Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Awareness is the Gateway to Change

Triumphing Over Emotional Challenges Begins with Awareness:     
  • Being fully present
  • Seeing reality clearly
  • Recognizing choices
  • Making choices based on the present
The experience of life is already taking place.  It just keeps coming at us, one event after another, and it includes a myriad of experiences from joy to sorrow.  Being aware does not change that.  However, being aware does put us in the driver seat of our lives.  It allows us to pay attention to what is going on and interact with it proactively rather than reactively.

We can't change whatever we are unaware of or refuse to admit.  Lack of awareness includes living in the past, distorting reality, reacting, making choices based on the past, or being passive and dependent.  The consequences of being unaware include making mistakes, getting into accidents, being inefficient, letting others decide for you, communicating poorly, or being reactive rather than proactive.

We are effective and successful in most aspects of our lives.  This is important to remember as we are often unduly negative and critical of ourselves.  When we have self-defeating feelings and behaviors, the strategy for changing them is to do something – anything – that is incompatible with, or short-circuits, our negative feelings and behavior.  For example, if we are down and depressed, we want to select behaviors that are active and energetic.  If we are agitated, we want to choose relaxing and calming behaviors.

In our next blog we continue to look at some strategies for understanding our adversities and dealing with them effectively.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Monday, November 28, 2016

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

*Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.  Although the concept of emotional intelligence has received a lot of attention in recent years, its earliest roots can be traced to Charles Darwin's work on the importance of emotional expression for survival and adaptation.
*from Wikipedia
Although an individual may possess all of the necessary "technical" skills to perform a job, often it is a lack of emotional intelligence that hinders his/her performance at work.  High emotional intelligence is essential for high-performance.
Although life offers tremendous blessings, beauty, wonder, and joy, most of us need not look far to discover life's adversity.  Learning to create a state of mind that allows us to meet, conquer, and transcend the challenges of our lives will enable us to live and work from our vision and purpose, rather than being reactive to circumstances, events, and other people.  In our next blog we look at some strategies for understanding our adversities and dealing with them effectively.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Conquering our Key Moments

Although life offers tremendous blessings, beauty, wonder, and joy, most of us need not look far to discover life's adversity.  Most lives are characterized by some degree of difficulty and struggling, whether they are traumatic events or everyday hassles.

We begrudge our adversities, wishing they would go away.  Yet they do not.  Rather, they keep coming at us in a seemingly unending series of challenges.  Learning to understand our adversities and developing strategies for dealing with them effectively will help us to conquer life's challenging moments.

Conquering our key moments begins with awareness.  Awareness could be thought of as the mental state in which we are conscious, awake, and paying attention to what is going on within and around us.  Awareness is the state of being mentally: Alert -- Present -- Focused.

A "Key Moment" is a triggering event or situation which presents a challenge and elicits or demands a response.  In order to overcome our key moments, we need to explore our beliefs, our interpretation of the events, our feelings, and our behavior.  We can justify our behavior and blame others, or we can seek to understand ourselves and learn from our experiences.  Our core beliefs are the root cause of the entire response chain.  Shifting our core beliefs is the key to conquering our key moments.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The First Step - Have A Positive Attitude

Our attitude affects our behavior which in turn affects our performance.  The attitude we have affects everyone around us and can contribute to the attitude they choose to display.  If you want to be surrounded by individuals with positive attitudes, the first step is to have a positive attitude yourself.

Anyone can learn how to create the attitude that will attract people to you and show your company, co-workers, and customers that you are excited and positive about your job.

Employers were asked which employees they would keep, assuming that job skills and knowledge were equal.  The most common answer was, "The ones who are determined to set a positive tone through their performance and behavior."*

Although you may not always feel at your best, no one else around you ever needs to know that.  Your ability to appear positive while on the job, even when you are not, can have many positive outcomes.
The more positive people you surround yourself with, the easier it is to maintain a positive attitude.

*Personal survey of business owners, managers, and HR professionals in the US by Connie Podesta

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Monday, October 31, 2016

Listening is Hard Work

What makes a good listener?

Listening is the ability to accurately perceive a message conveyed by another person.

Our attitude does affect our listening.  If we truly want to learn or understand, we will listen much better.  Listening does not come naturally to most people.  It is not passive but active, demanding a lot of effort and work.  To be a good active listener, you must look for underlying messages and meaning.  This is done by observing non-verbal cues, sensing feelings, putting yourself in the speaker's place, and trying to understand what he/she is really trying to communicate.

Active Listening Steps         
  • Create a Safe Place      
  • Become Actively Involved      
  • Avoid the Temptation to Evaluate      
  • Search for Meaning
  • Confirm Your Understanding  
  • Bring Closure
Listening is hard work.  Take responsibility to understand the content as well as the feelings that are being communicated to you.
Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Recognizing the Need for Change

The first step in any change process is recognizing that there is a need to change.  This can often be a difficult initial step to overcome because many organizations and people hold the belief, "why change - I like the way things are!"  We all need to recognize that change is inevitable; there is always a need to seek out innovative ways to improve.

Experience tells us that too often organizations rush into change without really considering the need.  In their eagerness to pursue a change initiative, they can chase the wrong end state and ultimately waste valuable resources.  Often this goal of saving resources was the focus of the project in the first place.  This is most likely the result of poor change leadership skills. To be resilient, all of us need to develop excellent change leadership skills.
Communicating During A Period Of Change 
  • Ensure that everyone is aware of the change initiative
  • Offer reassurance that change is necessary and explain why
  • Focus attention on the activities of those involved in delivering the change
  • Offer reassurance that the change is being properly managed
  • Provide timely information on the progress of the change initiative
  • Ensure that all communications are accurate and that they reflect both the successes and failures of the change process
  • Discuss the different options available
  • Discuss and reinforce the desired patterns of behavior that are taking place as a result of the change initiative
  • Be sure that those outside the business are also reassured
  • Ensure that there are quick resolutions to any challenges encountered
Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Friday, October 14, 2016

Resilient Organizations

Change is a permanent feature of all organizations regardless of sector or size.   However, the ability to take charge of change can be a key distinguishing feature of a successful organization.   Change impacts all of us in different ways.  How quickly we bounce back from change reflects our level of resilience.  We can help our organization to become more resilient by leading change.

Three Characteristics of Resilient Organizations:

1.  A Clear Purpose And Values
An organization must have a strategy to be successful.  A clear purpose is what encourages individuals to get involved and actively participate in the activities and direction of the organization.  Employees will then understand why they are there, what needs to be done, and most importantly - where they are going.  A sense of purpose supported with clear values and principles must be known to everyone within the organization.

2.  Prepare Employees For Change
Regular training of employees on how to understand and manage change is essential.  Don't wait until the change is impacting your organization before preparing employees for change, or it may be too late.

3.  Build Flexibility And Innovation
In times of change, innovation will allow an organization to break down boundaries, while flexibility will enable employees to prepare the organization for the future.  These characteristics can also help us with personal resilience.  Having a clear purpose, being prepared for change, and ensuring that you have the innovation to break down barriers will help you on your journey.

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP