Have you struggled to have compassionate conversations about Covid? Are you torn between what you think/feel/believe is the right thing to do, and the nuances of a particular situation? Have you tried to have a conversation and it only made things worse? Or, did you stay silent when you really should have spoken up? Have these conversations strained relationships? (more…)
Nearly 160 million people voted in the 2020 United States presidential election. That’s 20 million more than four years ago. 66.4% of eligible voters turned out, which is the highest since 1900. We showed up!
- We are passionate.
- The issues we are facing are significant and impact us personally.
- Those seeking election worked their tails off to earn our vote.
I’m proud of my country for this. (more…)
My middle daughter, Emily, works in customer service at Home Depot. It’s been a great source of work experience for her during the disruptions of COVID, she’s made some new friends, and has allowed some side income while going to school virtually.
Emily helps a lot of people every day, both over the phone, and in person. Sometimes she even helps people take stuff out to their vehicles. Although not everyone shows gratitude, she receives plenty of appreciation for her efforts.
The other day Emily called me to ask a PCM Question. As a Process Communication Model trainer and the author of a new book about PCM, she hoped I’d have some insight. Her question;
“I get a lot of compliments each day, and there are some that mean more than others. Some people say, ‘Appreciate it,’ and others say, ‘Appreciate you.’ I’ve noticed that I definitely prefer ‘Appreciate you.’ It means so much more to me than ‘Appreciate it.’ How do you explain that?
The explanation has everything to do with personality differences in how people are motivated. We all have the same six personality types in us, but in a preferred, set order. Emily’s two strongest ones are Rebel and Harmonizer. The Rebel type is motivated by playful contact that is safe, fun and accepting. The Harmonizer type is motivated by recognition of person, caring about who you are, no strings attached. “Appreciate you,” nails them both!
Appreciate YOU people,
- Are generally caring, kind, and playful.
- Want to know you like and accept them for who they are.
- Do things for you as an expression of their compassion and human connection.
Appreciate IT people,
- Are generally organized, committed, and observant.
- Want to know you recognize the things they do.
- Do things for you as an expression of their responsibility and dedication.
Next time you want to show appreciation to someone, watch for the cues and offer what means the most to them. They’ll definitely appreciate YOU for IT.
Want to learn about your personality and how it impacts your leadership? Our new PCM Leadership Profile has all the answers and a ton of actionable insights.
Have you ever been in a situation where a simple conflict escalated into finger pointing and blaming? Have you ever given someone feedback and they got defensive? Have you ever left a conversation realizing that good intentions resulted in unintended consequences?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may gotten tangled up in safe honesty when real honesty could have changed the outcome for the better.
When Honesty Matters Most
You might get by with safe honesty in some situations, but the difference between safe and real honesty matters most during conflict. I define conflict as a gap between what I want and what I am experiencing at any given point in time. Maybe I want to be at work at 8 AM and I am experiencing a really long line at the Starbucks drive through. Maybe I want to properly complete all my documentation paperwork for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan, and I am experiencing changing rules every time I call my accountant. That’s conflict.
Conflict is emotional. Everyone has emotional responses to conflict. I call it gap energy. Conflict is neither good nor bad, but how we spend gap energy can certainly make a big difference in how things turn out.
Safe honesty during conflict may sound something like this:
How I feel: I’m really disappointed.
What I’m experiencing: You’re late.
What I want: You need to be on time.
Let’s imagine I try safe honesty with my accountant about the PPP.
How I feel: I’m frustrated.
What I’m experiencing: They can’t get their act together.
What I want: I’ve got a business to run.
Safe honesty comes in four flavors: Facts, Opinions, Accusations, and Demands. Facts are descriptions of what you see, e.g. “You told an off-color joke.” Opinions are your evaluation of what you see, e.g. “That’s disrespectful.” Accusations are your assumptions or conclusions about someone or something, e.g. “You’re a racist.” Demands are about the behaviors or conditions you think will close the gap, e.g. “You need to apologize.”
What makes it safe?
Four things about safe honesty make it safe. First, it focuses on what’s happening, not how people are doing. Second, it comes from the head, not the heart, so it’s disconnected from the authentic emotional aspects of the situation. Third, it conceals our own vulnerability. Safe honesty avoids anything that would expose us. Fourth, the result of safe honesty is that the other person is more exposed afterwards. Even something as basic as telling your friend his zipper is down fits all four of these criteria of safe honesty.
