Dr. Rita's Blog
“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” -Deepak Chopra
Do I want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future?
I'd much prefer being a pioneer of the future.
To do that, I’ve got to give up reacting to situations and make a commitment to respond instead.
We are a lot like frogs in hot water these days.
When a frog is put into a pot of water that is already boiling, it will jump out immediately.
Put that same frog in a cold pot of water and turn up the heat and he will stay there a lot longer.
I don’t need to remind you of all the ways our emotional water could be reaching the boiling point. And that jumping out seems impossible.
It often feels like our emotional heat is going up and up. When that happens our natural ability to respond rather than react goes down.
And yet as leaders, responding rather than reacting is one of the most important things we can do, not only for ourselves, but more importantly for those around us at work and at home.
So how to respond when it would be a lot easier to react?
First of all, remember the difference between reacting and responding. Reacting is a knee-jerk with little or no thought given to the mess your reaction might create.
The mess reacting creates means we have to go back and clean things up later on. That takes more time and energy and adds stress to our already busy lives.
Taking a moment in any situation to PAUSE…breathe… and calmly respond puts us in a place where we can be thoughtful and take actions that will further our agenda and grow our relationships.
When we take that moment to pause and think, our confidence in being able to manage our emotions no matter what grows.
Since emotions are contagious, whoever we are interacting with gets a chance to pause as well and catch the more pleasant emotion we are exhibiting.
We lower the emotional temperature. We create a more positive environment and we deepen the trust in our relationships.
The chance of having a positive outcome from our interaction goes way up.
No mess to clean up. More time to do the things that matter. And a feeling of satisfaction all become possible.
I’m not saying this is easy. And by all means don’t expect perfection.
I am saying that reminding yourself to respond has more benefits than we usually realize in the moment.
With practice it becomes second nature.
Before long you’ll find yourself recognizing the emotional hot water earlier and jumping out sooner by taking a moment to craft a response that serves everyone so much better.
Marc Bracket, Ph.D, author of Permission to Feel has a youtube video that takes this idea even further. He lays out easy to use, in the moment exercises and strategies that support what I'm sharing in this newsletter. Well worth the time to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lGbb_DRXmU
Women Managers Leadership Cohort which kicks off Jan 13, 2021
For those of you looking ahead for development opportunities in 2021, registration is now open for the next Women Managers Leadership Cohort which kicks off Jan 13, 2021.
The cohorts fill quickly. Reach out for more information or to enroll. 612-598-6614
Until next time,
"Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes." Margaret Wheatley
As a leader at work you may be wondering how to navigate political conversations, especially with this year’s election.
It’s possible we may not know the outcome of the election on election day.
And even when we do know the outcome, there’s a good chance that emotions will run high regardless of who our next president is.
So how to handle those conversations in the work environment?
We talked about this issue in last week's Executive Womens Change Leadership Roundtable.
While I’m not a legal expert, there are legal ramifications about these conversations you should be aware of.
Both employers and employees often share the misconception that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and therefore gives employees the right to talk politics at work. Not so!
The First Amendment generally does not apply to private employers. And it does not restrict private employer’s ability to curtail political speech in the workplace.
One of the things we talked about is that the chat function in zoom is considered an extension of the work place so the same policies about political conversations at work apply to zoom chat. It’s easy to overlook that because the chat is such an informal way of communicating.
It’s a good idea to review your organization’s policies around conversations that that can be emotionally charged. There’s no shortage of emotionally charged topics this year with social unrest, supreme court cases, racial justice, mask mandates for Covid-19, and climate change just to name a few.
As the attorney in our Roundtable said, “It’s best to stop political conversations at work in their tracks. Once those conversations get started, it’s much harder to get them to stop.”
For more information, take a look at this article by the law firm of FMJ: The Great Divide in 2020: How Employers Should Manage Political Conversations in the Workplace https://www.fmjlaw.com/employers-political-conversations-workplace/
According to the attorneys at FMJ “Thoughtfully crafted policies that are enforced objectively can greatly reduce the risk of political activities disrupting business operations or leading to workplace conflicts.”
If you need assistance in creating these policies or would like your current policies reviewed, contact Natolie Hochhausen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Shannon McDonough at email@example.com.
Until next time,
Subscribe to Rita's Blog
Looking for a Leadership Coach?
Executive Coaching, Roundtables