Invest Your Energy Wisely

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

Leadership requires a great deal of emotional, mental and physical energy to be truly effective.  The passion, focus, care and commitment required can certainly take a toll on even the strongest of people.  You can’t sleepwalk or mail in your leadership role.  You must give it all you have.  Every.  Single.  Day.

In addition to energy, great leaders also have a helpfulness in their DNA.  They WANT to serve others, help others and fix things.  Every great leader believes, down to his or her core, that they can make a significant impact on their organization and the people in which they are charged with leading.  They believe they can fix people. 

Now for the challenge.  How much time, emotional energy and effort do we invest in situations and people in which the return is extremely low or non-existent?  An when we invest in the un-coachable and in those projects, which have no impact, what are we neglecting?  Gamblers have a phrase for this phenomenon; chasing losses.  It rarely works out well for the gambler and it rarely works out for the effective leader.

For every moment invested poorly or with those team members that have almost no chance of resurrection, a team member with a spark of motivation and eagerness is getting ignored.  An important one-on-one meeting gets brushed off again.  Mentoring is abandoned.  Places where real return on your energy investment go neglected and all for the false belief that we can fix anybody.

Another point of jeopardy with unfixable situations and unchanging people is that they are energy vampires.  Not only do they not respond to your investment of time and energy but they drain you at a significant level.  Compare for a moment how your energy and emotional composition feels after interacting with one of these vampires compared to someone you lead that responds well to you.  Not even close.

Likewise, relationships with others have the same dynamic.  We often spend way too much time, energy and attention on those people that give nothing back in return.  Great relationships reciprocate energy, and no one should ever feel drained from the interactions. 

Do we owe the difficult people, un-coachable and troubled relationships some of our energy?  Yes of course but it must come with boundaries and limits.  It must be moderated and balanced with those people that return your energy and effort.  The best of all leaders are great stewards of their time and energy and invest it where the highest return exists. 

And now some strategies for maximizing your energy investment:

  1. Identify those people and areas of your life that are not responding to your energy investment.
  1. Check to see if you have provided solid, and clear, communication, attempted to build rapport, provided positive feedback, empowered and encouraged that person. Also test to ensure you have analyzed and discussed having that person in right role.
  1. Sandwich interactions with energy vampires around interactions with energy responders and restorers. Nothing will suck the life out of you quicker than multiple, back-to-back, conversations with energy draining people.
  1. Limit the amount of time you spend with energy drainers. Reinvest that time with people who respond to your energy and effort.  Stop rewarding their bad behavior or performance with more of your attention.
  1. To paraphrase Jim Collins (Good to Great), move them off the bus and get them out of your work and life.
Tim Schneider

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

Grieving Change

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

My old house was really not special or unique on any level.  1100 square feet, office, master bedroom and some under-stair storage.  Nice neighbors, too many sirens and fully audible play-by-play of football on Friday nights from the next-door high school. 

But for three years it was home.  Our little landing place, safe spot and quiet zone for me and Miss Sydney.  Knew where everything was and could find things in the dark.  Comfortable and completely crafted and designed by me.  Contained and protected all my treasures. 

The contrasting change is a new home, three times the size, new roommates, bigger yard, space, space and more space.  Exciting stuff with a lifetime of new memories coming.  There is no doubt about a better future in this home.

But the one lesson I learned when my dad passed was to mourn the loss of the old situation.  Even though my old bachelor pad was not much to write home about, I need to mourn that change.  With my dad, I didn’t do that for many years.  Moved right into performance mode and even denied emotional connection.  Took care of everything and everyone and never took the time to mourn the loss.  That exploded some years later in a necessary breakdown related to the missing of my weekly conversations and annual visits. 

Even though a house change is not close to the emotional connection with a loved one, there is still emotional connection.  Emotional connection that cannot be denied.  To fully move on and be joyful and present in my new home, I needed to mourn the loss of the old place.

And so, it is with all changes and even, those changes that happen in the working environment.  We lose a team member; we need to grieve it and mourn.  There is a procedure that we have high expertise in; we need to mourn its passing and change.  The organizational structure changes; we need to take some time, reflect and mourn. 

