Live More Happily And Empathically After #Internationalmenshealthweek

Happiness And Empathy Build A More Caring World

Happiness And Empathy Help Build Well Being

You might know that we are most of the way through International Men’s Health Week (13 to 19 June).

The 2016 theme is setting goals and taking action to reduce the stresses in your life. Being a happier man is one of the positive results.

A week ago, when I started planning what to post here about IMHW I was creating the sort of ‘How To’ information which could lead to less stressful living. It helps that  7 days ago I was also creating visuals, like the one above, as part of a Carers Week workshop on Experiencing Greater Happiness..

The workshop highlighted the close relationship between happiness and empathy, well-being Mindfulness and other healthier living ideas.

As I say that was the content I had planned.

Something changed over the weekend though.

What Can Happen When Empathy Is Missing?

Over the weekend a mentally troubled man decided to drive for an hour across Florida from his home to his destination and commit mass murder. This wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. He had armed himself with an assault rifle and a handgun.

His crime scene was the Pulse Bar (a venue which serves Orlando’s ethnically  diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and progressive straight communities). On the weekend it was full of people living life, enjoying liberty and pursuing happiness. Free to do so during Pride Month or any other time.

The shooter took advantage of that freedom.

He shot his way in, stalking the people he didn’t cut down immediately and holding some hostage. Ultimately he killed 49 people. His spree also led to 53 more clubbers being hospitalised.

Now every partner, sibling, parent and friend of the dead and injured will spend the rest of their lives living with the pain he inflicted.

How Men Can Use Empathy

A few days has made a big difference to my sense of what ‘men’s health’ means.

From wanting to talk about the simple goal of happiness for men I end up talking about big ideas like empathy, well-being, connection and care.

We need to work on solutions for men – straight, bi, gay, queer, questioning men – so that we are better able to manage our inner state and our relationships with the world.

In the days ahead it is important we do what we can to connect to and care for each other a bit more than usual.

We can all use empathy to better understand what is happening in other people’s lives and how they might be feeling.

In particular, if you feel there is someone close to you who seems overwhelmed take time to check in with him. That’s really important since (Breaking News) men don’t always volunteer information about ‘feelings’.

So fellas, try empathy. Simply asking your mate, your brother, your partner ‘How Are You’, then listening to the tone of the answer and supporting them through tough times can make all the difference.

How Will You Make A Difference?

Thanks for reading this post on the challenges facing men. How will you act differently now? As I finalised these words the discussion over the murder of British Parliamentarian Jo Cox – and the disconnected background of the suspect – is ringing in my ears.

Something has to change.

Feel free to share this post with anyone who would find it useful. I am on Twitter @RogerD_Said if you want to comment on the themes I mentioned.

 

Here Are 3 Life Skills You Gain As A #Carer

Words Related To Work

Skills Matter – Wherever They Come From (Image From Alvimann From Morguefile.com)

Dementia Awareness Week just ended* and it has put the spotlight on the role played by thousands of part and full time carers out there.

In particular I’ve talked to several people involved with caring for Dementia patients. Those conversations reminded me of the many valuable skills you get from caring for others. Skills which offer a lot to employers seeking fresh talent..

Professional Skills Gained Through Volunteering

Ever focused exclusively on the goal of helping others and lost track of your own priorities? Not to worry, there is an answer to the question:

OK I have done a lot of caring – how do I run those talents into worthwhile job skills?

The skills you use to look after others look good on a resume or CV, especially if you can relate them to the types of employment that interest you.

The trick is to explain the situation in which the skill was used, what task you were responsible for and the action you carried out. What results did you achieve illustrating the skills you want to highlight?

There is a long list of skills from which you can choose, including the following:

Action Planning

You need to be aware** of what you want to achieve before you can become a good planner. Once you are focused on your main task you will be ready to help to bring about the right results, at the right time.

However you go about your planning (maybe you use a wall chart, a smart phone app, or a diary) you still know what results you expect to create at each stage.

