Managing Perfectionism in the Workplace – HBR

Managing Perfectionism in the Workplace


“Everybody is a perfectionist to some degree. It’s when it becomes an obsession that it’s a problem,” says Robert Kaplan. Managing a perfectionist can be challenging  but it’s not impossible.

Appreciate the positives while recognizing the negatives
Working with perfectionists can be frustrating. They tend to be impatient with or hypercritical of others, and poor delegators. Delong argues that “On some level, they actually believe no one can do it better” Perfectionists struggle to appropriately allocate their time and will focus on the last 2% excessively when 94% is good enough. However, perfectionists are committed to their work and because of their insistence on excellence, they often raise the standards of those around them.

Give the right job
Perfectionists are not a good fit for every job, e.g.. projects that they will struggle to complete. Accept that they may not be good managers  (see “hypercritical” and “bad at delegating” above). They are also unlikely to thrive in charge of a big complicated business.  Find jobs where their fastidiousness will be appreciated. Every organization has jobs that require intense attention to detail and encompass a relatively limited scope.

Increase self-awareness
Even in the right position, perfectionists can cause trouble — slowing progress or demoralizing colleagues. Managers must help their direct reports recognize when this result in negative outcomes. Explain that most work requires compromise and tradeoffs. Explain that by setting priorities, time and effort will be saved. Kaplan suggests explaining how perfectionist tendencies often prevent people from getting uniformly positive reviews or rising into management.  

Coach, if possible
Not every perfectionist is coachable but it pays to try – everyone has weaknesses so it is important  to exercise patience.

Be careful with feedback
Perfectionists may have a harder time than others hearing criticism and are likely to hear only the negatives. However, share your apprehensions. DeLong suggests you ask for their advice: “I’m not sure how to talk to you about how you can improve your performance. What guidance would you give me about how to give you feedback?” With this in mind, you can deliver the input in a way that won’t make them defensive or demotivate them.

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Tips for Type As who can’t meditate

Tips for Newbie Mediators


 

Neuroscientists have discovered that after 8 weeks, non-meditators who start a mindfulness practice show decreased brain activity in the amygdala – the brain region that controls anxiety – and increased grey matter in regions involved in perspective-taking and regulating emotions.

Dee Willock, the Vancouver-based author of Falling Into Easy: Help For Those Who Can’t Meditate shares some of her top tips:

  • Any comfy position is fine (doesnt have to be a formal, legs crossed position) – as long as it doesn’t induce sleep.
  • Efforts to suppress or eliminate racing thoughts are futile. The goal is to put antsy thoughts in the background while the mind focuses elsewhere. Beginners may find it easiest to simply notice how each breath feels in the body, or be aware of any ambient sounds.
  • Urgent thoughts will intrude ( “Did I turn off the stove?”). Acknowledge their existence, but then tell them you’re going back to your focus.
  • Fears of being at the mercy of negative thoughts is a “huge barrier” for new meditators, so imagine that each breath brings joy, or by fill  in the details of a happy memory.
  • Busy people can meditate anywhere, even if it means sitting in a living room full of kids. Start with 15 minutes a day, since the mind tends to calm down around the 10-minute mark.

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Managing a Virtual Team

Managing Virtual Teams


 

When and how often do team members need to meet face-to-face (FTF)?

Maznevski et al found that FTF interaction is instrumental during the “forming” stages of team building, especially if team members do not know one another. However, it may also be advantegeous for team members to have completed some  initial virtual meetings before  meeting in person (team members can  then focus on task-related expertise before any potential biases are introduced, and the FTF meeting can  be used to establish team work practices).

Maznevski and Chudoba also  found that teams which have repeated  FTF meetings at predictable times/ intervals often outperform those who choose to meet as “needed”. Regular, predictible meetings promote effective time management, and enables individuals to reserve any complex/delicate issues for  in-person interactions.

What is the best technology solution for virtual teams?