To some of you reading this, you will find this a bit much and even be dismissive of the entire concept of mourning a procedure or cubicle location but hang with me for a moment.  The cycle of change, regardless of the depth and scope of change, requires a grieving, stressing or mourning prior to coping and moving into performance.  Change becomes a unique human adaptation because it requires both a cognitive (mental) and emotional reaction.  The cycle of change is described as:

Change Event

What becomes different. 

Stressing, Grieving, Mourning

Degree of emotional reaction associated with comfort, expertise and love connected to the prior situation or person.


Point-in-time acknowledgement that you must survive, adapt and move forward in the new situation.


The recovery of prior levels of functioning after the coping point.

(Repeat to Next Change Event)

Now let’s look at some telltale signals and signs of the need to grieve:

  1. Constant Referencing the Way it Was
  1. Memorials and Tributes to People Gone and Lost
  1. Tributes to the “Old Days”
  1. Not Recovering into Performance
  1. Staying “Stuck in the Past”
  1. Not Learning or Adapting to the New Ways or Situations

The complete object lesson of this is learning how and when to grieve a loss related to a change, no matter how big or small.  The principles of grieving are the same for a lost loved one as they are for a new technology at work.

  1. Acknowledge the Feelings and Emotions of Loss

Openly accept the hurt and emotions related to your loss.  Don’t deny them.  Don’t say your alright. 

  1. Provide Time to Grieve

Give yourself some time to reflect on the loss and reflect on what you valued about the old situation.  Resurrect some fond memories and allow yourself the feeling of fondness.  Do this as soon as possible.  Delay in this step can exasperate the feelings of hurt and reduce your ability to move forward.

  1. Accept and Acknowledge

Intellectually accept that things will not be the same and will never return to the previous situation.

  1. Focus on the Benefits of the New

Create or focus on the positive outcomes from the change event.  If you are unable to summon this, you may need to go back and spend more time grieving what you lost.

  1. Learn

Develop and learn new skills associated with the changes that you are experiencing.  Build a set of competencies that restore normalcy and return your expertise.

  1. Adapt and Overcome

The final stage is to restore your performance and functioning.  Return to your routines with the new reality and begin to really adjust to your situation.  Many people (me included) have tried to jump to this step which really stunts the recovery from change period.

A final note about grieving a loss is about time.  There is no magic formula for how long this will take you.  Some losses will take months, and even years, to recover from while some, like my old house, this cycle can be moved through in minutes.

Tim Schneider New House

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

Drama Queen and Emotion King

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

I know you know them.  You may work with them.  They may live in your neighborhood or even your own home.  Drama Queen and Emotion King.

To Drama Queen (DQ) and Emotion King (EK), every event is worthy of sharing and over sharing.  Every small thing that the rest of us brush off and rack up to another day, they turn into a major crisis.  As we work to calm others, they work to stir up others.  When we try to fix a problem, they tend to make it worse.  When they exist in the workplace, they offer some significant challenges to leaders.

First some of the symptoms.  When the office temperature goes down just a little, DQ thinks she will freeze.  The slightest shift of policy and practices causes EK to rant endlessly about the adverse impact.  EK has more dysfunctional relatives than a year’s worth of The Jerry Springer Show.  DQ is getting sick every other day and is either shivering or burning up from fever. 

The bottom line is with both DQ and EK is that this type of behavior is very disruptive in the working environment and can be highly counter-motivational to the rest of the team.  Drama hurts the workplace and the well intending team members caught in the storm that surrounds it. 

Researchers have tried in the past to put some quantifiable face on workplace drama.  There have been studies related to age (millennials versus generation X), gender (men versus women), job type (blue versus white collar) and even lunar cycle.  In each attempt to study the phenomenon, no trends were found other than workplace drama can be a aggravating and compounding factor in workplace toxicity and lead to a great deal of lost productivity, turnover and a large drop in morale.

The one certain element in our drama causers, DQ and EK, is that they both lack the emotional intelligence to deal with situations and issues that the rest of us can process easily and with no interruption.  High degrees of emotional intelligence allow us to have greater resilience (bounce back), confidence and self-satisfaction.  Poor emotional intelligence means that an individual lack in these critical competencies and skills.  When they don’t have the skills to cope, people project and emote their frustrations and feel compelled to seek outside validation and have others involved.

