To fully understand how you can develop behavior within team members, we must first understand how Appreciative Inquiry can change an organization by changing people. One method to initiate this change is through positive questioning. For example, imagine you have a one-on-one meeting scheduled with a member of your team. By establishing a positive start, recognizing the values and strengths of that employee, you can then ask the question of “What are some of the challenges you are finding with project X?”. In such an environment the employee will feel encouraged to move towards a positive discovery process, which can also lead to the employee identifying improvements and areas where they may require your mentorship. More importantly, you have allowed your team to feel comfortable to come to you with a problem.
By establishing a positive tone, you have now also transformed your team’s mindset to one that is open to collaboration, thereby enlisting change within the organization. By doing so, as a leader, you are aware of the challenges and victories of your team on a consistent basis. Too often leaders fail to establish such an environment and lean towards micromanaging what is wrong when they are not getting the results they expected. This is when employees are faced with the dreaded “Do you know why I called you in here today?” This question flares the employee’s emotionalized ego state; which often invokes either fear, confusion, or pride. This type of trigger may induce a “fight, flight or freeze” response. Therefore, when the employee answers the aforementioned question they may start to make excuses, deflect or jump into a full-on combative mode before they utter words.
To better understand why an individual can be triggered into the fight, flight or freeze response when faced with a challenging question we first need to understand the neuroscience of stress-provoking scenarios. Our limbic system is involved in motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. Additionally, the reticular activating system acts as the gatekeeper to filter all incoming stimuli to determine threats and importance to us. The amygdala is a part of our brain that assesses the stimuli we encounter. When the amygdala perceives a stimulus or situation as threatening, our memory center (the Hypothalamus) triggers downstream chemical changes in the body that will result in your body being in the fight or flight state. Due to these chemical changes in the brain, individuals in this state are not likely to remain rational, calm or logical without training to manage them.
Hopefully, that very summarized explanation of how we process inputs can now help you appreciate how all stimuli could trigger psychological and physiological response systems within the body. It was mentioned that each stimulus the amygdala will assess also involved our memory center; therefore our brain can distinguish from our previous experiences to help balance our response. In this step of the reactionary sequence, our brain’s largest section, the Neocortex, will introduce reasoning and logic to our ultimate response. The human response system can easily be developed. Our “knee-jerk” emotional reaction will show before any logic comes into play. Yet, when you have all three levels of our brain engaged in a series of checks and balances to continually assess the need for “flight, fight or freeze”, you will then have more control over your response within milliseconds of a trigger.
Deirdre teaches a program that opens up growth potential through understanding the neuroscience of human baehaviour, emotional intelligence, advanced communication, critical thinking, body language an overarching internal wellness philosophy. These skills are the foundation of “Soft Skills” mentioned in previous blog posts and focus on “pre-escalation” in managing interactions, developing self-mastery and control for improved wellness and aid team dynamics and the ethical influence of others.
To further read about the science of developing culture enhancing team behavior, I recommend reading Deirdre’s book, Mistakenly Underappreciated: Re-engaging the Disengaged. Additionally, make sure you sign-up for email notifications to be notified when our next blog is posted.
Employees serve the strategic and mission goals of an organization when their psychological and physiological wellness are optimized. Statistically these skills aid budget savings in attendance, productivity and efficiency. Email email@example.com today to discuss how we may serve your best possible workforce.
Written and published by Atosa Asadi
In our last blog post, we challenged our readers to analyze why their teams may be unsuccessful. When such issues continues for a prolonged period of time, it is common for us to look to the leadership. In such an event, the executive management may hire an individual known for being an agent of change; in Deirdre’s experience, the outgoing manager had often made efforts to achieve efficiency, yet there was a heavy reliance on performance appraisal based methods that did not resonate with their team. In these instances, the leader often engages in finger-pointing in every direction but themselves. Why? you may ask, because they do not know how to build the soft skills of engagement and motivation within their team.
This is why Deirdre puts emphasis on “soft skills” when she retired from the corporate world and put her proven leadership talent towards helping organizations achieve transformational change. Strategic communications, the neuroscience of human behavior and emotional intelligence skills are the foundation upon every custom and measured training program we develop to meet an organization’s unique needs. Some leaders naturally possess these skills, some learn them over time but far more have not yet been educated in the dynamic improvement seen with well developed soft skills within a team.
