“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle
Unfortunately none of us can afford to say nothing, do nothing; and be nothing, which is why we need to learn to manage our emotions. Managing our emotions, others’ emotions and group emotions is essentially what emotional intelligence is all about. In a working environment, which is ever changing, massively complicated, very time-conscious (and therefore stressful), highly competitive; and largely unpredictable emotions can run high. Add to this mix the generational, gender and cultural diversity that exists amongst employees and in the market, talent attraction and retention difficulties, a general lack of loyalty; and a market flooded with product and service offerings not unlike yours, ask yourself: what really differentiates you?
We are currently living and experiencing the New World Of Work. TomorrowToday looks at the way in which the world is changing from various aspects that generally have some kind of impact on people inside the workplace, whether that be from a leadership, mentorship perspective, a management perspective, changing demographics and diversity in the workplace or talent attraction and retention perspective. Social dynamics and economics have always changed. However, I think what is new; and what we all have to grapple with inside the New World of Work, is the exponential rate at which the world is changing, which is largely driven by technology.
The other interesting phenomenon impacting the New Wold Of Work is the fact as Generation X increasingly are taking on middle and senior management positions; and as Generation Y are taking up their places in the workplace, corporate institutions are finding that there is a) an increasing need for internal mentorship and b) and adaptive and intelligent leadership.
TomorrowToday has created a training offering, which looks at providing both Mentors and Mentees with the soft skills, which will then implement their own internal yearlong mentorship programme. The benefits of a mentorship programme include:
a) long-term relationships built between employees (assisting with talent retention)
b) improved business etiquette for younger employees
c) a corporate culture achieved
d) a company reputation for nurturing talent
e) real skills for the specific work environment
f) young talent does not ‘slip through the cracks’
g) a sense of loyalty amongst and between employees
h) improved competency in soft skills for both Mentors and Mentees, which can be used outside of the programme
i) improved communication between employees
Some of the topics we cover include:
1) Assertive behaviour
2) Setting goals
3) Tools for raising your Emotional Intelligence and self-awareness
4) Tools for managing emotions in order to be more productive
5) Communication skills
6) Listening skills
7) Giving and receiving feedback
In this article, I would like to focus very briefly on just one aspect of what our training course offers: giving and receiving feedback.
I think it was Maya Angelou who said: you cannot control the world around you, but you can control how you react to that world. How emotionally intelligent we are, will certainly impact on how well we react. In a world where our ability to connect with people is what differentiates us, I would argue that our ‘reactions’ are pretty important.
Not everybody knows how to give feedback; and certainly most people don’t like receiving it. Generally we both give and receive feedback clumsily, but even if we do, if we are aware of it, we can improve on our skill the next time.
Often we perceive feedback negatively; and become defensive in a mis-guided attempt at self-preservation; and call it criticism so we disregard it. However, if we can view feedback objectively, we can begin to see that there are actually benefits to ‘criticism’. Some of these benefits include:
a) personal growth because you can reflect on what has been said, how that applies to you and this allows you to improve, provides you with a different perspective and maybe even allows to you practice forgiveness (of yourself and others)
b) emotional benefits because when feedback hurts that is usually an indication that you know this to be true about yourself; and ultimately you can explore it and perhaps even heal it, so that next time you hear it, it doesn’t hurt and you can be productive with this characteristic of yours
c) improved relationships because you can decrease what you don’t know about yourself (blind spot) and increase on what is good about yourself in order to work more effectively with those around you. Feedback given sensitively and constructively can also build massive trust, which is the basis of any good relationship
d) time efficiency because when you know how to receive feedback (even if it hasn’t been given appropriately) you spend much less time dwelling on what has been said, which frees up your time to do something about what they have said!
e) self confidence because through feedback you really get to know yourself. In understanding and knowing yourself, you have a clear idea of what is true about yourself versus what is somebody else’s issue that they are blaming you for. With knowing yourself there is a sense of ease and comfort that exists inside of yourself, which provides you with a feeling of being self-assured. When you can achieve this, you are a lot more productive
Learning to give and receive feedback, like all the other topics covered on the training course, is just a skill. Skills become easy with practice. Remember how hard it was to drive when you were first learning? Think about how easy it is now – imagine being so emotionally intelligent that having a sense of objectivity, efficiency, wisdom and emotional efficiency was second nature. Imagine how good your relationships would be then?