Effective leaders will deal with workplace drama and our pals DQ and EK in the following ways:

  1. Model Behavior

The most powerful and easily controlled method of dealing with workplace drama is to not share yours.  No matter how benign it sounds on the surface, your challenges may be interpreted as drama to others.  Don’t complain, whine or bring your personal issues to work.  If it is cold, put on a jacket.

  1. Not Biting

Workplace drama enthusiasts (DQ and EK) really want someone to pay attention to them and to validate their concerns.  Don’t acknowledge the rants, complaints, tantrums and pouting.  If their behaviors lack validation, they will soon lack any credibility.

  1. Not Accommodating

One of the more prevalent tactics of drama purveyors is the need to have different terms and working conditions as a result of their drama.  When we do not accommodate their requests for differential treatment, we are disabling their ability to get what they want through the drama route.

  1. Refocusing to Mission and Objectives

The gentle, subtle and sometimes right between the eyes reminder that team members are charged with certain responsibilities to support the organization is a powerful reminder to cut the drama.  Team members are paid to perform a job function and not to provide a support group for the wayward and heartbroken.

  1. Clear Expectations of Behavior

The final method of dealing with workplace drama is the only proactive method.  This is to clearly articulate and reiterate that drama type behavior is not acceptable at your organization.  It is not that you are not uncompassionate but rather that you and your team are focused on the needs of the organization.

Tim Schneider from Aegis Learning

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

Skin in the Game: Are You Interested or Invested?

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

Most often attributed to the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, the phrase “skin in the game” probably originated in a California newspaper in the summer of 1912.

Regardless of origin, the phase has been quoted millions of times in baseball dugouts, football huddles, board rooms and corporate meeting rooms.  One of the more famous recent uses of the phrase came from Barrack Obama prior to his being sworn in as president of the United States.  The president-elect was describing the shared sacrifice needed by all Americans to resurrect the economy.

“Skin in the game” is used to describe commitment and participation in any activity.  It is especially descriptive of the difference between someone who is fully invested in an activity compared to those who are passive spectators.  It might be money invested, time spent or actual skin shred on an athletic field, “skin in the game” is a very descriptive phrase that is more powerful than “buy in” or “commitment.”

I have had the privilege of spending a significant amount of time with an executive in the convention services industry.  Her favorite take on “skin in the game” is “are you interested or are you invested?”  Highlighting the difference between true commitment to a task, project or issue, “interested or invested” challenges people to check their level of commitment.  Beyond buy-in and even more business relevant than “skin in the game”, “interested or invested” is a great self-check in anything in which you claim to be committed.

When examining interested, you see people that probably talk a good game.  They express their commitment to others and they will argue tooth and nail about their level of commitment.  Unfortunately, when you scratch the surface a little, you realize their commitment level is nothing but talk and their involvement beyond the minimum requirement is nonexistent.  There is no initiative and there certainly is no subordination of self-interest for the good of the organization.

An interim step between interest and invested could best be described as involved.  Involvement is different from investment because of the emotional commitment required.  Involvement looks a great deal like fully engaged team members because those team members are in motion and action is occurring.  Work gets done, extra labor is applied, time is spent but it is still not at full investment.  Involvement is action without commitment.  It is better than being interested but can still be fleeting because there is no real emotional commitment.  It is the living together of work commitment level.

Invested is when a team member gives of themselves, commits their own time and resources and is really committed to the direction, mission and vision of the organization.  That is the team member that asks what needs to be done and not “what’s in it for me”.  It is the team member that works to get something done without inquiry about overtime.  It is the team member that is becoming a business partner and moving away from being an employee.  Not that compensation should ever be ignored but it is not the most important part of the equation.  Doing what’s right and what is needed is the most important part.

Invested is also about subordinating self-interest and comfort.  It is truly amazing how committed some people claim to be but when their comfort is challenged, they revert back very quickly to being moderately interested.  How invested would you be if that investment meant taking a pay cut?  How about downsizing your office?  How about requiring more work at the same level of compensation?  Those are some of the litmus tests for true investment compared to interested or even involved.

To improve the investment level of your team and even yourself, consider the following steps:

  1. Increase Participation

Seek out, solicit and allow more team member participation in key decisions, organizational direction and daily operations.  Nothing builds team member investment like participation.

