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Archive for the ‘Stress Management’ Category

How Can Emotional Intelligence Videos Improve My Team?

Friday, May 6th, 2016

ei_aluminum04When they think about building team effectiveness, most people don’t think of Emotional Intelligence (or “EI”) training because EI training typically focuses on the individual not the group. But, increasing the emotional intelligence of individual team members will ultimately improve a group’s effectiveness and enable them to use the power of emotion in their pursuit of organizational goals.

As humans, we all have our “blind spots” at work—areas where we over-react, or repeatedly make the same mistakes when dealing with certain co-workers or situations. In a team setting, these disruptive behaviors can undermine trust, respect and collaboration.

By helping team members develop the 5 Emotional Intelligence Competencies, you can build a cohesive team that works together and is less likely to fall prey to dysfunction. These five competencies are Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Self-Motivation, Empathy, and Effective Relationships.   

The basic premise of EI Training is that people can change.  Employees can develop these competencies and become:

  • more self-aware (and have a better sense of their “blind spots” and what to do about them). 
  • better able to regulate their emotions, specifically learning how to cool down in times of anger and frustration instead of venting or taking it out on others.   
  • inspired to use the positive aspects of emotion to remain motivated… especially in the face of setbacks or challenges
  • more empathic towards others
  • more successful at building positive, respectful workplace relationship

With the help our Emotional Intelligence videos provide, you can create a more pleasant, safe and collaborative work environment for your entire organization.

More About Our Emotional Intelligence Videos and How They Can Help Your Team

The Emotional Intelligence Series contains 3 different videos that cover the understanding and demonstration of emotional intelligence as well as how it leads to optimal performance on the job. Host Daniel Goleman explains the science behind emotional intelligence and introduces scenarios that illustrate how improvements in the area of emotional intelligence impact employee well-being and overall organizational communication. The 3-part series is a perfect EI “how-to”course .

So, if you are noticing a dip in team productivity or an increase in emotional outbursts at your organization, the Emotional Intelligence Series, along with our overview video Emotional Intelligence, can help. Use them to fix common issues associated with negative emotions and to enable people to tap into the energy of positive emotions.

Visit CRM Learning for more training videos on interpersonal skills and other topics designed to increase productivity and create a better work environment. 

Conversation with a Purpose

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

rick-harry_smGuest Post by Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D.

I confess – I pilfered the title of this article from a man who was renowned as a wise and insightful pathfinder in the field of diversity, Dr. Roosevelt Thomas. A sample of that wisdom is seen in his statement, “Dialogue is conversation with a purpose.” In essence, he is saying that, in order to have real dialogue, we need to know what we want to accomplish during the conversation – we need to set a goal.

Let’s face it, goal setting is important in any aspect of life. If, for example, we dream of a trip to Paris, but neglect to set a goal of saving the amount of money required, the chances of us ever dining at the top of the Eiffel Tower are pretty slim. That’s because we will spend small amounts on other things along the way and get off track.

The same principle applies to conversation. If we don’t know what we want to accomplish, we won’t make the word and attitude choices that will get us to that goal. It is especially likely that we will get off track if we have a strong emotion associated with the interaction. Here are a couple of examples of what I’m talking about along with the kinds of productive goals you might set for each incident.

Example 1: You have been offended by what someone has said or done.
Possible Goals:
A. To embarrass the person and make him or her feel guilty
B. To educate the person about your point of view

As tempting as option “A” might be (let’s be honest, “guilt-tripping” is sometimes tinged with a perverse personal satisfaction), the most productive answer is “B.” Guilt is, after all, rarely a good motivator of change. Your act of trying to make the other person feel guilty will accomplish little more than making them defensive and, in turn, become utterly unable to listen to what you have to say.

Example 2: You have made a clumsy or ignorant remark that you think might have offended someone around you.
Possible Goals:
A. To show respect for your colleagues by calling attention to what you did and apologizing.
B. To minimize the importance and impact of what you said by ignoring it.

The goal here is “A.” The very fact that you are willing to take responsibility for your error shows, not only that you want to communicate respect, but that you are prepared to model truly inclusive behavior.

To return to Dr. Thomas – “Dialogue is conversation with a purpose.” I think he would agree that, if we don’t know where we are going – whether it be in conversation or in life — we just might end up someplace we’d rather not be.

This article is excerpted from the video program, Gateways to Inclusion: Turning Tense Moments Into Productive Conversations, which features Sondra and a variety of vignettes depicting these concepts.

Sondra Thiederman can be contacted for webinars or in-person presentations. For additional information, go to http://thiederman.com

© copyright 2013 Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D.

