Are You OK Mate? 3 Ways In Which Receiving Support Lifts Your Mood

Road Signs Showing Men Working

Men At Work From Morguefile.com

Here is a sobering statistic.

This year 75% of people in the UK taking their own life will be men.

That is 3 men for every 1 woman.

Strong And Silent

Generally men in mid-life say ‘Yes’ if you ask ‘Are you OK?’

It is best to be strong and silent. Man up. Keep working. Or get wasted. Or withdraw.

Tears are best kept for football. That’s a crying shame.

Those 40 somethings are the ones at greater risk.

Potential To Grow

I am lucky enough to have supported some men working through their personal development goals (and received support myself).

It seems obvious that men’s actual inner state can be weighing them down while outwardly there are no signs of distress.

Behind the facade there can be turmoil. Turmoil does not lead directly to self harm. It doesn’t help though.

Life is better with fewer obstacles to growth. It is hard to believe that you can grow if you don’t feel like you can exercise leadership in your own life.

What Could Men Learn From Women?

As a rule women will look for and find support. Women talk about their stuff, where guys will keep their hurt to themselves.

Maybe part of masculinity is being open to help?

Benefits Of Being Listened To

Today seems like a good day to start talking about the benefits of receiving help if you are carrying a heavy burden.

In my experience being listened to deeply can be an intense experience. It changes things. It is a big victory for some guys to take action on their goals.

Here Are 3 Ways Guys Initially Benefit From Support

They experience

  • caring help as they set priorities
  • more confidence as they tackle priorities and move past long standing blockages
  • fewer burdens and more happiness

After their confidence increases it becomes easier to keep moving forward. Doors keep opening once they practice their action-based skills.

Share This Information

Thanks for reading this post. Comment below if these ideas have struck a chord with you. Use Twitter @RogerD_Said if you perfer.

If you are sharing the post with your followers on Twitter you can use the hashtag #RUOK to be included in the wider conversation.

Finally, follow this link for more information on 10 September: World Suicide Prevention Day

 

http://www.samaritans.org/wspd

How Does Your Community Benefit When You Act Like A #GoodWolf ?

How Does Your Good Wolf Inspire Others?

How Does Your Good Wolf Inspire Others? – picture credit to Brigwer from Morguefile.com

How often do you ‘click’ with someone and find a way to support them in their goals?

I am lucky to be connected to several professional development networks. That means I have the chance to support others quite often. It feels good to pay it forward.

You have to be in the right frame of mind yourself to help someone else out. It is easier in some ways to be focused on your own agenda. Easier isn’t always best though.

Here’s a story about helping someone focus, inspired by Cherokee Nation culture.

 

The One You Feed

A grandfather and grandson are seated in Nature, deep in conversation.

The young man is troubled.

He tells his grandfather about the feelings of anger, envy and self-pity he has.

His grandfather tells him about the two wolves we all have within us.

The wolves are always circling each other, battling for supremacy.

One wolf is mournful, holding on to bad feelings from the past.

The other wolf is bright, joyful, loving and empathic.

Puzzled, the young man asks.

 

“If they are always there within us, which wolf wins the battle?

 

The grandfather paused.

His reply?

 

“It depends on the one you feed.

 

Contributing To Your Community

I know from my own experience that feeding the wrong wolf makes life miserable.

Spending too much time looking at set-backs leaves you stuck. It makes you self-centred. It weighs you down. It means you aren’t aware of others’ needs and don’t meet them.

I first experienced coaching (as a client) in the early 2000s. I had ended up overwhelmed by a project I was involved with. The experience of being coached made the process of returning to normal (being part of a team, producing great results) much easier.

 

What did I learn from the experience?

Being connected to your community is good. Being of service to that community is better. Taking positive action to help the community move forward is best.

 

How Can You Help The Communities To Which You Belong?

Tapping into your good wolf mind-set means you are better placed to help others. Your optimism inspires others to work optimistically because you understand others’ lives.

That kind of Empathy comes easily to good wolves. You can find out more about Empathy by clicking the link below.

http://bit.ly/BBC_Can_Empathy_Be_Taught_Roman_Krznaric

 

Want To Keep This Conversation Going?

