“Is a lack of Emotional Intelligence hurting your brand?”

Image Source

Are you losing customers because your employees lack “emotional intelligence”? Are your employees too aggressive, hurting your brand, or driving down your customer volume?

According to Psychology today, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and respond well to other’s emotions.

It is said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your emotions and cheering up or calming down others.

Emotional intelligence is said to begin in the spine.  From the spine, up to the limbic system (the emotional part of our brain) and then to the rational part of our brain.

The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. The pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.”

Learned Behavior

Emotional intelligence can be learned.  Once learned, over time the behavior will cause neuron connections that lend itself to habitual behavior.

No doubt employees may join an organization with plenty of emotional intelligence, but over the span of time, with failed policies and decreased morale, employees can completely abandon their emotional intelligence for the need to say or do whatever they please.  Rationalizing their behavior as deserved, by the organization. The limbic part of their brain appears to incite an emotion, and rational does not meet it with a positive response.

When employees reach this state of mind while working in an organization, more than likely, it won’t be long before the change takes place with that employee (for better or worst).

Image Source

Profit-loss--taishaaccountingservices.com.ng-preparation-profit-loss-account

The bottom-line

Either some change will take place and cause the employee to alter their behavior and learn socially appropriate behavior (this is not always the emotional response from the employee).  Or the rage from their emotions can override their rational and what the customer experiences are nothing close to pleasant.  Unfortunately, this can be at the expense of the customer. Many incidents like this have taken place with organizations and have been splattered all over the news.

So the question that now stands is how do companies identify these demoralized employees who are sowing these “death seeds” to the organization. Perhaps there’s a way of revitalizing them instead of throwing them back into the rat race, jaded (just to be recycled as another disgruntled ex-employee).

Bradberry, T. (2014). Emotional Intelligence – EQ. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2014/01/09/emotional-intelligence/#2527abe71ac0

Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/united-passenger-dragging-incident-more-horrifying-than-when-he-fled-vietnam/2017/04/13/7941ccdc-206f-11e7-be2a-3a1fb24d4671_story.html?utm_term=.beb52e785e8e

“Tips on encouraging complainers to become part of the solution”

Image source

I wonder how many in leadership cringe on the inside, (during meetings) when employees complain of a breakdown in communication and systems, but fail to offer a solution?

I mention this with empathy for leadership who are “expected” to lead and provide a resolution to all systemic issues.

Having experienced my share of working with disgruntled employees (those who are quick to speak out on injustices), I see the need for ideas or resolutions after the feedback is provided.

I am sure a great deal of employees are waiting for their employer or upper management to offer resolution, after all they are the ones in a leadership position, right?, However a company culture that seeks resolution from the frontline employee is in my eyes, wisdom.

Frontline employees speak directly with customers, and since they are the ones that are more likely to discover a trend that is hurting the organization, they should also receive the opportunity to work on a resolution.

Therefore there should be an ongoing and spoken rule that states “if you speak up in meetings to state a problem, you must in the same breath offer a solution”.

In no way is this designed to punish those who present problems, but it sets the tone for problem solving or resolution without creating an atmosphere that lends itself to constant criticism.

Team Work in the making

irysec.vic.edu-- problem solving

Image source

Management and frontline workers receive the opportunity to work together as a team to bring about resolution as opposed to waiting for leaders who are often stopping other organizational wide problems to provide all of the answers.

This also allows for upper management to remain in tune with the feelings and thoughts of its employees and customers (as they will hear firsthand from frontline workers what the organization is up against, while at the same time learning of frequent consumer complaints).

Application in the making

You may wonder, “What is the most efficient way to endorse this sort of change?”

  1. Speak with the employees in meetings and set the expectation – if a problem is mentioned, it must be closely followed by a solution (from that particular employee).
  2. After the problem at hand is mentioned (with a possible resolution), if indeed that resolution is manageable and cost effective, place the employee on a team that is designed to conquer that problem.
  3. The employee is now expected to collect data to confirm that indeed the problem is a new or reoccurring trend.
  4. Once the employee collects the data, that particular employee will now be expected to relay this information back to the team and management for further plans to rectify the issue.

