Posts

Being a Great Leader: the fine line between Confidence and Skepticism

You’ve probably heard, over and over again, about the importance of self-confidence for a leader. Confidence gives you charisma. It makes people follow you. It makes friends trust you and enemies fear you.

It’s pretty hard to imagine Caesar or Napoleon telling their people “Well, we could try this, but I don’t guarantee that it’ll work.” So why should you, if you aspire to become a great leader?

But let’s leave confidence aside for a minute. There’s another element which most leaders of today are lacking. Have you ever had a boss who thought he knew all the answers to every question? Who never admitted he was wrong or, even more, that idea didn’t even cross his mind? Of course you did. In one word, do you know what that guy was missing? It was skepticism. Will all the praise of confidence and self-esteem, almost everyone forgot the importance of a certain dose of self-doubt.

Being a little skeptical about your own opinions is such an important factor these days. While everyone has an opinion (and everyone thinks that their opinion is the right one), those who can be skeptical about their own beliefs have a great advantage: when a problem arises they won’t take anything as given, but they will try to make up their mind, starting from zero, about what would be the best solution. That includes asking every employee’s opinion on the subject matter, because the skeptic knows that he is just a human being, fallible like any other. From this type of behaviour, two big advantages emerge: the employees will appreciate their leader for respecting them and the final solution to the problem will have a much, much higher chance of being the right one.

Well, but it seems pretty impossible to be skeptical and confident at the same time, right? Indeed, but that might not be needed. Here’s my piece of advice: whenever a problem arises, adopt this two-step approach in solving it:

Step 1– Total skepticism.
Do not take anything for granted. Search the internet for similar problems that other companies had and look at how they’ve handled them. Take notes. Now take what you’ve learned about it and present the information to your employees. If possible, ask each and every one of them how would they handle this. Finally, make a decision based on all of their insight.

Step 2 – Total confidence.

Once you’ve made that decision, stick with it until the end. At this point, you know you’ve done your best, so there’s no reason to be insecure. Your people also have to feel they they are going in the right path, so make sure you radiate confidence. Act like nothing can stop you and your people anymore from reaching your objectives.

Doesn’t look so hard anymore, does it? And while this two-step approach is meant specifically for leaders, it can be a great idea to use the same pattern in making any kinds of decisions, the results will be great nevertheless.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

B_txt_14

 

 

 

Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment is something people experience on a daily basis, but are too afraid to speak out about it… By law, harassment is described as any unwanted verbal or physical behaviour which are based on ideas such as colour, race, sex, religion, nationality, age, either physical or mental disabilities, and last but not least, gender identity. A harassing behaviour can take many forms which include: slurs, offensive jokes, intimidation, ridicule, insults, name calling, physical threats or assaults, offensive pictures and many more.

Many people encounter harassment even during interviews. It is important to know what rules apply to the employers and what they can and cannot ask you. Moreover, recruiters cannot ask you about your religion, race, marital status, disabilities, ethnic background, country of origin, age or sexual preferences. Next time you’re going into an interview, pay attention at what and how they ask about information regarding yourself.

Unfortunately, anyone can be in a situation where he or she is the harasser or the person being harassed. The harasser can range from being your boss, a co-worker, a supervisor from a different department, or even a non-employee, whilst the victim of the harassment doesn’t necessarily have to be the one directly harassed, but it can be any person in the office who feels affected by the harassing behaviour.

How to Deal with Harassment at the Workplace

Usually, people who are dealing with workplace harassment have the intention of solving the incident internally. The first option would be to approach the offender personally and explain how his behaviour and language have offended you. If you feel uncomfortable with the direct approach, the other option would be to contact your manager or supervisor and ask him to handle the situation before it develops into something more problematic.

Of course, there are cases in which the offender is your manager or supervisor and your only course of action is to contact the HR department or your manager’s boss and request an analysis of the situation.

Types of Harassment

There are numerous ways in which harassment takes place in the workplace. Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be one of the primary courses of harassment, although that does not mean that non-sexual harassment must be treated lightly. It is essential that people understand that harassment at the office can affect them, whether they are victims or not. One way or another it could impact people’s state of mind and even their careers.

As mentioned above, harassment can take many forms at the office. It could vary from being both physical and sexual and ending up with it being based on religion or race.

