Is your negative energy impacting others?

Sometimes I feel I have a superpower which allows me to sense other people’s energy levels. In many scenarios this can be in my favor, but when I am experiencing someone who is casting off negative energy, this becomes a challenge. A challenge for both myself, and for the person who may in fact not realize how others are picking up on the negativity they are emitting.

There are people who will describe themselves as being empathic and tell you this is the reason they can feel other people’s energy levels, or the dispositions they have at that moment in time. I’m not suggesting that I am one of these people, but I do believe I am able to pick up and am quite sensitive to other people’s inner emotions. Emotions which appear at times to be seeping out of them, and without them realizing this. Compare this to the analogy of cool or hot air leaking out from a building. You may not be able to see it, but it is occurring.

One thing which has always amazed me about people is their either casual unawareness or full dismissal of how their mood, attitude or presence is impacting others. Perhaps there are some people who are aware of their moods or negative attitudes, but they have not learned how to contain them. Or, to mask them in some manner which would be likely the appropriate response in most instances. Sure, there are times when it is acceptable to show your emotions, but the negative ones are not the ones you want to be showcasing on a regular basis.

If people were given a choice of whether they had the decision to be around negative people, most of them would tell you they would not select that option. However, the reality is that there are many professional and personal situations which we may not have the option to make this choice. Especially if you are on a business or sports team.

Teams can be a challenging entity to lead and manage the dynamics associated with it. This becomes more problematic when there are individuals on the team who are unaware of the impact of how their negative mood, attitude or presence is affecting others.  Usually not in a positive or productive manner either. Do these people realize they are having the type of impact they are? Often, they do not, and there are a number of contributing reasons why they are behaving this way.

One of the reason’s is that they are selfish and think that the team revolves around them. Just because they are on a team, doesn’t mean someone has adopted what I will refer to as the ‘we’ versus their ‘me’ attitude they haven’t shed yet. This scenario and behavior isn’t only reserved for people in a particular decade of life. It is independent of this, as it is more of a mindset, and maturity level that some people reach sooner than others. Some actually struggle with ever getting to this place. The place of being unselfish.

Consider someone you know who is unselfish. Generally, they rarely complain, and they also tend to put the needs of others ahead of theirs. They make great teammates and are more enjoyable to be with because of their pleasant attitude and outlook which tends to be more positive than their negative counterparts.

Another contributor to someone who has emits negative energy is that they are immature from a personal development perspective. They also haven’t cracked the code yet on appreciating that others are in fact picking up on their negative disposition, and not benefitting from this in any way. In fact, what is worse, is that the negative energy they are emitting is taking positive energy away from the people they are around. Do you think this impacts either the individual or the entire team’s performance? Of course, it does, and not in the way any team would want it to do so.

Leaders and sports coaches are faced with the challenge of how to handle people on their team with negative moods, dispositions, or energy draining on a regular basis. As we know, negative energy can come and go. However, it is in the containment of it, or the awareness of how to be able to minimize its impact so that it doesn’t have a wider spread impact on a team. Doing this is critical for high performance leaders and their teams to master, as it will either positively contribute or reduce their level of achievements if it isn’t accomplished. Some leaders and sports coaches are better at this than others, as it can be quite frustrating to both confront and manage this mastery on a regular basis.

So, are there ways to address handling people who are negatively impacting your team? Yes, there are, and here are some suggestions to “test drive”.

  • Conversations with negative people should always be handled in private and one-on-one so they do not feel as threatened or get more defensive and shut down on you.
  • When opening your conversation with the individual, ask them how they think they are being perceived by others? You will likely be fascinated with their response.
  • Ask the person to rate on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the highest what their level of their mood, disposition or self-awareness level is?
  • Since they will likely ask you to give them some examples of how they are being perceived, I literally will tell them and use the analogy of showing them this information as if I was holding up a mirror to them as they are acting with their negative behavior.
  • If the person is unaware of their behavior, ask them if they would like to be supported with altering this behavior? Often, they will tell you yes. However, you will need to have an understanding with them that as you are helping them, they need to focus on being able to receive the feedback as being constructive and not as a personal attack.
  • When the person has asked for help to modify their behavior, they also need to commit to working on it until their behavior starts to change. Generally changing any type of behavior will take at least six weeks, so patience will be needed from both parties to achieve the desired end results.
  • If a person isn’t willing to try to modify their negative energy impact, you may need to ultimately dismiss them from the team.

The impact that one person can have on a team can be enormously beneficial, although if their impact is negative and isn’t addressed by a leader, it will not serve you, the person in question, or the rest of the team well. Don’t delay in addressing this challenge, as it is well understood and realistic to say that it won’t just magically go away if you ignore it.

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #Leader #Leadership #Leader #Sports #Sportsteam #Sportscoach #Awareness #Selfawareness #Negativity #Success #Motivation #Communication #Strategytips #Teamdynamics

Growing and developing via adversity.