Now I want you to think back to different leaders you have encountered in your professional career. Odds are, you fondly recall those who showed respect and appreciation for your work. Good leaders are those who inspire, guide and motivate their team. This is because individuals are hungry for emotional acknowledgment for what they do, and when fulfilled they become even more open to learning and coachable moments. When you have a team that feels under-appreciated, it creates disruptive employees. This is when you come across a group of unhappy, unwell and unmotivated individuals that are not optimally contributing to your bottom line or strategic objectives.
It is important to know the fundamental aspects of any role, regardless of what industry. However, it is the “soft skills” mentioned; critical thinking, emotional intelligence and communication strategies that most often determine personal and team success. When you think about it, very few positions are isolated from human interactions. The “soft skills” we teach will not only help individuals in their professional interactions but also their personal ones, leading to overall positive impacts on wellness.
Soft skills are often learned through experience. Some individuals can acquire them more innately than others; this is because many need to understand the science behind these skills to grasp their importance. Over the past few years, Deirdre has become an expert in helping individuals understand why these skills are essential to their professional success. These skills influence our behaviors, attitudes, and personalities aiding our critical thinking and innovation.
The “people factor” is often a lower priority when it comes to management and leadership. If a leader is unable to motivate, they will struggle to manage an optimized team. Once organizations realize the science and value of these skills Deirdre has seen a tremendous change in morale and productivity.
Deirdre has been able to influence individuals to become the best version of themselves which greatly aids departmental, cultural and organizational growth and success. I recommend you read further in her book, Mistakenly Underappreciated: Re-engaging the Disengaged. Additionally, make sure you sign-up for email notifications to be notified when our next blog is posted.
Leadership that motivates and develops soft skills build a workforce that is optimized to serve the strategic and mission goals of an organization. Statistically these skills aid budget savings in attendance, productivity and efficiency. Imagine the ROI and SROI gains! Email firstname.lastname@example.org today to discuss how we may serve your best possible workforce.
Written and Published by Atosa Asadi
Have you ever found yourself wondering, "How does anything get done around here?". Imagine your workplace is like a city. It has individual hierarchies, cultural norms, and departments as distinct districts. Within your city, you have some suburbs thinking they are of the highest value; at worst these suburbs morph into rival regions which become internalized into their micro world, better known as "Silos."
Organizations are designed so that their "city" is working towards a common goal; this is not always true — the smallest disruption, whether team dysfunction or internal uncooperativeness, can hinder the organization's growth. Individuals in a position of power often attribute this standstill to a "problematic workgroup" or "problematic employees." In Deirdre's experience, the problem often lies in the leadership method in which the employee is managed and the culture that is groomed.
Many organizations band-aid the issue or improve their processes without taking into account the impact of human behavior. This approach segregates and micromanages each employee from a performance perspective, and the critical cultural problem is lost in the midst. The focus on trying to performance manage "process steps" is a real issue for individual motivation and team dynamics. Micromanagement leaves employees feeling discouraged and undervalued; at this time, you will begin to hear terms such as change fatigue and toxic work environment. When workgroups begin to bond in negativity performance suffers and the larger strategic and collaborative aspects are significantly dimmed.
When micromanaged performance indicators and efficiency objectives are unrealized, leaders rarely wonder, "How is the environmental wellness and culture impacting our team?" That is however where the solutions are often found. The answer may or may not question process and practices as much as shine light on unclear expectations, ongoing frustrations with other teams or being to light recent cynical public or political influences. Therefore answering this question should be a priority to understand and accept the critical value of a healthy workplace.
We challenge you to get a jump start and analyze whether your team’s environment is suffering. To get started with your analysis we recommend a S.W.O.T (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threat) Analysis along with a P.E.S.T.E.L (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental) Analysis. In the coming weeks, our blog series will help you learn more about how you can address the challenges that come from these exercises.
For more information, you can refer to Mistakenly Underappreciated: Re-engaging the Disengaged (available on Amazon).
Written and Published by Atosa Asadi