In the United States, the definition of harassment ranges from state to state. For example, in Florida a court decided that ‘fat jokes’ are offensive, while in Wisconsin and New York harassing people based on their criminal record is against the law. It is obvious that this issue represents a tricky subject everywhere around the world.

Sexual Harassment

This type of harassment does not limit itself to just physical contact or words and just between co-workers of the opposite sex. All of the following examples classify as sexual harassment:

  • Staring in a provocative manner, or whistling.
  • Emails, letters or notes with provocative messages.
  • Obscene videos and images shared with colleagues during a break or at lunch.
  • Expose posters of inappropriate sexual imagery.
  • Sharing sexual anecdotes or lewd jokes with the co-workers.
  • Making offensive remarks about a person’s gender identity.

Non-Sexual Harassment

This type of harassment includes remarks ranging from a person’s physical appearance to his mental disabilities or cultural values. A co-worker can create a hostile work environment by continuously commenting that a person is too old, too stupid or too fat.

If you someone in the workplace is making either racist or negative comments regarding another person in the office is definitely harassment. In this category can also fall drawings, clothing or gestures that hurt or transform someone in a victim at the office. The following examples fall into the category of non-sexual harassment:

  • Making jokes and negative remarks about a co-worker’s religious beliefs, or enforcing one’s own religious views on a person.
  • Racist nicknames, slangs and phrases are all prohibited.
  • ‘Distinguishing’ people at the office by the colour of their skin or ethnic characteristics.
  • Talking about cultural or religious stereotypes in an offensive manner.

So, having read all this, next time you are a victim of sexual harassment or notice a colleague in this situation, you will know how to recognise it and take action.

The Great People Inside employee assessment solutions and technology can be tailored to your company’s specific needs and organisational culture and can help you to boost the levels of job-fit and skill-use in your employees, generating job satisfaction, improved motivation, health and happiness, and boost employee retention.

Try out our assessment in order to measure the level of wellbeing in your organisation and find out the best approach to improve it.

B_txt_14

 

 

 

Sources:
https://www.thebalance.com/types-of-harassment-in-the-workplace-2060886
https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-handle-harassment-at-work-2060887

 

Maximising Your Chances of Getting the Job AFTER the Interview

You’ve just finished your job interview. Time to relax and mind yourself with other business until you get a response, right? Well, this is definitely everybody’s first reaction, but it is not the right one.  Given today’s competitive job market, you must keep in mind that you should also do a follow-up; otherwise you may risk losing the position to other candidates. You also have to be careful not to look desperate, but rather look persistent and prove your willingness to land the job.

There is no certain way to know if you got the job until you receive an actual offer. Don’t forget, they may genuinely think you were absolutely fantastic, but someone else could end up being better. Generally, there is more than one strong candidate for a job position, especially in the current marketplace.

These are a few tips that could prove valuable to you after the interview, in order to maximise your chances of getting the job:

 

  1. Follow the instructions given – After the interview, the recruiter may tell you to contact them by email. If so, do not contact them by phone. Listen to their instructions precisely and act accordingly. If you somehow forgot to ask during the interview what the next steps are, write an email asking for clarification. It shows that you care about the job and that you are ready for the next phase
  2. Provide documentation to prove your job abilities – If possible, when you do a follow-up by email, also include documents that show just how good you are at your job. Of course, these documents have to be non-confidential samples, press mentions or some public statistics in order to prove your worth. It’s an excellent way to show your professionalism and work ethic.
  3. Don’t become a stalker – It is quite understandable that you are nervous and anxious about the outcome of the interview. However, try not to bother the employer too much. After following their exact instructions, you have to wait. If you haven’t heard from them in a couple of days, it is probably time to move on. Also, don’t go out sending LinkedIn invites to the people who have interviewed you before the hiring process ends. It comes off as being a bit desperate. Try and remain calm.
  4. Start preparing for the next set of interviews – Life can surprise you and you never know when you can receive an email announcing you about another upcoming interview, or if you’re asked to come in for a second interview. It’s absolutely vital that you be prepared at a moment’s notice, Also, if you wish to set yourself apart from other candidates, (and I assume you do) try and find interesting facts and/or figures about the company where you applied for the job. It could be anything ranging from an award they have just won to a recent environmental initiative they have started. It’s best when you introduce this information naturally into the conversation at the interview and it will definitely leave a good impression with the recruiters and it will also increase your chances of landing the job.
  5. Analyse your interview performance – After an interview it’s also important that you relax for a couple of hours. Once you managed to distance yourself from the subject, analyse your performance. Think about what you said and how the interviewer reacted, what you could have said better and keep that in mind if you get called in for a second interview. Furthermore, pay attention to the recruiter and what he says, it is possible that of the things he or she said to have annoyed you one way or another. This helps you determine whether this company suits your principles and values.