Telephones and email  provide simple, reliable, and accessible communication.

How can managers coordinate work among dispersed members?

A study by Cramton  found that dispersed team members often lack a common, shared understanding. Hinds and Mortensen’s study on virtual teams also found that when people are distributed they tend to engage in relatively little of the spontaneous and informal “water-cooler” communication that promotes shared understanding and is often the vehicle for adaptation.

Managers of virtual teams must shift their teams’ work practices towards more structured coordination. Clear team-level work processes, output requirements, and group norms reduce the complexity of virtual team coordination from coordinating efforts across multiple sites to aligning one’s efforts with a single, consistent set of expectations. Second, managers must also work to support and facilitate dynamic adjustment when it’s required by promoting and encouraging informal interaction.

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Building Effective Cross-Cultural Teams

Tips for Building Successful Cross Cultural Teams

Increase awareness of the challenges faced by team members from other cultures                                                                 

Individuals working as part of a multicultural team need to become aware, and understand the challenges which are often faced by team members from the non-dominant culture. This ranges from – appreciating the psychological challenges people can face to learning to interpret behavior from outside ones own cultural perspective.

Make explicit team norms                                                                                                                                                            

It is important for multicultural teams to explicitly discuss standards and expectations for effective communication within the team. Team members need to recognize that other  individuals on the team might be at risk for challenges in meeting these standards, based on their cultural upbringing, professional experience, and personality.

Work hard to create a psychologically safe and inclusive team environment                                                                                         

It is important to create anatmosphere within the team that is “psychologically safe.” Individuals who are from the non-dominant culture can feel intense pressure and scrutiny in multicultural team settings. It is critical that all individuals work hard to create an inclusive and supportive atmosphere for all team members of the team. Without such an atmosphere, teams can lose members who may have a great deal to add, but who struggle with the language and cultural norms.

Dedicate time and resources to skill building                                                                                                                                                            

Many multinational teams in today’s business environment have a culture that is essentially Western, and a language that is English. This creates problems for individuals who may lack the skills to be fully-participative members. Find a way to build and enhance your team members’ language and cultural skills.

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Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness


 

Mental toughness has been defined as the ability to perform at consistently high levels through times of personal and professional pressure (Jones et al.,2002)

Mentally tough individuals have ‘a high sense of self belief and an unshakable faith that they can control their own destiny, these individuals can remain relatively unaffected by competition and adversity’ (Clough et al., 2002)

 

Mental Toughness in the Workplace

Mental toughness is now considered by many as a key aspect of performance in the workplace for  building resiliance in individuals and teams, and enabling effective coaching and development. The growing interest in this concept of mental toughness as resulted from the assumptions that the characteristics underlying mental toughness are associate with increased performance and success.

Research has found that mental toughness (like emotional intelligence) is a characteristic that can be developed.  Clough et al.,  have proposed a 4C model of mental toughness to examine this concept in individuals.  The 4 Cs are:

  • Control  – the tendency to feel you are influential, and can control ones life.
  • Commitment – a tendency to involve oneself in an encounter, carry out tasks successfully despite problems, or obstacles.  
  • Challenge – the belief that life is changeable, it refers to the extent individuals see problems as opportunities rather than a threat.  
  • Confidence – a high sense of self- belief and unshakable faith concerning ones ability to achieve success.

 

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How to Use EQ to Lower Workplace Anxiety

Watch this short video of Dr. Martyn Newman on how to use EQ to reduce workplace anxiety

How to Use EQ to Reduce Workplace Stress



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DCP at the EQ Summit 2012

DCP at the EQ Summit

DCP at the EQ Sumitt in London

DCP at the EQ Sumit in London

As sponsors of the 2012  EQ Summit we are delighted by the overall success of the day.  And, if you’ve been following our most recent blogs you will already have a general understanding of emotional intelligence – what exactly it means; what the fundamental components are; what value it can bring to organisations.