You also know which legal, medical or financial rules you have to follow at each stage to get what you want.

What does a successful final outcome look like?

Managing Collaborations

It is exhausting to try to achieve results on your own.

How do you communicate with others so you build new relationships and bring allies into your world?

What do you offer to bring their skills on board?

Problem Solving

Even the best plans can get derailed by unforeseen problems.

Obviously you will have tried to manage the basic risks involved in your project. What does your Plan B look like, should things go wrong?

How will Plan B bring the overall project back into line?

How do you record what you have achieved to ensure you learn how to get better results next time?

Your Next Steps

Thanks for reading about 3 of the key skills which caring can add to your CV. I would love to hear from you. What skills have you gained through volunteering? How have you used those skills in your professional life?

Use the Comment section to share your story, or Tweet me @RogerD_Said. If this post was useful please share it with a friend who would benefit from reading it.

Finally…

*Here is a useful link about Dementia – https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

** Here is a 30 minute video I recorded recently, worth a look if you would like to learn more about self- awareness. http://bit.ly/Self-Awareness-Superstar-Part-1-Of-3

Here Are 3 Relationship Building Skills You Need To Practice

Business Cards Can Help Build Relationships

How Hard Do You Listen Before You Try To Be Of Service ?

Have you ever had someone give you a business card before they say anything to you?

There must be some psychological trigger at work. One where the card giver looks at you and thinks ‘That person has a professional appearance. I must introduce them to what I have to offer’

The card giver doesn’t know who you are – or what you might need – you are another person to whom they gave a business card at that event.

Without getting to know you they want you to know them and why their online marketing process (or whatever) represents a great opportunity for you.

Annoying isn’t it?

What Are The 3 Relationship Building Skills You Need?

I think a better approach to building a relationship involves listening. Then making time to establish rapport. From that mutual place of trust you can go forward. You might get to a point where the other person is deeply engaged with what you are saying.

Here are 3 skills at the heart of engaged relationships. Having these 3 elements in place makes it easier to say what you mean concerning your project / area of work / bright idea:

Empathy – How much time have you spent building your knowledge of the needs of the particular niche you want to service?

  • Who is in that niche?
  • What stresses are they under?
  • How does your ‘thing’ reduce those pressures?

Authenticity – Have you been a member of the niche you are focusing on?

  • What true ‘Before and After’ story can you tell to connect you to it?
  • How passionate are you about offering service to your niche?
  • What do you want people to feel when they first encounter your work?

Self-Awareness – How much effort do you want to make in building and maintaining these relationships?

  • What signals tell you that you are holding the other person’s attention?
  • How do you vary what you are doing to deepen your connection?
  • How do you feel if the other person says they are not interested?

There’s A Google Hangout You Might Want To Join

I am hosting a Google Hangout on 12 May looking into these issues – I hope you will want to join in. Follow the link if so.

https://plus.google.com/events/c67917issejfjbmbupmuv125nho

What Is Your Next Step?

Thanks for reading to the end. What step will you take today to build more productive relationships? Feel free to comment below – or Tweet @RogerD_Said – share this post with the people you know who would benefit from reading it.

Performance Improvement: What’s Empathy Got To Do With It?

Empathy Beats Confrontation In Performance Management - picture credit Pexels.com

Empathy Beats Confrontation In Performance Management – picture credit Pexels.com

Spring is the season for reporting on performance. It seems to me empathy is the key to influencing others to help us with our performance goals during the coming year.

Drawing on an existing stock of empathy could make the difference to you, if you break out in a sweat at the thought of approaching a good team member who is suddenly producing sub-par work.

Leaders Set The Tone For Their Team

If you have already established an empathic / supportive relationship with your team you have an advantage. The door is already partly open to difficult conversations.

You can now use the stock of trust you have built up to go into potentially uncomfortable territory when speaking with team members (you might want to start being more empathic if you are starting from a low base).

3 Useful Performance Questions

From personal experience performance conversations involve being a bit vulnerable yourself. You aren’t looking to beat anyone up. You are helping yourself by accepting your feelings of discomfort and focusing on helping someone perform better.