Last but not least, try to make good use of the experience of the interview. Regardless of how it went, you’ve still won something: if it went well, you’ve got the job, if not, you’ve gained the experience necessary to land the next one.

 

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com

http://www.businessinsider.com

B_txt_14

 

Dealing With Stress, Step 8: Acceptance

(This article is a part of a series; please start here)

Accepting one’s human, thus fallible, nature is hard for most people. Either because of the upbringing or because of acquired or innate perfectionism, it does not matter. The errors seem to bear a weight far greater than consequences would grant, usually.

Moreover, there seems to be a worldview that equates “error” to “personal flaw”, and as such any error seems to diminish the already frail sense of self-worth. Combine that with the over-the-top reactions of those around (how many times a small oversight was blown out of proportion by a boss or colleague? How many times small mishaps were used in office wars?), and errors sometimes take on the color of impending doom.

Now, take a break from the self-blame cycle and imagine that the very same thing, in the same circumstances, happened to one of your friends, and you have to talk to him.

How would you treat your friend?

Would you beat them over the head and make them grovel in penance? Or would you encourage them to go on, correct any consequences to the best of their abilities and learn from their mistakes?

I bet most answers would be the latter, not the former: encourage, support, learn, move on.

Why would you treat yourself differently?

Next time you get into hot water for something you did, stop beating yourself and imagine the same thing happened to one of your friends. And treat yourself as you would treat that friend. Strive, of course, to mitigate any negative results, apologize and correct where this is due, but stop before putting yourself through a court-martial again.

Compassion is not only for strangers; it is mainly for yourself. Not because you are selfish, but because you are your most important resource. Take care of that resource before it wears out.

B_txt_14

B_txt_10

 

 

 

By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside

Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more!  You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here

Dealing With Stress, Step 6 and 7: Focus Attention Elsewhere

(This article is a part of a series; please start here)

Stop ruminating. It is natural, but not always constructive. I’d dare to say it almost never proves useful. It is not to say you shouldn’t analyse what happened; this helps you learn and get better at things. But it doesn’t help in any way to replay the movie time and again, beating yourself up or inventing alternative scenarios.

In order to stop brooding and start building, turn your attention to the outside. Consciously establish your objective: “I will scan the street and take in as many details of the outside world as I can“. Focus on things you like. If you are passionate about colors, look for every shade, for every nuance you encounter. If you are into smells, remark as many different smells, aromas, flavors as you can, from the fleeting perfumes of the passers-by to the thick smell of restaurant kitchens to the sharp smell of fresh paint as you pass by a door being redecorated. Whatever you like, look for it actively.

At first, this probably won’t last long. Your mind wants you ruminating. That’s OK. Don’t fret, don’t judge yourself, don’t try too hard. Observe the return to inner scenarios, file the fact away and get your eyes and attention back outside. Repeat as necessary.

If at all possible, take yourself into the nature: a wood, a park, a field. Nature is a healer, more so than any other man-made environment. But if you can’t, the cityscape will do nicely, as long as you remember that the essence is not succeeding in this exercise, but the repetition itself. Right, the repetition. Just like at the gym: it is not the weight you’re lifting, but how many times you lift it, that shapes muscles.

Attention and focus are much like muscles: you have to work them to make them stronger.

And while you’re at it, combine it with Step 7: straighten up. Raise your forehead, look upon the world as you own it and soon you will be better. “Fake it till you make it” is not a lie. It takes effort, for sure. But it works.

If your mind plays tricks on you, it is only adequate for you to play tricks back on it. You should be the winner.

B_txt_14

B_txt_10

 

 

 

By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside

Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more!  You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here

Dealing With Stress, Step 5: Clinical Mode On

(This article is a part of a series; please start here)

Observing dispassionately allows control. Once you managed to take the previous step (dis-identifying Yourself from Mind) – or even at the same time – start observing yourself as you would an item in a museum.

