Articles

Why It’s So Important to Identify Triggers

Why It’s So Important to Identify Triggers

Article
Why should you identify your triggers?Triggers are those people, places, or situations that, while not inherently upsetting, evoke, or trigger, a deeply emotional and often negative response in you, such as anger, strong annoyance, or deep frustration. You may “act out” when you feel triggered in these moments, whether by yelling or saying something sarcastic, going silent and seething, or getting confused or flustered. Sometimes, as with post traumatic stress disorder, a trigger, even a smell or sound, can even cause flashbacks, intense pain, sadness or panic. The triggers I mean aren’t as severe as these examples, but are instead the more subtle triggers of regular life. It is important to recognize these triggers for two main reasons: In the moment where your trigger is pulled, that recognition can help you maintain or…
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Upset? Confused? Gather the Facts.

Upset? Confused? Gather the Facts.

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When we feel hurt, confused, or angry at work, it can hijack the entire day. And often, those feelings develop from an interaction we have with another person.Sometimes our feelings emerge from a situation that is clearly upsetting, confusing, or angering--we've been demoted, demeaned, or told contradictory things that lead to confusion. At other times, our feelings may actually be generated by a story we are telling ourselves, as much as by what is actually happening.It is important to know when we are telling ourselves a story that isn't based in actual fact. We may make big decisions based on our feelings, such as staying away from a meeting because we felt rejected by a person’s words, or choosing not to pursue an idea if we feel the other has…
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Team Effectiveness May Start With You

Team Effectiveness May Start With You

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I’ve been writing lately about finding leadership identity, and how knowing ourselves better can improve our lives. But there’s another reason to cultivate self-knowledge and leadership identity: the better we know ourselves, the more effective we are in a team. In a new article in the Harvard Business Review, To Improve Your Team, First Work on Yourself, Jennifer Porter, who is managing partner of a leadership and team development firm, writes that her group is regularly called upon to fix what the clients often call “dysfunctional” teams. When she and her colleagues drill down more deeply into the cause of all this “dysfunction,” they often uncover a lot of finger-pointing, and a tendency for team members to pick out certain individuals as the ineffective ones, and the ones to blame for all…
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Finding Leadership Identity, Part 2

Finding Leadership Identity, Part 2

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Last week I posted about the process of defining who we are at our core, by looking closely at the elements that make up our past and creating a timeline. Digging in and figuring out what brings us joy, (and what doesn't), helps us make decisions about our future. It gives us a clearer understanding of the culture and context in which we can feel like ourselves, do our best work (and play), and thrive.If you are choosing between two opportunities, a timeline like this, and the information you gather from it, will help point you toward one choice or another. If you are trying to dream up a future, the timeline will remind you of what situations in the past felt most "right" to you. This week continues that theme,…
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Finding Your Leadership Identity, Part I

Finding Your Leadership Identity, Part I

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The question of leadership identity has come up often with clients over the past few months. When a person is seeking to make a change, whether it’s changing careers, looking for a promotion, or a move to the next phase in life, ( kids going off to school, for instance), they can get stuck in where to begin. It’s especially hard when, as is common, a person can’t articulate what they actually want and why.We are able to choose more clearly if we first define who we are: our core purpose, our soul. If we can do that, we can begin to understand our leadership identity, and create the culture and context around us in which we can thrive. Under those conditions, anything is possible. I know of two good ways to…
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Keys to Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Keys to Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

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Some teams are more open and creative than others, and they help organizations thrive. In these teams, people share ideas freely, collaborate easily, and support each other's successes and struggles.Do you have a team or an organization like this? The recipe for a magical team is made with a few main ingredients, and one of the most important is a feeling of belonging and psychological safety.  I’ve rounded up a few ideas about how to create that kind of environment, below. But first, a reminder of what these two terms mean:Psychological safety is “the belief that a team is safe to take interpersonal risks without negative consequences for their career (Kahn, 1990)". (Definition from CQ Net blog post).A sense of belonging helps provide psychological safety, letting employees feel that they can be who they really…
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Ban the Phrase: ” I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”

Ban the Phrase: ” I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”

Article
Here's a scenario that happens to almost everyone at some point: You need to have a difficult conversation at work, and it’s not easy to speak up. But you do it anyway. “I thought that I was going to be part of that meeting, and I felt left out when I didn't get the invitation.”Then you get this response: “Well, I’m sorry you feel that way.”Is that a satisfying answer? Of course not. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is a phrase that implies that the person feeling unhappy is somehow at fault for having their feelings at all. It leans on that person to change their feelings, and doesn’t offer any attempt at understanding or connection. Other answers that come off similarly include “I’m sorry,” with no further discussion, and…
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Giving Priority To Your Values

Giving Priority To Your Values

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One of the best ways to make a decision you won’t regret is to make sure that you are making it in line with your own values. What is most important to you? The list of values is long: bravery, humility, honesty, justice, love of family, freedom, strength, discipline, kindness, equality, creativity, peace, generosity, achievement, excellence--or something entirely different from these.Values also may change over time. Right now you might value achievement, for instance, but at some point this might become a less important value to you than generosity. Or these might both be very important values to you, so you feel it’s important to accomplish things with generosity. It can be very easy to be swayed by other people’s values. We are social creatures, and often required to balance what is…
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How to Find Your Why

How to Find Your Why

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One of the keys to understanding who we are is to understand why we do what we do.What is your why? I have many clients interested in answering this question. The more we've worked together, and the more I've worked on my own "why," the more I see that this question is difficult to answer, but incredibly important to how we live our lives. When we know our motivation for doing things, we are more likely to wake up eager to enter the day. We make a bigger impact with our time, and can make stronger connections with others. We make decisions more quickly and with more clarity when we know what motivates us.To start finding our why, we might consider these two things:  1. Our strengths: What are you naturally…
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Managing the Transition Season

Managing the Transition Season

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The end of summer—officially the fall equinox on Sept 22, but, unofficially, for many of us, by late August—is a time of transition. The weather is changing, the light ebbing (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), the harvest coming in, kids returning to school. At work, people return from summer vacations and budgets are often being set in anticipation of the end of the fiscal year. Most of us naturally tend to turn inward at this time, and we settle into different rhythms at home. (For instance, I know my family tends to gather around the dinner table much more often now that we have regular schedules.) At the same time, at work we might be scrambling to keep on top of things. The phone is ringing and emails are piling…
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