Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Learning, Relationships, training

Psychological Safety

A team climate characterised by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, in which people are comfortable being themselves” – Amy Edmondson

Edmondson is a Harvard Business School professor and the author of “The Fearless Organisation”. Psychological safety is about your voice being heard, it is not about being nice, its about being able to be candid and honest about what you see and hear. It is also not about avoiding conflict or license to whine it is about having a voice and being able to speak up.

The research for the book focused on hospitals, Edmondson studied the rate of reported errors, versus patient outcomes, across surgical teams. The research found that the teams with the highest number of mistakes, seemed to have the best patient outcomes. Their success was down to an attitude of honesty, transparency and learning, it was psychological safety in action.

Google wanted to explore why some teams were great and some teams not so great. The study took five years and was called Project Aristotle. The outcome was that you can’t simply bring people together who are the most qualified and expect a great team. Instead the team has to have the right characteristics. The researchers discovered what really mattered was how the team worked together not who they were. Top of the list was psychological safety.

  1. Psychological Safety – team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other
  2. Dependability – team members get things done on time and meet the high standards of the team
  3. Structure & Clarity – team members have clear roles, plans and goals
  4. Meaning – Work is personally important to team members
  5. Impact – team members think their work matters and fits with the wider team goals

Edmondson was delighted that Googles research supported her own findings. We are in a knowledge economy and without safety of speaking up, new innovations could be missed. Leaders need to ask for forgiveness if they have not provided a safe enough environment for voices to be heard. Ask your team is it easy to come to me with mistakes or new ideas.

Psychological safety is not only important in established teams but also in what Edmondson defines as “Teaming”. This is when people need to work together interdependently to get a result. An example would be an Accident & Emergency department, sometimes you don’t know who you are working with and you have different expertise but you need to work together in the moment. In order for that teaming experience to be effective everyone needs to feel psychologically safe.

The goal is not psychological safety it is the means to your goals.

In summary what is it?

  • If you make a mistake in the team, team members are supportive, and it is not held against you
  • It is easy for members to feel comfortable and ask other team members for help
  • Members of a team are able to bring up problems and tough issues 
  • It is safe to take a risk as a team
  • People accept others for being different in the team
  • No one in the team would deliberately act in a way that undermines any individual efforts or ideas
Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Goals, Learning, mindfulness, motivation, personal impact, Relationships, Stress management

Practical ways to be resilient…

When you wake up in the morning decide where you are on a scale, if pain was one end and power the other end – where would you want to be?

The answer is that most of us want to be the power end. Life events can drain our batteries, so keeping a metric of where you are and working out what it tells you can be a practical step to measuring your resilience levels. For a month keep a pain to power tracker and see what patterns emerge.

We can also think about what Mindset do we wish to adopt. Professor Carol S Dweck says that people either have a Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset. The power of being able to say “not yet” is the Growth Mindset.

Growth Mindset Fixed Mindset
I can learn anything I wantI am either good at it, or I am not
I want to challenge myselfI don’t like to be challenged
When I fail, I learn When I fail, I am no good
Tell me I try hardTell me I am smart & have natural ability

By adopting a Growth Mindset we have the elasticity to be resilient and bounce back.

Recognising our sign symptoms of when we feel our resilience levels are low can also be a very practical tool. We can do this by using five main areas:-

  1. Sense of purpose – reason or focus for your work
  2. Mental toughness – the ability to make decisions
  3. Physical energy – tired constantly
  4. Emotional balance – the ability to regulate our emotions
  5. Social skills – make others feel comfortable

Ask yourself have you noticed any of these areas being harder than normal, these may be indications that your resilience levels are low.

Susan Kobasa a leading psychologist says that there are 3 key elements of a resilient individual:-

Challenge – view any difficulty as a challenge

Commitment – committed to their lives and goals

Personal Control – spend time and energy on stuff they have control over

The last statement aligns with Stephen Covey’s Circle of Concern/Circle of Influence. We should only focus on the concerns that we can influence if not we should let them sit outside our heads and make them a “no concern”.

