Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why do we behave the way we do?

‘Change’ is the most sought word consciously or unconsciously by all of us. We all want to change for the better! It could be better person, habits, values, job, earnings, relations etc. But it is quite challenging for most of us to adapt to new practices and habits. We find ourselves as the chief ‘enemy’. Why do we behave the way we do?  Well, we need to be aware of:
1.      Homeostasis: The unconscious tendency to be drawn irresistibly towards doing what we have always done. It is the natural mechanism built in us to function automatically in many areas. It is this mechanism that keeps our body temperature at 98.6 Fahrenheit. It also maintains the chemical balance within our bodies. It has the tendency to keep us in the ‘comfort zone’ whenever we do something contrary to our current habits. It’s nature’s way to keep us consistent with the way we’ve been in the past. But we should remember, “Everything we want is out of our comfort zones.”

2.      Psycho sclerosis- This is can be termed as “hardening of attitudes.” It is the tendency to fall in love with our own ideas and to defend them against new ones. Many of us remain average because we fail to be open to new ideas. We become too rigid. The mark of superior people is that they are mentally flexible to accept new ideas.

3.      Power of Love: Much of what we do is to get love or compensate for the lack of love in our early childhood. This emotion exerts strong influence on our choices and decisions. Almost everything we do – the goals we set, the dreams we dream, the commitments are influenced by the power of love. When we want to change, everything we do must be consistent with the amount of love and respect we have for ourselves and that others have for us. We should start by loving ourselves.

4.      Power of Suggestion: Our mind is affected by everything that goes around us. The suggestive environment around us has an impact on everything we become or what happens to us. Much of the suggestive environment around us is negative The media, the people who whine and carp, the “ain’t it awful” talking etc. We need to have control over this suggestive environment around us purposefully. We should create our own positive world conducive to the person we want to become.

Knowledge and awareness of why we behave the way we do is the first step that we all can take towards bona fide change!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to give ‘Constructive Feedback’?

“A great goal of life is lifting people up versus bringing people down.” Robin Sharma. Feedback is the breakfast of champions, and it is the most essential diet to improve individual, professional, organizational performance. But many times, our feedback can bring people down rather than lift them up. Whenever we give feedback, it should be constructive and not destructive. How can we ensure this? The following steps from Brian Tracy’s book, ‘Maximum Achievement’ can really help us:

1.      Protect Individual Self Esteem: Remember self esteem is like the balloon while words can be potential needles. Be gentle; let the person know that the feedback is being given in the best of his/her interest. You could even start with words like, “I like you” or better “I love you” and then go on with process of correction.

2.      Focus on Future: Don’t cry over the spilt milk! The focus should be ‘What do we do from here?’ Use words like, “Next time, why don’t you…” Energy flows where attention goes. If we focus on the wrong thing done too much, we will receive the same in the future. Focus on the corrections that need to be carried out. Don’t harp on the negative past and wrong doing which can discourage the person.

3.      Focus on the behavior or performance: Don’t focus on the person. Rather the behavior or the performance. Instead of saying, “You are not selling enough,” say, “Your sales figures are below expectations.” Many times we get into the tendency of generalizing things. We look at a wrong act and conclude that the person as a whole is wrong. We should be able to separate the person from his/her action and behavior which happened in a particular context.

4.      Use “I” to retain ownership of your feeling: Instead of saying, “You make me very angry,” say, “I feel very angry when you do that” or “I am not happy about the situation and I would like to discuss how we could change it.”  We should take the responsibility of our feeling or the reaction, not blame it on the other person.

5.      Clear agreement: Get clear agreement on what is to change, when and by how much. Be specific, solution oriented. Say things like, “In the future, it’s important that you keep accurate notes and double check things before the shipment.”

6.      Offer help: Ask, “What can I do to help you in this situation?” Show the person how to do and what to do. Be a leader who takes along his people and stoops down to serve and help.

7.      Assume that the person wants to do a good job: If a person has done a bad job or made a mistake the problem lies in the limited skill, incomplete information or misunderstanding. Be calm, patient, sensitive and supportive. Build rather than tear down.

The greatest favor we can do to someone is to build his/her self esteem and self efficacy. It will go on to exceptionally build our relationships at home, workplace and everywhere. Constructive Feedback is what we should be committed to.