Leadership Communication

Six Ways to Make A BAD Decision

Leaders make better decisions when they are healthy, self-aware, and playing to their personality-based strengths. There are six basic styles of decision-making. See last week’s post for which one fits you best.

In distress, those same personalities make terrible decisions because they sacrifice their best selves for negative intentions. Here’s how it works.

Sacrificing Efficiency for Control

When you are healthy, you make decisions that increase productivity and efficiency. When you are in distress, you will make decisions based on what will increase your sense of control. This is a disaster because micromanaging kills morale and productivity, and analysis paralysis wastes so much time. 

Sacrificing Respect for Power

When you are healthy, you make decisions that support and advance your values. In distress you will make decisions that increase your power over others by resorting to intimidation and scare tactics. This only makes you more vulnerable because everybody will go underground to avoid you while they question your integrity.

Sacrifice Self-Esteem for Martyrdom

When you are healthy, you will make decisions that affirm personal value and nurture relationships. In distress, you will make decisions to boost your low self-esteem, smothering people with help that they don’t need or want. Ironically, the thing you want most – harmony – is replaced with resentment and discord, while you end up feeling like a martyr. 

Sacrificing Spontaneity for Provocation

When you are healthy, you make decisions that involve creative engagement and new ways of working. In distress, you will resort to decisions that push the most buttons and provoke the most people. Sadly, this only gets you sanctioned and censured because nobody likes a whiner. Good luck getting a hall pass now!

Sacrificing Reliability for Isolation

When you are healthy, you take the time and space to step back and consider options and possibilities. In distress, you disappear and shut down, making decisions that keep people away from you. So instead of getting your time and space, now you are isolated. Nobody knows where you are or what you are doing.

Sacrificing Glory for Supremacy

When you are healthy you can make high-stakes decisions that increase excitement and benefit the most people. In distress, your priorities switch to supremacy, looking for ways to dominate. Tragically, you give up your chance at true glory because forcing minions to praise you is hollow. Sure, the stakes are high, but the odds are stacked against you now.

Great leaders recognize when they are in distress and avoid making decisions until they are in a healthy space.

Copyright Next Element Consulting LLC, 2021

Want to learn about how your personality impacts a dozen aspects of leadership? Try out the PCM Leadership Profile.

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Six Ways To Make A Good Decision

How do you make your best decisions? Which one of these six best fits you?

Analysis

You prefer to make decisions based on relevant, accurate facts. You prefer to gather the information, get input, weigh the pros and cons, and determine the most logical choice. When options aren’t clear or you don’t have adequate data, decision-making can become difficult. Decisions that increase productivity and efficiency are the most attractive and satisfying

Discernment

You prefer to make decisions based on key principles. You prefer to consult your mission, vision, or values first, then gather relevant information to guide your decision. You use your conscience to know what’s right and wrong. Decisions that support and advance your values are the most satisfying.

Compassion

You make decisions based on what you feel will have the greatest positive impact on relationships, often using intuition. You consider the human side of the equation first. You prefer consensus when possible. Decisions that help you affirm personal value and nurture relationships will be the most attractive and satisfying.

Gut Instinct

You make decisions spontaneously, based on gut instinct. You know right away whether you approve or disapprove, whether you like it or not. Decisions that involve creative engagement and new ways of working will be most attractive and satisfying.

Imagination

You make decisions using reflection and imagination. You need time to arrive at your best decisions because you need to ponder the possibilities. Being able to have time and space to step back and consider options and possibilities is important for you.

Initiative

You make decisions quickly and confidently, even when you don’t have all the information. Getting to action is your priority, even if adjustments need to be made later. High-stakes decisions that increase excitement will be most attractive and satisfying for you.

What about your employees? Your peers? Your children? How do they make decisions? There’s no one best way to make decisions, and a lot of it is influenced by personality. Great leaders know how they make their best decisions, and help others use their natural gifts to make good decisions as well. Use this post to interview the people you lead and help them cultivate their own decision-making style.

Next week: Six Ways To Make BAD Decisions. Every personality type makes bad decisions in distress. Find out your risks!

Copyright Next Element Consulting LLC, 2021

Want to learn about how your personality impacts a dozen aspects of leadership? Try out the PCM Leadership Profile.

