21Sep 2017

Be assertive and live healthier.

business-163501_1280Maybe you have already experienced this scenario: the meeting is over, you go out of the meeting-room and after a couple of minutes you start realizing that you were not able to express your opinion firmly, to say that you don’t agree, to give the rest of the team explanations for your point of view, or at least to say that you have one.

The typical “Should-Y-Thinking” is what is happens next. You sit down on your chair at your desk and you can’t stop thinking “Maybe I should have said that I don’t agree, I should have said the same that Mary said, I should have told my boss about what happened last week…”

You can’t concentrate on your next activity, you start thinking you are not worth it and that you were not able to do your job effectively, you are not good in meetings, or maybe you find other ways to give the fault to someone else. “He was speaking too much, he never let me speak and he is so loud and aggressive that I can’t speak…”

Or maybe you react aggressively to others’ opinions and force others to take the decision YOU want, making you a name as a “bossy” one. Maybe you are always under stress and pressure, venting your frustration in situations and persons that have nothing to do with it, trying to show the “strongest” part of you.

Actually it does not matter if you are acting like in the first or second example, you don’t feel happy with yourself, and you think people don’t respect you and should. You don’t feel satisfied with you life, feel stresses communicating with others and you think you miss a balance that you are struggling to find.

What you had needed is Assertiveness, the ability to communicate in a way that you can make your point and stand for your needs taking into consideration the needs of others.

Assertiveness is NOT a communication technique, is a state of mind, an attitude to yourself and to life is the key to your balance and to a peaceful and self confident way of communicating and living with others.

It is not about being aggressive or dominant, simply it is about of being present, being you and speaking according to your values and needs.

People tend to think that aggressiveness and assertiveness are very similar, but they are not: we are talking about two different communication styles.

When you are assertive your tone of the voice is quite but firm, your body is relaxed as you are in complete control of yourself. When you are aggressive you are trying to control others, and your “pushy” attitude is provoking a hard and harsh tone of the voice and stressed and tense body.

Learning to be assertive will give you the chance to stay more relaxed, to avoid stress not only in the moment of the meeting or of the conversation, it gives you the chance later on to show your strengths and abilities.

A successful person has learnt to deal with conflicts and critical situations, and to deal with the persons involved in these situations. A successful person has learnt to manage emotions in order to achieve the desired goals. In order to do this a successful person has learnt to express her/his opinion properly, to voice his/her need for clarifying topics, and the need to think over a proposal. Assertiveness is simply a communication style which enable you to express your needs and wishes without controlling and manipulating others.

Being assertive helps us managing our emotions, showing and expressing explicitly the borders to others so that nobody is manipulating you and (more important) that you don’t feel manipulated.

Being manipulated can bring to burn out, to depression and to severe anxiety attacks, but not because of others, but because you are not able to react. When you are not in control of yourself you feel and notice that someone else is, that you cannot make your own decision and live the life you want.

Assertiveness’ first step then is about recognizing who you are, what you can and what you want. Living HERE AND NOW is the secret formula for being able to react in that specific moment.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much experience you have, whether you use it in your private or in your professional life, assertiveness can and should be trained if you want to reach your goals effectively and want to be seen as self confident, balanced, and professional at the same time.

I like to use the word “balance”, because assertiveness gives you the right tools to manage and control your emotions, and this means that you can act and communicate without emotional eruptions (which impede you seeing the things the way they really are) but with empathy and tranquility, so that you can be seen as professional and self-confident.

Assertiveness has a lot of beneficial effects, for example it gives you the chance to:

  • Increase your self-confidence;
  • Reduce the need of approval by others;
  • Accept the right of others to live their own life the way they want, base for respectful and long-lasting relationships;
  • Retain your self-respect;
  • Keep the control over your life and take the decisions you want;
  • Relate to others in a healthy and balanced way.

Assertiveness is the key to your daily pressure at work, to a successful negotiation or conflict management, assertiveness is the key to a peaceful and happy life.

 

If you want to attend my next workshops “Assertiveness and Self-Confidence in Business” please go to the link https://www.haufe-akademie.de/19.49

 

22Aug 2017

Behavior is communication – about the use of time.

How to communicate through the use of time and how to show that you care.

Time_ElenaTecchiati“It is not possible not to communicate”, I love this sentence and I use it as an ear opener in many workshops as well as in my coaching sessions. I am fascinated by the human implicit messages always wondering what we actually would like to express and not only in critical situations.

I was sitting at the airport a couple of day ago, observing the persons passing by. The way they walked on the pathway is expressing our way we walk through life, the way we open or close our hands making the oscillating movement of the arms is expressing our openness to the outer world.

I was also watching the “social” and interactive movements of people expressing their willingness to communicate. For example smiling to the person next to him in the queue for boarding, or a nodding sign giving the pass entering a store. I love the effects of body language, and I love the pieces of information I can discover observing people.

Behavior is communication. It is not a mystery, we all know that people see what we do and translate it in what we are. In many cases I must say “unfortunately”, as people tend to judge without having all the pieces of information. In this case is the judging person expressing more than the other one.