  1. Increase Honest Communication

Share successes and challenges with team members.  When they are seeing both the good and the challenging, they are more likely to respond with higher commitment.

  1. Utilize Personal Loyalty

If you did your job as leader and built solid relationships with team members, you can now capitalize on those relationships to increase investment and move them out of interest.

  1. Don’t Judge Others Based on Your Investment

People arrive at the investment stage at different times and at different paces.  You might have achieved near instant investment and it may even be a part of your DNA.  Don’t be too anxious to judge others if they are more hesitant or reluctant to move that quickly.  They may have been burned by a bad boss.  They may have been swallowed in a corporate takeover after providing a high level of commitment.  Encourage them but let them arrive at investment at their own pace.

Tim Schneider from Aegis Learning

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

Transparency is the Golden Egg to Engagement

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

We hire smart people.  We trust people with lots of stuff, in some cases, millions of dollars of transactions.  We love to throw out words like empowerment and transparency and genuineness.

But when it comes to information, some organizations fail to trust that people can disseminate or handle the truth.  Veils of secrecy cover the comings and goings of team members, plans for growth, new systems and critical organizational changes.  Politely worded press releases take the place of honest and genuine communication with team members and the public.  Legal advice that is designed to eliminate any risk trumps real transparency.  The human resource function tells us we can’t say why someone is mysteriously gone.  A bevy of people in many companies like to play Hungry Hungry Hippo with the real story.

Transparency is the golden egg of organizational trust and team member engagement.  Conversely, lack of transparency is an extreme morale killer and gossip starter.  Some symptoms to look for in an unhealthy environment include:

  1. Lots of closed-door meetings.
  1. Way too much whispered conversations and huddling of leaders with no explanation.
  1. Silly explanations for people leaving (i.e. “Bob is pursuing new interests”)
  1. Unexpected and unannounced hiring and new jobs just popping up.
  1. Press coverage of events that surprise team members.
  1. Branding and marketing shifts that are unannounced.
  1. Total lack of any organizational or senior leader communication or visibility.
  1. Communication that is only weighted to highlight the good and never a discussion of issues or challenges.
  1. Over-reliance on legal advice to avoid any risk.
  1. Creation of insiders that tend to know things that the rest of a team does not know or is not privy to.
  1. Rampant gossip and rumors about people and the organization.
  1. Answering direct questions with avoidance and obfuscation. 

The correlation between organizational (and leadership) transparency and team member engagement and overall performance is undeniable, heavily documented and irrefutable.  Quite simply, the best organizations are transparent.  The best leaders are transparent within set boundaries and they often challenge those boundaries.  Transparent organizations perform better, have less gossip and rumors, have more engaged team members and trust their senior leaders on matters of strategic direction.

To build greater degrees of organizational and leadership transparency, work on the following:

  1. Challenge why a piece of information supposedly can’t be shared. Trust your team members with information and hold them accountable for improper disclosure.
  1. Communicate openly and with high frequency. Regular updates and newsletters are a good start.
  1. Seek input from team members during challenges and when issues arise.
  1. Share plans and planning processes with team members. Include them on strategic discussions and solicit their input on directional changes.
  1. Share all press releases with team members concurrently or before it hits the news.
  1. Share all current marketing and branding efforts before it becomes public.
  1. Avoid closed door meetings and discussions (unless laughter and fun are too loud).
  1. Eliminate creating insider information and sharing with a select few. If you can share with one, you can share with all.
  1. Kill gossip in its tracks.  Create a bright line about rumors about the company or people and rebuff attempts to share it with you.  Participation equates to endorsement, especially in a leadership position.
  1. Don’t tell part of a story or create a tease point.  If you can’t relay all of the information, don’t share any of it.
Tim Schneider

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

The Intersection of Dreams and Comfort

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

The difference between dreamers and doers can best be summarized in a set of characteristics:  tolerance for risk and comfort with uncomfortable.

Everyone has dreams.  Everyone wants to be something a little different or better.  Everyone wants to contribute to a common good.  Many people even take it a step farther and label their dreams as a life passion, calling or purpose.  They create vision boards for where they want to be and even journal about a better life for them and their families.

