July 9, 2019
Jennifer Miraglia, CEO of JM Consulting Group
A seasoned manager recently shared his challenges about one of his employees. The manager was frustrated because he would delegate work to this employee and most of the time what the employee delivered was not what the manager expected.
In further speaking to the manager, he said “I communicate, communicate, and communicate but the employee still doesn’t deliver what I ask.” Thus, the manager felt there was a performance issue brewing.
Unfortunately, it’s a very common occurrence across many industries.
Let me ask you this…
When you delegate a task is it one-way communication? For example, do you tell the employee what to do without allowing for two-way dialogue?
Many times managers think they are communicating and in actuality haven’t communicated in a way that fosters mutual understanding in order for the employee to deliver what is expected.
A typical one-way communication model looks something like this…
Sender (manager) has a Message (task/assignment) for a Receiver (employee).
What managers may not realize is the Sender (manager) and the Receiver (employee) both have “internal barriers” in their head that prevents them from truly listening. When facilitating leadership training and I go around the room and ask managers for examples of what types of internal barriers exist, I hear work related examples such as… "another pressing assignment," "work crisis/issue," "prepping for a meeting" to personal related examples such as “being hungry, “dinner plans,” “child's baseball game," "vacation plans" and so forth. However, these “internal barriers” prevent us from truly listening to ensure what we are hearing is processed correctly.
In addition to this, the Sender (manager) and the Receiver (employee) both have “external barriers” that exist that prevent them from truly listening. Examples of external barriers can be outdoor noise such as cars/sirens and construction or indoor noise such as people talking loudly nearby, people coming in and out of the office/area, being on your phone or computer while communicating, and so on.
No wonder why the performance outcomes we get back from our employees may not be what we expected. Did we allow for clarity? Did we give our employees a chance to ask questions in order to ensure mutual understanding which then affords them the ability to meet or surpass our expectations?
So when managers “tell” employees what to do without allowing for two-way dialogue they may have done a disservice to their employees. Managers may have increased the chance that what the employee delivers is not what was expected of them.
So, is it really a performance issue the employee has or taking a better look at how we (as managers of people) communicate to ensure mutual understanding?
A simple way to create two-way dialogue is after you “tell” your employee what you need them to do, PAUSE and ASK questions, such as:
“What questions do you have?”
“How can I help support you?”
“What other information might you need from me?”
"Would you like to schedule some check-in meetings together to help you?"
Listening to the employee and asking these types of questions immediately opens up a dialogue and increases the chance that what you expect of the employee is what they will deliver... or more.
Here is what a two-way communication model looks like:
Sometimes employee will “manage up” and if you don’t provide an opportunity to ask questions, they will. However, you certainly don’t want to rely only on this.
No one wants to spend time doing things that aren’t what is really expected of them, and all of us work hard to meet or exceed manager expectations.
So set your employees up for success by ensuring you do more ASKING versus telling when delegating and communicating tasks to your employees.
By creating two-way dialogue and mutual understanding, you will be able to accelerate performance outcomes, create better efficiencies and less distractions while creating a more engaged, achievement driven environment.pe your paragraph here.
Are You Having That Difficult Conversation?
February 8, 2018
Jennifer Miraglia, CEO of JM Consulting Group
You know, the time when your heart starts beating fast, your mouth gets dry, your thoughts get flooded with so much emotion you don’t know how to think?
A recent President once said, “sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it's the time when they most need to think.”
Funny, though, how in the midst of emotion, our logic and best sense of self is nowhere to be found.
The easiest way to put this in perspective is to think about how humans are hardwired to survive. Our brain, most simply stated, is comprised of three layers:
Neo-cortex - which governs logical and rationale thinking. A place we all would love to live and breath everyday
Limbic – which governs our feelings / emotions
Reptilian – which governs our “fight” or “flight” response
What is interesting about this is what happens when our feelings / emotions supersede logic.
Any guesses, where we might slip?
Yes, that is correct, straight into the hands of our reptilian state, which means we have become emotionally hijacked and we are no longer in a problem solving state.
Emotionally hijacked!? That doesn’t sound so good does it?
So the question becomes why? What was the emotional trigger that caused us to slip into the most primitive part of our brain?
Let’s break this down a bit.
