3 simple questions to teach your staff how to value themselves

How do I teach my staff about values-

Many workplaces will have collateral pertaining to values, vision and mission. Glossy bound strategic plans, handouts and sound bites are a part of the press pack and yet incongruence between workplace values and behaviours still exists. Why is that? Values statements such as: “We value honesty, integrity and respect” are obliterated when people steal, cheat and bully. And sadly even though this negative behaviour isn’t perpetuated by the majority, it affects all of us. Worse still, if not addressed in a transparent manner, it diminishes and devalues staff.

Could you imagine what would happen if instead of trying to keep secrets in difficult times, management and staff were instead distilled information from a values breach perspective? Values based communications aren’t difficult in and of themselves. We inherently know what our values are don’t we?

What are your values?

Don’t be scared to admit you don’t know what you values are. I sincerely had no idea how to articulate my values when first asked as I had never stopped to consciously think about them. And it seems I’m not on my own – in actual fact, many people don’t know explicitly what their values are because they intuitively live them.

Of course when asked the right questions and supported to unpack values, what we discover is an untapped topic. What’s confronting is when people don’t understand how to identify their values they struggle to articulate why they have been so affronted or offended when there’s been a values breach. By a values breach I mean when a colleague behaves in a manner that disrespects our own values and those of the workplace.

What an incredible opportunity this provides for workplaces to get better at unpacking personal and professional values. One of the most important questions I encourage teams to answer and ask each other is “what do you need to feel more valued?” Imagine asking staff to respond to this question! By asking your staff to think about what they need to feel more valued you open up a whole new space to have deeper dialogue and grow more shared understanding. Which creates more harmony and drives greater productivity. So here’s my three top questions I want you to start asking staff either in a survey or face to face:

What are your values?

How do they align with our workplace values?

What do you need to feel more valued at work?

Once they’ve responded, LISTEN and discuss their contributions in a team dynamic. Ask what actions they need to take place based on this conversation.

Imagine if values based questions were included in regular Performance Reviews/Plans. By genuinely enquiring about values alignment and congruence and taking the appropriate actions, managers will get critical information that will inevitably drive staff to perform better because they feel more valued. Just make sure you clearly articulate to your staff what you need as their leader to feel more valued too. And don’t just go through this process once. Ask staff how often they think this needs to be reviewed and set this on rinse and repeat.

If you would like Bronwyn Clee to come and support you and your team hit the big pink button on the right and make contact now!

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How to have tough conversations and not just survive but thrive

Do you struggle to have tough conversations?

Hate having to face problems or challenges head on?

Don’t panic because you are not alone. In fact the amount of time we need to recover from negative emotions can differ as much as 3000% across individuals according to Davidson and Begley 2002.  It’s no wonder most people want to run ten miles away from having tough conversations is it? If we’re brave enough in the first place to tackle a tough convo, with a variable recovery rate that high it certainly won’t leave us feeling strong and confident to tackle the next tough topic will it?But here’s the rub: running away from it doesn’t always resolve it either.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that every workplace dispute is resolvable. People who have chronic mental illness and/or disorders may not have the capacity to reach resolution let alone a shared agreement. So let’s lay down some basic parameters. I am writing from the perspective that we’re discussing two rational human beings needing to resolve a workplace problem. You would think this would be straightforward right? Wrong! Findings of this 18 month research project by Cy Wakeman titled “The No. 1 Source Of Workplace Conflict, And How To Avoid It” states: “Initially, nearly 100% of our respondents reported that other people were the primary cause of conflict at work.” So when it comes to addressing the problem in the first place this finger pointing mindset is not going to serve us well either. The wall of blame goes up and we’re left with a stand off.

Think about it for a moment. How many times have you walked away from a workplace conversation disgruntled, frustrated and/or misunderstood? It’s quite likely the other person in the conversation felt the exact same. Sadly this seems to be at the base of the majority of unresolved conflict and tension. Because of the thoughts and feelings the unresolved conflict and tension raise we then don’t want to address the situation. We secretly hope it will resolve itself and avoid the other person where possible don’t we? I want to share with you some frightening statistics that should alarm you:

  • 35 per cent of Australians report having a significant level of distress in their lives;
  • 26 per cent of Australians report above normal levels of anxiety symptoms;
  • 26 per cent of Australians report having moderate to extremely severe levels of depression symptoms; and
  • In 2015, anxiety symptoms were the highest they have been in the five years of the survey.

Whether at home or in the workplace, we’ve got a whole lot of people feeling stressed and anxious in Australia. And when we feel stressed and anxious it’s almost impossible to stay focused, on track and remain productive. We’re probably more likely to make mistakes, over analyse, second guess and procrastinate.

But guess what? The astonishing findings of Cy Wakeman’s research claimsa lack of clarity is what’s truly to blame.” Well I most certainly believe that to be the case and I am here to tell you there is a way to resolve this!

