Appreciation: Insight from #PeopleSkills Chat – Feb 15, 2015

Following along and learning from Kate Nasser’s weekly twitter chat has proved to be insightful.  This is the third post based on learnings from the chat.  The first week was about optimism and diligence and the second week was about silence.

So far, all the topics related to people skills connect to the concept of civility because it is the small actions and the skillfully applied behaviors we take as individuals that lead to respect for others.  We don’t have to wait for respect to give respect.  According the author P.M. Forni, we can choose civility.

This week, rather than list all ten questions, the focus here will be on Question 8

Are people more likely to appreciate others like them or different from them? Why?

A few comments to ponder….

Henry Wallace quote on diversity

Henry A. Wallace spoke about needing differences, or in his words, “all kinds.”  While it is easiest to appreciate what we know, a deeper and compassionate look at others can lead to appreciation, respect and better outcomes.  For those that decide to appreciate others, you become a seed in the process of creating a more civil workplace.

Graphic of Cultivate Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  Here we cultivate conversations about civility in the workplace.

10 Civility Insights #Peopleskills – Feb 8, 2015

Here are the 10 questions Kate Nasser asked on her Sunday, Feb 8, 2015 Twitter Chat.  Reviewing it here gives us an opportunity to gain insight about civility and leadership in the workplace.

1.  Silence is a powerful form of communication.

Silence is one of the main ways to listen well.  Alternatively, silence can lead to an unintended meaning in the workplace.  For example if we are silent in a meeting it could be sending a message of agreement.

2. Becoming skilled at listening well and speaking up gives silence positive power.

Because silence is a powerful form of communication it can have big effects on the world.  The biggest impact comes when we become skilled in civility practices like listening well and speaking up. Then we know when to pause and when to ask questions that promote others to speak up.

3. Silence becomes the trouble when speakers lose their power.

Silence also becomes trouble when speakers become too complacent speak up or too fearful.

4. Children are our future, they need to learn the nuances of speaking up and silence.

The effects of the belief that “children should be seen and not heard” can prevent children from learning and developing important civility practices that will make future workplaces strong, resilient and sustainable.

5. Silence is golden in the workplace when…

Silence supports an opportunity for others to speak up or an opportunity for reflection. Silence is not golden when it recklessly conveys agreement or is used because of fear of a leader’s reaction to speaking up.

6. Silence in the face of injustice…

promotes at best complacency and at worst agreement with the injustice. In the workplace this kind of silence in that face of injustice will lead to bad decisions and eventually legal challenges.

7. Great leaders are skilled at silence.

Great leaders know how to utilize silence to give people time to think and time to respond. When they notice silence they inquire in one-on-one conversations rather than assume that silence equals agreement.

8. A leader’s silence can cause trouble especially when there is trouble.

The leader will be most effective when he or she is skilled at speaking up and connecting with the right people to root out challenges before problems become too complex to change.

9. Mindful vs. Mindless

Silence is liked when it is utilized in a mindful way. Silence is disliked when it is used in a mindless way.

10. Finding the balance between silence and verbal interaction can be found through applying the civility practice of noticing little things.

Noticing little things is the skilled approach to vigilance from the #peopleskills chat discussed last week. Allowing silence in the form of a pause after a curiously asked question is a form of optimism because it allows for the belief that other people have the answers, they just need to be asked in a non threatening way and given time to respond.  Next week Kate Nasser says the #peopleskills chat topic will be: Love/Appreciation.  That should prove to be an equally worthy topic.

Gather 510 px squareThe Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  Here we gather tips for leading (and developing emerging leaders) with civility.

10 Civility Insights from Twitter Chat about People Skills

Here are the 10 questions Kate Nasser asked on her Sunday, Feb 1, 2015 Twitter Chat.  This as an opportunity to gain insight about civility and leadership in the workplace.

1. Optimism is best summed up by this quote.  Graphic of Saying Believe“Believe there is good in the world.”  The benefit to this approach is that it aligns a person with a mindset of openness to change and a willingness to “Be the good.”

2. Vigilance is about facing reality. It involves asking questions and seeking real solutions to the problems that one faces. The benefits of vigilance only show up when the leader has the ability to face problems before they grow into larger problems. Vigilance is not the same thing as pessimism because two perspectives can be held at the same time: hopefulness and awareness.

3. Yes, vigilance and optimism can co-exist and they are both essential to any leader. However there is a missing piece to the leadership puzzle. The third piece is the ability to take action (if needed) based on the new information gained from the delicate balance between optimism and vigilance.

4. The words that describe a vigilant and optimistic leader are the actions the leader can take.  Actions that have an impact on respect for others and help lead to positive working relationships and environments.  Actions like: Including others, listening well, speaking up, noticing little things, and even smiling when passing a person in the hallway.  For example, a smile is a small action that is vigilant because the leader has his or her head up and is paying attention when they see another person.  At the same time this action is optimistic because it is a form of showing respect for the person he or she is passing.

5. When a very optimistic person interacts with a highly vigilant person both people have an opportunity to learn from the perspective of the other person.  Realistically, we all probably have an inborn temperament toward vigilance or optimism. It is common in the workplace to think that if a person thinks different than others we should be suspicious or cautious. In reality, we need to reach out and try to understand the perspective of people that think different.

6. Pushing either vigilance or optimism too far could create stagnation and prevent results in the workplace and make the environment less positive or too idealistic.  That is why we need each other to balance things out and provide helpful perspective.

7. Great leaders know how to utilize their people skills to balance optimism with vigilance by working with the people around them to learn and grow.

8. Staying optimistic and vigilant can come from having hopeful positive goals and recognizing that results do not just unfold in a linear fashion. Once the goal is set, the leader needs to be vigilant about the current situation so he or she can make adjustments. Instead of just setting a goal and not thinking about it again, one should remain vigilant about focusing on the goal every day.

9. This quote takes vigilance to a level of civic engagement.  Liberty requires continued awareness and a sense of hope. In other words, vigilance and optimism both.

10. People skills are essential  because they allow us see what others see and find the balance between optimism and vigilance.

Gather 510 px squareThe Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  Here we gather tips for leading (and developing emerging leaders) with civility.