« July 2008 | Main | September 2008 »

August 28, 2008

Explaining a higher form of leadership to a high school student

“I really don’t have a leadership role this year,” the 4-H’er explained to his panel of three interviewers.

His dad was a club leader. They’d talked about the son not taking an office in the 4-H club in this the son’s senior year in high school. He’d already held most of the club offices. The father and son thought it was time to involve younger 4-H’ers. He said he was helping the new officers learn their roles. That he probably was a role model for the younger members.

This high school student was unassuming and terribly honest. I suspect he’d dreaded being asked about leadership in the project awards interview because he was certain he was not exhibiting leadership this year.

I told him I believed it was a higher form of leadership he exhibited…to step aside, to mentor younger members and to be a role model. His response? “Thank you.”

Sometimes in the interviews of high school and entering college freshmen students, I worried about how leadership had been explained to them. That it doesn’t have to involve being elected or selected for a special position. That it doesn’t mean doing everything on your own.

And then I found the few
They told me leadership means responsibility, listening to others, evaluating why plans failed, being role models, learning as well as teaching, involving others, adapting as needed, passing on roles to others.

One student told us she thought there was a misconception that being a leader means you take charge. She emphasized a leader works with others and makes sure everyone is involved.

Indeed, I believe she had leadership right. It’s putting civility in the equation. A true leader works with and empowers others to reach mutual goals.

August 26, 2008

Likeability personified…in a high school 4-H’er

The high school senior closed the door of the interview room leaving the team of three evaluating 4-H state project awards.

“Charisma, what charisma!” said the interviewer to my right. The first word I’d written on his evaluation form was WOW! He was one of many 4-H’ers vying for state project awards.

What set this applicant apart from the 12 others my team interviewed?
• The intensity of his focus on the questions…the look you in the eye…I am listening to every word, not picking up just a few of the words
• The contemplation before answering questions, with hand gestures to signal he was thinking
• The cohesive focus of his answers

It was a 10-minute interview I wish we had recorded for others to see. Particularly those who jeopardized their chances of getting an award because they told us everything remotely related to a question.

Knowing when to observe a rest (as in music)
With many we interviewed, we couldn’t get to all the questions we wanted to ask. I resorted to finding slight pauses and inserting a new question with some applicants. It’s the art of focusing on the question, answering it succinctly and stopping. No rambling answer. Just stopping.

Early on in the interviews, it became apparent we’d have a really difficult time in the 10-minutes we were allowed, asking pertinent questions one needs to cover for 4-H evaluations. 4-H focuses on life skills. The common skills vital to every project are communication, community service and leadership. We needed to cover those aspects as well as the project area, whether it be beef or pets or clothing. Sometimes the student was applying for leadership, communication or community service, so those interviews didn’t demand as many questions.

Civility factors---intense listening, thinking before answering, focused and brief answers
The WOW applicant had many more attributes to be labeled charismatic, but the civility with which he dealt with questions was a start anyone can practice. And that includes many beyond their high school years. And in simple every-day conversation.

August 21, 2008

Four critical elements shape your likeability factor: No. 1 Friendliness

Friendliness is…
your ability to communicate liking and openness to others.

Few of us are taught how to tune our personality, how to resonate with other people with civility. We may understand an engine needs all parts working to run well but we don’t have insight into the components of likeability. That we aren’t likeable when one or more parts are out of sync.

Friendliness is the most fundamental element of likeability.

It’s the threshold of likeability. You need to persuade others you represent warmth, comfort and safety when their guard asks ‘friend or foe’?
Reciprocation is one of the main reasons people like or dislike one another.
When you are friendly, others want to be with you and they want you to succeed.

If others don’t perceive you as friendly, then you aren’t friendly.

Friendliness is a communication event. Albert Mehrabian, a communications researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, concludes 55 percent of the like/dislike cues people send are visual, mostly facial. 38 percent are transmitted via tone of voice. The remaining 7 percent are the actual words used. If you send mixed messages, people believe what they see or perceive more than what is said.

Signs of friendliness
Make eye contact and use your eyes to show emotion.
Use your eyebrows to show expression.
Keep your smile genuine and use it to greet others.
Hold your head up when you talk.
Maintain good posture.
Display openness with your body.
Add variety through modulations in your voice.

Try the Likeability Factor self assessment at http://www.timsanders.com/images-downloads/l-factor-self-assessment.pdf.
Post 4 inspired by ‘The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams’ by Tim Sanders.

August 19, 2008

The equivalent of road rage…in the workplace

Health care and education are the industries most prone to bullying according to Gary Namie, cofounder of the national nonprofit Workplace Bullying Institute.

Healthcare road rage
North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Mass. is working to cut down on what some call healthcare road rage. This from an Aug. 10 Boston Globe article that opens with a surgeon throwing a pair of scissors…

“The push is inspired by a growing body of research suggesting that swearing, yelling, and throwing objects are not just rude and offensive to co-workers, but hurt patients by increasing the likelihood of medical errors.