“I really want to get a new job”

“I really want to go back to school”

“I really want to devote my life to something bigger and better”

“I really don’t want to be stuck in an eight-to-five grind”

Where these dreams come to a crashing halt for many is at the blinking-light intersection of risk and comfort.

“But I don’t want to give up my daily Starbucks”

“I’m can’t tell my wife I’m quitting my job to open my own business”

“The classes and studying will put a burden on my family time”

“I’m not about to start at a position lower than my last one”

Risk aversion can certainly become an evil little voice that continually reminds you of the potential for failure and all the negative “what ifs”.  Sadly, this voice rarely speaks to the potential positive outcomes associated with a leap towards your dreams or reminds you of the great satisfaction of doing what you were placed on this rock to do.  Highly successful people use self-talk to silence or reduce the impact of the voice of doom and actively replace it with the positive outcomes of risk taking.  Not that anyone should blindly leap into the unknown but the reminder that all unknowns have an equal or greater chance of being successful as becoming a failure.  The risk aversion voice also tends to overstate the failure outcomes as being horrible when in fact, they are nothing more than learning opportunities and everything is recoverable.

Comfort aversion is as damaging as risk aversion to living a purposeful and fulfilling life.  Now there is nothing wrong with being comfortable but over-emphasis on comfort will keep you in a complacent, non-growing, non-achieving spot.  The comfort lie tells us that some of our creature comforts and vanity desires have become needs.  The BMW instead of a Camry, Starbucks instead of Folgers, gated community instead of two-bedroom apartment, Ivy League instead of community college, designer purse over the JC Penny’s version.  Again, successful people will truly understand the difference between a core need and those items that simply create comfort.  Interestingly, those people in life that have failed and restarted several times have a clearer view of what is really needed versus those comforts that sometimes serve as obstacles to achieving our dreams.

Below are a couple of tactics to help improve risk and comfort tolerance:

  1. Identify What is Really a Need Versus a Want

Look at basics.  Return to an earlier time in your life and describe how you survived and with what.

  1. Take Small Risks

Develop risk tolerance by beginning with smaller risks prior to a big leap.  Note or journal the lessons from failures and the ease in overcoming and recovery.

  1. Commit

If you want to achieve a dream or purpose, commit to a course of action complete with timelines and measurable milestones. 

  1. Partner

Don’t be afraid to share your dreams with others.  Seek the support needed to reduce risk and get buy-in on changes to comfort.  Quite simply, ask the kids if they are okay with no cable TV or moving to a smaller house.

  1. Track Progress

Monitor, track and report your progress towards your dream.  Vision posters are nice but a formal system to track progress is where achievement rests.

Tim Schneider

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

Do Good or Do Nothing

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

About 15 minutes of cable news is all I can stand anymore.  I used to be a news junkie and keep up with current events but any reading or watching of the national political scene just turns my stomach.

Likewise, I have become familiar with a couple of incredibly toxic workplaces that when I hear the stories of extremely poor leadership, it just makes me sick.

The causation of this nausea is not the remarkably bad dinner in Eugene Oregon last night but rather the poor choices made by leaders to invest time, energy and effort in consciously and intentionally doing bad.  Don’t get me wrong here; we all do bad and make mistakes and exercise poor judgments and choices but not many people (sans politicians) consistently set out on a path of doing dumb things. 

In the case of toxic work environments, consider the amount of time, energy and emotional composition that is totally wasted in documenting, cross-emailing, complaining and filing grievances.  All because someone or a set of people have chosen to do bad instead of doing good.  Poor leaders concoct schemes to retaliate, get rid of someone, make another department look bad or to protect their own jobs and all at the expense of team members, morale and the general well-being of the workplace. 

And back on cable news, our elected officials (mostly national but also state and local) are engaged in a series of grandstanding, ridiculous hearings and posturing rather than doing what is best for their constituents.  Rather than good, they serve special interests and their political affiliations all the while that Rome is burning.

We have a choice every moment in our lives.  To do good, to do bad or to do nothing at all.  That choice becomes conscious and when we can spend a moment thinking about the consequences of our actions, we can learn to make better, and more aligned with the common good, decisions.