When emotions supersede logic, we fall into a fight or flight response. We have left the neo-cortex (the ability to be our best and think logically as well as rationally).
Without knowing any better, many of us think we are still in a problem-solving place. However, the true “fight” or “flight” responses have emerged instead.
When we “FIGHT,” in a work context, we become aggressive, where “my needs count and yours don’t.” Typical behaviors in this "fight" response include: controlling, labeling, criticizing, arguing, blaming, interrupting, being sarcastic, ridiculing, and judging.
When we “FLEE,” in a work context, we become non-assertive, where “your needs count and mine don’t.” Typical behaviors in this "flee" response include: withdrawing, masking true feelings, becoming silent, agreeing, inwardly judging, and retreating.
How does this sound to you? Not so good. In either case, both individuals are operating from a place of survival where no true collaborative problem solving can occur.
So, the question becomes how can we learn to PAUSE and not get emotionally hijacked?
It boils down to this:
1) Understand your triggers
Become aware of what your triggers are that cause you to become emotionally hijacked. Don’t skip this process when trying to have a difficult conversation. You need this vital piece of information to help you have the best type of conversation and learn ways to prevent yourself from becoming emotionally hijacked in the first place!
2) Let the other person speak first (inquire)
In an emotional state we want to feel heard. If you allow the other person to speak first it gives them the “air time” to share what is on their mind and shows your willingness to listen and “let go” temporarily of what is on your mind.
By doing so, you have diffused emotion. The key though is to make sure…
3) The other person feels heard and acknowledged for their perspective
You don't have to agree with them. Just listen by clarifying what you are hearing, acknowledging their feelings, probing to dig deeper to understand the real concerns, and summarizing so the person knows you have truly listened to them and understand their perspective.
It is only then, after mutual understanding has taken place, that it’s…
4) Your turn to speak (advocate)
If you have done a good job at summarizing the other person’s perspective you have gotten to the point where if you ask “May I share my perspective on this as well?” they are much more likely to hear your perspective and be open to problem solving.
The magic here is demonstrating “assertive skills” where “my needs count” and “your needs count.” This involves “inquiring” coupled with listening skills first and “advocating” second. As a result, both of you feel heard and emotions dissipate and now you both can get back to your neo-cortex and problem solve.
As by definition, since conflict “is any situation in which your concerns or desires differ from those of another person and appear to be incompatible,” let’s welcome a chance to practice this everyday!
"That is Not What I Expected"
The Psychology Of Conflict
August 17, 2018
Jennifer Miraglia CEO of JM Consulting Group
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What Do You Immediately Notice?
July 4, 2018
Jennifer Miraglia, CEO of JM Consulting Group
Have you ever looked at someone and within seconds formed a lasting first impression?
A first impression, which at the time seems justified, impacts how you interact with that person now and in the future.
It happens all the time. However, in many cases the first impressions we make are wrong.
Brain research reveals we are hard-wired to take in lots of information and quickly figure out how to process it all into something that makes sense to us. Our brains are pulling on past experiences we have had, as well as, the similarities and differences that we know of, creating that “first impression” we have of someone. It’s a process many of us call “thin-slicing.”
So, let me ask you two questions:
1) What do you immediately notice about a person when you first interact with him or her?
2) How does what you immediately notice about that person impact your first impression?
Your answers to these two questions will reveal that our first impressions are primarily based on one part of someone (the part you see) and within seconds we have formulated a first impression about how we will behave around them.
So let’s break this down a bit…
What is it that is visible to us? In many cases it can be someone’s physical attributes, race, gender, disabilities, ethnicity, age, dress and religion. However, is that the whole person? No.
What about what is invisible to us? Such as work/life experiences, skills, values, work style, and the person’s character/personality? Shouldn't these invisible factors trump everything else?
So why is it we allow our first impressions of someone to become who that person is and how we behave around them?
Think about the implications of this on:
· Finding and retaining the best talent
· Having motivated and engaged employees
· Meeting or exceeding business goals
· Excelling beyond the competition
What to do?
· When you feel yourself formulating a quick evaluation of a person simply by what you immediately notice, take the time to PAUSE and be CURIOUS.
· Inquire. Ask questions.
· Learn more about the whole person before you decide how you will behave and interact.
Remember, we are also the person others are making a first impression about. Wouldn’t you want the same opportunity to show others the full you?