Speaker: John Eatwell

Host: SGWN

Venue: Environment Canterbury Building, Christchurch

Date: 27 March, 2019

Attendance: 61


Relationships, Networking and Difficult Conversations

This workshop was again professionally run by HR Specialist and Psychologist John Eatwell. He took us through some of the key research in positive psychology, around how we build mental models of each other and the importance of an emotional bank account being well in credit!

We also covered the Trust Equation, as a key element in building effective relationships and applying this to building relationships with our colleagues, team and professional networks. We also covered how to have difficult conversations-compassionate and courageous, receiving difficult feedback and giving feedback to peers.

Positive to negative ratios

Self:  3 positives to 1 negative. We learnt that in rest homes people who are at least 3 times more positive than negative live 4 years longer.

Change:  4 positives to 1 negative if you want to be successful in change.

Marriage: 5.1 positive comments to 1 negative. This will determine marriage success. There is a 90% chance of a breakup if it drops to 1 positive to 1 negative, so let’s work on the positives.

Work: 5.6 positives to 1 negative. What are we telling our staff? One of the stats John shared was that those people who work in a positive environment can live 11 years longer than those working in a negative environment. What type of environment are we supporting/contributing to?

John set us the task to monitor our positives and negatives and make a conscious effort to work on the positives. 

Courageous conversations

We had a great section on courageous conversations. John went through variable scenarios, starting with Compassionate Conversations, which should occur when a behaviour that needs to be addressed happens for the first time. He emphasised that the first 30 seconds is the most important time on deciding how to react. Picking the timing and location and asking questions such as: 'this is not you, are you OK?' Using “H” questions, such as: 'help me understand' and 'how did you think they would react?'

The next stage was Courageous Conversations, which was the course of action when you saw an unacceptable behaviour a second time. Addressing the behaviour specifically is important; 'We talked last week about "X", today it appears that it has occurred again.' Follow up these conversations with expected behaviour in an email, this becomes the first step in managing performance.

John then discussed what we do if we need to address a long term issue that we haven’t dealt with. Firstly acknowledge your part: 'Sorry I should have addressed this earlier...'  Then a good opener is: 'Can I talk to you about something I am concerned about?' Be specific about how it has impacted on the team. Look at options, agree and create a plan.

When looking at career derailers his comment, 'Sometimes people have to flourish elsewhere' resounded with a number of the audience, as many of us know someone who thinks that because they are so valuable to the organisation, they think they can get away with bad behaviour.

How to give positive feedback, four Ps:

  • Pause – active listening
  • Ponder – 6-10 seconds, so that they feel you have processed what they have said before you make a decision
  • Paraphrase – make sure you understand
  • aPologise – for anything you have done (helps de-escalate)

In a short time frame, John gave us very valuable information, making the 2 hours fly by.

Key messages

  • Engage in positive leadership; form relationships with direction
  • Our brains tend to concentrate on the negatives – make an effort see the good things that are around us; your sense can take in 50,000 pieces of information per second
  • Often our staff meet the expectation we have of them, good or bad. Altering expectations upward can lift the performance of staff. Adjust expectations so that staff have an opportunity to shine

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