Finally in summary what key things can you be doing to develop your resilience:-

1.Learn to relax

2.Practice thought awareness

3.Edit your outlook

4.Learn from mistakes and failures 

5.Choose your response

6.Maintain perspective

7.Set yourself some goals 

8.Build your self confidence 

9.Develop strong relationships 

10.Be flexible 

Please do get in touch for a workshop on Resilience – bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, motivation, personal impact

Towards or away from…

Take stock and think about what you do want and what you don’t want. We are all programmed slightly differently.

Some of us have a very clear idea of what we want now in the present and in the future. However there is another approach of knowing what you don’t want and using that as your steer.

Using the headings of health/wealth and happiness and see the different thinking patterns that will drive motivations in very different ways:-

Health – Towards

Purchasing toothpaste that will make my teeth look white today and in the future

Health – Away from

Buying toothpaste that has its lead line on preventing tooth decay

Wealth – Towards

You know what you want to earn today and tomorrow, next month and next quarter

Wealth – Away from

Knowing you don’t want to be poor in your old age and being prudent with your investments and lots of insurance policies

Happiness – Towards

Immediate and delayed happiness come easily

Happiness – Away from

Hard to be happy in the present if you only focus on what you don’t want

Think about the situations you face in life and try another approach if you think it may lead to a better outcome. We don’t need to lead our whole lives by being towards or away from, think which approach would suit the situation.

Please do get in touch for a workshop on motivation bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, mindfulness, Problem solving, Stress management

The curse of overthinking…

Many of us have become over thinkers because it gives us the illusion that we’re doing something about the problem we’re overthinking about” – Nick Trenton

We all have moments where we have so much in our heads that our bandwidth is stretched to capacity. We then decide to focus on just one problem and overthink it so that it becomes a really huge problem. The bigger it gets the more you lose the ability to see any clarity, make any decisions or to feel calm.

Nick Trenton the author of Stop Overthinking says the first mistake is to think that you can think your way out of overthinking. Understanding that you can’t think and feel at the same time is liberating. When you are too emotional and in feelings you need to move away from whatever is triggering the anxiety and move into thinking, and likewise too much in your head you need to feel instead of think.

Trenton suggests the 5,4,3,2,1 approach, using all five senses to reset. Imagine sitting at your desk overthinking. Stop and take a moment to :-

5 – look at 5 things in your office – really stare and visualise them, lamp on your desk, tree outside, the sky, pen you have been using, a chair opposite you

4 – hear 4 things and really hear them – the fan on your computer, your breathing, car outside, ticking of a clock

3 – feel 3 sensations, your hands on the desk, the fabric of your shirt, warmth of mug on your desk

2 – smells you can detect in the room – your own perfume/aftershave, the aroma in the room

1 – taste sensation, the coffee, or just your own taste in your mouth

This method gives you the control back.

Behind every overthinking episode is a deliberating belief, Trenton describes this second method as “counter belief experiment”.

You are about to present to a large audience and you are overthinking and you believe you are not prepared enough. He says take the following steps to challenge that anxiety belief:-

  1. What must I believe about myself, or the future to justify my anxiety?
  2. Invert the belief to form a counter belief – if you believe you are not prepared for the presentation – the counter belief – I am fully prepared for the presentation
  3. Spend a least a minute in the counter belief – you are full prepared – what does that feel like?
  4. Look for evidence to support this new belief – you are fully prepared

Finding evidence to support your counter belief, helps you dispel the original belief, this will lower the anxiety and stop you overthinking.

The final method Trenton suggests is worry postponement. When the overthinking starts, book a worry appointment for later. The delay often takes away the anxiety. The worry just wants to be acknowledged and that maybe all it needs as often when you revisit the problem it is not a problem.

To book a workshop on “How to stop Overthinking…?” please do get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, personal impact

Giving the “right” feedback…

Feedback is a gift and the more we get used to giving and receiving the more we will be working in teams with high trust.

Kim Scott’s book “Radical Candor” uses a very simple and powerful framework to explain how to land feedback that resonates. In a talk she gives to accompany the book she tells the story of her own boss at the time Sheryl Sandberg giving her feedback and it not being received. Sandberg commented on the fact that she said “um” after every third word when she presented. Scott waved a hand as if to sweep the feedback away. Sandberg persisted and said a presentation coach might be an idea. Still the message was not getting through and eventually Sandberg got straight to the point. “By saying um after every third word there maybe a perception that you are stupid and insecure” . Scott immediately listened.

