothing whatsoever to do with us?

If Karen had known what was going on with her colleague at home, the chances are that she would treat Jasper (and herself) very differently, which would make her job enjoyable again, and would perhaps also make Jasper’s life a little easier at the same time.

Of course, we can’t always know other people’s stories and pains, but we can stop ourselves from making them up - and we can definitely learn how to stop reacting to their behaviour.

Over to you

  • What might happen if you decided that the behaviour or attitude of a person you're finding difficult to deal with has absolutely nothing to do with you or anything you have done?
  • How might that new perspective benefit you? How might it benefit them?
  • What has been your own 'Shade of Red' in conflict situations? How do you tend to react when someone is abrasive or ignores you?

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace?

If you, or someone you know, would like to experience and understand more about the impact on your life of being at War and learning how to be at Peace - yes, even with the people you find most difficult - our next open-access War to Peace workshop is on 7 October 2016. We only have one space left for this workshop! So if you would like to attend, do book yours today. Not sure if it's for you? Read what other people who have tried it have to say.

P.S. Pass it on!

Found this useful? Then please share this article using the icons below and do leave us a comment.

Click to Tweet

 

Seeing Red with someone? Here's what to do about it. 

 

Please leave your name and email address at the top or bottom of this page to receive more articles like this.

©Halcyon Global 2016

 

photo credit: Bound to Ignite via photopin (license)