Zero-tolerance by Jan. 1

“The national group that accredits healthcare organizations issued a safety alert to hospitals last month, saying outbursts threaten patient safety because they prevent caregivers from working as a team. The organization, The Joint Commission, for the first time is requiring all hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities to adopt "zero-tolerance" policies by Jan. 1, including codes of conduct, ways to encourage staff to report bad behavior, and a process for helping and, if necessary, disciplining offenders.

“…In calling for a new policy, the Joint Commission cites several studies linking bad behavior to errors. For example, one survey found that some nurses and pharmacists had avoided consulting with a prescribing doctor because they did not want to interact with that particular doctor.

"The number one issue in the errors that occur is bad communication,” said Dr. Peter Angood, chief patient safety officer for the commission.

“Angood said Joint Commission surveyors hear about doctors and nurses acting out constantly when they visit hospitals, where frustration is escalating amid growing financial pressures.

Workplace bullying in industry in crisis

"You're looking at a very stressed out industry," agreed David Yamada, a Suffolk University law professor who specializes in employment issues including workplace bullying. "You have an industry in crisis where people are having to do much more with limited resources. That combination can be a potent one."

Read more
The Boston Globe, Aug. 10, 2008
Hospitals try to calm doctors' outbursts: Medical road rage affecting patient safety, group says

Feb. 3, 2007
Civility in the Workplace: Sticks and Stones (Basics on bullying in the workplace)

August 13, 2008

What is your personal value?

This is a third post inspired by ‘The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams’ by Tim Sanders.

Each of us has three different values that make up our personal value. It’s what we offer others minus what we require.

People go through a decision-making process to decide how they value you.
First, they listen, particularly seeking a return of attention.
Then people decide whether to believe or not to believe what they’ve heard. They consider the source and then the message. People check these against other information they have and their beliefs.
Finally, they assign a value.

Your functional value is your ability to perform and do something well minus how much money or support you require.

Your emotional value is how you make others feel minus the negative feelings you create via being overly critical, pessimistic or highly emotional.

Your social value is how you make others feel showing respect and admiration minus the costs if you generate complaints or dissension.

You can be a liability in any of these values.

A likeable personality improves your overall value.
You haven’t given anyone reason to believe you will produce emotional or social problems.
You don’t send out warning signals that you have a negative attitude or temper tantrums.
You’re perceived as creating warm feelings and positive attitudes. You’re conscientious, emotionally and socially mature.

Your values and likeability are not static.

They move up and down with the work you do and your civility.

August 07, 2008

The ultimate act of unfriendliness is a display of anger

Ask yourself two questions.
Will this fix anything?
Is this how I want to be remembered?

Dealing with anger through anger management
• Delay your anger gratification, postpone your response a day
• Reframe the situation, recast the person you’re angry with in a different light. Does this person mean me ill? Will yelling at the person improve the situation?
• Commit to acknowledging no anger and no unfriendliness aloud. Say “I do not want to be angry with you. Can you help me?”
• Remove yourself from the situation. Pretend you’re a diplomat. Don’t show your hand. Leave if you need to. Politely excuse yourself.
• If you need to vent your anger, do it in private or with a trusted friend.
• Even if you can’t control your anger, it’s not over. If you are unfriendly, try to understand which technique would have worked better and use it next time.

Adapted from “The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams” by Tim Sanders, Crown Publishers, New York 2005

Today’s example: civility in the workplace of the Green Bay Packers
This from a Yahoo! Sports article: Favre to blame for nasty divorce

Nonetheless, publicly and privately, Rodgers did what Favre can’t seem to do these days: He kept his cool.

“If I was going to get mad, or throw something against the wall, what difference would it have made?” Rodgers asked rhetorically. “All I can do is control the attitude I bring into every day, stay positive and think about leading this football team to the best of my ability.”

Good resource
Anger Management ala George Anderson, http://angerblog.wordpress.com/

August 06, 2008

Likeable people bring out the best in others

Tim Sanders defines likeability in ‘The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams’…

“Likeability is an ability to create positive attitudes in other people through the delivery of emotional and physical benefits.

“Someone who is likeable can give you a sense of joy, happiness, relaxation or rejuvenation. He or she can bring you relief from depression, anxiety or boredom.”

Likeable people outperform
Likeability helps create a positive feedback loop—the positive feelings you invoke in others are returned to you. A 2003 study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that ‘friendly and positive employees are more productive because they possess greater communication capabilities.’

Likeable and friendly people engage more deeply in conversations around projects and tasks, and people pay more attention to them. Misunderstandings are eliminated. Others feel empowered to assume leadership roles.

Did you catch the components of civility?

Great communication through deep conversations
Empowering others

The likeable manager or leader tends to be skilled at convincing others to act and helping them to understand exactly what needs to be done.
Robert Levering, the primary researcher for Fortune magazine’s ‘Best Companies to Work For’ studies, found that organizations with positive employee relationships produce 15 to 25 percent more. Managers enjoy loyalty from their employees. The employees look for solutions, and they don’t need to be micromanaged because they want to see the manager succeed. Inspiration and respect are at the core of productivity.

Did you do your best work for a manager or leader you liked?