The only reason this feedback could land was their existing relationship and the confidence that Scott had that Sandberg was being tough because she cared. The model has two axis – how much you care for the personality and how direct you want to be.

Being direct can often be misconstrued as being cruel but the reality of a clear message is that it is much kinder. Bréne Brown is quoted as saying “Clear is Kind and Unclear is Unkind”.

Radical candour within a team needs to be frequent, candid and flow up and down and even sideways. This high trust environment provides psychological safety for all members.

If we don’t care about the person and we are not direct we are using passive aggressive behaviour where on the surface we flatter some-one but behind their back we criticise. Scott calls this “Manipulative Insincerity”.

Caring for a person too much can weaken are ability to be direct and we can give feedback that maybe helpful short-term but we are not addressing possibly big flaws. On the model this is known as “Ruinous Empathy”.

Finally if we are too direct and we don’t care for the person we are aggressive and just have the label of “Obnoxious Aggression”.

Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to deliver a workshop on Feedback bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Decision Making, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, motivation, personal impact, Stress management, Time management

Why does everything feel so hard…?

The dialogue we have with ourselves is all wrong, we say this going to be hard. We even speculate that it will take so much time and therefore it must be hard. Greg McKeown in his book “Effortless” says the first thing we should say is “What if this could be easy?” Already your mindset alters with possibilities and even enthusiasm.

Getting to an Effortless State is the first step to believing the task will not be hard. We can look at the following steps and what to say in our heads to move us forward:-

  • “What if this could be easy?’
  • “What if this could be fun?”
  • Let go of old memories of the task being hard
  • Be realistic as to how you work on the task factoring in breaks
  • Who is there for you?

Once we have the belief that the task is going to be easy we also need to have an Effortless action plan. McKeown says another reason why we often don’t move into action as we have not determined the obvious steps to get there. This is his Effortless Action Plan:-

D – Done – What does done look like?

D – Delete – What steps could you delete or combine?

O – Obvious – What is the obvious first step?

G – Gradual – What does gradual progression look like?

G – Grateful – What are you grateful for whilst working on this task?

Staying with an Effortless mindset and action plan, can lead to Effortless Results. McKeown says look at how many things can be automated going forward. Trusting others to perform tasks and also what steps can you take to prevent things becoming too much like hard work.

To explore the book much more, please do come to nuggets bookclub this Friday 17th June 2022 at 10.00am the link to register is here:-

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nuggets-bookclub-tickets-333571209467

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

Empathy…

Empathy is an emotional skill and as with any skill you have to keep practising to gain mastery.

It is about our ability to understand what some-one is experiencing and to reflect back our understanding.

The attributes of empathy by Theresa Wiseman:-

  • Perspective taking – what is the experience like for you?
  • Staying out of judgment – just listen don’t evaluate
  • Recognising emotion
  • Communicating our understanding
  • Practising mindfulness – feeling the emotion and moving through it

Empathy is a tool of compassion, we only truly experience it if we are present for some-one else’s pain. If we are not willing to be fully present then it’s not real empathy.

Brené Brown writes in Atlas of the Heart “We need to dispel the myth that empathy is walking in someone else’s shoes. Rather than walking in your shoes, I need to learn how to listen to the story you tell about what it’s like in your shoes and believe you even when it doesn’t match my experiences”

Empathy misses:-

  • Sympathy – “I feel so sorry for you” – empathy is not feeling sorry for some-one
  • Judgement – The gasp from your friend is not empathy – over reaction will make the person feel shame
  • Disappointment – “You’ve let me down” – if they are looking for you to be exemplary all the time is not relating to you
  • Comparing/Competing – “If you think that’s bad” – not about you, must be their agenda
  • Problem solving – “I can fix it” – just listen don’t go into fixer mode
  • Avoid – “Let’s make this go away” – sit with the discomfort and connect in a meaningful way

We need to truly listen and be present for the person feeling what they are feeling to even begin to master empathy.

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, mindfulness, personal impact, Relationships

Disappointment

It can range from mild discomfort to deep hurt. Disappointment is unmet expectations. The more significant the expectation the more significant the disappointment.