Growth and development are essential, but we know that experiencing this is often difficult. Sometimes painful, especially when you toss in the additional factor of dealing with adversity too. Is there an optimal approach to getting this right?

I’m not sure about you, but there are days I feel like during some conversations I’m living in the movie Ground Hog Day. If you are not familiar with this movie, it stars Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. The context of the movie is that each day is on repeat from one single day in time…Ground Hog Day. The reason I’m drawing this comparison, is because so many people appear to need support with better appreciating how they will absolutely need to put in more effort into their growth and development. Hint. Sometimes it’s not much fun to do this, but it is almost always worth it.

To set expectations, it will be necessary to go beyond the limits of where someone feels comfortable in order to experience growth. This applies to both a workforce team, as well as a sports team’s growth. If either of these team’s do not have a growth mindset, their performance outcomes are not going to deliver the results they are hoping for. In my experience, I have seen people have more growth during adversarial times. This isn’t to say it is impossible to have growth occur which is strategically planned out, and this is a preferable option. However, the reality is most development professionally and personally occurs during times of adversity.

As I was reflecting on this topic, I thought of a comment another leader I was speaking to recently made. They told me that their job is to be in charge of the “background music and atmosphere”. In other words, they were the person who was responsible for contributing to setting the vibe and base culture of their organization. They were also the leader of the organization. I loved hearing this analogy, as it made instant sense to me. I also started thinking about whether there perhaps is a song that is representative of setting this mood, but of course in reality there isn’t just one. It’s more of a feeling you get when you think of the organization. Of course, a good one.

This past week was a tough one for both me, as well as one of the team’s I am working with. They are going through a difficult transition period in the middle of their season. This would be equivalent to a mid-quarter transition if this was a workforce team. Most of us have experienced either an unplanned or anticipated transition, but independent of this, it doesn’t always make it easy to go through it.

If the transition is unplanned, there are both pros and cons to this scenario. Some of the cons are that you don’t know what to expect the potential outcome will be, and this can be from a lack of experience to know what the options could be. Another con is that the impact on the transition may not be in your favor, but then again, it might be. A pro to this scenario is that you will be learning from it. Perhaps not right away, as you will likely need time and perspective to be in your favor to do so. The other pro from an unplanned transition is that you will ultimately learn something either about yourself, your leader or your teammates. Perhaps all three categories. When you learn something about yourself, this is when growth occurs, and ideally, it enables you to take your experience with the scenario to the next level.

Upon speaking with individuals on the team about the transition they were going through, the emotion level was in some cases on red alert. Half the team was on the defense as we talked about how they are either negatively or positively contributing to the transition which the team was experiencing. There were some people during these conversations who were quite surprised by what we were talking about, and some of them were visibly not happy about segments of it. Perhaps they felt they were being verbally attacked, but this wasn’t the intent. The intent was to do what I often refer to “holding a mirror” in front of someone. However, this is done so you can verbally show and share with them how they are being viewed based on their body language actions and verbal contributions. Or, lack of them when they were being observed.

During one of the conversations, I shared with the person my own experience with having the first of a number of these conversations when I was on the receiving end early during my career. To say I elegantly processed the first of these conversations wouldn’t be accurate, as I didn’t know quite how to respond to what I was being told was constructive feedback. Actually, only some of it was, but it was the delivery method that left a lot to be desired. The result of having numerous of these experiences over the last several decades, has shaped how I would one day be in the reverse scenario. In a leadership role. I would also learn to deliver and handle very similar conversations dramatically differently. Yes, I learned and grew from this experience, and this was the goal for me. Was it difficult and hard to do? It truthfully was, but I know it helped me to become a better future leader at that time.

If you are looking for suggestions on what you, or others you lead can do to increase your opportunities for growth and development, especially during adversity, I have included them for you below:

  • Always trust your instinct. However, if you feel compelled to get a second opinion, I encourage you to do so.
  • Work on containing your emotions during critical conversations or scenarios. I’m not suggesting you act like someone else, but I am recommending you think about how you could come across more neutrally. This applies to both delivering and receiving information during a conversation or brief verbal interaction.
  • We don’t always have the right perspective, particularly in emotionally charged situations. When possible, take time to decompress before engaging with another person or the team you lead before you act and speak more based on emotion than logic. Sometimes a mix of both can work, but it’s an advanced communication and leadership skill that will take serious practice.
  • It’s possible you will have to come to terms with the fact that there are people you interact with, or lead, that are perfectly happy and even comfortable with their lack of growth. This may be hard to imagine, and depending on what role they serve, this may or may not be acceptable. If your team is growth minded, you will need to determine if it is possible for the individual in question to change. Or, not.
  • Excuses are easy to come up with to avoid doing something. What if you stripped away all of the excuses you could think of, and committed to the unknown, and ventured into being open to growing and developing as a person or professionally. This would be independent of the outcome and whether or not you are currently in a leadership role.
  • If you seriously want to develop and grow, you will need to understand that you are going to have to move potentially way outside of your comfort zone to do so.