Thank you for dropping by, reading this post, following, sharing and taking action that helps you experience a more fulfilling life.

I’d love to know how you change your thoughts when they get stuck in the negative zone. What’s your secret? How do you motivate your team / community to act positively and produce better results?

Leave your comments below. Your feedback is bound to be valuable to others in the community.

Don’t forget to share this post with the wolves you know.

 

 

3 Steps To Overcome Overwhelm By Embracing #Assertion #Leadership #Responsibility

American Football

Overcoming Setbacks Is Part Of Life (Picture from GaborfromHungary from morguefile.com)

Any job can kick your butt.

If you get knocked down often enough you lose sight of your goals. Your results can nose dive. Your team spirit vanishes. You hate Sunday night (it reminds you of Monday morning). Welcome to survival mode.

If the situation continues for long enough it can have serious health implications too.

Next stop burn-out.

How Many Stressed Out People Are There In Great Britain?

You are far from alone if you have ever been so stressed out you needed time-off from work. According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) data (1):

The total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2013/14 was 487 000 (39%) out of a total of 1 241 000 cases for all work-related illnesses.

From personal experience I know the costs behind the HSE’s numbers. Those costs are measured in disruption to personal and family life; the impact on team outputs; the downturn in customer satisfaction.

It is the difference between enjoying life in 3D and enduring it in 2D. So what are the elements that help you start to overcome overwhelm?

Effective Leadership

Skilled and confident senior staff help to balance workloads and they practice realism when goal setting for their teams. They are people who value people just as much as spreadsheets.

These leaders create the safe space in which team members produce excellent results; manage risks and speak up about issues that affect results.

That communication is a regular part of the flow within the team. No one wants an unexpected and stress-filled adult-to-adult conversation to kick off; leaving a manager angry and their team member acting like an upset child.

Personal Responsibility

Responsibility starts with self-awareness. How does the team / organisation feel to you? How is it serving customers? How are your values represented? Is the work flowing freely or piling up on your desk?

I’ve found that people know when a situation ‘feels’ wrong. They are the ones having sleepless nights and stress-filled days.

Your self-awareness check will tell you whether: colleague relationships are also suffering; customer feedback shows that they aren’t getting what they expected; it is time to speak out.

Responsibility involves speaking out when these factors are present and reducing the flow of ideas and energy within the team. You can suggest how a change will improve relationships and boost customer satisfaction. Why keep good ideas to yourself?

Remember to have empathy for senior managers. They are always being pushed to produce more outputs, more quickly with less resources in their teams.

Assertive Communication

From experience, research and work with coaching clients there is value in communicating assertively.

Communicate your feelings positively. Don’t turn any negative feelings in on yourself.

After all, teams with good communication and engagement channels produce better results. That is a key part of the virtuous circle: research shows that being heard and valued is a core component of engagement, which is an important part of producing great results.

Workshop Ideas

I am leading a workshop in 7 days drawing on many of the ideas above.  The event takes place in a week on 5 July (2) and before then I will share some further insights.

As a start, take the opportunity to read Rebecca Knight’s Harvard Business Review article (3). It is worth your time.

What Is Your Solution To Overcoming Overwhelm And Combatting Workplace Stress?

Add your voice to this conversation in the comments below. Your views will help another leader or staff member dealing with these issues.

Please share this post with others, where that will help someone improve customer satisfaction; create a more supportive team and experience greater job satisfaction.

Resources

(1)

http://bit.ly/HSE_Stress_Related_Disorders_GB_2014

(2)

http://bit.ly/An_Assertiveness_And_Success_Workshop

(3)

http://bit.ly/HBR_Rebecca_Knight_How_To_Handle_Difficult_Workplace_Conversations

 

 

Tackle Your #CoachingGoals – Top 5 Ideas For Engaging With Potential Clients

Support Personal Development And Spread Happiness

Support Personal Development And Spread Happiness

It is always good to spend time continuing professional development. Gaining more skills means you provide a better service to others, while living out your values. What could be better than helping to solve someone’s problem so they get their smile back?

