How are your people management skills?

Thinking back to the first time I was responsible for managing someone, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of being the best boss possible boss I could be. This of course was despite my limited experience in this area. However, when I factored in thinking about the myriad of opportunities to practice managing someone, while being the boss, it became less of an intimidating situation. Perhaps for both of us.

Fast forward in time close to thirty years since having first managed the person I was referring to. The fact I recently heard from this person after three decades was an incredible moment, and not one I expected to occur. What was even more surprising was the fact this person sent me a thank you note for being their boss! It goes to show you there is no time limit on thanking someone, and this is a topic I have previously written about.

In the note from the person I first managed, they shared with me that I was a highly supportive and nurturing boss, and that they were surprised I took a chance on hiring them. They also commented on how hiring them changed their life, and influenced the career direction they ended up pursuing. I never knew any of these facts until recently. My point is that even when I was a freshly minted boss, it was possible to have a positive impact on managing someone and their career.

Until I received the email via a LinkedIn message from this person, I had not considered how early in my career my people management skills would continue to be an asset to both me, and the people I have had the responsibility and honor of managing. Being completely honest, there were times when I recall managing this person that I was unsure of whether I was able to properly guide them. However, each time I felt that way, I had a conversation with myself to remind me that managing someone is actually a two-way process. This made me feel much better when I acknowledged that I was only half of the equation and the outcome results.

When I stopped to consider where I sourced my own people management skills from, I would have to say some of them were modeled by my parents. For the first five to six years of my career, I also learned through observing my bosses how to manage others. Of course, some of my bosses were far better at people management skills than others. Understanding both optimal and sub optimal ways of applying or learning these skills will serve you equally well.

Below are some of my acquired and own methods for how to improve your people management skills.

  • This can apply to both work and life situations, and is a foundational piece of advice to launch from. I know you have heard this before, but it’s not always practiced as well as it should be. Without exception, always treat the person you are managing the way you would want to be treated.
  • People are constantly surprising us with what they do and say. Sometimes this is a positive experience, but if it’s not, consider asking the person “Why did they do or say what they did?” When you ask someone to provide insight to better understand their behavior, it generally offers a teachable moment for you to help them see how they could have handled the situation differently.
  • How often do you praise someone? Often times managers neglect considering how a simple thank you, or positive acknowledgment of a small accomplishment can make someone’s day.
  • Have you considered what adjectives people would use to describe your human engagement skills? Sometimes our perceptions are quite different than the reality of how we are appearing to interact with others. Chances are if this is the case, you may not be aware that this is an area for course correction. If this is a problem area for you, it could also be why you have not, or might not advance into upper management roles.
  • Consider what you have done either in the past, or recently to improve your people management skills. Have you proactively worked on being self-aware of the importance of doing this?
  • Think about people who you would classify as having naturally gifted abilities in managing other people well. Is it possible for you to be mentored by them? Remember the importance of having a mentor, and this applies to all stages of your career. 
  • There are tremendous benefits granted to those who master being highly skilled people managers. They are often fast tracked in their careers, are more satisfied professionally with their roles, have a larger professional network to tap into when they need to do so, and are considered for roles over other people who might be more qualified technically, but are lacking in their human management skills.

This is a rich and ever evolving topic. It is also a subject that you will always benefit from any investment you make in yourself to improve how you interact with others, either personally or professionally.

Tags: #Success #Mentorship #PeopleManagementSkills #Business #Howtodevelopyourpeoplemanagementskills #Business #Sales #Management #Leadership #HumanResources #HumanCapital #Tipsonhowtoimprovepeoplemanagementskills #Strategy

Are you a people judger?

Let’s go to your “wayback machine” and place yourself in kindergarten. This was a time in your life when you were less encumbered from making judgements about others, and were more accepting of the people you interacted with. How refreshing, especially if you consider the positive side and potential of everyone you interact with being your friend.

If you think about when you began to become discerning about who you were interacting with, and why, there are likely a few key interactions in your life which shaped your decisions. Unfortunately, some of them negatively influenced your ability to have an open mind. This is especially apparent when it comes to being aware and open to seeing the benefit of interacting with everyone on a neutral basis.