Interestingly, the choice of doing nothing in many cases is better than the choices of some leaders.  If doing good becomes impossible, then the decision to do nothing is by-far-and-away better than crafting a path for doing bad.  For reference, think about the savings in money and time if congressional hearings were vetted against serving a good purpose or for doing bad and focusing only on individual gain or glory.  How much angst could be saved if a toxic leader spent her time relationship building, providing positive feedback and empowering others rather than tearing down, conspiring and self-preserving?

To make some better choices, try the following:

  1. Analyze Motive

Understanding your own motives are clearly the first and most important step of making better decisions and choices.  Always asked my boys if they are telling on someone to get them in trouble or save them from trouble.  That simple question forced them to examine the motives of their actions and make more thoughtful decisions.  We too can examine why we are choosing a course of action but that take a hefty amount of emotional intelligence and self-regulation.  Really reflect on why you are choosing the path or direction.

  1. Test Against Mission

Check your choices against the mission, vision and core values of the organization.  This should provide ample guidance in most cases.  It’s hard to justify the harassment of a team member when an organizational core value is to treat team members well and fairly. 

  1. Test for Value to Others

Look to see if your decision or choice benefits others and not just you.  There is a time and place for a self-caring choice but not in a role of leadership or public service.

  1. Test for Unintended Consequences

Diagnose and spend some time thinking about what some unintended consequences might occur from your choice.  This is enhanced even more when you engage #5 below.

  1. Seek Input

Ask for some feedback from trusted and wise sources before storming off on your own decision.  This input can save a lot of time and energy and keep you from making some bad choices.

An above and beyond all of those, be a deliberate responder and not a reactor.  Use some time, take a pause and then choose to either do good or do nothing at all. 

An Aegis Learning Customer

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

Celebrating Leaders-EduCode 2019

EduCode 2019

15th Year of Leadership Learning with EduCode

Aegis Learning was privileged and honored to provide a week-long leadership development track for EduCode 2019.  

Our 15th year with EduCode had the biggest groups yet with some classes at over 80 participants!!

Special recognition to the really awesome people who took the entire series and spent 40 hours in immersed leadership learning.  Great job!

EduCode 2019 Leadership Track from Aegis Learning
EduCode 2019 Leadership Track from Aegis Learning
EduCode 2019 Leadership Track from Aegis Learning

Trust and Communication

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider


(Originally published and written on August 30, 2015) 

I’m going to want you to be honest with me here and honest with yourself.

Think back to the times where you had a lot of apprehension, anxiety and mistrust.  These memories can come from the work environment or your personal life.  Maybe you thought your job was going to be eliminated.  Maybe you were being audited and did nothing wrong.  Maybe your spouse was out late and didn’t call to check in.  Maybe you were waiting for some medical test results back and hadn’t heard for a few days.  Maybe you hadn’t gotten a call or text you were expecting for a friend.

I know those are not pleasant memories and we won’t be staying here long. 

Each of those examples and most others like it have one single cause point:  communication frequency.  Communication, even a simple update can ease most of the apprehension, anxiety and mistrust described above and failure to communicate and the march of time will continue to grow those highly negative emotions and fears.

The balance of this article will take two very divergent angels in how to deal with communication frequency and the impact on trust.

Over Communicate

Quite simply tell people what you are up to and what you are doing.  As a leader, you can’t afford any lapses in trust that are so easily curable as you communicating with affected team members.  Your team can’t read your mind and they don’t automatically know what you are doing and your motives.  You have to tell them.

A couple of the best models to use include regular team meetings to insure that everyone is hearing the same thing and that will eliminate the in-the-know jealousy that sometimes develops when insiders know what is going on and others don’t.  To reduce the risk of trust lapses, these meetings should be weekly or every two weeks.

One-on-one meetings allow team members a better forum to ask questions and dive deeper into subjects than in a group setting.  When done monthly, it allows for a lot of clarifications and amplifications where needed.

Daily huddles are another great tool to give brief updates on what is happening in short term basis and it makes sure everyone has the same level of communication on a daily basis.

One final consideration is the use of technology in communication.  I started to count the ways people can communicate with me through the written word and social platforms.  There is email, text, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google + and Instagram.  Within each of those, there are subsets of groups, pages, forums and instant messages.  The excuse of not having a way to connect with team members left with the dialup modem. 

