By Adine Carter, MCM
MLEK Internal Communications Specialist
We know that listening is a jumbo piece of the communication puzzle. But all too often listening becomes one act within a ‘multi-task’ moment, something you do while also checking your email, or contemplating what else you could be doing instead.
Good listening is, in and of itself, a multi-tasking activity. You must fully engage in listening to get the most out of what someone is telling you. It makes you a better communicator, and you may learn something along the way. Here’s how to do it better:
Learning to manage stress can change your life.
Not long ago the top stressors were considered things that affected you externally. These were things that you felt you had no control over. The original Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory of the top 10 stress inducing things were: death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, jail term, death of a close relative, injury or illness, marriage, loss of job, marriage reconciliation and retirement.
Over the past fifteen years it has become clear to us that employers often struggle to choose the best hire. The right person/right fit is often more difficult to zero in on than the pure evaluation of hard skills. What can minimize those questionable hires?
Organizations that develop hiring and training protocols based on emotional intelligence (EI) give themselves a significant marketplace advantage.
Recently, a MLEK senior partner was having a casual conversation with an accomplished artist who learned to press the “reset button” relatively early in life. The artist was struggling as a young person working in a factory doing the same thing every day. For some people, this can be very rewarding work because their personal contribution makes a potential difference to the success of the whole company. For others, there is a disconnect. For this artist, there was no inner peace – no satisfaction – no purpose in working at the factory. No raison d’etre. It didn’t make any personal sense. Soon depression and doubts set in. Was this supposed to be what life was about? Was everyone supposed to have a calling? The job offered no passion, no joy, no fulfillment.
Innovative organizations are changing the way they view the competencies that are required in their leaders and managers. In fact, leadership and management are becoming less distinguishable roles.
Managers used to be expected to take on the day-to-day operations, to troubleshoot, implement new initiatives, manage coverage to make sure that there were enough people to do the work and so on.
The world today is more complicated. Managers are expected to be managers and leaders – to be more strategic. That includes looking for solutions to complex problems; problems that they may not know the solution to but are expected to find.
In his 1997 book, The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge introduced us to the concept of a “Learning Organization.” This concept is as relevant today, especially when we speak of innovation.
This is because learning is the catalyst for innovation.
In a recent interview on CBS’s 60 minutes, Bill Gates said this:
“The more you learn the more you develop a framework that knowledge fits into.”
If you casually search the web for information or insights on the value of motivating your staff, you will find no shortage of articles, opinions or strategies. One area, however, that is not discussed is the cycle of motivation. Why are there peaks and valleys to what motivates us? Can we sustain motivation throughout our careers? What blocks or prevents us from remaining motivated in our jobs? Most employees externalize the concept of motivation by asking the question “who can motivate me? This imposes a hurdle to motivation. If we want to truly feel engaged and rewarded for the work we do, we need to keep the following three basic criteria in mind:
We all look for the “authority” on a certain subject to affirm, deny, change or enlighten our own thoughts because we believe them to be the expert. So what constitutes an “expert”?
The Oxford dictionary defines the word “expert” as ”a person who is very knowledgeable about, or skillful in, a particular area.” This is clearly a subjective definition with the emphasis on the word, “very.” How does one measure, “very?”
What is “Expert Opinion?”
The word “expert” comes from the Latin word expertus, past participle of experiri ‘try.’ It came into use as a noun in the early 19th century.
When conducting workshops we often hear managers say; “I encourage my staff to be innovative,” or “My staff knows that they can come to me anytime with their ideas for improvements.”
However, when you ask the staff they often tell you that “we’ve tried to voice our ideas but nothing happens.”
Why this great divide?
Maybe the manager doesn’t really buy into the idea. The manager may be too far removed from the day-to-day operation and doesn’t fully understand the significance of the idea. The manager may be having too many other things top of mind, or, simply doesn’t know what to do with the idea.
Being able to receive, understand and follow strategic advice is just as important as giving it. The Senior Partners at Mussio La Grassa Elliott Krogh know that it takes wisdom to lead and wisdom to follow.
We are always looking for great wisdom to follow to make us and our clients better leaders. Among our favourites is Colin Powell’s 13 Rules. Powell was U.S. Secretary of State and a four-star general of the United States Army. Here is his precious wisdom.