Right, wrong or indifferent, we are all judged on a regular basis by others, and by our own accounts on a daily basis. How we handle these judgements, and whether we let them impact us or others around us, is what separates us from having better and more fulfilling life experiences. Why? Because when we are always judging other people, we typically are not taking in all of the information to fairly do so. More importantly, no one is entitled to be judging others, but people do this all the time.

When people are judging other people, they are in essence defining the social barriers or opportunities that will be available to them. The more people judge others, and in a negative capacity, the fewer chances they will have to positively benefit from the extraordinary talents, insights and experiences from that person.

Not being judgmental requires us to be many things. One of them is open-minded. It’s easy to say you are an open-minded individual, but in reality, it is much harder to be one. In fact, for starters, if you don’t like to ask others questions, and truly listen to what they have to say, chances are you are not an open-minded person. Why? Because with limited information about someone, it is far easier to be judgmental about them.

Consider one of your recent encounters with someone you randomly met. Perhaps you were introduced to another person in a neutral setting. In this situation, neither of you knew much about the other person. This is a great time to test your ability to be open-minded, and to see what level of judgement you are casting on the new person. Or, to be able to gauge what your level of neutrality you are offering towards the person you are meeting.

In work environments, chances are you will be slightly less judgmental of people. This is due to the fact they have been vetted in some way to be associated with your company. However, when you meet them, you will likely put them through your own method of judging them, with the intent of quickly determining your future interaction levels with them. Even if you are going to be colleagues and will be required to work closely together, your initial judgement of someone will impact how well you will work together.

What if this initial meeting of a new colleague played out differently? What if you were open-minded to learning more about them, and took the time to understand who they are, what talents they have, and how to best interact with them? Would this set both of you up to have a far better working experience? Of course, it would. However, most people don’t set themselves up to initially experience this type of interaction success. Why? Because they are accustomed to being marginally judgmental based on years of being unaware of their actions.

If you are with me on supporting the philosophy that being open-minded, or at least striving to become more so, is something you want to be, below are some questions and factors to consider. They are intended to help you to learn and perhaps achieve becoming less or non-judgmental at some point.

  • Have you ever discussed how you became closed minded when it comes to interacting with new or current people you have in your life?
  • What are the factors causing you to be judgmental?
  • How aware are you on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest) of being judgmental?
  • Has being judgmental actually benefitted you professionally?
  • Think of a time when being judgmental backfired?
  • Are you willing to consider being less judgmental?
  • When you are judging others, are you doing so out of insecurity?
  • Think about a time you were open-minded and the results of the interaction?
  • If there was a way to become less or completely non-judgmental, would you want to be this way?
  • Think of someone you admire. Is one of their qualities being non-judgmental?
  • Do you think you have the capacity to be non-judgmental?

When you are able to interact with people in a non-judgmental way, consider yourself as being fortunate. Ultimately this is something as humans we owe to both ourselves and to others to strive to achieve being more accepting of other people. We may not achieve this, or all have this as a goal. However, I firmly believe our world would certainly be a much better place to live in, if we were even slightly all more open-minded towards others.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

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Nice isn’t a four-letter word. Are you nice?

Even if you are not aware of what is going on in the world around you, it is hard not to notice there are many less than desirable things happening. Of course, the news mainly focuses on the sensational and less than positive information to report on. Occasionally it will broadcast a happy story. Although in my opinion, not nearly as often as they can and should.

I understand the economics of how sensational news is what viewers pay attention too, but sometimes I feel the equation for negative and positive news skews too heavily in the negative column. So, what can we do about this? In a simple word…lots!

For starters, we can be nicer on a daily basis to other people, starting with those closest to us. However, we also need to pass along being nice to our colleagues too. Considering we often spend more time with them than our family. If someone asked you what was the last nice thing you did for someone, could you name when and what it was?

