After an exhausting Diwali shopping with her family, Sunita plonked down on her favorite sofa. Her phone rang. She looked at her eight year old kid imploringly to help find her phone, which he did as usual. The kid noticed the expression on his mother’s face change from tiredness to amazement while talking on the phone. As soon as she disconnected the call, she started dancing and celebrating. The kid asked her “What happened mom?” Sunita said “That call was from the shopping mall. We are the lucky winners of an exotic holiday!’
Her kid and husband also started celebrating as this was the first time they had won anything like this. The husband excitedly asked “Where exactly?” She said “They have given us three choices, first is a cruise party in Goa, second is Kerala and third is Ladakh”.
Diwali holidays came and went by and Sunita’s family did not go anywhere. They celebrated Diwali at home. Shocked why? They missed the date for reverting on where they wanted to go.
They kept debating amongst themselves and didn’t notice that their time was up. The kid was excited to go to Goa as every young kid would have wished! Sunita wanted to spend quality and peaceful time in Kerala and her adventurous husband wanted to do something different. Ultimately they were not able to make any firm decision and lost the free holiday opportunity.
So what’s your story of missing out on opportunities just because you have not taken the right decision at the right time?
Research reveals that emotions constitute powerful, pervasive, and predictable drivers of decision making. Decisions serve as the conduit through which emotions guide every attempt at increasing positive feelings such as pride, happiness, love and avoiding feelings such as guilt, fear, regret. We lack awareness of these process while taking decisions in our life but emotions and decision-making go hand in hand.
For example, you may feel afraid of flying after reading about some airline crash and decide to drive instead. However, it is a fact that the base rates for death by driving are much higher than base rates for death by flying.
Our emotions are a strong influence on our decision-making even when we have facts and data that support the alternative course of action as more logical. Understanding this and taking this into account can help us get better at decision-making.
Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a powerful tool which allows emotion and skepticism to be brought into what, on the surface, might appear to be a purely rational process, and it opens up the opportunity of creative decision-making.
The six hats represent six modes of thinking and provide directions or guidelines to think from different perspective on any situation or problem. The best approach is to use this tool proactively rather than reactively. The six hats and the perspectives they represent are:
White Hat: The neutral White Hat focus on the available data, analyze past trends, and look for gaps in knowledge. It offers objective facts and figures.
Red Hat: The emotional intuitive Red Hat is used to get people’s gut reaction. You also tend to be keenly aware how others may react emotionally to a decision. On the other hand, you can struggle to see a problem logically.
Black Hat: The cautious Black Hat is used when you want to get the critical viewpoint. You can identify the risks that may occur and can also identify potential pitfalls as this well help to decrease the chances of making poor decision. And will make your decisions stronger.
Yellow Hat: The sunny and positive Yellow Hat helps to counterbalance judgmental thinking of Black Hat. It can be used in looking forward to the results of some proposed action, but can also be used to find something of value in what has already happened. It will an optimistic viewpoint of the decision when everything looks difficult.
Green Hat: The creative Green Hat comes on when you want to generate fresh ideas, changes, and innovation. It is a freewheeling way of thinking without criticism.
Blue Hat: The Organizing Blue Hat sets objective, outlines the situation and return at the end to summarize and draw conclusion.
So what are the benefits of using something like the six thinking hats? This approach helps us take into account various factors and perspectives before arriving at a decision. So they help us avoid jumping to conclusions based on only one or two perspective.
Ask yourself following five questions before taking any decision:
Every problem you experience has a purpose and message for you. See each problem as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. See it as an opportunity to become more effective and efficient in your daily activities and a chance to more another step in your journey towards success.
Diwali is a time to turn inward and light the lamps of knowledge and truth in our hearts and minds so that we can dispel the forces of darkness and ignorance within us and allow our innate brilliance and goodness to shine forth. It is a time to acknowledge and better understand our prejudices, negative behaviors, and bad habits so that we may begin the process of transforming ourselves. Diwali is, most importantly, a time to celebrate and appreciate life and to look forward to the coming year with a renewed sense of purpose and passion.
On this auspicious festival of lights, may the glow of joy, prosperity & happiness illuminate your days in the year ahead… stay confident and positive…Happy Diwali from SoaringEagles.
2020 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been! The global pandemic has really challenged us in so many ways and it’s been hard for many of us to feel in control as the crisis just drags on. Our businesses have taken a hit but we know that there are many around us who have been hit even harder.
It’s natural then for many business leaders to feel guilty about the hard decisions they’ve had to take in terms of layoffs, closures and disruptions in service. A client of mine had to let go of a senior employee in the US and he knew this meant that the employee had to go back to his home country and his entire life would get disrupted. He was also worried that the employee would no longer have health cover to take care of the special needs of his child. A friend who is the CHRO of a large organisation was distraught when a young employee passed away due to COVID and he felt he couldn’t do anything to save her.
Guilt is an unsettling emotion to deal with. But it’s also a sign that you’re a conscientious leader. While there are many things that are out of your control, one way of dealing with this guilt when it hits you is to re-evaluate and improve the way you approach your employees and company, and demonstrate compassionate leadership in difficult circumstances.
Here are 5 ways in which you can do this:
If you have a small team, it’s possible for you to do so yourself. If you have a large employees base, put together small cross-functional teams to spread out and listen to the wider group. This will help you plan your initiatives better.
When you have no choice but to implement furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts, don’t delegate sharing the news to HR - it feels demoralizing, disrespectful, and lacks empathy. If you are responsible for the decision, it is you who should be sharing it. This sends a clear message to not just the people who are impacted but also the others around them and support the morale of the team.
