2020 will be a year of great challenge and great opportunity. Division and drama are at an all time high. Globally 85% of workers are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. Yet everywhere we travel around the world, leaders tell us they are craving positive connections and authentic relationships. They are tired of the drain and want their energy back! They are looking for a better way.
Happy New Year! I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to all of my subscribers. I appreciate your support, your comments, and this remarkable community of people who care about better communication and more compassion at work. In keeping with tradition, here are the most read posts from my blog in 2019.
This year I launched my new podcast, OnCompassion with Dr. Nate. Learning leadership lessons from my guests has been so rewarding.
At the end of each episode I consolidate and share my top three takeaways. Here are several leadership lessons I thought were particularly rich.
The Action Is In The Interaction – Doug Conant
Leaders have 200-400 interactions per day of less than 2-min. Your legacy as a leader will be dependent on how you handle those interactions. Life is too fragmented and dynamic to rely on traditional approaches to communication – tomorrow’s leaders have to be fluid in the small moments.
Compassion Requires Boundaries – Laura Cole
Laura’s horse, Watson, has a habit of nibbling shirts. Yet successful executives at the top of their game allow him to bite holes in their shirts because they don’t want to be mean or don’t know how to stop it. Lack of boundaries isn’t nice. It deprives others of a more healthy way to interact with us and form a meaningful relationship. And, it invites us to form negative opinions of others who seem to disrespect our wants and needs.
Vulnerability Is A Secret Weapon – Jody Horner
With help from an executive coach, coupled with her desire to make more meaningful, positive connections with people, Jody went from believing that she needed to make sure there were no chinks in her armor – being professional to a fault – to showing more of her real self at work. What she experienced was that her credibility as a leader went through the roof.
Will you help me raise awareness of OnCompassion With Dr. Nate? Subscribe, rate on iTunes, and share with your tribe. New episodes will launch every month. Thanks for your help!
Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2019
I often feel indignant when people don’t give me the benefit of the doubt, or question my intentions. I know my intentions are good, even if I didn’t say it quite right or made a mistake in how I handled something. “After all we’ve been through, are you seriously questioning me?”
Here’s the hard reality.
Trust should never be assumed, and it must be earned in every interaction.
The danger of expecting that people will trust me is that I get complacent about making trust money deposits, and careless about withdrawals.
Trust Money Deposits
- Declaring my intentions, every time
- Listening to understand
- Validating someone else’s experience
- Getting curious
- Caring about the person as much as the task
- Following through on commitments
- Apologizing for mistakes
Trust money deposits help support me when I do make a mistake or behave in an unexpected way.
But trust money withdrawals are very costly. Trust money takes a long time to earn, and a very short time to spend.
Trust Money Withdrawals
- Focusing more on the task than the person
- Discounting or redefining someone else’s experience
- Making excuses
- Blaming others
- Turning conversations into competitions
- Breaking promises
- Minimizing your own mistakes
- Making it personal when it doesn’t need to be
How To Keep A Positive Trust Money Account
- Never expect someone to give you the benefit of the doubt, so leave them no doubt about your intentions.
- Make trust money deposits in every interaction.
- Minimize trust money withdrawals.
Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible. Compassion builds trust.
Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2019
December 2-9 ONLY
I do a lot of keynote presentations. I get between 45-75 minutes to engage and audience, inspire them to try something new, and give them practical nuggets they can use immediately. I’ve learned through experience that the best keynotes don’t try to cover too much material; one main message and one or two key takeaways.
I’m a guest on a lot of podcasts. Although we might cover a lot of content in 30-45 minutes, one of the most common wrap-up questions I get asked is, “What is one thing our listeners can do right away to bring more compassion to their lives?”
Here’s my answer, my one nugget that will make the biggest difference.
If you apply just one thing from my presentation or interview, do this: Disclose your emotional end-game.
Most of us want to feel happy, secure, safe, confident, connected, respected, competent, or valued. This is the emotional end-game, our emotional motives. These are OK. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel happy or connected or competent.
Much of what we do every day is in service of these motives. When they are threatened, we step up our efforts.
Very rarely, though, do we tell anyone about them. We argue in meetings, inexplicably advocate for certain outcomes, maneuver relationships, and engage in all sorts of passive-aggressive or passive-avoidant behaviors in service of our emotional motives. All while keeping the end-game secret from others.
Why we hide our emotional end-game
- Afraid that others won’t care about it
- Worry that others will reject us for it
- Don’t believe we deserve to get it
- We’ve trained ourselves to avoid emotions
Why it’s the right, best thing to do
- It’s the truth, so be honest
- It lets others help you
- It builds trust and connection
- It leads to better decision-making
- It cleans up communication
- It stops passive-aggressive and passive-avoidant behavior
Compassion means treating yourself and others as valuable, capable, and responsible. Disclosing your emotional end-game is the compassionate thing to do.
Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2019
Have you ever heard these phrases at work?
- I had no choice.
- You left me no option.
- Have you had a chance to review the email I sent?
- You made me angry.
- I have to move our appointment.
- If it’s not too much trouble.
- What do we want to do next?
What’s the difference between leadership and manipulation? This two-part series explores this very question using Donald Trump as the case study. In Part One I introduced the topic and shared three of the six tactics that skilled manipulators use to get what they want. Here are the other three, along with positive leadership lessons.
I get a lot of requests to write about Donald Trump’s personality. Let’s start with an update to two articles I wrote in 2016 during Donald Trump’s campaign for president.
Trump is good. I mean, really good. When it comes to imposing his will on others, without their awareness or permission, Trump is one of the best I’ve ever seen in this generation. Webster defines manipulation like this:
Manipulation is to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.
Arthur Brooks, economist and author of Love Your Enemies estimates that seven percent of the population profits from contempt. Contempt is how we feel when we view others as invaluable, incapable, and irresponsible. This is exactly the opposite of compassion.
Contempt-mongers make their living by using conflict as a weapon. They have honed the art of stoking division, emphasizing differences, inviting fear, and normalizing the degradation of anyone who gets in their way.
Conflict was never approved for use as a weapon.
Conflict is a natural consequence of diversity. Diversity is a natural and wonderful part of this world we live in. The purpose of conflict is to create, not destroy.
Conflict has been approved as a viable energy source for creating something amazing.
Compassion is the mechanism for harnessing the positive potential in conflict.
So what’s up with the seven percent?
- Ignorance; we don’t know and don’t want to know about those other people
- Greed; compassion threatens our personal stockpile of stuff
- Fear; I don’t know what would happen, but it’s probably bad
- Upbringing; it’s how I was raised
- Us vs. Them; we are right, they are different, they need to be eliminated
- It pays off; contempt-mongering gets me what I want
The good news!
93% of the world prefers compassion.
Who is your role model in the 93%? Will you give them a shout out on this post?
Mis-communicable diseases are illnesses passed from person to person through miscommunication. That’s because miscommunication infects people with negativity; inferiority, guilt, shame, and fear. Forget the basic cases of not understanding each other. I’m talking about getting hooked, and the next thing you know, you’re under the weather.