We feel disappointment as we have not examined or expressed our expectations, and yet we have a clear picture in our heads of what we want to see. The movie in our mind is perfect. Why don’t we share what is going on in our heads? It is often as the conversation will expose our vulnerability and that may well be tough and awkward. When we share what we want we our putting ourselves first which again is not something we do very often and it takes bravery to value our own expectations.

In Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown uses the expression “Painting Done”. She fully briefs colleagues on her expectations and then says “Painting Done”.

We have to also manage how we handle unchecked and unexpressed expectation, as an example “She will love her gift?” – we don’t know whether she will love her gift this is an unchecked expectation. If you have no control over the response you will be disappointed and damage your self worth.

Even when we are intentional and thoughtful about expressing our expectations it can still lead to disappointment and we are left feeling vulnerable. However you cannot be vulnerable without being courageous, so better to have tried.

Some people don’t even enter the arena, by deciding to use a numbing technique to never experience disappointment “I am not going to get excited as I will only be disappointed”.

Go forward and be courageous and partner up with your expectations, “What do you want the weekend to look like…?” – “How do you see the project completed…” Be bold, brave and put your expectations out there.

Posted in Bite size learning, Change management, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, personal impact, Relationships

Everything has changed, but nothing has changed…

I am back at the desk of nuggets HQ having taking a temporary leave of absence for a month. As the title says “everything has changed, but nothing has changed”.

The last month I have been caring for my Mum alongside my sisters and Step Dad, and very sadly she died on the 25th April 2022. My whole world will never look the same again without the person who created me in it. However the world keeps spinning and less you hold on you get left behind.

In grief you find the normal things like making a bed really calming as there is little emotional input and the procedural aspect of the task gives you perspective. The times you feel derailed when you can see no end in sight for the person in pain and you have no capacity to change the trajectory of the outcome.

Throughout my absence I have been reading “The Atlas of the Heart” by Brene Brown and the comfort of unpicking emotions and experiences has also given me an amazing sense of my self. Understanding that meaningful connection only happens if you talk about your emotions.

I remember reading that Gill Hicks who survived the 7/7 bombing in London, returned to her desk and tipped the in box that the team had kept untouched straight in the bin. Her view that nothing mattered but everything mattered, after what she had just been through.

I think of the many books I have read in the nature of my job and many will help me now forge ahead with maybe a slight change of heart or mind.

  • The Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
  • Feel the Fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers
  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  • Who moved my cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

Everything has changed means a new view of my work, perhaps a boldness that was lacking before, however to be sure the things that have not changed are being true to my values.

“Helping people to think differently” by making a difference

“Achievement” my anchor value of progression which will move me forward ensuring that things do change.

I will shortly be starting a bookclub for The Atlas of the Heart if you would like to attend please do get in touch bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk

Posted in Bite size learning, coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Learning, personal impact, Relationships

Language is our portal for meaning…

So excited Brene Brown’s new book Atlas of the Heart is now in print. There is so much to unpick, but a good starter is using the right language to explain our experiences and label the emotions involved.

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s quote “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”.

Fifteen years ago, Brown asked participants on her shame resilience research to list all the emotions they could recognise and to name them. This took five years and involved seven thousand people. The average number of emotions named across the surveys was three, and they were happy, sad and angry.

Brown obviously found this very disheartening when the vastness of human emotion is not about mad, sad or glad. There are so many despair, shame, wonder, awe… that in their richness make us human.

Language is the portal to meaning, making connections, healing, learning and self awareness. When we don’t have the language we lose our ability to explain what is really going on.

In Atlas of the Heart there are eighty seven emotions and experiences that are defined and brought to life so that we can increase our vocabulary.

The next time you say the following:-

  • “I am really pissed off”
  • “I am so mad”

What are you feeling? Naming it accurately what is really going on. Vocabulary should be as expansive as our experience. Better responses might be..:-

  • “I am so overwhelmed with all I am experiencing”
  • “I am feeling disappointed”

Yesterday my son failed his driving test and it was pure anger, and it was limiting to his growth. He was not labelling it as disappointment, and his rage directed at the Driving Examiner whom he will never see again, is sadly not constructive.

Articulate what is going on in your world this week, and I would welcome comments and discussion.

Please do reach out bev@nuggetsoflearning.co.uk