Thursday, March 31, 2016

Month in a Minute

March was a busy month for the Penumbra team! In addition to concluding our Ego vs EQ webinar series the team was on the go in CA, NH, MA, IL, NY, and FL. Most of our work was providing leadership workshops. In addition, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Influential Women of Orange County group run by Pam Hedges, I was the keynote speaker at the WBL Conference where I met some amazing female healthcare executives in beautiful Amelia Island, Florida.  I also spoke to the global legal team at SanDisk in Milpitas, CA to a group of attorneys on how to be more emotionally intelligent (yes, it is possible). We are looking forward to our new webinar series that starts on Tuesday next week, hope you can join us! 

My upcoming speaking events:

April 4, 2016 - Employment Law Conference Sanibel, Florida

April 14, 2016 -  Association of Legal Administrators Boston, MA

June 16, 2016 - National Apartment Association(NAA) Education Conference San Francisco, CA

For a complete list of all upcoming events click here.

Pictures clockwise from top left:
Jen and Steve in Chicago, Jen speaking to a sold out crowd at WBLJen with Mark Brazeal,  General Counsel SanDisk.  Jen; Pam and Greg Hawks hanging out in NYC; Jen with Kim Howard at WBL 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Not to Do

Lock the doors, turn off all the lights, and pull the blankets up over your head, I'm about to share another tale of terror from the road.  

The mother of a 62-year old employee who had been with his company for 4 years fell ill. Because she lived out of state, he took time off to visit her. She was elderly and in ICU. He returned to work and a few weeks later, his boss noticed he was on his personal mobile phone most of one morning. Concerned, the boss called him in to his office.

Do you want to quit?”
“I have noticed you have been on your personal phone an excessive amount this morning. I’m going to write you up for it.”
“I am sorry, my mother passed away this morning and I was making arrangements.”
“Oh. I am sorry. Take the rest of the day off.”
“No, it’s okay, thank you but I have handled things for now. I can work the rest of the day since she is out of state there is nothing more I can do until I make my travel plans for the funeral.”
“Take today and tomorrow off. I insist.”

Because it was a Thursday morning, the man returned to work on Monday and submitted a bereavement leave request for later that week so he could fly home for the funeral. The boss said, “You are out of bereavement leave time. You took 2 days last week. You will have to use vacation time.”

Upon return from the funeral, the boss called the man into HR with him and presented him with a write up for excessive personal phone use from the morning his mother died.

Don’t do this!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Four Things that Highly Self-Aware People Do

This is a special sneak peek of my March Performance Pointer which isn't going out until Monday.  If you would like to subscribe click here and scroll about half way down.  It not only contains an article, but also upcoming events and exciting news from my little corner of the world.

Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Those who maintain self-awareness are seen by others as connected, in-touch and humble. They often demonstrate a confidence on the healthy side of ego and leverage their strengths, but they are also able to recognize when their own behavior is inappropriate or having a negative impact on others. They tend to get more done, take more accountability, and are enjoyable to work with.

1.      They take assessments.

There are several good assessments available to measure personality, communication style, business acumen, and emotional intelligence, among other things. All of these help you get to know yourself, your tendencies and instincts, and how other people are perceiving you. This information helps you pick better careers, recognize suitable organizations to work for, and appropriate people to spend time with.

2.      They practice mindfulness.

Give yourself opportunities throughout a day to assess your mood. Pay attention in meetings to how you're reacting to others and why. Keep track of when you are at your best and your worst. We find most people have patterns of behavior and by paying a little more attention you will recognize your own. People with presence of mind are able to stay clear headed in high pressure situations and avoid difficult conversations when they know they are not in the right frame of mind.

3.      They hire a coach.

Business coaches can give you feedback that no one else will give you. Even when practicing mindfulness, we all have blind spots so a professional coach can recognize behaviors you may not even realize you are doing and if they are ineffective, suggest alternatives. They provide you will valuable insight to see yourself from the point of view of others which can be incredibly valuable information to better influence or motivate coworkers, clients or colleagues.  