There may never be a perfect time to experience growth, but if this is something you seriously want to accomplish, you know the saying… “there is no time like the present to do so.” Go make this happen. Especially during times of adversity.

TAGS: #Leadership #Leader #Business #Strategy #Communication #Teams #Sports #Sportsteam #Sportscoach #Motivation #Awareness #Professionalgrowthtips

How to understand others from a leadership perspective.

Conversations with others are complex. Even when they appear to be simple ones. Consider a recent conversation you had with someone. Was the intent of the conversation to solve something? Perhaps it was a conversation to debrief on a scenario, or possibly it involved politely catching up with someone. The skills you leveraged during your conversation involved a number of areas of communication you likely have taken for granted. One of them being reading the other person’s body language.

I have written about the topic of understanding body language previously, but what I want to emphasize about this area is the complexity of appreciating how difficult this is to do well. When you are able to leverage the power of being able to read the physical signs being displayed by the person you are speaking to, it can assist you in helping to navigate much more productively and skillfully via the conversation. This of course is making the assumption your listening and conversing skills are also at the same level as your body reading ability. If they are not in lock-step ability, the outcome of the conversation will be different.

How people make decisions, followed by the actions they take do not always occur after one another. Sometimes there is a delay in the actions someone will take based on the decision they have made, and sometimes, a decision had not been made, and yet an action did occur. We often see this happening when someone impulsively does something, and it appears obvious to you that there wasn’t any thinking or a sound decision made to support their action. When this occurs, the outcome can be positive, but unfortunately, it often isn’t. This is when either the person who impulsively made the decision has to either address correcting the negative outcome, or someone else does. Often a person who is in a leadership or supporting role to this individual.

Appreciating how and why others make decisions that produce fewer desirable results are not always addressed. However, most of the time they are, as the decision made by someone that was negative will often impact more than just them. Although surprisingly, this clearly wasn’t a consideration for the originator of the action. When leaders and sports coaches are faced with having to contend with addressing less than desirable choices and outcomes from people they lead, they need to do so strategically. In other words, taking the emotion out of how they might want to initially respond to the scenario they are contending with.

People with less life experience, or experience in an any area and independent of the age decade they are in are going to make less than desirable decisions. When they do this, it provides an incredible learning opportunity for them, but the impact of their learning will be largely dependent upon how the leader handles addressing the matter. Assuming the emotion is taken out of the equation for how the leader and sports coach approaches the individual who made a poor choice in either their actions or words, the next time an individual who is in a similar scenario may or may not make the same mistakes. Why? Because depending on how the conversation progressed and whether the person who is “learning” is asked questions to help them to understand why and how their behavior occurred, will help them to learn and increase their own awareness of why and what they did. More importantly, the impact it had, and which wasn’t likely the one they would have preferred.

Depending on where you are at in your own leadership or sports coaching journey is going to have an impact on how you are going to be able to successfully navigate understanding others you lead. The goal will be to understand others at the highest level possible, and here are some of the considerations for you to contemplate where you are in your quest to eventually reach the mastery level of doing this.

  • Yes, you can fake caring, but if you are going to just go through the motions of addressing better understanding and helping those you lead, you are going to have to allow yourself to let your guard down when you are doing so, and truly care.
  • Prior to discussing why someone made the decision they did, think about asking them open ended questions which will allow them not to feel they are oriented towards being purely punitive versus inquisitive questions to fully understand their thinking orientation process.
  • No one enjoys being lectured to. Make sure you are aware of the fact you are doing your best to ride the line of being neutral in your conversation to first understand the persons “why” they did what they did, with the goal of helping them to determine what they could have done or can do differently in the future.
  • Very few of us are mind readers, so don’t assume going into a conversation with the person you are going to be speaking with that you know exactly why they did what they did. You know the saying about making the mistake of assuming things…
  • Direct your conversations and the outcome of them to be oriented towards offering them support. Even if they made a really large mistake, or if it was a minor one that needed to be addressed.
  • Following up on your initial conversation with the person who needs more leadership guidance based on their decisions and actions should always occur. The “one and done approach” is too easy to subscribe to, and the most effective leaders and sports coaches will always follow up with you after an initial conversation where they were offering you their support and guidance.

Everyone makes mistakes and ideally, we will learn from them. How we approach having an understanding of the why and how others do what they do, and being open minded to helping them to become better and stronger in their roles is one of the gifts of leadership you can pass along to others. Don’t be stingy with this gift, and use it often. It will serve you and those you lead exceptionally well.

