Pauline is sitting at her desk immersed in her own thoughts and going down the memory lane of her past 30 years.
Pauline still remembers the big day when she was 8 years old. She is waiting for her big day, the final competition for being declared “The Best Child Dancer under 10” in the biggest competitions held by a TV channel in her country. Â She is passionate about dancing and spends hours on her practice. The Finale arrives and she gives a mind-blowing performance. She wins the competition. She gets accolades, awards, appreciation of her performance. Â She is exhilarated.
A smile returns to her face when she thinks about this moment.
She has won many awards thereafter not only in her country but also internationally. Dance is her passion but Pauline has always kept it as a hobby rather than make a career out of that. She is multi skilled and has never had any issues in trying out diverse things and out shining in each of those. Â She is currently a Senior Executive with a top multinational Â – she has spent over 10 years with this Company and has grown in her role. Â She is one of the top performers and has contributed to the phenomenal growth of the Company. The Company will face a significant loss if she decides to leave the Company.
Pauline, however is not happy and she rarely shares or shows what is going on beneath the surface. Â She continues to give her commitment to her role as a leader, manager and as a senior board member of the organization. Â She manages to shut her emotions of not being content whilst she is at work.
A shrill telephone ring shakes Pauline out of her reverie….
Can you picture yourself in Pauline’s shoes ? You bring yourself to work and shut off some of your emotions and over time these get pent-up. No one at work asks you nor does your manager have the time for you, to connect or to find out how you are doing? Â You feel like a cog in the wheel and over time it probably affects your productivity and your passion with which you do your work.
Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge – Plato
Strong emotions & feelings if not recognized tend to be a biggest drain and over time creates a vicious circle ofÂ Negative Emotions.
Not recognizing or appreciating the contribution of an individual in an organization affects the performance of not only that person but also the service to clients and possibly the competitive space of the organization. Â Many times it isn’t only the financial rewards that count but it is necessary to improve the lines of communication, encourage positive energy which means work on building the strengths of an individual.
An organization is about people and each individual is unique. In meeting and surpassing revenue and growth targets, meeting deadlines, many a manager in an organization forget to truly connect with an individual, their interests and most of all create an environment to make them feel safe and wanted.
I was conducting a coaching session with one of my clients the other day and within 30 minutes she felt she had a lot more clarity in terms of the next steps she should take in her job within an organization that was making headway changes in their reach and growth. She felt that because she had a platform where I listened to her strengths and what she had to say and encouraged her to use her strengths to do what she was good at.
Let me ask you….
- How many of you receive praise and true appreciation at work? Â To quote William James, one of the pioneers of modern psychology “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.“
- How many of you are asked to share what you are good at, and an environment created for self-awareness, resilience and empathy.
- How many of you are recognized for your strengths, and your positive potential
David Rock in his book “The Quiet Leadership“, talks about how many of our habits are driven by decisions we made in the past that are now part of us. Â Our brain tries to make whatever we are feeling or thinking fit into our existing mental models. Â Some of our choices resulting in habits during the course of our life is hard-wired and we hold filters in our brain based on some of these past experiences. Â The brain looks for these filters without us consciously realizing this.
There are positives and negatives to this hard wiring. Â Some of the downsides are
- Even when external realities changes it takes time to change the internal realities. Each have to make their own connections according to their wiring.
- Each of our wiring is different and thus our perceptions.
- Some people’s maps may be outdated and they may perceive change to be a threat based on a similar past experience.
Enormous sets of new maps are created daily which changes the chemical and physical connections in our brain. Â Every time we take on a new task or have to visit a place never visited before, there is an anxiety because there is no sense of being able to picture where you are going. Â However, once the task is done or a new place is visited a road map has been created by our brain and even if we were to do something similar or visit the same place possibly five years later, we will be less anxious.
So how do leaders create an environment that they get the best out of their team
- Positive feedback is essential to create long-term connections.
- Positive feedback has got to be timely and authentic.
- Frequent – recognition and appreciation has to be frequent so that the person feels wanted.
- Compassion – treat yourself compassionately so that it opens your heart to others.
- Togetherness – each of us have our share of frustrations, apprehensions and uncertainties. Being kind and empathetic towards one another goes a long way in making connections.
If we want to improve people’s performance or help someone through a transition it is imperative for a Coach or a Leader to focus on solutions instead of problems. We should stop thinking about problems and behavior to fix rather focus on one’s strengths and use that to work on solutions.