BLUF: Any good ideas on a MT goal for "keeping perspective and managing stress"?

My boss is asking me to come up with goals for myself around 4 areas. I think I have 3 of them. The fourth has me stumped. Her title for it was "Goal on keeping perspective and managing stress". Her comments are that I have significant impact and influence on my directs and the greater group that she doesn't believe I understand the extent of. We've had a lot of change - re-org, been purchase, another re-org, then re-prioritization of resources and so on. I started a bi-weekly meeting of some other people I think are thought leaders who just don't complain to talk about issues in our teams and think of solutions. I also think I'm a pretty positive person. She agrees with all of that. But she says sometimes when people are going off on a bender I need to do more to help calm down the situation. She also says that sometimes I need to be careful about who I vent my frustrations to because my being upset influences many more people. I do try very hard only to vent to a few very close friends who are my level or higher. She said it's that people watch me for reactions at announcements or if someone else is venting I need to help calm things down.

I think it's somewhat of a compliment that I do have impact and made mental notes to be more pro-active. But I'm not sure how to make this into a goal.

US41's picture

Cool. We have the exact same coaching goal this year. My boss wants me to do EXACTLY THE SAME THING. I've risen up to a level higher than my ability to control my behavior, and now I have to strengthen that ability so that I don't radiate, "Viva la revolution!!!" every time someone says something I don't like hearing.

So, you're being coached.

Step 1: Do the Snoopy happy dance, because your boss is one in a million to give you a coaching goal that screams "I am trying to promote you, and your behavior is in my way. Fix it so I can pull you up a level higher!" You are apparently seen as a natural leader. Your boss sees you frown, and sees others look at you and mimic the behavior. Uh oh. A burden to carry!

Step 2: Identify an overall goal. It has to be measurable, and it has to be time-based. Wait a minute?!? I can't measure me controlling my face more often. Can I? I can measure feedback:

* Receive ZERO adjusting feedback on my facial expressions between now and October 1, 2008
* Receive ZERO adjusting feedback on criticizing management decisions with peers between now and October 1, 2008
* Smile and nod every time someone says something I disagree with between now and October 1, 2008
* Respond to "How are you?" with "Wonderful!" 100% of the time between now and October 1, 2008

Step 3. Count the feedbacks you receive - positive and negative.

Step 4. Talk with your boss about how this is going during O3's. You will slip up - these are difficult behaviors for a skeptical and questioning person to control and engage in - you are being asked to develop the very necessary acting skills that a high level manager MUST HAVE.

Step 5. Evaluate in October and see if these have become habits.

There's another sort of coaching thing you could do here: Find someone who is good at this (not your boss), and meet with them about techniques you could learn. This could work like the MT coaching model:

* ID a resource
* Engage the resource
* Benchmark
* Evaluate
* Rinse, lather, repeat

And, the person you meet with might be higher on the food chain with you, build a relationship, and have some mentoring in other areas. At the very least, you could make a powerful friend.

MsSunshine's picture

Thanks :D

You're right that I was thinking how can I possibly count the number of times I frown or am not "Ms Sunshine". She isn't going to notice or be told of every one of them. But if I'm concentrating on having none, it doesn't matter if she misses a few of my slips.

I am a natural questioner and the people above my boss often give me pre-releases of statements now to make sure things are clear and be prepared for questions. It helps me not to be surprised so we both win! I don't want to turn into a "Yes-woman" and I don't think they want that. But I'm working on expressing my disagreement and going on if they accept my input but keep the original path. That's hard!

They are also giving me a professional coach who I've only had one meeting to just talk about how it's going to work. Part of doing the goals is for us to work on. We'll meet 2 hours every other week. But I still like the idea of finding someone else in the organization who would see directly my actions and help evaluate.

US41's picture

[quote="MsSunshine"]They are also giving me a professional coach...[/quote]

That's simply incredible. You are being groomed for the boardroom. Someone LOVES what you do, and apparently they are going to point some of their budget directly at polishing you up for a higher, perhaps much higher shelf.


MsSunshine's picture

I guess time will tell but right now I'm just happy at being able to grow into something I think I can do well at but have needed help that I wasn't getting. (I wish I'd discovered MT long ago but I've quit looking back.) I'll see where this takes me. :D

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

I like and agree with everything US41 says here. I would add that you can become a student of behavior. Make notes on how other people behave. What works and what doesn't. Even if they're not your mentor, you can still learn by watching what people do. We are all learning all the time. Choose to learn about what's important to you.

For me one of the best "perspective and stress" tools is time. I have a quick wit. I'm very good at responding quickly in conversation. This doesn't always serve me well with perspective. I have learned a lot from one of my high S directs who I thought was terrible at conversation. I have finally, thanks M&M & DiSC, learned that it's because he's actually listening to what people say and formulating a well-thought out response. When I can stop myself and listen to what he has to say I almost always learn something.

I'm not proposing you, or I, change our conversation styles. But perhaps when something new comes along finding time to process it away from others will help you present a more even keel to your coworkers.

JorrianGelink's picture

US41. Fantastic reply :D

[quote] I do try very hard only to vent to a few very close friends who are my level or higher. She said it's that people watch me for reactions at announcements or if someone else is venting I need to help calm things down. [/quote]

Just to share a story. I use to do that. I did it a lot actually. Human nature. Some people believe it is a good thing to vent to others. I transferred to a heavily damaged and broken store (I work as a retail manager) to help repair it (the people and their behaviors)

Every single minute I had 20 different things to complain about. It was terrible. So terrible I phoned others (peers) to complain and let them know about the gong show I was dealing with.

One night I got off the phone after being on it for two hours and said "What did I accomplish in the two hours?"

What was my answer?

"I whined, I wasn't winning"

Right after everyone I "vented" to I spoke to and said "You know what, I apologize, I guess what I really need is some advice/tips on how to correct what I was venting about"

Oh and it's hard, this doesn't come overnight. I've made my own website with my own name on it to keep myself and others in check.

I looked back on my 2 years as a manager and said "What have I ever accomplished when venting" [u][b]but more importantly I said "How did I help the person I was venting to and what did they get out of the conversation"[/b][/u]

[color=darkred]"Nothing"[/color] Then I felt bad and decided to change my behavior.

Anyone who vents to me now, I say "First thing, I care. Second thing, let's do something about it or at [b]least make the effort to[/b]".

Then it's go time. Then others vent on how successful they became because you helped them ;)

MsSunshine's picture

I like the "first" part of this.

[quote]Anyone who vents to me now, I say "First thing, I care. Second thing, let's do something about it or at least make the effort to".

I haven't actually said I care even though I think I'm trying to show it by mentoring them.

In the last year, I've also been working consistently on saying "let's figure out what YOU can do about this". A key for me is having it be something they do not me taking on the world!