If some of your decisions have gone wrong and negatively affected others, take remedial action as soon as you know or can and do it as publicly as possible. Acknowledge your mistake and then communicate new developments frequently and consistently. Decisions can go either r way based on the limited information that we operate on – you are not expected to be right all the time. But how you own up and make amends is what your team and customers are looking at.
Try and see what benefits can be retained even when someone goes on a furlough or pay cut. Help the ones who’ve been laid off to find new jobs. Provide career transition support wherever possible.
People respond to that. They connect with you and they trust you when you’re being the best version of you. Talk about how you balance your own personal and work commitments. Talk about your own challenges and encourage sharing of tips and resources for managing workload, scheduling and so on. You don’t have to have a stoic mask all the time. Let people know that you also struggle sometimes and that’s okay. That’s being human.
So, to sum it up, it’s understandable if you as a leader are struggling with guilty feelings as you see the disruptions and struggles that the Covid-19 crisis is causing your employees and colleagues, sometimes specifically as a result of your own actions. But if you reframe your feelings of guilt as an opportunity to consciously and thoughtfully make the best decisions possible, communicate clearly, and behave with compassion and concern for both your employees and yourself, then you can help steer their teams and organizations toward better times.
If you want to talk about this, just click on Request Consultation and pick a convenient time for discussion or send me a WhatsApp message using the button above.
Many times, when I bring up coaching with business leaders and owners, they react by saying that I’m doing well. I don’t think I need a coach.
To my mind, there are two possible reasons for this reaction – one, they are not aware about what real coaching is and its benefits, and two, they are not ready to have a hard look at themselves and see what’s not working. They may be afraid of what they might uncover and are happier just coasting along till they are forced to confront these issues.
I always make an effort to explain what real coaching is and how it’s different from having a mentor or guide or just reading self-help books. I also make it a point to share that coaching is not about solving problems. It is about unblocking the realisation of your potential. You can do and achieve much more than what you are doing currently just by getting out of your own way. A coach helps you get out of your own way and go after those big hairy audacious goals.
Ask yourself this
Having a coach is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of ambition, it’s a sign of hunger for bigger impact, it’s a sign of courage to work on oneself.
Go ahead, tell me you don’t need a coach…
Click on the Request Consultation button above for a discovery call.
To be truly listened to is an amazing experience, partly because it is so rare! When another person is totally with you – leaning in, interested in every word, eager to empathize – you feel seen and understood. When people feel that they are really being listened to, they open up more as they feel safe and secure and the trust between the parties grows.
Unfortunately, most people do not listen at a very deep level as they are preoccupied with the challenges of their fast-paced life. As a result, most conversations tend to skim on the surface.
The absence of real listening is especially prevalent at work. Under pressure to get the job done, we listen for the minimum of what we need to know so that we can move on to the next fire that needs fighting. So, what’s the consequence of this? Everyone is talking, no on is listening. As a result, employee engagement has become a serious issue in organisations today.
This is becoming a bigger problem in this COVID scenario as employees are dispersed and the conversations are very transactional and brief. Leaders seem to have become busier and more distracted in recent times.
How often are you as a leader distracted in a conversation or a meeting with your team? How often are you as a leader not psychologically present when you are virtually with your team? How often do you cancel, interrupt or shorten meetings with your people in favour of some other stakeholder, priority or task? How often do you make your people wait, ask, or even hope for your leadership? Ironically, now more than ever, leaders need to be deeply and continuously connected with their teams.
What your team needs right now is authentic and unequivocal leadership presence. So, turn off the noise in your head. Turn off the noise from your technology. Focus your mind and your time on the people you lead and they, in turn, will follow and support your leadership efforts.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to connect, to show that you care about your employees as people. Listening deeply will also help you understand what their challenges and expectations, and gives you a chance to share what your intentions and goals in a way that everyone can be aligned.
Listening is a skill that you can gain from training and practice. And who better to learn if from than coaches. Effective coaches tend to be gifted listeners and they hone their listening skills to reach a high level of proficiency. This enables us coaches to reach the inner recesses of your mind and help you get those deep insights.
In the book, Co-Active Coaching, Henry and Karen Kimsey-House explain the three levels of listening and how the art of listening can be cultivated.
Level 1 listening is an interaction where the primary focus of you as the listener is on your own thoughts, opinions, judgments, and feelings. You relate the words you hear to your own experiences or needs. For example, if we are buying a car, we will be listening at Level 1 to the salesperson to see how the car features will fit our needs and budget.
Level 2 listening takes the communication one step further. It involves paying attention to the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. As you filter out your internal chatter and distractions from the environment, you are able to tune in to the meaning of the words, choose a way to respond, and assess the effect of the response on the speaker.
Level 3 listening brings an entirely new state of awareness to the conversation. It involves doing everything at Level 2, plus using your intuition and being open to receiving more information in any form that it presents itself. If you get a hunch, for example, while listening to someone, you could bring it up without being attached to it. Without insisting on being right, observe the effect it has on the speaker and be aware of where the conversation goes next.
For instance, you may say: “I understand that you are happy with the results, but I have a feeling that you have something else on your mind.” The response may be, “No, not really,” or “Yes, actually, I wanted to tell you about this issue that came up with our project.” It is irrelevant if you are right or wrong; what is important is the effect on the conversation.
So, there you have it – why it is important for you as a leader to hone your listening skills and how you can enhance your depth of listening. The art of listening takes time to develop, but it can be practiced daily. It builds trust and understanding and contributes significantly to your effectiveness as a leader.
If you want to discuss further, just schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking this link above.
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