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Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

Well, the battle over “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” seems to have reared its ugly head yet once again. Apparently it’s becoming a new holiday tradition.

I listen to people wishing each other “Happy Holidays” and yet complaining about not saying the other. I wonder why the dilemma. Why are we so unable to wish a Merry Christmas to those celebrating this Christian holiday? Yes, there are those who are not celebrating this event but instead, celebrating Hanukkah. So are we so unable to say to those, “Happy Hanukkah”? Why can we not look to those in our communities who may be Muslim and offer them “Eid Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”?

Why are we so aholidaysfraid to embrace members of our community for the diversity that they bring?

I watched the Michael Buble Christmas special earlier; in one segment of the show, he spoke with two little girls and asked how they celebrate Christmas. They let him know that they are Jewish so instead, they have their own traditions. He asked them to explain and they did so happily, sharing their excitement and joy. Out of the mouths of babes…..

Why is this so hard for us to do as adults? Why are we so afraid to ask people, friends and strangers, to help us understand how they celebrate their own holidays in their homes? Why can’t we learn from each other? Why are we so afraid of that which is different?

I lived in the Middle East for nearly a decade. During that time, community members took pleasure in wishing each other congratulations on the various holidays that occurred. If people there can accept each other and that which makes us unique, surely we can learn to do so here.

Can’t we?

EQ-i 2.0 Leadership Development Leadership Skills Leadership Training

Six Emotional Leadership Styles

Our emotional intelligence determines our potential for learning practical skills that are based on its five elements: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and adeptness in relationships. Dan Goleman

Change is not easy and often can be uncomfortable, yet change is an essential ingredient to an organization meeting its mission. Strong leaders motivate their team members by understanding the importance of emotional intelligence.

Often considered the Father of Emotional Intelligence, Dan Goleman is the author of Emotional Intelligence, named one of the 25 Most Influential Business Management Books, by TIME Magazine. His works have gone on to help define strong leadership skills and styles. His book Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence written in collaboration with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, defined six Emotional Leadership Styles.

In order to implement change, it is important to understand the six leadership styles and the degree of impact they can have on an organization.

The Visionary Leader  This leader moves people forward with a new direction toward a shared goal. By sharing knowledge about the destination but not micromanaging the process to get there, the visionary leader empowers others to utilize individual innovation, experimentation, and grants permission to take calculated risks.

The Coaching Leader  This leader encourages individuals to identify strengths and weaknesses and connects those traits and aspirations with the goals of the organization. The coaching leader positively impacts the climate and helps individuals build skill sets through one-on-one attention.

The Affiliative Leader
  This leader takes a collaborative approach toward connecting people and engaging their emotional needs in a team setting. The affiliative leader creates a positive climate by alleviating stressful situations and healing differences between colleagues. In this scenario, poor performance by an individual can be masked by group effort.

The Democratic Leader
  This leader takes a consensus-building approach valuing participation, commitment, and input from all members of the team. This style relies on the group’s commitment to the goals and input on various facets of the business. While this approach draws on a variety of skill sets, it can create a crisis when urgent business demands a quick decisive response.

The Pacesetting Leader  This leader is most effective with a motivated competent team but it should be used sparingly and in combination with other styles. The pacesetter builds challenges and goals and sets high standards with very little input and guidance. The objective is to be better, faster, and more efficient. When overused or used poorly, this leadership style can create a poisonous environment that can undercut morale and set individuals up for failure.

The Commanding Leader
  This leader thrives in crisis as power and dominance are demonstrated and full compliance is expected. It creates a very rigid hierarchy much like that of a military commander issuing orders. The commanding leader maintains a singular vision and path to success and has no qualms about requiring all to conform to one unified ideal. This style is most often used, yet carries the least effect. Goleman argues it is only effective in a crisis when urgent change is needed.

Many of these leadership styles are most successful when utilized in tandem with one another. The most effective leaders pull from this selection of styles to fit the moment versus trying to fit each moment into a single style. Through proper utilization of each of these styles, a leader can move their team effectively through change.

Effective Communication Leadership Development Leadership Skills

Effective Communication Starts with a Feeling

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
-Maya Angelou

If you have ever heard award-winning author and poet Maya Angelou speak, you understand immediately you are in the presence of a master communicator.

Angelou transcends normal communication to elicit a feeling. Reading her words on paper can be an uplifting or memorable experience, but seeing the genuine intensity and intelligence in her facial expressions as her voice bathes you in words is an experience that reaches further than understanding on a mental level. She takes you to a place of greater empathy and connection. She takes you for a walk in her own shoes and helps you feel what she feels.

Communication was never meant to be an endless monologue of directions as often happens in today’s workplace. By taking a page from Angelou’s skillful ability to convey a message, one can achieve effective communication in the workplace far beyond that of typical office interactions.

Inter-Office Communication Can Make or Break the Spirit of a Company
Communicating effectively in the workplace hinges upon the ability to convey a common goal and empower feelings of cohesion in teams within an organization.

The communication needs of an organization goes beyond the transmission of rote messages; they must include the ability to generate and develop an internal feeling shared by a work team. When this happens, remarkable results can be achieved in the overall unity of an organization and its productivity.

Within the entire workplace spectrum, integrative-independent communication skills are ever-present. Colleagues bicker about the same topic only to find that they are really saying the same disconnected thing from a different perspective. Others complain and argue to the point where they refuse to work with each other. Even further on the spectrum, others opt to remain silent and watch the system as it slowly breaks down into a disordered state.

Today’s workplace is incredibly diverse – at the very least ethnically, generationally, and spiritually. The ability to successfully exchange relevant information becomes even more vital in this diversity. Team members who communicate in an integrative manner look each other in the eyes and speak to the heart of the matter. They have learned strategies that allow them to observe the issue from a seamless framework without any animosity.

As Angelou conveys so succinctly: People will always remember how you make them feel. By using effective communication to bring positive and productive feelings to the workplace, companies benefit immensely. This is why it is so important to train team members to use interpersonal and integrative communication skills to achieve organizational success.

Effective Communication Personal Development Professional Development

Reality TV – What is it Doing to Society?

Reality television….what is it doing to us as a society?  Does it lead to behavioral changes in a workforce?   Recently I read that one of the contestants on The Bachelorette knew he was entering the game not wanting to win.  His goal seemed to be to grab a couple of minutes of fame regardless of the impact of his behavior on those around him.  He openly admitted he wasn’t attracted to the main character, that he had no intention of being with her and could basically care less.  Assuming that all involved were there with the same good intentions, she was reduced to tears and experienced much misery as a result.

Is this what we have been reduced to?  Have we become a society where people intentionally set out to hurt others in order for their own gain?  And what about those who are watching this and enjoying it?  Others have resorted to calling out that the woman in question ‘asked for it’ by being gullible or stupid.   What causes people to progress down this path of deteriorating human behavior?

Within the workplace, what about those who intentionally throw their colleagues under the proverbial bus?  What is to be gained by this?  More and more, it appears that people have become almost incapable of choosing the mature and respectful option of having a face-to-face conversation using non-accusatory language and employing the skills of active listening.  When we already know it does not work, why do people resort to playing passive-aggressive?

If Hollywood were to make a reality TV show about your workplace, what it would be called?  What role would you play?  Would you be denigrating others while looking for your two minutes of fame?  Or would you be focusing on developing existing relationships while achieving your organization’s mission?

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