Through the framework of Fair Process you can manage conflict and tension before things erupts. But what is Fair Process you ask? “Fair process is a concept developed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne that builds execution into strategy by creating people’s buy-in up front. When fair process is exercised in the strategy formulation phase, people trust that a level playing field exists, inspiring voluntary cooperation during the execution phase.”

Essentially most people will accept any outcome if they believe they have been afforded a fair process. The real magic is in applying fair process to all of your communications. Fair Process is a sure way to avoid blowouts and bust ups and all you need to do is follow this 3 step process:

Step 1: Engage- ensure that you are engaging with those you are communicating with. Don’t talk at people – talk with them.

Step 2: Explain – be clear about what it is you are wanting to express and why.

Step 3: Expectation clarity – clarify your expectations and invite input.

Fair Process is straightforward in my opinion and is what’s missing in most dispute claims. Fair Process also supports Cy Wakeman’s research findings that “a lack of clarity is what’s truly to blame”. Fair Process gives us a framework through which we can have healthy and robust conversations. When you share this framework with staff and invite everyone to hold each other accountable the risk of conflict is greatly diminished.

I encourage you to use Fair Process in all of your communications, especially the next time you need to have a tough conversation. Follow this framework step by step and see what happens. Your stress levels will be reduced and you won’t be walking away from conversations feeling disgruntled, frustrated and/or misunderstood.We no longer secretly hope conflict will resolve itself and avoid the other person either. Because the new thoughts and feelings connected to resolving conflict and tension, we are now more motivated to move toward resolution.

The best way to put this into practice is to use this knowledge! Your new mantra is: I Engage, explain and clarify expectations. 

Fair Process

Before you go I want you to commit to taking action! So here are some ideas: print this post and stick it on your desk where you can see it daily; discuss it with your team; invite feedback about how to improve communications. Comment below what you are going to do to practice Fair Process then go do it!

 

In 2000, Bronwyn Clee, together with others, pioneered the introduction or Restorative Justice practices into schools and community in the Northern Territory.

It is unique blend of experience … that has allowed Bronwyn to be good at communicating the importance of processes, which treat everyone with respect and dignity, and importantly, are capable of making a difference in the lives of those experiencing difficulties.

Bronwyn is a genuine and compassionate person who possesses considerable moral courage. She is prepared to challenge others in a respectful and constructive way.

Terry O'Connell OAM

Authentic Leadership

Leadership development has been high on my agenda for a very long time. I have worked with large Not For Profits such as Red Cross Australia, Good Beginnings Australia, YMCA Top End and Save The Children to provide strategic leadership development training. So when I was approached by Liquid Learning, an international organisation that focuses on leadership development opportunities for professionals to facilitate a significant workshop on their behalf, I was eager to know more. The conference was to be their first Women in Leadership conference in Darwin NT Australia and I was invited to facilitate “Developing and Promoting your Authentic Leadership Identity for Enhanced Effectiveness”. While it wasn’t my topic title or program outline, the expectations of the workshop were aligned with my beliefs and capacity to deliver, and I had the autonomy to bring my own style into the process. So I said yes.

Participants included senior bureaucrats and decision makers and from their feedback, most of them had the most extraordinary experience. Opening up this leadership workshop with an invitation to rewrite the agenda, clarify expectations and initiate heart centred conversations led to astonishing outcomes. Good leaders know that building relationships is the cornerstone to great outcomes. And that’s what I focus on. Helping leaders get really clear about what is possible, achievable and worth working for spoke to the heart of what mattered most in this leadership workshop.

By the end of the workshop every participant had an action plan to carry them forward, together with an accountability buddy system in place. Many moments of truth were shared throughout the day and the feedback I got post workshop was phenomenal. Here’s a snippet from each participant:

  • Very open minded and easy going workshop. Highly recommend this in the future.
  • An honour to experience and share such positive energy. Thank you for your insight and constructive advice.
  • Bronwyn has a very different way of delivery.
  • By far the best and most practical workshop I have been to in my career! Exceptional and gifted presenter who knows how to keep concepts real.
  • Bronwyn was fantastic and was able to engage me for the entire workshop. Just wonderful; I enjoyed the experience.
  • Amazing – wonderful – want more!
  • Amazing women! Great content and excellent presentation style.
  • Energising electric presentation. Engaging on all levels of one’s self. Best session all week
  • Quite a different delivery style than I normally like but was fantastic brought me out of my comfort zone.
  • Best engagement ever! “Pushed” into thinking about me and that’s a good thing. Great mix of age, experience, values and vices. BC is Dynamite
  • Phenomenal. Thank you so much!
  • Great subject knowledge and so passionate about helping others to overcome the hurdles they face professionally and personally.

This was by far one of the most powerful workshops I have facilitated in the last 15 years. Working with such emotionally mature and willing participants was what made it so successful. The level of engagement was huge. And judging by the feedback and response rate 8 weeks later I can’t help but feel there is a desperate need for more of this work. Now I know I’m not for everyone, and nor am I meant to be. However if your organisation is in need of support for staff to achieve this kind of engagement and to strive for greater results, hit the big pink button in the bottom right corner and email me now.

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