Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Misconception about empathy and performance

 Misconception about empathy and performance

(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)

One of the responses for last week's discussion on "empathy or looking at the things from other's views" is that if we start looking at things from other's views, that leads into lenience and, in turn, mediocrity in the performance, particularly in a professional environment.

We need to understand the slight difference between empathy and being lenient.

Empathy means we listen to other's views and recognize the cause in it. That does not mean that we are accepting the consequences as such.

For example, let us imagine a typical scenario in the workplace,

One of your junior colleagues on a particular day left the office early due to personal issues. He/she may be the authorized person for a financial transaction, and he/ she had not delegated the task to anyone on that day. Due to his/ her absence, the important financial transaction did not happen, which affected your organizational performance.

In this scenario, as a manager/leader, what choices you had the next day when the junior colleague reported the duty?

Choice 1:

You might have displayed your dissatisfaction with the performance without listening to his/ her situation. In this process, both of you experienced negative emotions or hurt personally.No learning from low performance.
Choice 2 :

You might have listened to personal issues, and both of you felt sorry about the performance. In this process, you are lenient and accept mediocre performance.
Choice 3:

You might have listened to personal issues, acknowledged it and you might have assertively conveyed your dissatisfaction and his/ her lack of delegation to the work. You made him/ her responsible for not completing the task.He/she might have learned from the mistakes.
Choice 3 is the appropriate method of understanding others and ensuring the right management process in place.

Most of the time, we are witnessing either choice 1 or 2 in which mediocre performance is encouraged.

 i recall an incident that happened to me some years back. I drove my car first time in a new city and violated the signal as I was not familiar with the signal points and free left etc. A traffic policeman stopped me and got my license. I briefed him about my first-time driving and lack of awareness about the signal points. He listened to me and advised me to be careful in city driving. But he was firm to charge me fine as punishment and I also paid. In my view, the policemen were very empathic about my ignorance but, at the same time, firm on his duty. That is what required for the people who are at the commanding level as a manager or leader. Just imagine if the policeman displayed choice 1 or choice 2  behavior, then we both were not doing justice to ourselves as humanity consideration or duty consciousness.!

The point is being empathetic does not lead to lenience; you need to be firm on your role as a leader in a professional environment for ensuring performance!

Looking from other's view

 Looking from other's view

(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)

As we have been discussing the method of channelizing or regulating the emotions in the workplace, one more effective approach is "
looking at the things from other's view."

In most human interactions, everything is right or wrong from the person's standpoint, exposure or experience, context, and timing only.

When i am considering my decision is right, that is based on my experience, my today's context and that decision may be proven wrong by some one's point of view from their expertise, background, and timeline perspective. When we realize this truth, we can develop the ability to look at things from other's views.

This ability will help us to channelize or regulate emotions like anger, frustration, jealousy from competitiveness into positive emotions.

For example, you may get momentarily anger with your junior colleague's quality of work, say preparation of the presentation. When you understand his/ her background, experience, you may realize their weakness, which will help you to cool your emotions and divert into compassion to develop him/ her.

I am not advocating other's mistakes to be accepted as such, but for every error of others, if you suffer from negative emotions, it is not going to help you. Instead, if you develop the ability to recognize the causes for the mistake or low performance from other's perspective, at that moment, that will make you be in positive emotions.

Some people are good at look at things from other's perspectives, and it is a skill to be developed!

Monday, 3 August 2020

Channelizing Anger

Channelizing Anger
(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)
We are aware that anger in the workplace affects the self and the environment as well. It is an outcome of our inability to cope up, non-acceptance of reality, and high expectation.

Some people are developing the capability to channelize the anger for positive turnout. Let me narrate one incident which i have witnessed some time back, and i learned a new insight as well.

I attended a public seminar in which all the age group people attended along with the family, including kids. The speaker is known for the "family wellness" subject, and he was invited to deliver a lecture. So i could see many married couples along with the kids in the hall.

The speaker was delivering the lecture. At some point in time, there were noises from the group of kids. There were chatting, playing, laughing despite their parents tried to control them. The interruption continued frequently, and some audiences got distracted towards the disturbance, and some people got irritated.

Having noticed the disturbance and initially got irritated with it, the speaker turned the audience and said," Let us focus on our objective." He then continued his speaking with enthusiasm and finished the lecture successfully in amidst of the disturbances.

In this incident, the speaker had choices to get angry with the parents like other audiences or asked them to move out of the hall. Knowing the targeted audience background and his purpose of delivering a lecture to them, he channelized his energy to convince the disturbed audience. He went ahead with high energy whenever he countered disturbance.