Do You Know Someone Losing Sleep Over Their Problems?

Obviously I am proud to know so many people in professions which help others. All those others need, is a willingness to take action. Anything is possible if they are ready to put an end to their sleepless nights.

Which is why it is handy to have real / virtual access to the community of helpful people. People who coach; people who are NLP practitioners; women and men who are therapists.

How Do You Start Conversations Which Help Solve Problems?

Any time I get together with these helpers the conversation returns to the basic theme. What approaches work well when building powerful and authentic problem-solving connections?

In the last 7 days I have gained a bunch of insight from others’ marketing wisdom. Some of it has been completely new. Some insights put a fresh perspective on information I already had.

Here are some headlines you might find useful if your profession helps others perform better.

Top 5 Ideas For Engaging With Potential Clients

  • Allow your outreach plan to signpost your next step. That’s the step which makes more potential clients aware of the benefits they gain by knowing more about your work
  • The simple step after just knowing about you? Keep providing service. Go deeper so people really like and trust the benefits you offer
  • Use the client’s language so they savour the sound / sight / taste / feel / smell of their exciting future
  • When you offer to help solve their problem pause. That creates a space for the other person to decide how to respond
  • Practice self-care. Be mindful about making the best impression you can while building the relationship and offering service. Accept that the other person could still say ‘No’. Don’t take it to heart if they do (you might be able to signpost them to someone else, which is still a good service)

Caring But Not Too Much

The last point is the tricky one.

Obviously you care about explaining the benefits of your service to the other person. You want them to connect the dots, so it is obvious that you can solve their problem.

Don’t do what I did after attending one corporate meeting. I thought it would be plain sailing once I sat down with the decision makers (and submitted a follow up proposal).

When I did not receive a response I emailed the decision makers. I waited.

No response.

Finally I called their virtual assistant.

She took a message and promised to pass it on. The silence which followed triggered a light bulb above my head.

The organisation was not into my proposal. They used a passive silence to get that message cross.

Lesson learned, I moved on.

Giving Credit For These Insights

  • Hat tip to Clive Maxheath of the Men’s Action Project (full disclosure I Co-organises a MeetUp group for coaches with Clive) you can follow @Coachpreneurs on Twitter too. Details of Clive’s MAP work are available via the following link http://www.meetup.com/TheMAP/
  • I also enjoyed learning more about marketing from a great a range of speakers led by Carole Bozkurt and Ann Marie Mayling at the Blueprint Practice – you can visit them here http://blueprintpractice.com/

What is your favourite strategy for engaging clients?

Go ahead and use the comment section to share your favourite strategy. How do you build your presence in an authentic way? How assertive do you need to be when you engage with clients (I’m leading a workshop on assertion on 5 July so the issue is very topical)?

I’m looking forward to reading your replies. The community reading your comments will be grateful for your wisdom too.

Finally, remember to share this post if you have found it useful, so others can benefit from reading it.

 

How Does #Assertion Help Improve Your Day?

Ready To Take Assertive Action? (Picture credit jzlomek at morguefile.com)

Ready To Take Assertive Action? (Picture credit jzlomek at morguefile.com)

The quietly confident smile on Nick’s face said it all.

Nick was a middle-management colleague of mine. He led a team at work and he was a good sportsman too. He knew a lot about getting the best out of others.

When I saw Nick smiling I guessed the ‘quick word’ he had held with our senior manager had gone well.

Why was that quick word necessary?

That morning our senior manager (Sue) had chosen to brutally criticise Nick during a staff meeting. Nick’s team had been around the table.

Nick’s face had registered shock. The rest of us were embarrassed. It was one of those I’m-glad-that-wasn’t-aimed-at-me moments.

After the meeting broke up Nick sat quietly, writing a few words in his diary and looking  in the direction of our boss’s door.

Once he had fixed his goal in mind he’d walked up to the door, knocked and gone in.

What Did Nick Do To Be Assertive?

When I had the chance I asked Nick the obvious question. Making the decision to act was one thing, what had he said to Sue about the meeting? His answer?

I let her know how I felt after what she said this morning ….I told her I never spoke to my team like that and I don’t accept it either …there’s better ways to work together…she said she saw my point of view.