In leadership we talk about “leading by example”: if you are not putting into practice what you are asking your employees to do, what are you communicating actually? What are you telling them? What should they think of you? An old story, though.

Also when you are gossiping about someone, you are actually saying something about yourself. Clear hints, clear communication. I normally take distance from these people.

We live in an era where information is transparent, unbelievable quick, and full of details. We can discover a lot about someone just writing the name in google. A picture says more than 1000 words, today we are aware of this. But also NOT being in the web means something.

This morning I read an article about an architect who gave an interview stressing the fact that he loves expressing himself through his profession and his art. Every artist, such as handcrafters or musicians, knows exactly what the architect was talking about. In the whole, in every moment of our life we are communicating, if we want it or not.

In this period of my life there is a topic that makes me reflect a lot: the use of time. People who are chronically coming late to appointments, people who are procrastinating, people who are not able to organize their time and end up realizing that time has passed by and they haven’t done anything concretely are expressing something. Even people that want to meet and that at the end don’t show up… what are they expressing? I call them “Time-destroyer” because at the end they are deciding for your time.

How we spend our time is a personal matter (and this already says something about myself), but the real issue starts when we are acting “invading” the time of others and as a consequence, deciding for the others. For example always showing up late to appointments or changing their plans of meeting you shortly before the meeting just because they “changed their mind” or because they are not well organized to be on time.

It is quite clear that it is how often they do it that marks the pace and defines the kind of message that is coming through. It is a matter of fact that the other persons dealing with these kind of people could get easily tired of this behavior, depending on the boundary and relationship they have. And depending on their level of patience, too.

Anyway this behavior communicates clearly the idea: it is about me, I don’t want to compromise, and I am more important than you. Maturity level and narcissism level can make the impact even stronger.

Another thing that I have been observing is also how these people apologize for their behavior. They normally know what and why they are doing it, so it is easier to say a quick “sorry” (because they have to) and never show up again.

In the best case they tell you that you are the problem and you are not flexible enough. Ironic? Sarcastic? No: immature and selfish!

What are they communicating? It is a simple matter of respect and at the end they are making themselves ridiculous and unbelievable.

If you want to show and express respect start with your behavior, it is a matter of attitude. If you don’t care about the other, don’t make them lose their time.

  • Work on your time management: don’t make others responsible for your problem.
  • If you have made up to meet the person and the circumstances are bringing you to change the plans (even though YOU decide), don’t put the others in front of decisions you already made. Ask BEFORE you decide what they think about it and explain the situation – “my friend is coming over so we can’t meet tomorrow, as we decided already” is a trust-killer.
  • Organize your time and decide what your priorities are. Stay true to yourself and decide what is important for you.
  • Don’t make people wait on you or for you, just be on time. It is a matter of respect for their time.
  • Don’t hide yourself behind: “Well, I am this way”, because it is a matter of behavior, not of “being”. It is a cheap excuse and shows immaturity.
  • If you want it you can make it. Maybe you just don’t want it…

Good relationships start from our attitude of respect towards others.

19May 2017

If you don’t feel the empowerment, don’t do it!

Houston1_ElenatecchiatiI have been giving classes here in Houston with the topic “effective communication, conflict management and how to solve difficult situations in teams”, and I loved the way the participants were responding to the content, they were amazed by the fact that such easy tools could change the way they feel about approaching others in critical situations achieving good results. So in the end: if you want different results, learn and use a different approach, or at least try it.

I realized once again working with different cultures, that the common goal is happiness and satisfaction at work, with the premise that we need to be happy first if we want others to be happy and to get engaged in our team.

Good leadership is an ongoing process, it is about effective communication, empathy, emotional intelligence, and empowerment. Leadership is about creating followers, and not forcing them to follow you.

Where does happiness at work comes from? I don’t want to write a blog about happiness and satisfaction at work, there are a lot of studies and investigations about this topic, but I want to stress out a message that is, according to my experience, the right attitude for solving conflict as a leader: Feel the empowerment!

Leadership empowerment is the feeling you have (or don’t have) you are able and you have the “right” for leading, and it works like the self fulfilling prophecy in a way that it gives you the right attitude for acting with responsibility and humility.

Studies say, if you don’t have the desire to lead, you cannot be a good leader. Here it is: feel the desire and wish to lead, feel the empowerment they give to you to lead, and work on it every day in order to create great teams and great environment at work.

Empowerment is not about the contract or the position, is about attitude, mind-set and self-confidence. I am not talking about power abuse or of letting them feel you are the boss, no way! I am talking about the heart of the fulfilling of a position, of the feeling you deserve it and you can make it.

When I ask in my leadership training “Do you feel the empowerment?” I notice every time that the participants think over it. The question makes them think and reflect about the relationship they have with they report (up) but it has not really to do with it.

Empowerment is a personal attitude that we create and develop through experiences, love for our work and self-confidence. Leadership empowerment creates the attitude for leading and managing people, for doing the job without hesitation and or taking over responsibilities.

If you feel you can make it, then you can make it. It doesn’t mean you are not going to make mistakes, but it means you are going to learn from them without thinking you failure.