He put the purpose on a high level than on spending energy on low-level activities even though he has all the power to execute the choices at those moments.

The key lesson for me is that when we focus on petty things, we get angry frequently as the world is not perfect. When we divert our focus on higher purposes, some of the insignificant things cause anger can be avoided and channelized towards higher goals.
How can we apply this learning in professional life?

Whenever we are about to get angry with someone in a professional environment, we need to be aware of whether we are going to battle for petty things or shifting towards a higher-level purpose.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Dealing with Anger

Dealing with Anger
(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)
As we outlined the importance of channelizing each emotion for positive turnout in the workplace and each emotion needs different strategies, now let us understand more about dealing with anger as an emotion.
When do we get angry at the workplace?

Most of the time, we do get angry when things are not going as we expect. Typically, the following are some of the scenarios we lose coolness or normal state and get into the agonized mood.
  1. When someone repeatedly says something against our views, and we are in a situation neither to accept others' opinions nor in a position to convince others to our views.
  2. When someone is pointing us for fault with or without logic, and we are in a position not to accept our failure openly. Also, not in a position to defend our case.
  3. When we have higher expectations or standards on something or someone and, in reality, when we face less than expectation or standard, suddenly, the anger burst out.
You can think and relate some of your experiences where you get the anger.

In all the above situations, you can see some typical patterns as follows.

1.NON -ACCEPTANCE of the reality in a particular moment
2.Our INABILITY or lack of courage and skill to face (Helplessness)
3.Lack of patience to get the full picture

The internal pattern manifests outside either by way of shouting or abusing or hitting physically or going out of self-control.

Whether anger is bad all the times?
Anger is one of the natural emotions, and we can not outrightly say it is wrong. The anger becomes worthless only when it is used for silly reasons with the inappropriate people.

When anger is used for higher purposes with the right people, it turns out to be positive and the right people also perceive it in a proper perspective.

One of the best examples of converting the anger into the positive turnout would be Mahatma Gandhi's life as we read when he faced the humiliation by the British which turned out as anger. Instead of directing the anger to give it back either by way of verbal or physical violence against the British, he channelized the anger into a nonviolent momentum and created a new history.
When we read such a historical incident, we move on as extraordinary incidents.

But in a  day to day life, some effective people are good at channelizing their anger into a positive experience and let us discuss those real examples next week.!

(Appreciate your personal experience of how the anger impacts you at the workplace!)


Friday, 17 July 2020

Channelizing the emotions

Channelizing the emotions 
(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)
As we have discussed the first part of managing emotions in the workplace as "self-awareness, "the second part is "channelizing the emotions" for the growth.
What is meant by channelizing the emotions?
Every moment we are undergoing different emotions like happiness, sadness, fear, frustrations, anger, and so on. We have two choices in recognizing and managing emotions. Either we use it for our advantage or turn it for a disaster for us and our surroundings. Channelizing the emotion is more about how to recognize the emotion and direct it for betterment for us and the surroundings.
Why the channelizing the emotion is important?
When we do not know how to channelize the emotions, it hits us back by way of losing peace, losing focus on higher-level growth-oriented activities. Sometimes when we are not keeping the perspective right, the emotions affect our health as well.
Hence awareness is required to handle different emotions with different methods as we are dealing with a mix of both positive and negative emotions in everyday transactions with others.
For example,
In our workplace, predominately, we have the following emotions in our day to day interactions with our colleagues/team/boss and even with the customers.
  • Anger (when the things do not happen  as we expect)
  • Jealous (when some of our colleague's / competitor does well than us)
  • Frustration (when we do not see the result for our effort, or someone does not recognize our work)
  • Insecure (when we do not know the direction of future on job/business)
  • Feeling low (we do not know what to do in a particular moment; less motivated)
  • Irritation (when we work with the person whom we do not like to work)

You can add on the list from your experience!

Each emotion calls for different strategies to channelize the emotions and if we are aware, that will help us for growth.

Let us discuss each emotion and the method of channelizing in the coming weeks!

Monday, 6 July 2020

Aware of Life Balancing

Aware of Life Balancing
(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)
As we are discussing the importance of self-awareness in managing emotions, one more methodology of self-awareness is to be aware of your balancing status in all aspects of life.

Some people list up to 24 aspects of life. To simplify it, i classify the life aspects into six areas like professional growth, relationship, health, wealth, maturity, and social contribution, as shown in the below radar chart. We should progress in all aspects at the same pace. That is  Life balancing.

When you measure the current balancing profile status in each aspect, you become aware of improvement areas.