All my life I have been referred to as a nice person. Sometimes I felt this wasn’t always a strength, especially in business. Or, so I thought at the time. Upon reflection, I wouldn’t want to change how I interacted with anyone. As a matter of fact, being nice to people is part of my management style. People take notice of this, especially when I am compared to others who do not have this same management philosophy.

Is my management style of being nice effective? It sure is. How do I know this? Because with one or two exceptions, people have told me they would want to work for and with me again at any point in time. Being nice doesn’t mean you are a pushover. It means you treat people with respect, and with kindness.

I don’t know about you, but I have never been motivated by people or bosses who are unkind, or simply not nice. Perhaps this management style works for some, but I would argue the majority of people do not respond well to this approach.

Have you ever taken the time to think about whether you are a nice person, or nice person to work or live with? If you haven’t, you should. Especially if no one has told you recently you are a nice person, in any context.

For the record, let me say that being nice is not a four-letter word. Or, a bad thing to be. In fact, it is easier to be nice than the opposite behavior. So, what are some of the other benefits to being nice? Here’s a starter list for you to consider adding to:

  • When you are genuinely nice to others, the response you normally get from them is a positive one.
  • You also feel better when you treat other people well.
  • Economically, if you are in a service business, your company will make more money if your employees treat one another, and your clients nicely.
  • Being nice to others raises both your endorphin levels, and the recipients too. For clarity, I’m talking about the “happy” type of endorphins. From a medical description via Dictionary.com, “Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.”
  • Modeling being nice to others can be contagious. We need more of this type of contagious behavior in our society.
  • Being nice does not reduce your professional or personal credibility level.
  • When you are nice to others, it means you are confident and strong.
  • More people want to interact with others who are nice, and there are numerous benefits to having more people to interact with.
  • There is no reason to be mean to others. You can always make the effort, even a small amount can be meaningful. Just try it, if you are not convinced.

So, the next time someone refers to you as being nice, stand proud, and know that you have earned being classified this way. Being nice in my opinion is a badge of honor, and I would gladly be classified as being nice, or too nice any day.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Take one step forward to change everything

I recently saw a saying which conveyed if you do not like where you are, then move. This can apply to so many scenarios, and it can literally mean pivoting and taking one step in a different direction. Have you ever noticed that sometimes making the smallest changes in any situation can have a significantly positive outcome? Take for example moving your desk to another place in your office, or rearranging and organizing items on your desk. Although these are small and seemingly inconsequential movements, they can have an impact on how you approach your next tasks.

When people are in scenarios which are unknown to them, or they are preparing to go someplace they have not been, the most difficult part of going there can be the first step they take. However, when they take their first step forward and literally look back, they have made more progress by doing this, as it is easier to continue going forward than it is to take a step back.

Earlier today I was talking to someone I have known for many years, and who has a son who is training to be a Navy Seal. He was telling me about some of the training his son has been going through, and just the first week alone and getting through it sounded nearly impossible. The sleep deprivation part of the training alone would have knocked me out of becoming a Seal, and it got me thinking about how do people get through the training process, and at what point do they decide they can’t make it through?

I have not spoken to a Navy Seal directly. However, based on hearing about my friend’s son and the type of training he has gone through, I have deduced that in order to become a Seal, it not only takes a very determined individual, but they must also possess having a certain level of mental toughness combined with sheer tenacity and a willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Each day when the prospective Seals are in training, the first step they take must in some respects be the most difficult one. Especially since they know the day ahead of them is likely going to be tougher than the previous days. If non-Seals or regular people are fortunate, they will not face the same challenges that taking the first step forward Seals in training encounter. However, I do know that taking the first step for some people can be daunting, and most of the time it is the mental aspect, not the physical aspect which makes moving ahead difficult.

