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  • drdianehamilton 8:09 am on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , NACACS, , ,   

    Understanding Personality Improves Communication and Productivity 

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    In my recent NACACS presentation, I received a lot of questions about the differences in personalities in the workplace. Some of the participants had gone through Myers-Briggs, DiSC, StrengthsFinder, or some other type of assessment. However, many of them had not had any training regarding personality preferences. There are a variety of personality assessments that can help people learn how to get along at work. Therefore, it may be challenging to determine which assessment to use. I believe that there are some important things to learn from many of these tools. Toni Rothpletz and I wrote It’s Not You It’s Your Personality to summarize the important aspects of each of the major personality assessments and help employees thrive at work.

    Many guests on my Take the Lead Radio Show are experts in different aspects of helping employers improve communication. That is really what these assessments are meant to improve. We need to communicate more effectively; we can do that through improved understanding of each other’s preferences. Whether it is the introvert learning how to get a word in edgewise with an extravert, or a dominant personality learning to listen better, it is all about communicating effectively. In the 1970s, two separate research teams came up with what we now call The Big Five Factors of Personality, based on research that came out in the early 1930s. Societies have endeavored to determine the best ways to communicate. It is a challenge that will continue because there are so many unique personality traits.

    What may help is to develop empathy, which is a big component of emotional intelligence. I studied the importance of empathy on interpersonal relationships as part of my doctoral dissertation. Empathy, mood self-regulation, self-presentation, along with practical intelligence was a big factor related to work success. Employees who demonstrate empathy understand other’s feelings when making decisions that might impact them. Companies that focus on developing these important skills can have more productive and engaged employees. It behooves employers to proactively encourage effective communication, due to the $550 billion a year productivity loss due to unhappy employees. They can begin by helping employees understand personality preferences. People are more accepting of personalities that are different from their own if they understand why people display certain behaviors. Once they understand different personality traits, they can develop empathy and other key emotional intelligence traits to help them be more successful, cooperative, and productive workers.

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  • drdianehamilton 7:49 am on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Employees, , , , , ,   

    Improving Employee Engagement 

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    Employers struggle with a variety of motivation and emotion-based issues with employees. How to attract, engage, and inspire top talent to create winning teams is one of the most requested keynotes.  This is usually combined with some form of addressing generational differences, communication, culture, leadership, teamwork, and personality conflict.  Engagement has been broken down into three parts by Gallup including engaged (13%), not engaged (63%), and actively disengaged (60%).

    Engagement

    With such a large percentage of workers in the category of not engaged, it brings attention to the costs involved with ambivalence.  If workers are not engaged, they do not put forth any extra effort, they are less innovative, less effective at customer service, less loyal, more likely to job hop, and are less productive.  Ambivalent workers are there to get a paycheck, but they are not likely to volunteer for much more.  They may be harder to spot because they are not necessarily unhappy, but they do not feel connected to the organization and therefore, are less concerned about customers, profitability, and safety.  They are more likely to leave, resulting in costly turnover expenses.

    Consider the costs associated with engagement:

    • The U.S. economy loses $250 billion a year to turnover; there is a loss of $30.5 billion just for Millennials
    • Cost of a disengaged employee averages $3400 per $10,000 in salary
    • Engaged companies have a 6% higher net profit margin and grow profits three times faster
    • Managers spend up to 40% of their day dealing with conflict and engagement-related issues
    • Companies with low engagement scores have 32.7% less operating income

    For a complete list of costs involved in engagement, check out 2016 Employee Engagement/Retention Statistics.  There are ways to improve employee engagement. These include:

    • Make engagement a priority
    • Read the SRHM and Deloitte studies for an in-depth understanding of engagement
    • Recognize the importance of understanding emotional aspects of employee behavior
    • Determine levels of engagement to get a baseline
    • Meet with employees and teams to open a dialogue and develop trust
    • Have engaged employees mentor those who are not engaged
    • Determine if employees are in jobs that match their preferences and skills
    • Examine feedback, respect, and recognition employees receive – the number one driver of engagement is recognition
    • Link compensation to engagement

    Engagement may vary based on generations and length of service to the company.  As Millennials become the largest group in the workplace, it behooves leaders to learn more about how to attract and retain this group.  They do not require long, detailed-recognition, but frequent notifications that they are doing well and are on track may be very important to their emotional commitment.

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    Leaders should recognize that the way people work must be evaluated. The days of 8 to 5, no flexibility, and yearly performance reviews are no longer the norm.  People require frequent recognition and feedback.  Leaders who schedule time for feedback will be the ones who reap the rewards. Now that 40% of global workers are remote, it is important to find new ways to connect and to empower people to work virtually.  The successful leaders will begin by hiring the best people, monitor their outcomes, and continue to provide feedback, respect, recognition, and support.

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  • drdianehamilton 10:52 am on April 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , emotions, gamification, leaders, ,   

    One Key Word That Impacts Intelligence, Engagement, Sales, Soft Skills, Gamification, and Millennials 

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    There is an emotional component behind most of the things that will make or break employees’ and leaders’ success.  When someone first hears the word emotion, it may suggest emotional intelligence.  Developing emotional intelligence is one important factor that has been demonstrated to lead to success.  However, that is just part of the picture.