You can do self-assessment in each aspect and see yourself about balancing profile.

For example,

on professional growth, considering your education, experience, if you feel, you have grown in the professional front in terms of contribution, monetary benefits, and social status, rate yourself on the higher side and vice versa.

Similarly, on the health front, rate yourself depending upon your health conditions.

On wealth aspects, rate yourself on your capability on earning, saving, investment, and spending aspects. On relationship aspects, you can measure your relationship quality with your circle.

Likewise, in all the categories, do the self-assessment and measure your balancing aspects. If you find some imbalanced profile, that will give you awareness of the focus area.

When i administer this assessment in my workshop, the result brings eye-opening experience for the participants as i think this is one of the powerful self-awareness tools for self-awareness.

The point is self-awareness is the starting point for all emotional management in the professional environment.

More you are aware of yourself in terms of values, beliefs, strengths, areas for improvement, purpose, organizing self, better you are on emotional management.

Let us discuss more on channelizing the emotions in next week. 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Finding your Purpose

Finding your Purpose
(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)
As we have been discussing the methodologies of being aware of self, the last one in the effort of self-awareness is finding the purpose of existence.

Some people are gifted to aware of their purpose at a young age and channelizing their energy in fulfilling the purpose. For others, the purpose has to be realized by asking the question themselves continuously. It is not a one-time effort, and this pursuit of search is a life long exercise.

In my opinion, we need to explore the purpose of life in two layers to avoid the complexity, one at a spiritual level and another at a materialistic level.

Most of the spiritual masters mention that the purpose of life is to live happily and peacefully, or some refer the purpose is to attempt to break the birth-death-rebirth cycle. Have we reached that level of maturity in awareness and practice it? That is one level of exploration.

From a materialistic perspective, we need to be sure about the purpose from our service point of view. We need to ask question ourselves, "what is the purpose of my existence? What am I doing with my background, education, experience, passion, and am i living meaningful or impactful?  When you ask this question frequently, you will get some insights about the macro-level purpose, at least from a materialistic perspective rather than not being sensitive to life. That is another level of exploration.

The most significant benefit of knowing the purpose is that we get clarity on the sense of direction, clarity on our thoughts and actions. When both thoughts and actions are aligned, we move towards the mastering of our emotions at the professional front.

My experience is that the effort to find the purpose will make you understand yourself better.

Depending on the individual's level of evolution, he/ she chooses to explore the purpose either from a materialistic or spiritual perspective. That exploration brings more awareness of self!


Thursday, 25 June 2020

Aware of Personal Values

Aware of Personal Values 
(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)


As we are learning some of the ways to be more aware of self, let us understand the power of personal values in decision making and managing our emotions in the workplace.

What is meant by personal values?

Values are things that we regard as very important for us. Some examples of values could be equality, honesty, learning, pride, effort, perseverance, loyalty, commitment, faithfulness, money, relationship, love, care, kindness, health, family, career and so on. Each one of us has some deep-rooted importance or values on the subconscious level, and it directs the emotions at an appropriate time.

We make decisions based on the values and we use them as a compass to enhance the positive emotions or to avoid negative emotions. When we have clarity on our core value, i.e., what is very much essential for us, that will help us to resolve any hidden conflicts, remove internal stress and outburst in any decisions.

For example,

You might have observed some people that they used to make quick decisions when it comes to career vs. family as they have clarity on what they want. Some take career growth over family, happy with that, and vice versa. Because they are clear about what is important for them, and they align the decision. When you force yourself to decide on against your internal value system, you get into the trap of value conflict, and that will affect your emotions severely.

A few years back, i  collaborated with a known person for the business. Within a month of working together, i  felt discomfort and developed internal stress as there was value conflict between us. I valued much on process, methodological working, slow  and my partner valued much on the result, speed and revenue generation. Within a short time, we closed the partnership deal. There is nothing wrong with the individual's choice of values; both are right. But when there is value conflict, it is not going to be beneficial to anyone in the long term.

You might have come across similar situations with your friends, family members, colleagues and the quality of the relationship is based on value alignment and value conflict.

The point is that being aware of personal values and value alignment is a very much important aspect for intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational harmony and growth.

When you are aware of your values, you will get clarity on your priorities and importance. This clarity will help you to make the right decisions and keeping your emotions in a positive mode.

List down the important things for you and finally shortlist the TOP3 values. Check whether it is aligned with your aspirations and with others.
Finetuning and altering the values with the help of the coach will change the direction of life. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Power of belief on emotions

Power of belief on emotions  
(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)

As we are learning some of the ways to be more aware of self, let us understand the power of beliefs and values in shaping our personality and in managing our emotions at the workplace.