Here are 3 discussion openers which might help you get your colleague engaged in finding solutions, as part of a constructive performance improvement conversation

  • It has been a while since our last review, how are things with you workwise?
  • I’ve noticed that X seems to be happening with your work, that’s not like you. Can you say what’s happening there?
  • What more can I do to help you produce different results?

Open questions prompt the listener to think of a full response, since a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer doesn’t fit. Empathy, Thought and Action should feed into your conversation and the ones which follow to help your colleague improve their results.

Feel Free To Continue This Conversation And Share It With Friends

Why not use the Comment section to share the approaches have you used to successfully support performance improvement.

How did you help your member of staff produce good or excellent results, after a temporary downturn?

If you were the one being helped how did your boss’s approach help you move forward? Did they offer to help you, or take a confrontational approach?

For an overview of the effects on performance of feeling overwhelmed at work please follow this link

 

http://www.experienceenterprisesltd.co.uk/

Do You Behave Differently When Your #Boss Is In The Room?

Team Leader's Desk

How Does Your Boss Make You Feel?

My recent post on 3 steps to a happier Christmas and a more authentic new year mentioned that some Good Girls or Nice Guys act in a way that feels false, to please their boss.

That struck a chord with a few of you, so I wanted to share some fresh thinking from academics and ask you a question about how you have managed the tricky relationship with a difficult boss.

How Authentic Are You When Your Boss Is Around?

The idea of inauthentic behaviour at work got me thinking about recent items in the Harvard Business Review, which has published a couple of great insights recently on improving the Boss – Employee relationship.

Liane Davey posted this article which is worth a read, as it suggests ways you can take action and feel more authentic when you help your boss respond more positively to you.

Charalambos Vlachoutsicos previously suggested that some people in the leader / boss role are simply don’t understand that their conduct can seriously damage employee engagement and productivity. He suggested Bosses who want to improve their leadership style need to keep a change diary

Most Bosses Are Positive About Leading Others

Thankfully most bosses (even if they have the odd bad day) are basically able to learn, change and grow. They know that they support the development of their junior colleagues by being a better version of themselves.

As a plus, the skilled, assertive and confident employee can help their boss grow by asking for support and offering options to show how engaged they are.

What Options Do You Have If Your Boss Is Negative?

Having said that, in my experience – as a team member and as a coach – I know there are a few people who are not suited to leading others. That isn’t anyone’s fault, it is just sad that their own issues adversely affect the way they treat subordinates. Their influence is toxic.

Who wants to be micro-managed, subject to sarcasm, or receive the impatient eye rolling treatment as they try to speak to their boss?

If an employee has a choice of working for someone like that they face a choice:

  • Try to tough it out, with the long-term consequences on their levels of engagement, productivity and self-esteem
  • Find another team to work in, where the leadership is supportive and they have the scope to engage, produce great results and to flourish.

How Have You Successfully Managed A Difficult Relationship With Your Boss?

Most people never have to act out their strategy for dealing with a difficult boss (or even form a strategy in the first place).

If you have taken action to help yourself what did you do? How did it work out? What did you learn?

Please use the Comment section to share your experience, or keep the conversation going on Twitter @RogerD_Said . Have your say (or just look around) On Facebook and Google+ too.

If you prefer you can use LinkedIn to View Roger Dennison’s profile

Goals 2014: 5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your #MidYearReview

What Makes Your Mid-Year Review A Positive Experience?

What Makes Your Mid-Year Review A Positive Experience?

If your staff report year began in April your mid ear review is due about now. You and your Supervisor / Team Leader / Manager will be preparing for a conversation which will cover: your performance against your goals; the competencies you are using and those you can develop; plus support you can tap into from coaches, mentors or formal training providers.

If you are a UK civil servant this process might raise wider issues, some of which are discussed in a feature on morale this week in the Guardian newspaper   The article is worth a read if you have an interest in staff engagement, or the delivery of public services.

