How To Build Better Relationships On Your Team And In Your Life – Choose Your Response

Have you ever had someone react differently than you expected to something you said? We all have and there is something you can do about it.  Anthony Robbins says “The meaning of your communication is the response you get.”  If you don’t like the response you are getting, change your approach.  Okay but how and how do you not come off as a phony, a wimp or a suck-up?HighFive_240x150

A portion of Master Resilience Training is the way.  MRT is the third component of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness training developed by Martin E.P. Seligman.  The program trains drill sergeants on how to embrace resilience and pass on the knowledge.  MRT has three parts – building mental toughness, building signature strengths, and building strong relationships.

The building strong relationships section, based on the work of Shelly Gable, describes the four styles of responding to people:

  1. Active constructive (authentic, enthusiastic support)
  2. Passive constructive (laconic support, i.e. the use of few words expressing support)
  3. Passive destructive (ignoring the event)
  4. Active distributive (pointing out the negative aspects of the event)

Here is an example of basketball teammates.  Joe tells Sam, “Hey, I was selected as one of the co-captains.”

Active constructive – “That’s great. What else do you have to do as one of the captains? Has it been announced? What did the Coach say about why you deserved it?”

Passive constructive – “That’s nice.”

Passive destructive – “I saw a funny video online.  Look at this…”

Active destructive – “You know you don’t get anything extra for it and it will take up a lot of your fun time…”

Being mindful of your response style and working on having more responses that are active constructive, can improve how you are perceived.  You can be seen as being real and being nice.

[Image: Flickr user SashaW]

Building Resilience – Harvard Business Review

ResilienceTraining240x159_USArmyWhat makes one person grow from experiencing a trauma, another gets through it to be basically the same as they were before the trauma (resilience), and yet another fall apart?  Dr. Seligman shows how training can move people towards growth as the result of the trauma.  “These are the people of whom Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Dr. Seligman worked with the US Army to teach positive psychology through an initiative called “Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) and consists of three components: a test for psychological fitness, self-improvement courses available following the test, and “master resilience training” (MRT) for drill sergeants.  These are based on PERMA: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment—the building blocks of resilience and growth.”

One concern about the training was that it would be see as “touchy-feely” or “psychobabble” by hardened soldiers.  The initiative was extremely well received with participants giving the course a 4.9 out of 5 rating and a many say it is the best course they have ever had in the army.

Building Resilience, By Martin E.P. Seligman – Harvard Business Review, April 2011.

[Image: Flickr user familymwr]

What Creates Energy in Organizations?

EnergyBall150x150_BrendaStarrThe authors talk about eight decisions that increase energy and that these questions can for a diagnostic.

The authors say “energy is created in conversations that balance several dimensions of an interaction. Hitting the midpoint, or sweet spot, of these five dimensions…”  People are energized by interactions on these five dimensions:

  1. Interactions in which a compelling vision is created
  2. Interactions in which a they can contribute meaningfully
  3. Participants are fully engaged in an interaction
  4. Interactions marked by progress
  5. Interactions where hope becomes part of the equation

Have you ever wanted to help a colleague see why their expertise is going unused, but you struggled for the right words?  How about this from the article,

While energizers have a disproportionate effect on group learning, the expertise of de-energizers often goes untapped no matter how relevant it is. Instead of finding ways to modify their behavior, however, de-energizers tend to persist in unconstructive approaches when they are bypassed. In the words of one executive: “Avoiding them just makes them yell louder and cause more problems because they don’t feel heard. And it can become a crusade for them. They keep pushing their opinions harder, rather than trying different ways to engage the group constructively.”

You will get something you can apply from this article by Rob Cross, Wayne Baker, and Andrew Parker (July 15, 2003) Slone Management Review.

[Image: Flickr user ~Brenda-Starr~]

The Power of Small Wins – Harvard Business Review

The Power of Small Wins – Harvard Business Review, by Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, May 2011.

The results of the research of managers perceptions shows that most (95%) fail to understand what is motivating to staff.

Make sure you read the section “A Surprise for Managers” section.  The author reminds us about Frederick Herzberg article from a 1968 Harvard Business Review article titled “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?”.

“People are most satisfied with their jobs (and therefore most motivated) when those jobs give them the opportunity to experience achievement.”  It is not public or private recognition because without work achievements, there is little to recognize.

The full text of the article contains a “Daily Progress Checklist” for leaders to plan their managerial actions for the next day.  Will you support progress (acting as a a catalyst and nourisher) or support setbacks (acting as an inhibitor with toxins)?

[Image: Flickr user MelissaGoldstein]