Excuses we make
How do people justify their safe honesty? Here are some of the excuses we hear from leaders;
“I’m telling it like it is.”
“Someone needs to say it.”
“It’s my job.”
“Hey, I’m just being honest.”
“We need more radical candor around here.”
“At least you know where I stand.”
The Consequences of Safe Honesty
Safe honesty hurts relationships and workplaces in a variety of ways: interaction safety disappears, trust drops, people get defensive or shut down, false assumptions get amplified, and morale suffers. Above all, people begin to question each others’ motives and start to play it safe by withholding what’s most important.
Real Honesty During Conflict
Consider this type of response to a person arriving late to a meeting: “I’m feeling discouraged. I didn’t see you until 30 minutes into our meeting. I really want to feel confident we are on the same page.”
Or that call with my accountant: “I’m anxious. I want to feel secure I’m doing the paperwork right and I haven’t been able to get response to my first question.”
Real honesty takes things one step deeper by focusing on our emotions and emotional motives during conflict. When we are being really honest:
- We identify and own our emotions about the gap without blaming anyone or implying that someone else caused our feelings. e.g. “I’m feeling discouraged.”
- We describe our own experience of what happened without pointing fingers, e.g. “I didn’t see you until 30 minutes into our meeting.”
- We disclose our emotional motives, e.g. “I really want to feel confident we are on the same page.”
Real honesty is different because it focuses on how you are doing instead of what happened or needs to happen; it comes from the heart, it reveals your own emotions and emotional motives, and it leaves you as exposed or more exposed compared to the other person.
Why Practice Real Honesty?
Real honesty builds trust and connection. It demonstrates personal responsibility for your emotions and reactions to a situation, it shows real courage to be fully authentic, it bypasses assumptions, reduces defensiveness, improves interaction safety, builds connection, levels the playing field, shows respect, and can open up connections between people they never knew they had.
Next time you recognize the gap of conflict, try practicing real honesty and make the first move to a build more safe, trusting, and collaborative workplace.
I wondered if anyone would show up for my presentation on Personality Diversity and Discrimination in the Workplace at the 2013 Society for Human Resource Professionals national diversity and inclusion conference. To my surprise, the room was packed with D&I officers from all sorts of big companies. Afterwards, the feedback I got was overwhelming; “I had no idea how powerful and critical personality diversity is. I have never thought of personality as a dimension of inclusion, maybe even more powerful than gender or ethnicity.”
Personality diversity is a fact. Personality Inclusion is a choice.
Are you choosing to include all personality types in your workplace, or are you just giving it lip-service by administering a personality assessment? Here are ten commandments for taking the next step to include all personality types.
- You shall respect someone’s time and appreciate their productive work.
- You shall respect someone’s convictions and appreciate their principled work.
- You shall value people for who they are as human beings, no strings attached.
- You shall let people have fun at work.
- You shall give people time and space to recharge.
- You shall help people get a lot of excitement in short bursts.
- You shall apply to others ONLY the commandments that best fit them. (Platinum Rule)
- You shall NOT assume your favorite commandment fits others. (Projection Rule)
- You shall conduct engagement surveys that truly listen to the needs of all personality types (Gallup Q12 discriminates against three types).
- You shall hold leaders accountable for the first nine commandments.
Want to learn more about how to include all types? Start with my new book, Seeing People Through.
Our Process Communication Model Leadership Profile and training programs give leaders the self-awareness, insight, and guidance to include all personality types at work.
Copyright Next Element Consulting, 2020
Some people think that empathy and compassion are synonymous. They aren’t, because compassion is more than a feeling.
You have to actually do something to be compassionate. So others have suggested that compassion is “empathy in action.”
“Empathy in action” definition limits compassion
- It makes compassion dependent on empathy.
- It relies on a shared emotional experience.
- It precludes other motivators of compassion.
What motivates you to show compassion?
While empathy is a great motivator for compassionate behavior, it’s not the only one.
The practice of compassion can be motivated by emotions, e.g. “I feel for her. I’ve been through something similar so I can relate.” This is what most people view as empathy, an emotional experience that connects people. In this case, compassion indeed is empathy in action.