It may not be the answer to solve all organization wide problems but it’s a damn good way to get the conversation started.

The next step will be for management to trust the expertise of frontline employees to activate resolution.  This has the opportunity to provide more fulfillment for the front-line employee, while retaining satisfied customers.

What tips do you have to offer to bridge the gap between frontline employees and management?

Can passive aggressive behavior in the workplace = Psychological Bullying”?

Image Source: Divorcedmoms.com

Can passive aggressive behavior in the workplace = Psychological Bullying”?

The Definition of Bully “to frighten, hurt, or threaten a small or weaker person clarifies how an individual can prey on the vulnerable or weak.

But what if an individual does not know he is being hurt or threatened?

Or, what if this scenario is happening in the workplace, to you, by a close coworker without your knowledge?  Yes, there is no recognizable threat now, but as the truth unfolds, there is a possibility that you’ll realize that the motives of some whom you have trusted are not pure.

Unfortunately, this form of workplace bullying has the potential to damage your emotional and psychological state (as you cannot face the fact that this deception has happened to you).

Bullying is not always physical or verbal abuse

Officespace

On more occasions than I care to admit, I have witnessed individuals manipulate others (sometimes unknowingly to the victim) to obtain information, to pile on excessive work (as in clever movies like “Office Space”), to rise above in the ranks, or to coast through without having to do much work. Just because bullying does not contain overt verbal or physical abuse does not mean that mental and emotional abuse is not happening as an effect of bullying.

Manifestation of the Passive aggressive mask

Passiveaggressive apple face

Passive aggressive behavior manifests as polite comments and gestures and inferior body language, although the individual can be thinking the direct opposite.  It’s all a part of a game of manipulation to allow a person to believe that they are maintaining one relationship with a co-worker or management when this fake relationship is being conquered up only for gain. Behavior’s that emulates passive aggressiveness are used to get closer, gain ground, with one’s motives going unnoticed.

Due to the non-threatening attributes of passive aggressive behavior, it can be used as a tool or weapon to deceive other co-workers.  Their demeanor and actions fail to impact with the same intensity as an aggressive physical bully, so it is often overlooked, or even questioned (with non-sustainable proof).  As a result, many do not see passive aggressive individuals as someone that can cause harm.  In fact, they never see them coming. “Passive aggressive” individual’s wear masks.

Merriam-Webster’s definition

Merriam-Webster states that passive aggressive behavior is “of or denoting a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.”

It is in this nonaggressive behavior that individuals feel “safe” to state and do as they please.  In their eyes, it is not a terrible thing, because their behavior and actions are non-confrontational.

“Oh, I’m sorry, would you like to take the lead on this project Alice? (knowing that they are offering just so that Alice can offer it back to them, “thanks for offering Linda! If you will like to take the lead on this project, that is no problem, but if not, I can take it!” (Alice has hopes you will decline, she’s just too shy to admit it), “Thanks, Alice, I think I will take it!” (Just like that Alice lost out). Linda received the lead and did not have to display any aggressive behavior to get it.  Her deceptive behavior allowed Alice to offer it.

As Webster’s definitions denote, procrastination is another way a crafty individual can prey on the weak.  Management has been known to enlist the ideas of others as if they are going to use the feedback to make changes.

After receiving loads on top of loads of valuable feedback (generally from face to face feedback sessions) nothing comes of the situation.  Various employees ask about its progress just to realize that this particular manager either drags their feet or never does anything with the information at all.

Now employees are left with the sour taste that they have been lied to or used. Morale takes another hit.  Employees were transparent in hopes for the greater good, but they have gained nothing in return.  In fact, these individuals often use that information that they elicited to rise to another position.  The knowledge given to these particular managers by frontline workers allows them to sound “in touch” with the plight of the frontline employees and customers.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Have you encountered this in the workplace? If you are not sure, begin to watch those with their pleasantries after more times than not, an offense has taken place.