TAGS: #Leadership #Leader #Sportscoach #Communication #Motivation #Teams #Teamdynamics #Influence #Professionaldevelopment #Personaldevelopment #Sales #Marketing #Business

Me, my, I and why this doesn’t work.

I’ll never forget the moment in time I was called out by the CEO of the company I was working for, and when he pulled me aside after I had given a presentation to our sales and marketing team’s. What I didn’t realize was that during the presentation I was giving, I referred to the team I was leading as my team and sprinkled in references to alluding to other words which were not inclusive of the team. I didn’t do this intentionally, but I learned an enormous lesson that day. Thank you, Lou Shipley, for teaching me this lesson. I am grateful you taught me this.

After the presentation was given and we were on a break, Lou asked if he could speak with me. I didn’t know what he wanted to speak to me about, and I was caught off guard by both his timing, and what he had to say. Ultimately, he told me that I referred to the marketing team as my team and leveraged the words I instead of the words our and we. Upon hearing what was intended to be constructive feedback, but was yet hurtful, I was also embarrassed for making this mistake with my chosen words. However, this was a lesson which has served me well, and this is the first time I’m publicly thanking Lou. Of course, I don’t have to do this, but I am also a fan of giving people credit and appreciating and acknowledging when others help me.

Did the team I was leading notice my choice of words? I can’t say for sure whether they did, and if they did, I still maintain they knew me well enough to appreciate that I am not a selfish person. More importantly, that I always had their best interests in mind. Independent of this, the rest of the lesson played out in a way which I have embraced and passed along to many others. Including you now.

From Lou’s perspective, my choice of words came across as being potentially arrogant and devoid of giving credit to the team I was leading. I can now appreciate the optics of his perception, but at the time the “teaching” conversation was occurring, it felt like I was being criticized versus being taught a leadership concept. Sure, Lou could have chosen to say something to me after the event had concluded, but the impact of his timing was critical, even though I wasn’t going to be in a position to make this same gaff later that day.

After some time passed and I was able to appreciate Lou’s leadership advice, and since that conversation, I have been hyper aware of not repeating this same mistake. It’s also been interesting how I am now more sensitive to appreciating how others in leadership positions verbally and in writing give credit to their team’s. Or, whether they chose words which I chose during that moment in time which made others potentially think I was taking credit for everything the team I was leading had or was about to accomplish.

Last week I was watching a live post game conversation with a sports coach, and the journalist kept trying to almost trap the sports coach into taking full credit verbally for the winning results. What happened instead, was this coach gave credit to his assistant coaches, the supporting staff and then the athletes for their accomplishment. He never even alluded to the fact he had contributed to the win, and it was incredibly refreshing to see his approach. It was this interview that triggered me to reflect upon to the opposite experience I had with Lou. Seeing and hearing this coach’s response almost brought me to tears, as his demonstration of being unselfish was so authentic. I will add it was impressive too.

If you are either unaware or know a leader, sports coach or someone who impacts others that isn’t choosing the right verbiage or isn’t giving their team’s the credit they deserve verbally or in writing, here are some suggestions to address this scenario.

  • Leveraging hypothetical scenarios in conversation with someone who isn’t seeing or appreciating what you are trying to help them with is a technique I use which significantly helps get your point across. It might take multiple examples, so keep coming up with new ones until the person grasps the concept.
  • Consider asking the person if they are aware of the fact they do not or are not regularly giving credit to both their support staff and the team they are leading. If a person hasn’t been taught or is used to giving praise and credit to others, they may not be comfortable doing so. It will take them practice getting to the point they can do this well, and more often.
  • Over praising can in fact diminish the authenticity of your praise, but there is a middle ground you will be able to find that will work well. You will need to sort out where this middle ground is, and when you get there, it will feel right when you reach it.
  • There are plenty of examples of leaders, sports coaches, and people you can mimic or modify their style of how they both verbally and in writing express appreciation for their staff and team. You need to be the judge on which style is going to be right for you.
  • If possible, watch a video of how you express to others how your business or sports team is performing. You might be surprised by how you are doing this, and I can assure you, there is always room for improvement in this area.
  • Test drive on one or two people you lead what words you are intentionally selecting to offer them guidance or praise, and how they are reacting to this conversation. Pay attention to the fact you might find some people will shut down and not respond well to your conversation. If this happens, be sure to not hit the “ignore button”, but to instead pick a time to talk to this person, or the group which has shutdown to address what you are seeing occurring. Keep in mind that some people do not like to be praised publically.

At the heart of this topic is the concept of organizational behavior. Contributing to this concept both positively and constructively will have the type of impact you and others are expecting, and when the organization is healthy, the culture health will be too, but this all starts at the top to model the right behavior.

TAGS: #Business #Sports #Leader #Leadership #Sportscoach #Communication #Strategy #Organizationalbehavior #Loushipley #Success #Motivation #Teamdynamics