 

 

 

Too Much Change? Here’s How to Avoid a Victim Mindset

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Change is a constant. Whether it’s the annual stress of open enrollment for health care (“Wait, what? My coverage is changing again?”) or an unexpected shift in your job focus (“But I thought the lime green widget was a priority. When did we change to the purple gizmo?”) — the one certainty is that change is going to happen.

Taking Charge of Change video imageAnd there’s one thing we do have control over: how we respond to change, even when it comes at us out of the blue.

We can get stuck being a victim. You know those people, right? They’re the ones holding a pity party in the break room. Or, we can respond positively and keep moving forward. You know those people, too. They’re the ones who are more fun and interesting to be around!

Here are five tips for staying out of a victim mindset, even when it seems like everything is blowing up around you. (more…)

Hostile Emails at Work

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Emailing in Business CommunicationIt’s a common, maddening occurrence: You innocently open an email from a colleague, customer or boss only to suddenly feel ambushed by its contents. The sender blames you for a problem you didn’t create, unfairly accuses you of sabotaging a project, or negatively interprets something you said. Even worse, he or she cc’s the email to your superiors.

As you stare at the offensive message, your vision blurs. You feel blood rushing to your face. Your heart beats faster. Your stomach drops. Your strongest impulse is to render justice by striking back.

Though it’s hard to remember, you do have a choice in that moment. You can either react out of anger, and fire back a harsh retort, or you can close the infuriating email, and calm down.

Which do you do? Our survey reveals that the usual response is to get ticked off, and retaliate. You then get into a battle with that person that can last for weeks at a time.

Opportunities to take offense in the world of email are high. Email is a form of communication without buffers, interpreters or pauses. The cc mechanism lends itself to either “tattling” on your co-workers or being told on to your supervisors.

But if your goal is to resolve workplace conflicts without hurting your reputation, reacting in anger doesn’t work. Why? Because you’re likely to send your first (and worst) thoughts to the recipient. Angry email responses injure the relationship, and damage your credibility.

The first thing to do when an email makes your blood boil is to calm yourself down. Draft files were created to hold (and filter) our angry e-bursts. Why is it that so few people are able to answer hostile emails in a cool and professional way? Because the temptation to immediately “fire back” an email when you think you’ve been attacked is very strong.

The next time someone sends an e-missle your way, take whatever steps you can to cool down before responding. We recommend: closing the email, getting up from your desk, stretching, taking a few deep breaths, splashing water on your face, or walking around your office floor to collect your thoughts. If you can cool off, you’ll have a much better chance of responding in a calmer, more professional, more effective way.

By Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley. Used with permission. Visit their website: http://www.ksquaredenterprises.com/

Need help in this area? Working With You is Killing Me, hosted by Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley, provides the antidote to becoming “hooked” by a toxic co-worker, showing exactly how to take responsibility for addressing the problem and put a stop to it all.

A “Learning/Discovery” Approach to Change

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Today’s organizations face change in a variety of areas…at an unprecedented rate. And though we’ve been told that constant change is the “new normal”,  we usually look upon it with fear and negativity.

Susan Campbell, author of From Chaos to Confidence, has an interesting take on the topic.  Campbell views navigating change as being a lot like surfing:  “Successful surfers stay just ahead of the wave that could wipe them out at any moment.  They use the power of this very same wave, participating with the wave, not fighting it or trying to control it.”

In the same way, to survive in a constantly changing workplace, Campbell says we must learn to relate to our environment rather than trying to control it.

One way to do this is to shift our mindset from “Security/Control” to “Learning/ Discovery”.

If we maintain a Security/Control mindset we focus on stability ( i.e. knowing the rules, being around people like us and having things turn out predictably).  We don’t like uncertainty, change, lack of structure or people who don’t share our point of view.  We view change as a loss of control.

Alternatively, when we develop a Learning/Discovery mindset, we become open to experimenting in unfamiliar situations.  Because we relate to our environment rather that trying to control it, we focus on creatively developing ourselves to succeed in our changing environment.Instead of worrying about what we’ve lost, we ask, “What does this moment require of me?” This attitude shift is very empowering, making change an opportunity for growth.

According to Campbell, when we get trapped in a world of wishes and fears, we lose the power to deal effectively with reality and the options it holds.   The key to getting “unstuck” lies in letting go of attitudes and reactions that don’t work and focusing on ones that do, like those listed below: (more…)

4 Steps to Reducing Worry at Work

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Kent frazzled_medWorrying. It doesn’t feel good, yet at the same time it can seem as if we’re doing something necessary and even right when we worry. It might even seem as if not worrying means we don’t care or won’t take steps to prevent things going wrong. And we might wonder…without that nagging sense of worry, will we become apathetic blobs, sitting on the couch and watching television instead of taking action to remedy the problems in our lives?

