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How to better understand people

How to build an emotionally intelligent organisation with empathy?

Attempts to align staff with a power over and control approach to force commitment isn't likely to be ultimately rewarding, though perhaps in some instances this may produce some superficial gains initially; it is likely to be outweighed by unwanted effects going forward i.e. resistance and resentment in staff. You may discover that unhelpful patterns of inter-relating can then entrench themselves over time, and erode team functioning in the long run. How might you then evoke commitment that strengthens cohesion and motivation that drives teams towards the achievement of its' goals, while validating individual expression and maintaining the integrity of the team?

The onus for 'setting the scene' I believe, begins with the organisation, but responsibility for ensuring that the employer-employee relationship moves in a desirable direction is a corporate affair which requires effective relational skills, emotion modulation, and empathy. These skills help to promote those factors such...

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How to never be called a jerk again

If you're anyone providing a service to other people or if you proclaim to do so; you ought to abide by a few ground rules. 

My golden rule is 'don't be a jerk'. Amazing how often this rule is violated because of hubris. Don't be that person. Don't be a jerk. 

How? How do you avoid jerkdom? Let me tell you a few things. 

First: remember you are not more important than anyone else. Your client/customer/patient/person has come to you for help. Or at least they think you can help. So, set your ego aside and put yourself in their shoes. Where are they in their journey? Remember they are the hero. Not you. You are the guide. 

Second: Believe them. Don't second guess them. Don't berate them. Don't scoff. Don't say "well in my experience, that can't happen" because you are probably wrong since your experience doesn't mean squat. Its their experience that is important, not yours. Don't be a jerk. If you think your experience trumps theirs. Then you're a jerk. 

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What do I say when I don't know what to say?

empathic connection May 09, 2022

If you've ever found yourself fumbling for words because you want to be encouraging and helpful to friends or family in need, you're not alone! It's not like the movies where people always seem to know what to say (you don't have a script writer helping you!). 

Just remember though; you don't always need to use words to convey that you're there for your loved ones and sometimes words distort your message. How the message is packaged and delivered is the important thing. 

I encourage you to read the last blog post where we dig into the essentials of how you can help another person feel understood and heard : Accurate Empathy 

Words are only as powerful as the manner in which they are delivered. 

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How do I empathise accurately?

Many of us would have felt the irritation of being misunderstood or the pang of invalidation when we so badly want a friend or family member to hear us but they don’t or perhaps they don’t have the skills it takes to empathise accurately with us. Even worse, is when they give you unsolicited advice that is so off the mark that it makes you feel even worse.

Now, flip the situation and put your child in your shoes and imagine yourself as that friend or family member I’ve just described. Its easy to see why children stop talking to us and they give us the silent treatment, or they say “I don’t know”. You know the story!

What is the target here? What we want to do is understand what the other person is saying AND feeling. Why? because when we feel somehow has understood and heard us, we feel more settled, more secure, safe. Isn't that what we all need?

We cannot get on target if the information we are relying on is based on our assumptions,...

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How do we pass our values onto our children effectively?

parenting values May 07, 2022

No matter how hard we try to censor and filter things out for them, kids are like sponges, picking up on everything we say and do even if they don't fully understand the meaning of the information they've absorbed. It's part of our job to help them make sense of that information. 

 

In my view, the best times to impart our values is when we capitalise on so called teachable moments. It is in the act of living life that they see our values play out organically. It's all well and good to give them a didactic lecture on the merits and demerits of virtue ethics but you'll put them to sleep. Kids will learn more from watching you and seeing how you handle conflict and problems in the heat of a moment. 

 

Make the effort to ask them questions about their thoughts and feelings about how they saw a particular situation. Ask them if they thought you ought to have acted differently. Ask them if they would have acted similarly given similar circumstances. Obviously...

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What can you do about sibling jealousy?

The thing is, jealousy  is normal and expected among siblings but mismanaging this can inadvertently pave the way to rifts and ruptured relationships. So we cant just ignore it when you suspect that's happening for your kids. 

 

The sort of jealousy that is very important for us to be mindful of is the sort that stems from a fear of losing connection with a parent. Kids can exhibit all sorts of behaviour in protest, ranging from mild and subtle to loud and very very obvious. But the treatment is the same...it is connection. There's that word again. Connection undergirds all of our interpersonal interactions and it is empathy that glues us together. Quality and quantity time is what our kids need; this sounds like it is stating the obvious. That's because it is obvious. But it's important to state because kids deserve all the attention and connection we can spare them. 

 

Some kids are going to be more needy than others. That's just a fact that we're...

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How do we praise our kids in a way that doesn't turn them into jerks?

parenting praise May 04, 2022
 

The answer isn't as obvious as we may think. 

While most of us think praising and complimenting kids is a good thing, there is such as thing as unhelpful praise.

How do we praise kids so they feel motivated but not inadvertently overinflate their ego? How do we reinforce behaviour without causing a complex where they feel like our approval is contingent on performance. 

I've outlined 4 key ideas in the video

1. Be sincere and genuine

2. Connect with your kids as often as possible so your attention and approval is not contingent on only certain things that they do. 

3. Don't make comparisons with other kids!

4. Refrain from complimenting them on things they can't control like their appearance or natural intelligence. 

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Can people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder empathise?

At a basic level empathy consists of 2 components; that is, an affective (feeling) and a cognitive (thinking) part. 

 

There's a common misconception that folks with so called ASD/Autistic Spectrum Disorder cannot empathise. That's not true. It's not that they can't, its that they struggle to reconcile their understanding of thoughts with feelings in other people and also in themselves. 

 

Life as you know is not black and white...well. Actually I take that back. Yes there is black and white but there's also all sorts of shades in between and not in between. Life is colourful. And people who have problems with social reading tend to also struggle to appreciate and perceive the shades of colour in between more primary/obvious ones. For example: anger, sadness, joy are relatively more easy to understand compared to shame, disgust, disappointment etc.

 

People with social reading problems also have problems with self-awareness; they almost...

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FREE Mini Training for Empathic Connection and Troubleshooting Challenging Conversations with Kids

 

I just wanted to let you know that you can get a FREE mini-training course about how you can improve your ability to connect with kids while also learning how to handle some tricky but common scenarios like the silent treatment, how do you deal with a kid who says "I Don't Know" all the time, or who doesn't want to talk to you. 

 

Come and Check the course out now. I think it'll save you heaps of time, energy and headaches!

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I have too many goals! How do I avoid burning out? First get a fix on your intention

Running and trying to reach your goals can be like grasping at clouds, and you end up feeling exhausted, frustrate and inept. Goal posts can move away from us, and that's not always under our control as circumstances change, like shifting sand underneath us. 

Having said that, it's not wrong to set goals. Just that it's more useful to set them in the context of what your intention is.

Goals are fleeting and subject to factors that aren't always under our control. Intention on the other hand IS under our control and we can choose how we direct our energy in the interest of our aims, which is driven by our intention. 

Intentions are aspirations but goals provide us with tangible benchmarks to help advance us forward in the interest of our aspirations. 

Intention also opens up a world of options that wouldn't be available if you single mindedly focused on just a concrete goal. It also reduces the risk of burn out and gives us flexibility to make any move we...

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Become Influential

Sometimes kids have a hard time talking to you about things when they need the most help. Learn to use emotional intelligence and empathic connection to gain co-operation without the friction.