5 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your Mid-Year Review

Whether you are working in the private, or public sector your review is your chance to share the evidence of your good work so far this year with your Supervisor.

If you are a Supervisor chairing the session it is your chance to have an empathic conversation, which uses evidence to highlight the good work your junior colleague has produced. You can propose any development areas that need attention and leave the session on a positive note overall.

The Review is also the spring board to the second part of the year. You can create momentum from this session. Enough momentum to carry you toward whatever achievements you want under your belt by next Spring.

Here are your 5 pointers to make the most of your mid-year review

  • Bring your evidence (customer feedback; stats showing what you have accomplished; learning log highlights).
  • Listen intently to what is being said, so you can note down positive and interesting feedback.
  • Check you understand any adverse feedback and ask for evidence where necessary.
  • Clarify next steps and timings at, or shortly after, the review (especially if you have to follow a timetable to record your difference of opinion over something which has been said).
  • Create a development goal, in line with your values, which you can work on this month. Make sure it also moves you forward towards a personal goal. This will give you an immediate lift, should you need one and give you confidence you can use at work too.

What are your favourite strategies to make sure you conduct effective reviews with your staff? What factors tell you that your Supervisor has made your review a positive experience? Share your thoughts in the Comment section below, or send me a tweet @RogerD_Said

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Goals 2014: 3 Questions To Help You Find Your #Purpose Or #Calling This Autumn

Coffee Psychology Graphic

Image From Filtered Magazine: You Can Find Your Calling And Purpose During Your Coffee Break

When was the last time you sat down with friends and talked deeply about the connection between the life you are leading professionally and personally, and your self-fulfilment goals?

If it has been a while it might be a good time to review things.  As the days are shortening, and Autumn is approaching, here are some thoughts to help you consider your purpose and calling (perhaps during your coffee break).

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?

It definitely helps to have fresh inspiration on board courtesy of speakers at a London College of Spirituality event, Kathleen O’Hara and Rasheed Ogunlaru Perhaps learning about the achievements of explorers, scientists, inventors and writers at an Open House London Event is good for self-reflection too. Whatever the motivation it is amazing how much insight a Regular sized Mocha can offer.  Filtered Magazine could be onto something, where their illustration relates types of coffee swallowed to our psychological states.  Or maybe it’s just the Caffeine.

3 Questions On Your Life’s Purpose or Calling

With the aid of coffee and carbs 3 of us sat down to reflect.  We figured there are 3 major questions in life:

  • How do you know what you are called to do with your life?
  • What path can you follow once you understand yourself?
  • Is there a key quality someone needs to succeed whether they are 18 or 48 years old?

How Do Our 3 Answers Compare To Yours?

Here are 3 answers to those ‘purpose’ questions: what answers would you give?

  • Your Calling depends on your values. What are the essentials you require from your life and what ethical actions will you take to get them?
  • Your Path echoes a new favourite quote from the late Arthur Ashe (Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.) in other words make the best of your current situation, drawing on what resources you have available as a result of the choices that have already occurred in your life
  • The must-have Quality for the 21st century has to be Resilience : that quality (or ones close to it) come into play when: a) Your Client wants more outputs in less time b) Your Boss says your work quality must improve c) Your Significant other lets you know they think you are working too hard.

Over to you: what answers would you give to the Calling / Path / Essential Quality questions?

What Do You Feel About Your Calling?

These are a deep series of questions, so well done for going through them. Here are the final points to consider.

How many marks out of 10 does your current role score when you consider this statement:

‘My current role is precisely what I am called to do’

(10 = Strongly Agree; 5 = Neither Agree or Disagree; 1 = Strongly Disagree).

Want To Keep The Conversation Going?

What do you feel about the score you gave your role? What, if anything, will you do to change that score?  Feel free to share your responses in the comment section below.

You can also Tweet me @RogerD_Said to develop this dialogue.  Please share the post with someone who may benefit from reading it. In that way we will keep this important conversation growing.