How can you protect yourself from such behavior?

Begin to watch the consistency of another’s actions.  Do not rely on what’s verbal cues; it is that easy. Watch their behavior.  Over and over again, it is their behavior that will tell the tale. Watching carefully for such behavior can help you avoid much corporate heartbreak that can ultimately be damaging to your psychological state or career.

Fandango MovieClips (1999). Office Space.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsLUidiYm0w

Office Space (1999). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjJCdCXFslY

Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2017). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=webster+definition+of+bullying&*&spf=1

“E-learning tools for effective communication and grammar”

Hello, I am a contributor to the ImperfectOrg, from the blog “Organizational Clarity” where we share tips, opinions, and where to find free tools to make the practitioner or student of organizational development lives easier.

One place we like to go for free tools is from the CommLab India community which is dedicated to increasing a professional’s knowledge of E-Learning, giving out free tips and free resources on how to implement E-Learning in the workplace or how to easily find cheap solutions to organizational needs.

I usually receive a link to various articles and tools (free downloads) that help make my life easier and can elevate any presentation or assignment. This week I saw an article called: “Grammar Check for Effective E-Learning” by Sushmitha Kolagani.

This is article is a great point by point checklist about grammar checking your E learning presentation to ensure the credibility of the program. This article is free to the public and is great for the Instructional design specialist.

Some of the points this article briefly discusses are:

  • Overlooking Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Excessive Use of Passive Voice
  • Verbosity
  • Unnecessary Usage of Articles
  • Usage of Complex Words and Lengthy Sentences

These are some great tips if you are using Microsoft grammar check, but you cannot spend the money on a program like Grammarly. If you can afford the program and are having the issues with Grammar that is discussed in this article I would recommend going ahead and spending the money on Grammarly.

Just click on the link here to learn more: http://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning-design/grammar-check-for-elearning

‘Unfreeze, Move, Freeze ‘ – Using Kurt Lewin’s model to identify the need for change in your organization

Unfreeze, Move, Freeze

How many times have you or other disgruntled employees complained that your place of employment just did not get it? Complaints have surely reached upper management but you have yet to see the sort of change necessary to produce sustainable change.

Many have fought this organizational “beast” and continue to suffer or leave for the next “imperfect” organization.

What needs to change and how deep does this change effort need to swim to clean up all the griminess left at the bottom of the ocean?

Well there are many answers to those questions but, the simplest way to start this change effort is by first identifying, organizational wide the need for change.

Change Models

One way that I have mentioned in a previous blog can include the benefits of using the OCAI assessment tool.  Results taken from assessments from employees identify the current state of their organization and what all employees desire it to.

No doubt, this tool has the ability to open Pandora box. However if your organization is not currently in the position to present and deliver the time necessary to work through these assessments, why not try Kurt Lewins, three phase for organizational change “Unfreeze, Move, Freeze”?

Introduced in the early 1900’s this tool is considered by some to be “too simplistic”, yet sometimes it is my belief that some things do not require in depth analysis to determine the need for change.

Once it is unfrozen, any unacceptable policies and procedures can be altered or “moved”, and then taken back to its original frozen state. Business professionals lament that this theory fails to identify the various elements and variables that need change, however it is great to get the conversation going.

Lewins’ theory (that helped cement others more in depth theory) illustrates that organizations move from being stagnate or in their current state, to new changes (implemented), and back to its original state.

This theory identifies those who are for change and those who want to maintain the “status quo”.  But it also has the opposite effect.  Employees against change, push back.  A force field, where you have employees for organizational change, and those who are against change are easily reflected. Change is not foreseeable when those for it and against are opposing one another. Therefore you have what Lewin calls a Force Field AnalysisKurtLewinForceField

Opinion’s to refrain from new trainings (lack of resources, time, or implementation for training) represents arguments for status quo (Anderson, 2015). Request such as new customer demands, market demands, organizational growth can represent the need for change.  The force for change and the argument to sustain creates the force field effect. Although there are different interest represented in force field analysis, it is an eye opener for organizations no matter what side of the fence you stand.