    Emotions are a big part of engagement as well. Engagement is the emotional commitment the employee feels toward the organization and its goals.   Emotion creeps up when discussing soft skills, culture, sales skills, and just about anything regarding success at work.  Soft skills include components such as interpersonal skills.  Having strong interpersonal skills are a big part of emotional intelligence.

    Sales skills often require tapping into consumer’s emotions.  Sales skills are a big part of being successful as an entrepreneur as well.  Some of the top emotion-based issues employees, leaders, and entrepreneurs face, involve managing emotions, finding ways to become emotionally committed and having others become emotionally committed, and developing ways to improve emotional awareness in others.  What makes a top salesperson successful?  They find an emotional need or pain.  Sales are based on people’s greed, fear, envy, pride, shame, and a host of other emotions that lead to a feeling of emotional reward.  When creating content for consumers, marketing professionals consider the motions that design, color, and images will have on them.

    Gamification has been added to the workplace to develop employees on an emotional level.   Emotions are powerful and impact learning.  Training programs must have aesthetically pleasing aspects, or negative emotions could result. Gaming has become a strong focus for Millennials as they see it as a form of entertainment.  However, it can also be used to create positive emotions to improve training and productivity.  Plutchik’s psycho-evolutionary theory of emotion explained there are eight primary emotions which include anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy.  These emotions trigger behavior.  He suggested eight primary bipolar emotions: joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; trust versus disgust; and surprise versus anticipation. Up to 90% of purchasing decisions are based on an emotional response.

    People in sales situations, at work, in school, or at home, may have difficulty expressing emotions or even understanding their emotions or those of others.  This difficulty has led to a multitude of problems that impact behaviors.  Most people are hired for their skills and fired for their behaviors.  This problem with behaviors is a big part of what employers call soft skills.  Soft skills can include a multitude of issues including lack of effective interactions with others.  The sooner employers realize that emotions are not just a part of emotional intelligence, but engagement, productivity, sales, and a vast array of outcomes that can be either positive or negative if employers find ways to capitalize understanding their value at work.

    To find out more about emotions, check out some of these authors and speakers.  All but two of them have been on Take the Lead (my nationally-syndicated radio show), and I have been part of events where I heard the other two speak.  I highly recommend looking into the work that these individuals have produced because all of them are very impressive:

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  • drdianehamilton 4:33 am on March 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amy Cuddy, , , , , ,   

    How to Develop Top Soft Skills Not Learned at School or Work 

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    Job listings often describe the skills needed to perform in a position. However, many of the skills required for success fall under the category of soft skills.  Many employees may be hired for their knowledge and yet may end up being fired for their behavior or lack of social skills.  Forbes reported that 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months.  Mitchell Communications Group found that companies lose $37 billion a year in the United States due to miscommunication.  Research from Adecco Staffing considered what the C-suite thinks about the type of skills employees lack. They found that the C-suite believed 44% lacked soft skills including communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.  This has led to missed growth opportunity, low productivity, and reduced profits.

    The good news is that we can improve these social or soft skills.  The first step is realizing that there is always room for improvement. It can help to observe others who have strong skills that may need development.  To determine areas that may need improvement, start by considering some questions.

    • Do you listen more than you speak?
    • What verbal and non-verbal cues do others receive from you?
    • Do teams on which you serve have personality conflict issues?
    • Do recognize your emotions as well as those in others?
    • Are you adaptable to change?
    • Do you find problem-solving and decision-making difficult?
    • Do you manage your time well?
    • Are you motivated to go above and beyond at work?
    • Do you rush to judgment before knowing the facts?
    • Do you seek an inordinate amount of attention for your accomplishments?
    • Do you recognize your weaknesses and are you willing to work on them?
    • Do you become upset easily if things do not go your way?
    • Do you blame others when things do not go your way?
    • Do you remain calm in difficult situations?
    • Do you apologize directly if you hurt someone’s feelings?

    It may be critical for people to develop empathy by considering how they would feel in another person’s position.  When making decisions, consider how those decisions will impact others.  Most of the issues that employers deal with are communication-based.  Once you can recognize your own emotions and empathize with how others feel as well, that is a big step to building emotional intelligence.  Emotional intelligence and emotional commitment to one’s job (aka engagement) are two important pieces of the employee success puzzle.

    There are two fascinating TED talks that may help.  Amy Cuddy’s talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” and Susan Cain’s The Power of Introverts may provide some insight regarding how to truly know your strengths and weaknesses and learn to embrace them.  Personality and preferences play a big role in how we interact at work.  It is important not to under-estimate the impact of interpersonal skills.  Rather than waiting for schools or employers to help, individuals can learn a lot from:

    • Read more about emotional intelligence, listening, problem-solving, teamwork, collaboration, adaptability, persuasive techniques, and conflict resolution.
    • Watch TED talks like the ones listed above and others that touch on these important topics.
    • Find a mentor who embodies the skills that require development.
    • Volunteer to help others and learn important lessons about being humble.

    As with any learning, it takes time to develop soft skills. The U.S. Department of Labor created a great workforce readiness soft skills training downloadable PDF for youth ages 14-21. Although that is intended for young adults, older workers could benefit from many of the activities as well.

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