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How To Be Passionate Without Being Judgmental

Yesterday I interviewed my friend, Dr. John Izzo, about his new book, Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything. I always enjoy talking with John, but I also have a hint of concern that I will feel judged. His books have titles like, “The Purpose Revolution,” and “Awakening Corporate Soul,” and “Stepping Up,” so I expect a little finger-wagging and soapboxing. (more…)

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Appreciate You vs. Appreciate It

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.

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Safe Honesty vs. Real Honesty: And When It Matters Most

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

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.


Seeing People Through by Nate Regier, Ph.D.This post was inspired by Chapter 3 of my book, Seeing People Through and originally published here. Get your copy today!

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10 Commandments For a Personality Inclusive 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.

  1. You shall respect someone’s time and appreciate their productive work.
  2. You shall respect someone’s convictions and appreciate their principled work.
  3. You shall value people for who they are as human beings, no strings attached.
  4. You shall let people have fun at work.
  5. You shall give people time and space to recharge.
  6. You shall help people get a lot of excitement in short bursts.
  7. You shall apply to others ONLY the commandments that best fit them. (Platinum Rule)
  8. You shall NOT assume your favorite commandment fits others. (Projection Rule)
  9. You shall conduct engagement surveys that truly listen to the needs of all personality types (Gallup Q12 discriminates against three types).
  10. 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
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Empathy Blockers

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

Quizzing   

“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 . . .”

Placating 

“Oh, well, tomorrow is a new day.”

“That’s not so bad.”

Denying or Discounting 

“I can’t believe you’re upset about that.”

“That’s nothing!”

“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!”

Educating

“There’s a good book you should read about that.”

“I’ve got some resources that will help.”

Analyzing

“This seems to happen to you a lot.”

“That probably means you….”

Consoling

“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.

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Improve Your Life, In 30 Minutes, By Changing One Thing

I spent my entire formal education (and a ton of money) learning how to think and talk in complicated ways. I was convinced that it made me look smart and trustworthy and important.

When I graduated and began practicing clinical psychology I quickly learned that nobody really cares how smart you are if you can’t translate it into something they can use. I also learned that very few people care how much you know until the know how much you care. (more…)

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It’s Not About The Orange

This week is launch week for our new book, Seeing People Through: Unleash Your Leadership Potential with The Process Communication Model.

PCM has changed my life, and the lives of thousands of people who have learned how to communicate with Process. Here’s a video I recorded in 2017 about how even the simplest of interactions can lead to miscommunication if we don’t pay attention to process.

Yesterday we had local elections in my town. Everyone was asking for my vote. Today I am asking for your vote in the form of buying a copy of my new book.

No matter who you lead, or your scope of authority, PCM can help you be more authentic, take better care of yourself, motivate people in positive ways, increase your agility, include others in more meaningful ways, and experience wonderful new parts of your own personality.

Get your copy today!

LIMITED TIME DISCOUNT

This week only, save 20% on the new PCM Leadership Profile. At checkout, use code SPT2020 to claim your discount and receive a live debrief with me.

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How Compassion Cures Viruses

Viruses are invisible, but the impact isn’t. A friend of mine who had Coronavirus said that after the initial headaches and body aches subsided, the most distressing symptoms were loss of taste and tingling in various parts of her body. I’m grateful that she has recovered and is doing fine now. Some aren’t so lucky.

Then there are the relationship and cultural symptoms. Fear, denial, blaming, grief, discord within communities and agencies trying to determine the best next steps. Each of us is struggling with our own strategy for dealing with this invisible virus, and how to have conversations with other about those decisions.

My daughter is getting married in less than two weeks. I’m sure you can imagine the conversations we’ve been having!

How do we reconcile the raw human side of this with our personal and collective responsibility to each other in community? How do we honor the fear while helping empower? How do we maintain our boundaries when someone else has a different standard? How do we keep channels of communication open with people who have vastly different views about what’s going on?

I’m grateful for Compassionate Accountability and the tools we’ve developed at Next Element for just these types of situations. Jamie Remsberg wrote a terrific personal account of using our Compassion formula to engage our clients around tricky boundaries. I encourage you to take a look.

We will have a vaccine before long. And while that might cure the Coronavirus, it won’t cure drama. It won’t change the challenge of having productive, healthy conflict. It won’t change the fact that leaders must facilitate safe spaces where employees can come together and solve the biggest problems for the future.


We built The Compassion Mindset and Leading Out of Drama just for this. Give us a call to upgrade your compassion skills and cure the drama virus today!

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