Some of the good examples of using technology to assist in communication frequency include using private groups to post project updates, using group notifications to spread the word about a new team member and using social media with tags to share key news.  This method of communication will become more and more prevalent as millennials dominate the workplace (they check their social media before email).

Self-Management and Expecting Better

The divergent side of communication and trust involves a bit of self-management, emotional intelligence and changing your expectations.  By a big part, this is harder but the long-term value is very high.

Just because you don’t hear something doesn’t mean something is bad or something is wrong.  In a perfect world, you would know and have access to the information you need when you need it but we do not live in that realm.

So there are times you don’t know and don’t get the communication that builds and maintains trust.  The reaction to that situation is now up to you.  You can choose to be fearful or you can choose to expect a positive outcome.  That choice rests entirely with you.

The other reminder here is that you have almost no control over how people choose to communicate with you.  If they communicate frequently, infrequently, disjointedly, harshly or not at all.  You can control your reaction but not control the communication.

“Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.”

Michael Pritchard

Like many subjects related to self-management and your emotions, this is not one that can be cured by reading an article or looking at a motivating picture.  You will have to commit to changing your reaction to these situations and begin a journey where you will have to remind yourself regularly of your control over the reaction and not the lack of communication you are receiving.

The two sides of communication and trust.  Over-communicate when you are owning and driving the event and manage your reaction when you are the expected receiver of the communication. 

Tim Schneider

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

From Anger to Compassion

Tim Schneider, Coach, Speaker, Author and Trainer from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

He screwed up my order four times.

First time was at the speaker.  He just couldn’t seem to get it down right.  It wasn’t hard either.  The apple turnover must have thrown him off.

He handed me my drink.  One sip proved that it wasn’t iced tea. 

Both the great Arby’s folly of March 5, 2019 was not yet done.  He asked me for a receipt he hadn’t yet given me.  Gave me the wrong bag of food.  Forgot the turnover.

It really wasn’t the day for this.  Tough morning.  Lots to do.  Very tight scheduling.  Not the day at all.  So, I wasn’t frustrated.  I wasn’t upset.  I was angry.  Mad.  Irritated.  This young kid at the Arby’s drive up window had provoked me to anger.  How could he be so stupid?  Why couldn’t he even do his job with minimum competence?  Why does he even have a job? 

By the time I turned out of Arby’s and into the street to take me home, the anger had passed a bit.  It was replaced by a combination of embarrassment and slight irritation.  The irritation was a byproduct of the prior anger and the embarrassment was about how I let this situation dictate my emotions and drive me to anger.  Truly embarrassed for how I felt and how this changed the composition of my emotions and my day.

Three stoplights later, there was another shift.  This time, thoughts and feelings of empathy replaced the prior emotions.  Situational empathy that I have been in spots where I just continue to screw up and make things worse.  Emotional empathy that I have been overwhelmed by work and new situations and he was obviously that.

By the time I rolled into the driveway, the final shift occurred.  The empathy has now been replaced by compassion.  I was feeling care for that young man.  I wanted to go back and tell him it would be okay and that better days are ahead of him.  Stopped and prayed a minute for him to help him have peace and comfort. 

This evolution from anger to compassion is not unique to me or unique to bad customer experiences at Arby’s.  I can remember painfully well how I reacted in a similar way when my mom first had symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  All emotionally intelligent and mature people do this at varying times and in different ways. 

A purposeful approach to move out of anger and into compassion is absolutely needed.  Organically and with time, anger with subside but not without taking a toll on you and those around you.  To use a more purposeful approach will get you out of it quicker and recovered to a healthy emotional condition very rapidly.

  1. Acknowledge the Anger

Don’t deny or hide that you are upset.  Internally, and sometimes externally acknowledge those feelings.  Be aware of your surroundings and when it is appropriate to share with others.

  1. Provide Perspective

Where does the event fit in the grand scheme of life or even where does it fit, relative to importance in today.

  1. Create Empathy

Put yourself or someone you care about in the narrative of the event.  Use them in the role of protagonist.  Look for situations in which you or your actions have created anger in others.

  1. Show Compassion

Take a moment and reflect on how you could have provided some loving response or encouragement for the person and in that situation. 

Tim Schneider

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.