Develop your feeling for empowerment:

  • Work on positive atmosphere at work.
  • Talk with them and not TO them.
  • Be a friend, but don’t forget you are the leader.
  • Give recognition, not only through incentives and a free meal, but communicating with them.
  • Love your job and show that you love it through commitment to them.
  • Lead by example, do what you say you and they should do.
  • Do you feel the desire to lead? If not, leave it.

If you feel the empowerment they will feel it, too.

 

 

 

14Apr 2017

Are you able to communicate “LOVE”?

Love Comm _ Elena TecchiatiWords are cheap, we know this very well. Everybody who has been disappointed knows exactly what I mean.

In many cases it is not easy to speak the same love language and I am not talking only about love affairs (which is sure one of the most important issues in our life), but I am speaking generally about all the relationships we generate throughout our life.

Imagine the concept LOVE as the concept of mutual respect taking the other as the perfect human being, not less or more important than you. If we were able to think like this and to maintain this attitude towards others the world would be free from many conflicts and wars.

There are different ways of communicating love in our daily life, and it could be more or less intense if the other person is the ONE in our life. In this case, as I am writing for a more “business” audience, I would like to point out that I refer to love as the concept mentioned above, respect and equality.

Spend quality time with the other.

Learn how to listen, do not let your cell phone or other devices stay in your conversation. Try to understand exactly what the other person means and follow her thoughts. Stay with the other when she is speaking about herself. Don’t change the topic talking about you. Now she is talking about herself, give her your full attention.

Do not judge if you are not asked to comment or to give solutions.

In many cases people only want to be listened and not to find a solution for something that YOU think is a problem. You can offer help, you can offer to think over a solution, but do not give feedback or do not jump into the “I want to fix it-syndrome”.

Be sincere, but don’t kill through your sincerity.

“I think your new haircut does not fit you.” Have you ever heard it? Does it hurt? First of all, it is YOUR opinion, second, have you been asked to give your opinion? And at the end, what does it change? She has already had her hair cut, your feedback only would hurt and nothing else. Remember: there are different ways of communicating opinions and ideas and to play the “I know it all” in these cases only can hurt.

Appreciate others’ ideas and opinions, even though they are far away from yours.

My way of seeing things is not the center of the world. Even though, it is the way I live and I act. The others around me may have the same thoughts about their way of living their life. Respect others’ ideas, reflect with them about them and show you care. A good conversation and discussion should be polite, but it does not mean you share the same opinion.

Learn how to eliminate specific sentences from your vocabulary.

Sentences such as “you must” or “you should” express your higher position in your communication setting. They also express obligation, feel strong and heavy. Learn instead to express wishes and positivity using maybe sentences such as “maybe you could think of…” or “have you ever thought of…”

Show a body language orientate to the other.

Your shoulders and the whole body should show you care, should show you are in an active communication with the other. Your voice should not be too loud or too soft, just adequate to the distance and communication topic. Observe how others communicate through their body and voice in order to learn from them and to correct yourself.

The list could be longer, start with these pieces of advice to enhance your communication skills in order to reach more satisfaction and happiness in your daily life.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting.

Happy Easter Holidays!

08Mar 2017

Workshop Elena TecchiatiWhen it comes to performance there is one point for me that is critical and can be crucial at the same time: when I start judging myself.

During my last training I realize even stronger that in the moment I start judging myself about my performance and about how good or bad I am my performance is decreasing. In that moment I am not able to switch off my internal radio, and I could even feel the embarrassment judging my judgment.

This vicious circle was impeding me many times to stay 100% at the disposal of my participants, it was impeding me to give my best, it was simply impeding me to be successful.

This reminds me of the last time I was playing beach volley with a group of friends. I was simply enjoying the time and the nice weather, screaming and laughing around, wearing my ACDC cap and singing “Highway to hell” every time we were scoring. I was not judging myself, I was not worrying about my performance, I was not worrying about thinking what other were thinking about me, we were simply a team, I learnt how to pitch (finally!) and I was having a lot of fun. We were motivating one another, hugging each other if something was good, hugging each other if something went wrong. At the end, my team won.

Once that I know the game, the more I let go and the better I can play the game. If I forget to control myself, or I simply put the control at the side before it controls me, I feel less obligated to be someone I do not want to be. Or maybe someone I can’t be.

In these moments I let go the pressure I feel, I am be free of judgments and guilty feelings, my performance is at its best.

In order to do this, I had to learn the game, making experiences and learning to switch off the radio, learning to receive feedback and to deal with it, learning that I am more than how I behave, learning that love can have a lot of forms, also for myself.

In the meantime I keep coaching a lot of people about this learning process, hoping they can experience what it means and how it feels to put the control in the cloud, so that it is not controlling you.

Control and judgment can be my enemies, can be able to make me suffer, and to delete the joy of my work.

Still now every now and then I have to struggle myself with this. It is hard to let go when you have thought for years that good performance is about trying to be perfect. But this is only pressure, obligation, guilty feelings, and they can destroy the good moments.

Maybe this post reminds of one of your experiences. In this case, share. Thanks.