Start by observing what happens inside your body. It is easier with the body, because it doesn’t play the identification trick. Scan your muscles, your gut, your heart, your face. Notice the tension in your arms and legs, notice the feeling of a solid rock in your belly, notice the fast-paced, shallow breathing, notice the sensation of heat in your cheeks.

Once you noticed those sensations, stop. Don’t take it further, don’t judge “I shouldn’t feel that, I shouldn’t be red-faced”. Just take the information in and file it without tagging it “good” or “bad”. Go back to scanning and do it as many times as you need to cool off.

After you get familiar with observing your body, you can take the next step and do the same with your mind. Observe what feelings it puts out. Name them as exactly as you can: “my mind is making me feel ashamed“, “my mind is making me feel furious“. It is good information. It is not something you should believe or act upon. If you can trace the source you’re even better off: “my mind makes me feel ashamed I made a mistake because in the first grade the teacher always made crude fun of me because I wasn’t talented at math“. Seeing the source is valuable, because it shows you that your mood has less to do with Now and more to do with The Past. The link is emotional, not rational.

If you have ever been in a negotiation with an used-cars salesman (or any slick, fast-talking sales guy), you know how you look at him working his number, recognize the tricks in his book and smile inwardly “You won’t catch me this time, dude!

The same goes with your mind. It won’t catch you again, because you will recognize its trick, see right through them and take appropriate action, as opposed to the hasty things It wants you to do.

“Response” is the name of the game. “Reaction” is a thing of the past.

Continue with steps 6 and 7 by clicking here
B_txt_14

 

 

 

 

By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside

Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more!  You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here

Dealing With Stress, Step 4: You Are Not Your Mood

(This article is a part of a series; please start here)

Your Mind and You are two different things. Any other part of your body hurting, you would say “my body part is hurting”. It is only with the mind that you say “I am hurting”.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by a feeling of dread, only to scan the near future and find nothing to explain that? It happens to me in the morning, usually. This is one of the many tricks in the mind’s arsenal. What happens is we surrender to the mood without questioning its validity.

But a bad mood is just that: a transient state of the mind. Brains have a way of taking over that other organs don’t. You just have to identify that for what it is: a state of one organ. Important, powerful, useful, but an organ nonetheless.

You can start by dis-identifying Yourself from Mind. Instead of simply surrendering and saying “I am anxious / furious / stressed out” switch to naming your feeling: “I feel anxiety / fury / stress“. This trick helps putting some distance between The Whole You and whatever happens inside.

Next, start calling out the perpetrator: “My mind is making me feel anxiety / fury / stress“. If you can, take a step back mentally and “see” your mind playing its little tricks.

Stop identifying yourself with the workings of your mind. Take a step back. Cool down. It is the most direct way of replacing reaction with response.

Read part 5

 

B_txt_14

B_txt_10

 

 

 

By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside

Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more!  You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here

Dealing With Stress, Step 3: Don’t Fight Feelings

(This article is a part of a series; please start here)

Fighting the feeling will only enhance its grip. That is something adults almost never tell kids, when it comes to “proper emotional reaction”. At least where I am from, “boys don’t cry”. I’ve been told that many times; I’ve never been told how to fight tears (and, of course, the more I tried, the more they would trickle down my cheeks, red-hot with shame).

One doesn’t justify feelings. They are what they are: a natural, honest and strong reaction of the mind (and body) to an unpleasant set of circumstances. You wouldn’t even dream to justify breathing and explain metabolism. Why would you need to treat feelings differently?

That “good” feeling / “bad” feeling dichotomy is a purely social construct. “Chase away the nature, it will return at a gallop” say the French. And, as Nature would do, the harder you fight it the more it will return with a vengeance.

So, next time you feel something you “shouldn’t” feel, stop fighting it. If it is fear you feel, allow it; if it is anger you feel, say to yourself “This is fear that I feel; I will allow it to rise and go away without fighting it“. Name it, observe it and let it be. Eventually, it will go away.

That is not to say you should indulge in manifesting your every feeling. Having that feeling is one thing; acting on it is a different beast altogether. Do not allow yourself to act under the pressure. Bad moods alter the worldview, and consequences could be more than you bargained for.

If need be, you can explain: “I am feeling very nervous right now and it has nothing to do with you. I do not want to talk / explain / tell the story and I do not want to engage further because I don’t really know what I can do, so please let me be for now and I will come to you later“.