Nick influenced a positive change in Sue’s behaviour towards him, judging by his upbeat mood.

Assertion Means Talking About Your Feelings When You Negotiate

Nick’s real-life example shows the value of bringing emotion into assertive situations.

Use the range of evidence at your fingertips, including your feelings. Involve the other party in a conversation.

Your theme is how to make your relationship more productive. Give them an incentive to change their behaviour so it benefits others.

If they join in with that conversation and then change their approach that’s a great outcome. You have both benefitted from your honesty.

If the other person refuses to engage with the conversation you have learned something.

That knowledge means you can choose your future options wisely. Those options might include downplaying or even ending the relationship.

Want To Continue This Conversation?

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to Comment below and share the post with others who can get something from it.

I am sharing more information that will make your day easier in my June newsletter. If you would like to get on to the mailing list for further information first head over to

www.experienceenterprisesltd.co.uk

Then fill in your email address in the field on the right hand side of the page and finally press the red Send button.

I’m looking forward to sharing more ideas with you in the weeks to come.

 

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/

How To Shape Your Future With The Support of A #Coach

A Step Towards Greater Job Satisfaction

A Step Towards Greater Job Satisfaction

The numbers speak for themselves. If the commuters in the picture are UK workers then 2014 survey results* showed 6 out of 10 are motivated and engaged with their jobs.

The remaining 4 out of 10 aren’t producing the same quality of results for their clients; are having strained relationships with colleagues and are feeling overwhelmed when they are at home.

Where Do You Show Up In Those Statistics?

Interested in finding out how coaching support could make you even more productive and engaged with your work (or really help you out of the 4 in 10 bracket)?

Then you might want to invest 30 minutes in a Google Hangout on Tuesday 14 April at 8pm in which the spotlight will fall on the effectiveness of coaching.

The Hangout takes place here on https://plus.google.com/+ExperienceyourlifeMe

It will also be available on the related YouTube channel.

Any Questions?

Please use the Comment section here to raise specific questions about the Hangout’s theme, or Tweet me @RogerD_Said with your queries. I’ll do my best to include your feedback in the Hangout or to use it in future blog posts.

*(the survey results I mentioned are shown in this link http://bit.ly/HR_Magazine_ORC_Employee_Engagement )

 

3 Ways You Can Do More Than You Thought Possible By Setting Goals And Taking Action

 

Where Will Your Next Step Take You? - Photo Credit smswigart via Morguefile.com

Where Will Your Next Step Take You? – Photo Credit smswigart via Morguefile.com

If you read billboards, or advertising on public transport, you will already know this is your year to:

  • Meet someone amazing
  • Achieve your ambition
  • See the difference you make

No pressure then if your work or life goals are smaller in scale. How often does the big vision you have of a personal project stay in your head? Taking the first steps towards turning your mental vision into the real-world outcome you want can be hard.

If your vision is a bit more modest you could take inspiration from the historic achievement of Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson who scaled El Capitan this week. They have been working toward that outcome for years. Naturally they believe Teamwork and Persistence pay off in the end.

Here’s a link http://bit.ly/Inspiratonal_El_Capitan to the BBC coverage of the story. For me this is Kevin’s killer quote

He said the experience of scaling a peak by a route no one had taken before

“recalibrates your perception of what you can do and what’s possible”

3 Ways People Can Do More Than They Thought Possible

In the real world people get by with what they can achieve. With a little inspiration they can achieve more.

Understand the nature of the person whose problem you are trying to solve – I was on the receiving end of an email a while ago from someone with whom I was collaborating on a project.

Their email was a bit of a rant over several topics on the edge of our project. Luckily I read and remembered something from Dale Carnegie’s classic book How To Win Friends And Influence People.

Carnegie quotes what the founder of the car making company Henry Ford said about understanding others:

“If there is any one secret of success it lies in the ability to ‘get’ the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

With that thought as my inspiration I made time to make a phone call. I really listened to what my friend was saying. I understood that the rant was actually about fears that their voice was generally going unheard.