Representation of the battle that lies ahead allows for employees and stockholders to understand why change takes time and effort to embrace.

The conversation is ignited, presenting the steps for organization development. Yes, practitioners agree that it is not the most complex models, but at least it has the ability to get the conversation moving in the right direction.

Although change may be a feat, at least your organization will have a brilliant painting of those for change and those who oppose it.

When management ponders why change is not sustainable, this illustrations will help paint the picture why.

Reference

Anderson, D.L. (2015). Organization Development: The Process of Leading Organizational Change. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Connelly, M. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.change-management-coach.com/force-field-analysis.html

 

The “Red Pill” of Cultural Change: Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI)

The “Red Pill” of Cultural Change: Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI)

Are you seeking to understand why workers and management are not on the same page? Does your manager demand that you produce more work than you believe can be completed in a day? Do you have a micromanager who is quick to point out your errors and/or lack of efficiency? How about that rowdy boisterous team, are they overly engaging and collaborative to the level that it is making you uncomfortable? Are your unique ideas unappreciated or underutilized?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are in no way alone.  For years, many have battled to understand why management “just did not get it.” No doubt, some managers have the same sentiment as their employees.

If you would like to learn more about your culture and may be ready to consider change, I recommend the “Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument” (OCAI) – OCAI-Assessment. Like the “red pill” in the 199o movie, The Matrix, the OCAI can help you find the “truth of reality” in your organization, and knowledge is the first step toward enacting change.

According to authors Cameron and Quinn (2011) people are unaware of their culture until it is challenged until they have experienced a new culture, or until it is made overt and explicit. Their research has also found that organizational culture can impact individuals in many ways including morale, commitment, productivity, physical health, and emotional well-being. The OCAI can help you determine your organization’s culture and begin the process of addressing cultural change.

Is your organization considered a “Clan, Hierarchy, Adhocracy, or Marketing” culture?

Most organizations have developed a dominant culture style. An organization rarely has only one type. Often, there is a mix of the four organizational cultures that are described in the Figure below: Clan, Advocacy, Hierarchy, or Marketing (OCAI online, 2017).

Competing Value Framework with link in picture

Clan (Collaborate) –

Clan cultures are collaborative, family oriented environments that have a significant amount of interaction between the employees and management. Management is a part of the building and mentoring process for the team (Cameron and Quinn, 2011). Loyalty, tradition, and commitment are highly regarded, leaders assume parental roles, and this warmth trickles down to its internal/external customers (Cameron and Quinn, 2011).

 Hierarchy (Control) –

In a Hierarchy culture, you have a controlled, formalized, structured environment where policies and procedures are established, and protocol and boundaries are set (Cameron and Quinn, 2011).  Implemented for uniformity and control, those who run such organizational cultures are more concerned with pushing out consistent, efficient productivity to remain a step ahead of its competitors (Cameron and Quinn, 2011).

BlogspotInternal-External FocusAdhocracy (Create) –

The Adhocracy culture values the “creativity “that employees produce and foster in the workplace. Innovation and commitment are regarded over loyalty, tradition, and family. Success is governed by the new opportunities that creativity can render, for example, new innovative products such as the iPad. Without restrictions, employees are given the freedom to create.

Market (Compete) –

The Market culture is an aggressive, competing, results-driven culture.  Leaders drive employees to increase profitability and meet company objectives (Cameron and Quinn, 2011). These organizational cultures are very intense. The bottom line is to compete for results that establish and maintain a brand amongst its competitors while also increasing the organization’s market share.