Please, do not make the mistake of taking it out on whomever stays in front of you at the moment. Even if you explain later that “it had nothing to do with you, I was just angry“, some things cannot be undone.

Feel your feelings. Name them, call them out, let them come and go without resisting. Where they’ve been, the landscape will clear out and refresh, more often than not.

Read part 4

Do you want to find out more? Get in touch with a consultant now or request a free demo!

B_txt_14

B_txt_10

 

 

 

By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside

Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more!  You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here

Dealing With Stress, Step 2: Feelings are natural

(This article is a part of a series; please start here)

Feelings are natural, they are not a flaw. We are wired to feel down, empty, nervous, anxious or furious. Don’t blame yourself.

When you’re happy, content or joyous you never second-guess your feelings, do you? Why would you do that when you’re down, adding a supplementary layer of negative? Aren’t they all the same: feelings?

It bugged me since I was a kid, hearing “You shouldn’t feel [down, unhappy, sad], think of all the kids out there who don’t have half of what you have!” I couldn’t point out why, but I was (at least) annoyed. It was like my feelings should have had some kind of universal scale of measurement and go through a global referendum, in order for said feelings to be “valid”.

Nature wired us for feeling emotions. “Bad” emotions are like “bad” breathing – they don’t exist. Fury, anger, sadness, desperation – all are natural. They are what they are and they make you feel what they make you feel. You cannot deny, choke or feint them – at least not forever. They are your emotions, and are natural (acting on them is another thing entirely…).

You don’t have to feel anything. What you feel is what you feel. Numbness is what should get you worried.

So, let feelings be. They are Mother Nature’s way of letting us know something isn’t quite right. Just like breaking the bulb of an alarm lamp does not make things right, denying feelings serves no purpose. Notice your feelings, give them names, get friendly with them. Just don’t act on them.

Read part 3

Do you want to find out more? Get in touch with a consultant now or request a free demo!

B_txt_14

B_txt_10

 

 

 

By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside

Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more!  You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here

Dealing With Stress, Step 1: You Are Not Alone

(This article is a part of a series; please start here)

You are not the only one in such a predicament: we all have rough patches and difficult moments. Some of us are better at hiding it, but on the inside we’re all the same colour.

Most of us, when in the throes of fate, feel we’re alone in our suffering. We may receive help and support from people who care for us, and we are grateful for that, but even this help-and-support come from someone who is not, right now, with us, in such a deep pain. More, we observe the world around us and see other enjoying things and feelings we so sorely lack.

a) For many, it’s about the image they put out: the deep truth is different in the overwhelming majority of cases. People will put out their best image and pour mountains of effort into safeguarding the social image (isn’t that what “inner power” is all about? Showing “strength” while bleeding inside?); and we see that image. The soul behind it is way more in pain and frazzled.

That realisation came to me during conversation with my spouse about some friends that seemed poised to do well; she casually said “The other day I heard her say the only thing she had left in common with her husband were the kids and the credits”.

You might think you’re alone. You might even feel loneliness. It is only natural; it is usually patently untrue. Take a moment to look around you closely. We all have our troubles. You have companions in your plight – only you do not know them. You don’t have to, just know they are there.

b) Preparation is everything: take care and assemble a Team You: people who know you, love you just the way you are and accept you with all your little quirks and peculiarities. Talk to them one by one or in a group setting.

Be as direct and clear as you can: “Friend / mom / pop / sibling, I’m approaching (or already crossing) a very rough patch in my life. I need all the love and support I can muster. I need you to support me now and show me later where I’ve done wrong. Would you do that?

This is not the time to be evasive and hope they’ll get it. Certainly, you’ll be in for some surprises. Many think “tough love” is the way (it is not, in many cases). But you’ll end up with a Team You ready to support you, ready to be your cheerleaders, a handy resource to have in dire times.

Have them know you value and cherish their support and lean on them in troubled times. That way, you’ll know you never walk alone.

Read part 2

Do you want to find out more? Get in touch with a consultant now or request a free demo!

B_txt_14

B_txt_10

 

 

 

By Catalin Octavian Blaga – Trainer Great People Inside

Trainer who turns business experience and psychology into impacting training programs… and more!  You can find out more about Catalin by clicking here