What is meant by belief?

Beliefs are the assumptions that we make about ourselves, about others and the world. There is no truth in that, it is not a fact, but we tend to believe it true. That is strange about the belief systems.

For example, some of us believe that some numbers are lucky nos. Say No 7. There is no logic, no fact, but we believe in that. That belief drives us to choose our vehicle no ending with 7 or choosing mobile no end with 7 and so on…. That belief comes from coincidental or experiences on many occasions, and we use to believe that is true. Those beliefs are driving us towards appropriate emotions and actions which propel for growth or limits from the growth.

Some of the  examples of beliefs we may have

More money, more fun
More money, more trouble
Meetings are wasting of time
My team will do anything for me
My team will never do anything without my follow-up
My intuition is always right
I am more productive in the late evening work
I will have stomach pain on Monday morning!

All the above may not be fact, but we believe it as truth.

How does belief impact our emotions and actions?

Whether the belief may be empowered or limited, it is impacting our emotions and actions.

For example,

I know one business head who firmly believes that his product quality is superior to competitors, and his business is surviving only because of quality. That is his belief, whether empowering or limiting belief does not matter. How this belief drives his emotions and actions is that he will never tolerate any people’s behavior, which is affecting the quality, and he never hesitates to invest for the sake of enhancing quality. That way, his belief is positively driving his emotions and actions. The customer is happy to work with him.

Another example is one manager strongly believes that he is the only person who can do his functional activity with perfection, and he also believes that his team members are not that much capable of executing well. Because of the belief, he uses to do all the job by himself and rarely he delegates. Even after delegation, if he finds poor execution, he loses his temper and creates havoc in the workplace. People try to avoid him.

In both examples, the underlying cause behind the behavior or action is the BELIEF.

The point is whether the belief is empowered or limited; it drives our emotions and behavior. We need to be aware of our own beliefs and able to classify whether it is empowering or limiting us.

Your awareness will help to take action to strengthen empowering belief or to eliminate limiting belief.
Action :

Just write down your beliefs you are holding about yourself, family, team, profession, or your business and be aware of its nature, whether empowering you or limiting you!

That is the starting point to manage the emotions in the workplace
Let us discuss more on beliefs and values next week

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Understanding more about YOU

Understanding YOU  
(Emotional Management for Personal & Professional Growth Series)
As we are aware that self-awareness will improve emotional intelligence at work. Before going into the next methodology of self-awareness, let us understand the rationale behind every behavior at the workplace and the inner personality with the following framework.
What we see externally is only BEHAVIOR, and if we would like to improve the positive or negative behavior for betterment, we need to work internally. As shown in the framework, the behavior is an outcome of internal emotions or feelings, and the emotions are the outcome of attitude towards work or life or anything. The attitude comes from our values and beliefs about work or life or anything. What resides is our real inner personality.
Overall if you would like to improve the management of your emotions at the workplace, you need to work on inner personality.

Let me narrate my personal experience in changing the behavior at the workplace as it may not be appropriate to take common experiences. You can relate to your own experiences for understanding the concept better.

When I was working as a project manager, in one instance, the project deliverables were about to fail. I lost my temper, behaved rudely with junior colleagues, which was immature and not at all acceptable in the professional environment by any justifications. However, i could narrate the reasoning behind unacceptable behavior through the framework.

The unacceptable behavior is an outcome of my internal emotions like fear of failing in the project, in turn, losing personal creditability. The fear comes from the attitude of looking at the work from a self point of view. The attitude was if something committed, it must be done at any cost. From where this attitude comes from? It comes from the values and beliefs that i was holding about myself and work. I valued more of pride in achievement, commitment to deliverables, and i believed that the project is a straight line like an operational task. I  wrongly believed that plan should not have any uncertainties. All those beliefs, values, attitudes, emotions result in the behavior.

If i  want to improve the behavior, then i should look at my false belief about the project nature,  self’s unrealistic expectation, attitude towards self and work, then only unreasonable fear of losing personal value with one failure would disappear. Once the emotion of fear is in control, i  am in a state of reasoning the root cause of the failures. Then it would enable me to display more positive, balanced, mature behavior externally to the team.

The point behind the narration is that every one of us needs to analyze ourselves at a deeper level on every positive and negative behavior for the transformation.

It takes time and needs the patience to improve self. The more you do self-analysis, the more you become emotionally stronger in both personal and professional life.

Let us discuss more beliefs and values next week!