Contrary to what many people believe, worry is not a natural state. It doesn’t help us plan, find ways to mitigate risk, or generally stay out of trouble. Quite the contrary: our brains are hard-wired to become less creative and responsive when we feel fearful or threatened – and what’s worry but an experience of threat, anxiety, and low-level fear? (more…)

Stress Busters: Tips for Dealing with the Stress of Leadership

Monday, April 7th, 2014

What can leaders do to better manage stress? Here are a few tips and tools from a team of experts from the Center Leadership Success Trainingfor Creative Leadership: Vidula Bal, Michael Campbell, Joan Gurvis and Sharon McDowell-Larsen.

Know the signals. Learn to pay attention to your body’s response to stress. What triggers a feeling of stress and what are your physiological responses? Do you feel your heart rate going up? Do you get hot? Do you clench your jaw? Get a headache? The sooner you recognize that your body is going into stress, the sooner you can do something to manage it.

Create a ritual. Make it a habit to have a stress break. For example, every 90 minutes get up from your desk and walk around or get out for some fresh air. Do some deep breathing, shoulder shrugs, or just close your eyes for one minute. Taking a mental or physical break is an important strategy for dealing with day-to-day stress. When things are extra stressful, you can rely on these same tactics to get you through.

Get away. Find effective ways to set boundaries between work and home life. Whatever works for you – listening to music on the commute home, turning off the cell phone and email during personal or family time, participating in a social activity or hobby – make time for it and keep your commitment to having a life outside of work.

Focus on fitness. A regular exercise program is the best way to minimize the negative health outcomes associated with the demands of the job. Under stress we build up certain hormones; exercise dissipates some of that. Make a commitment to exercising at least 30 minutes twice a week. Also, incorporate healthy practices such as adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet while reducing added sugars, fat and sodium. (more…)

A Leader’s Best Bet: Exercise

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Regular exercise is the best way to staying healthy during times of stress. Plus, executives who exercise are considered to be more effective leaders than those who don’t.

“We’ve known for years that people gain huge health benefits when they exercise. What is even more interesting from a leadership perspective is that organizations stand to gain when their leaders are physically fit,” says the Center for Creative Leadership’s Sharon McDowell-Larsen. Recent research from CCL shows that regular exercise and effective leadership go hand-in-hand. Leaders who exercise regularly were rated significantly higher by their bosses, peers and direct reports on their leadership effectiveness than the non-exercisers. Time invested in regular exercise, even if it means spending less time at work, is correlated with higher – not lower – ratings of leadership effectiveness. It seems that a healthy lifestyle can help executives to better cope with the stresses and demands of their positions, thus ultimately increasing their leadership effectiveness.

Staying healthy during times of stress requires either reducing the strain or boosting one’s ability to weather its effects. If you can find ways to reduce the external pressures that cause stress and overload, that’s ideal. Meanwhile, improve your mental and physical ability to process stress by establishing a regular exercise program and other healthy habits. The University of Iowa reports that regular exercise not only reduces stress but also can help leaders reduce anxiety, improve sleep and boost immunity from colds and flu. Exercise also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. (more…)

Stretching Exercises at Your Desk: 12 Simple Tips

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Try these stretching exercises at your desk — or anywhere else — to ease back pain and boost Constant Climb Toward Total Fitness People Walkingenergy.

You may feel awkward doing stretching exercises at your desk. But right now, as you sit there at your computer, you are doing one of the worst things you can do to your body — you’re sitting still. And not only that, but the way you sit — and type, and hold the phone — may be wreaking havoc on your bones, joints, and muscles.

“People who sit at their computers for hours every day — they’re in for serious medical problems,” says Sharon Hame, MD, associate clinical professor at UCLA’s department of orthopedic surgery. “We’re seeing more things than carpal tunnel; those pains go up the arm to the elbow and shoulder and then translate to the neck and back. It’s a huge problem.”

In addition to carpal tunnel and other traditional ergonomic issues, new problems are cropping up, Hame says. “I saw a woman yesterday who had tennis elbow. She got it at work from the way she answered the phone and worked at the computer.” The solution, experts say, is to break up your work by doing stretching exercises at your desk.

Relieve Back Pain With Stretching Exercises at Your Desk
Aches and pains, not to mention the weight gain that can result from hunching over your desk all day, are just the beginning. “People shouldn’t be complacent about moving just because they’re not obese,” says Angela Smith, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and former president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “There are a lot of skinny people who, because they don’t exercise for strength and balance, are osteoporotic fractures waiting to happen.” (more…)


 

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