So, if taking a step forward in any situation is made challenging due to the mental aspect, what can you do to overcome and move ahead? Here are some suggestions for you:

  • Focus on your end goal.
  • Seek encouragement from others to help you to take the first step.
  • Visualize what it will feel like when you have completed the project or scenario.
  • Talk yourself into getting started, and tell yourself it will not be as hard as you think it might be.
  • Set a timeframe for accomplishing either part of the project or scenario, and work towards completing it.
  • Look for others who inspire you. They may in fact have nothing to do with what you are challenging yourself to move ahead with, but they can provide inspiration for you to move ahead based on what they accomplished.
  • Establish a reward for yourself once you move ahead and then complete your project or scenario.
  • Share your completed accomplishment with someone you are comfortable with. You might in fact inspire them to do something they are afraid of doing based on what you accomplished.

No matter who you are, or what you have accomplished, everyone has things in their work and life which hold them back from moving forward. Sometimes people even seem to enjoy complaining about how they are stuck and cannot make progress. Doing this does not serve them or anyone else well, and the trick to preventing this from happening is to focus and know that by taking that first step forward, they can literally have a life changing scenario occur. Now that’s worth finding the courage to move ahead.

So, what’s next? This is a rhetorical question. Get up and take your first step towards reaching the goal you thought you could not reach. I know you can do this, and I hope I’m part of playing the role for your inspiration to do so.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

The Power of Resilience

Everyone has the power of resilience, but some have had to rely upon this skill more than others. When they do, and apply it, it is what seriously separates them in an extremely positive and impactful way from others.

According to the American Psychological Association, they define the word Resilience as an ‘adaptation in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or stress: family/relationship problems, health problems or workplace/money issues.’ I like this definition based on the word adaptation, as it is such a powerful trait which we can all learn to develop.

As you know, I’m not a big news watcher, but typically when I do catch the news, it tends to be focused on the negative events happening in our lives. Unfortunately, the format of news broadcasts does not have a follow-up element which allows you to see the negative or positive outcome of what was reported on. Unless of course it was a fatal situation. However, when I do witness an adverse situation either via the media or in life, I always try to imagine how to turn the situation into a positive one.

When you focus your attention on turning a negative into a positive, this is the essence of applying resilience, as you are in the process of learning how to adapt. Just about every situation provides you with an opportunity to practice adaptation. The trick is to recognize this, and look at how to do so.

This past week I had an opportunity to attend an event via the Agile New England organization. They hosted a talk about a subject which was fascinating to me, People Analytics. Kate O’Brien from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was the presenter. She spoke about how her organization applies predictive analytics to understanding how and whether the employees in her organization are happy with where they are working, and whether they are also happy about what they are working on.

By analyzing the employee’s responses, Kate and her team have the ability to predict which team has potential upcoming retention rate issues, whether the team is a healthy and happy team, well managed and how confident they are in the success of the work they are doing. Using what is referred to as predictive analytics, and based on what Ms. O’Brien shared during her presentation, the Broad Institute is certainly doing something extremely well. This is evident in their retention rates being incredibly high, along with their employee satisfaction rates too. Almost to the point of disbelief.

So, how does the Broad Institute achieve such amazing retention and high employee satisfaction ratings? Part of the reason is because they allow their employees to exercise resilience in the work they do, and they can legitimately state they are in the process of curing cancer as an organization.

The fact the Broad Institute interacts with so many different countries and companies to do their work, strongly supports their employees having to be resilient and adaptable at all times. Especially when their work does not go well. Instead of being focused on overcoming the adversity of their experiences, they focus on adapting and continuous improvement, which is a foundational agile concept.

If you were to take a page from the Broad Institute’s playbook on always remaining resilient and adaptable in the face of adversity, you will have a tremendous model to replicate. This can be achieved either personally or professionally, as so much of the success behind being resilient is having an open mind and the best attitude you can possibly have.  The right attitude combined with the power of resilience is what will allow all of us to not only thrive, but to exceed any and all expectations placed upon us.

If you cannot frame your mind around the concept of resilience, try applying the other power of visualizing your success when you are in an adverse situation. When part of your mind can visualize your success, the rest of your mind and body can help you to achieve it. I exercise this concept regularly, and can tell you it works incredibly well. Give it a try, and not just one time, keep trying it until you get the results you are looking for.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.