4.      They identify their reactions.

We are all very busy and often we just know something feels good or bad but we rarely stop to analyze what we're feeling and why. Throughout the day pause, and ask yourself, “What specific emotion would use to describe how I am feeling right now?” This habit gives you new language to use when communicating with others, and when people see you as transparent and can track with your thoughts and feelings, you save time from less miscommunication and get better outcomes.

Self-awareness can be achieved by practicing these four actions, which become more natural over time. And just remember when your self-awareness goes up, your EQ does too. And then, you can bet that a lot of other good things are waiting for you. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Giving Difficult Feedback

I have two situations with clients right now that are struggling with the same dynamic: leaders who are waiting to have feedback conversations with their employees because they know it’s going to be uncomfortable.
In one case, the manager is just keeps putting it off “until the time is right” and they feel prepared to have the conversation. The issue they are avoiding is bad behavior going on between two employees…and by avoiding or waiting to have the conversation, the employees keep behaving the same way, which is creating damage to their reputation.
In my experience, good employees who are engaged, and accountable want feedback on how to improve.  They actually want the thing we avoid giving them so when you think about it, it’s a very selfish thing to do. Putting our discomfort about the conversation over what is their best interest is probably the lowest EQ thing we can do as a leader.
Here are some of the other consequences of not sharing feedback with employees:
1.  The behavior almost never changes (instead it only continues – and makes it worse for everybody).
2.   By the time you sit down and talk to them, they’re kind of mad at you because you didn’t tell them sooner. By saying nothing you sent a message that their behavior was acceptable. So in a way it’s sabotaging them…so, it feels to them like a setup which damages trust.
3.   People lose respect for you. They start to think, “If you’re afraid of this, how will you make even harder decisions (i.e., where is their confidence in you as a leader) or take tougher action when it comes to standing up for the department at higher levels of the company?” Their perception of you is that you can’t have difficult conversations or will shy away from a challenge. Is that what you want your reputation to be with your employees?  Probably not.
I know that most managers avoid tough feedback conversations because they are afraid it will derail. They assume that if it doesn’t go well they will do more damage by having the conversation than by just allowing the behavior to continue. But in reality, by sharing that you are having a difficult conversation and overcoming your discomfort to give them a heads up on the ways that their behavior is hurting them, you are seen as someone on their side, not just that you’re unhappy with them as a manager.
So just remember when we don’t do the uncomfortable, we do a disservice to everyone involved.

For more tips on giving feedback, check out these articles:

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hiring People Who Display Their Personality Trait, Or Not

This week I wanted to share a very interesting article about Whole Foods' co-CEO Walter Robb.

Here is the original article. Below is a reprint from Business Insider written by Shana Lebowitz.

Job interviewing is about persuading a company you're the perfect person for the job.
At the same time it's important not to seem overconfident or delusional about your abilities.
That's according to Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Robb said the one trait that won't get someone hired is "a lack of humility and an over sense of self-promotion."
Whole Foods isn't the only company that's wary of arrogance.
As Thomas L. Friedman writes inThe New York Times, Google places a similar value on humility.
According to Laszlo Bock, Google's SVP of people operations, Google looks for people who are able to accept it when someone else has a better idea.
Bock told Friedman that the most successful Googlers are "zealots about their point of view. But then you say, 'here's a new fact,' and they'll go, 'Oh, well, that changes things; you're right.' You need a big ego and small ego in the same person at the same time."
So how, exactly, do you strike that balance between confidence and humility during a job interview?
Writing in The Harvard Business Review, John Baldoni says it's important to talk about coworkers' contributions to solving problems, instead of just your own.
And over at Forbes, Margie Warrell suggests that instead of promoting yourself, you promote your value, meaning that you show how you can contribute to the success of others and the organization overall.
Of course, there are some execs who look for confidence and self-promotion. Oracle cofounder and former CEO Larry Ellison, for example, used to train recruiters to ask candidates if they were the smartest person they knew.
If they said yes, they were hired.
Ultimately, success in a job interview may come down to knowing your audience.
Chances are good that the company is looking for some degree of humility, but they may also want to hear you toot your horn when it comes to certain desirable traits and skills.