It can be motivated by logical analysis, e.g. “I have skills that could help. By serving on the Habitat for Humanity board, I could use those skills to help a family have a home.” This would redefine compassion as thoughts in action.
It can be motivated by principles and values, e.g. “I believe that every child deserves a stable adult role-model, so I will volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters.” Now compassion is equated with values in action.
It can be motivated by guilt, e.g. “I feel so badly that I have more than enough to eat while others are starving.” Here, compassion is simply a form of making things right.
Compassion without emotions?
“But how can you really be compassionate without an emotional component?” you might ask.
You can’t. Compassion isn’t possible without Openness, which means emotional transparency; valuing the emotional experience of our selves and others. Empathy is only one of three ways to do this.
Two more ways to be open
Validation, which is the act of affirming and valuing another person’s emotional motives and experiences. e.g. “Your feelings matter. It’s OK to be upset. I’m listening.”
Validation is not empathy. It does not rely on shared emotional experiences, although it needs to be sincere.
The third way to practice openness is disclosure, which is the act of sharing your own emotional motives and experiences, e.g. “I’m angry about what happened last night,” or “I want to feel safe in this relationship.” Disclosure is a self-ful act that also connects people. The vulnerability of disclosure sends the message that you care enough about yourself to let others know and ask for what you want, and it sends the message to others that it’s safe to share emotions. Disclosure in not empathy because it’s not about the other person.
Compassion can be motivated by more than empathy, so don’t limit it with the definition of “empathy in action”. Once motivated, compassion can be activated by Empathy, Validation, and Disclosure. Any of these can get the ball rolling for practicing real compassion.
Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible in every interaction.
We are on a mission to bring more compassion to every workplace in the world. It starts with recognizing that compassion is accessible to anyone and it can be learned and practiced in every interaction.
Learn more about The Compassion Mindset, our enterprise program for bringing more compassion to your workplace.
Empathy is in high demand right now. Leaders who cultivate their empathy skills have more cohesive teams and engaged employees. Whether you fancy yourself an empathy expert, or need to develop your empathy skills, here are some fantastic tips on what NOT to do from the International Listening Association.
What Empathy is NOT
“Did you do what I told you to do?”
“Did you take the medicine when you were supposed to?
Judging or Guilting
“Why did you do that?”
“That doesn’t seem worth worrying about.”
Well, that was a dumb thing to do.
“I can’t believe you did that!”
“I told you this is what would happen.”
Advising or Fixing
“You shouldn’t have said that.”
“You should have taken the medicine like you were supposed to.
“Maybe you should . . .”
“Oh, well, tomorrow is a new day.”
“That’s not so bad.”
Denying or Discounting
“I can’t believe you’re upset about that.”
“Shouldn’t you just be glad that you have a job?”
One-upping or Kidnapping the Empathy
“If you think that’s bad . . .”
“You should hear what happened to me!”
“There’s a good book you should read about that.”
“I’ve got some resources that will help.”
“This seems to happen to you a lot.”
“That probably means you….”
“That’s too bad. I’m sure tomorrow things will go better.”
“It could be worse. Imagine if…”
Compassion (I added this one)
It’s true, empathy is not the same as compassion. Here’s the scoop.
Have you ever been accused of overreacting? Have you ever accused someone else of overreacting? You might think differently when you pay attention to emotional triggers and threats to energy supply.
Most often what we label as overreacting is, in fact, a normal reaction to something of which we aren’t aware or don’t understand. On the surface it may seem like someone is making a mountain out of a molehill, but what if there’s more going on than you know? (more…)
This week’s guest post is from Amy Balog, a highly experienced and credentialed executive leadership coach. I really appreciate her perspective on authenticity and compassion, so I was delighted when she agreed to share a nugget of wisdom with my audience. (more…)
Join Our Community
Sign up and receive our FREE “How To Stop Gossip In Four Easy Steps” PDF as well as regular tips and articles from Next Element.
Want To Republish Our Posts?
It’s more than a tool for managing people; it’s a philosophy of leadership with visible behavioral guideposts for the journey. #SeeingPeopleThrough #ProcessCommunicationModel Use code SPT30 to get a 30% discount from Barrett-Koehler publishers. b.link/2f632 pic.twitter.com/Tyobt2BFqp