Knowing your organization’s current dominant culture, as well as what is preferred by you and your fellow employees, creates an opportunity for the organization to retain quality people, increase profitability, generate innovative products while unifying and presenting consistent and quality branding. The OCAI assessment is a wonderful tool that can identify where you and your organization’s expectations lie and it can help further the discussion on how to bridge the gap between the two.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How would you characterize the culture of your organization? Is it a Clan, Advocacy, Hierarchy, or Marketing culture?
  2. How effective is your organization’s culture? How might a different culture be more effective?

Reference:

Cameron, K.S., & Quinn, R.E. (2011). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Giritli, H., Oney-Yazici, E. Gulfer T., Emarah Acar. (2013). The interplay between leadership and organizational culture in the Turkish construction sector.  International Journal of Project Management, 31, 228-238.  Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/figure/257094681_fig1_Fig-1-The-Competing-Values-Framework-Cameron-and-Quinn-1999

OCAI – Online. (2017, January 22).  OCAI Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.ocai-online.com/about-the-Organizational-Culture-Assessment-Instrument-OCAI/OCAI-Assessment

OCAI – Online. (2017, January 22).  Organizational Culture Types. Retrieved from https://www.ocai-online.com/about-the-Organizational-Culture-Assessment-Instrument-OCAI/Organizational-Culture-Types

Useful in Parts. (2013, May 15).  5steps in considering culture and business process improvement. Retrieved from http://usefulinparts.blogspot.com/2013/05/5steps-in-considering-culture-and.html

Has Survey’s lost their appeal?

Image Source: onepointglobal.com

Do you have the feeling that the “survey” no longer carry the weight that they once had?

In the year of 2017, it is almost impossible to avoid surveys.  Surveys are everywhere, from fast food restaurants, banks, schools, medical offices, and the list goes on and on. With the market being so overcrowded by this craze, one cannot help but wonder, if surveys are this common place, just how serious are organizations and customers taking them?

Inside organizations, employees avoid surveys because just about everyone knows, that they are not always confidential.

Yet more reject them after having submitted survey’s themselves in hopes for change only to see time and time again, the thoughts shared for a better organization fell upon deaf ears.

At this stage (of organizations seeking how to please all customers, internal and external), how can organizations revamp the survey to produce sustainable change?

Use the Feedback provided to your Organization through Survey’s

One of the easiest and clear cut ways of revamping surveys is for organizations to actually use the feedback that they receive.

To go through the lengths to imply that you are a customer service friendly organization that cares about the opinions and service provided to customers is not the same as actually ‘being’ that organization that takes all opinions and thoughts into consideration.  You cannot fake what is not there.  Either your organization cares and will make changes as needed, or you will lose customers like a rushing wind or a slow dripping faucet.  Why ruin the hard work that went into establishing such an organization just to see it falter because of a lack of concern for customers?

Hiring Quality People

Survey-Source iStock

Source:  iStock

To my statement that “you cannot fake what is not there”, it behooves organization to really take the time to vet during the hiring process.  Many have no problem with lying on their applications, or faking and taking on a false persona that does not exist within that individual.

Therefore whoever is in charge of hiring should have the ability to read people and not just there resume’.   Embellishment on resumes and job applications are not unheard of. So knowing how to read people during the hiring process is the key to ensuring your organization has nothing but the best.

Create Trustworthy Survey’s

In today’s digital age, just about anyone within an organization can use a free website or applications like Google to create surveys.  As a result, the responses to these surveys are not always confidential.  In the event that organizations must present a survey to employees, please ensure that the surveys are confidential.  It is not confidential if you or upper management receives the responses back from the email address of the employee’s (some companies have their employees name as part of the email address). Thus if a survey is completed by that particular employee, it is not difficult for the individual who is collecting the survey to know exactly who completed it.

Employees that are interested in keeping their jobs more than pleasing upper management with a survey, will either not answer truthfully or may avoid the survey all together.

Therefore if you are really interested in real genuine authentic results, make sure it really is anonymous or confidential. And in the event that being anonymous cannot be avoided, it may prove useful to use a third party to collect the results (someone who does not have a ‘dog in the fight’ and who can remain objective).