The EQ Summit in London offered a great forum for speakers to promulgate this message and showcase how they have used EQ as a methodology in organizations with great results. In particular, we heard from RocheMartin about their ECR (Emotional Capital Report), an assessment we also use with many of our clients. This ECR is a well developed EQ tool used in organisations to provide a basis for assessment, development, and coaching.

L-R Agneta Stranberg, Dr Paul Ekman, Judy Purse, Jody Bijary, Andrew Humphries

L-R Agneta Stranberg, Dr Paul Ekman, Judy Purse, Jody Bijary, Andrew Humphries, Dr Maryn Newman (standing at podium)

 

Without doubt, the highlight of the day was  the captivating, and informative talk given by eminent psychologist Dr Paul Ekman, whose work on micro-expressions and human emotions earned him a place in TIME Magazines Top 100 most influential people of 2009. After watching Ekman captivate the 400 person audience from a sitting position, it is easy to see how he gained this award in 2009.

To give you a feel of Dr Paul Ekman’s expertise and passion on this topic, please see the below video clip.

Dr Paul Ekman discusses Empathy

 

EQ Summit – 9th March

Blogs on the recent EQ Summit

Here are two excellent blogs on the recent EQ Summit in London

Thinking about Learning

&

Strategic HCM

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Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Emotional Intelligence in Your Organisation

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DavittCorporatePartners – Organisational Psychologists and Experts in Building Emotional Intelligence

Positive Intelligence

Positive Intelligence

Research shows that when people work with a positive mind set their performance on nearly every level – productivity, creativity, engagement improves. People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge. For companies, happy employees mean better bottom-line results.

Happiness is the most misunderstood driver of performance, and whilst most people believe that success precedes happiness, happiness resulting from success is in fact fleeting.  Success is a moving target- as soon as you hit your target, you raise it again. Our general sense of well-being is surprisingly malleable. The habits we cultivate, our coworker interactions, and how we think about stress can all be managed to increase happiness.


Three ways individuals can cultivate their own sense of well being

Develop new habits. Recent research on neuroplasticity- the ability of the brain to change even into adulthood-reveals that as you develop new habits, you rewire the brain. Engage in one brief positive exercise every day for as little as three weeks.

Help your co-workers Many studies have found strong social support to be the greatest predictor of happiness during periods of high stress

Change your relationship with Stress. Stress is another factor contributing to people’s happiness at work.  Stress has an upside. Stress is not just an obstacle to growth; it can be the fuel for it. Your attitude toward stress can dramatically change how it affects you.

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Emotional Intelligence in Your Organisation

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DavittCorporatePartners – Organisational Psychologists and Experts in Building Emotional Intelligence

Social Skill

Social Skill

The first three components of emotional intelligence are self management skills. The last two, empathy and social skill, concern a person’s ability to manage relationships with others. As a component of emotional intelligence, social skill is not just a matter of friendliness, although people with high levels of social skill are rarely mean spirited. Social skill is friendliness with a purpose: moving people in the direction you desire.

Socially skilled people tend to have a wide circle of acquaintances, and are able to find common ground/build rapport with many groups of people. Such people have a network in place when the time for action comes.

Social skill is the culmination of emotional intelligence. People tend to be very effective at managing relationships when they can understand and control their own emotions and can empathize with the feelings of others. Even motivation contributes to social skill – people who are driven to achieve tend to be optimistic, even in the face of setbacks or failure. When people are upbeat, their “glow” is cast upon conversations and other social encounters.

Socially skilled people, are adept at managing teams; they are expert persuaders – a manifestation of self-awareness, self regulation, and empathy combined. Given those skills, good persuaders know when to make an emotional plea, for instance, and when an appeal to reason will work better.

Social skills allows leaders to put their emotional intelligence to work.

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Emotional Intelligence in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values

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DavittCorporatePartners – Organisational Psychologists and Experts in Building Emotional Intelligence