A phone call and some deep listening took the heat out of the situation. By understanding what was underneath the rant I was able to move the relationship forward. Good news for the project too, since there were no serious disagreements festering under the surface.

Practice to improve your skills – most people don’t have special powers. Initially we make do with our natural abilities. Then we grow. There are ways to work with what you have got to improve.

The late Arthur Ashe is someone I quote often. He was action oriented. The quote I will use in a goal-setting workshop later in January goes like this:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”.

When was the last time everything was 100% perfect in your life? All of the elements are not perfect in the project I just mentioned. But they can be made to work together with some effort. Is waiting for the perfect moment keeping you from achieving more success?

Collaborate with others who can help you improve your performance

Henry Ford also believed that

“The accumulation of great fortunes calls for POWER and POWER is acquired through highly organised and intelligently directed specialist knowledge. But that knowledge does not necessarily have to be in the possession of the man who accumulates the fortune”.

In other words, you can spend time trying to be a specialist in several areas. Or you can offer your skills to a group of people who have other skills you can draw on. Who will you work with this week?

What Will You Do This Week To Redefine The Word ‘Possible’?

Hopefully you are inspired to start making a difference in your own life. The Pareto Principle suggests 80% of your results can come from just 20% of your efforts. It is surprising where small initial steps, in line with your values, can take you. What ‘impossible’ outcome will you achieve this month?

As I mentioned above, I will discuss these ideas with people coming to my goal setting workshop on 28 January – details here http://bit.ly/Set_Goals_Take_Action – so expect to hear more about the benefits of taking action over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile I would love to hear about what you are going to accomplish in 2015. Share your plans here in the comment section, on Twitter @RogerD_Said or have your say on LinkedIn if you would prefer.

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

3 Steps To A Happier Christmas And A More Authentic New Year

Statue with head in hand

Christmas Needn’t Be A Headache

It’s less than a month away, but the Christmas To Do lists are already getting longer.

Have you ended up – again – with the Christmas Project role of organising the office meal / after work party / big family get together? You got bounced into your extra duties didn’t you?

Not to worry, we’ve all been there.

If you want to, you can change others’ perception of you as the go-to Good Girl / Nice Guy who makes everyone else’s life easier. There is scope to turn the head-in-hands sinking feeling of organising diaries / menus / Secret Santa into a positive task. One you are authentically able to deliver well, in a way that uses the support of the people around you.

What Is The Impact Of Not Asserting Yourself?

Remember, if you are grinning through gritted teeth there may be a consequence in strained nerves in later in December. The UK’s National Health Service even talks about the impact of Christmas on Divorce rates in January  It is better to assert yourself to help ensure you get more of what you want in the coming weeks.

Ready To Try A Little Assertion For Christmas?

This can seem a difficult step to take if you are not used to politely, but consistently, stating what you want from a situation. However it is a necessary step if you want to feel more authentically tuned in to your own agenda next year (i.e. able to choose what you want to do next, rather than feel you have to please others time and again at the cost of moving forward towards your own goals).

Your First Step

A first step to managing your stress levels is establishing your boundaries. Make it clear you are not taking this challenge forward on your own. Identify the development needs which can be met across the team if others’ time is freed up for specific tasks which will add to their skill set and get the Christmas project delivered on time.

Once you have your allies do the best you can with the support that is available to you and document the process for the benefit of whoever does the role next time (there are 3 further steps below)

Here Are Your Next 3 Good Practice Steps

If you do nothing else a bit of informal Christmas project planning helps you manage the various parts of your December life better and help others’ see you as more than the go-to person in their life:

  • Capture everything you need to achieve on your Christmas project plan, including the fun tasks (so that you can see the progress being made towards your outcome, which combats the sense of overwhelm)
  • Delegate as much as you can to your partner / family members / colleagues (so everyone can play their part using their skills and building new ones)
  • Schedule plenty of ‘you’ time (so you can unplug from the craziness for a while)

How Will You Use And Share This Information?

If this post has been helpful please feel free to use the Comment section to add your secrets to thriving at Christmas, so others can benefit from them. You can share your ideas on Twitter too @RogerD_Said so the conversation helps more stressed Christmas planners.