Taking a Lesson on Vulnerability

Taking a Lesson on Vulnerability

In this “pop-up conversation,” Amber discusses Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead and her research on vulnerability.  Vulnerability is interpreted by many as “weakness;” however, it is an opportunity for unparalleled human connection and happiness.  Listen in to learn more!

–Amber

Amber Peterson is a partner at Perme & Peterson Associates, LLC.

Amber Peterson of Perme & Peterson Associates

Contact Perme & Peterson Associates

Phone: 952.831.4131

e-Mail:  info@permepeterson.com

Post-Traumatic Growth: Evolution from Crisis

Post-Traumatic Growth: Evolution from Crisis

In this “pop-up conversation,” explore Post-Traumatic Growth and Resilience with Amber.    She calls on the work of various research groups and academics to explain what Post-Traumatic Growth is, how it is achieved, and how we can all increase our resilience coming out of COVID-19 by following healthy practices now.  Make sure to check out the “Adaptive Action Cycle,” featured in this discussion, from Human Systems Dynamics Institute (hsdinstitute.org).  

–Amber

Amber Peterson is a partner at Perme & Peterson Associates, LLC.

Amber Peterson of Perme & Peterson Associates

Contact Perme & Peterson Associates

Phone: 952.831.4131

e-Mail:  info@permepeterson.com

Make Tough Conversations Easier

Make Tough Conversations Easier

The path to good leadership is fraught with frustrations and tough decisions.  But does it have to be so hard?  Is there a way to bypass some of the pain and stress associated with having difficult conversations with your staff?  In short, yes, and it takes some solid prep work to get there.  After interviewing a couple of influential and authentic leaders I know and reflecting on my experiences with good (and poor) leadership styles, I found there are three key qualities to build up and fall back on when tough conversations need occur.  

“Be self-aware” 

This is all about “knowing thy self.”  First, know your blind spots and be aware of your talents.  This helps decide who should be on your team; who complements your weaknesses with their strengths? 

Second, setting clear boundaries around what you need to do versus what you need your staff to do helps you differentiate between helping with work and taking the work.  You get to do more mentoring and coaching while empowering your team to do what you hired them to do when boundaries are distinct!  

Third, what do you contribute?  Dig into your value by asking close friends and associates (who will be honest with you) about what “your fizz” is (as Cathy likes to say!) 

 

“Believe in people” 

Expect the best of people, be invested in them and their growth, and empower them to do what they do best.  Growth mindset tells us that expecting the best in people will help them rise to your expectations.  This is harder said than done AND can be achieved in small measures by setting clear boundaries (as above) and believing people are doing the best they can.  

Spend time getting to know your people and what their biggest challenges are. Empower them to act on their own solutions, and observe their action.  This helps show them that you have confidence in what they can do!  And when that difficult situation happens and you need to ask someone to trust you, they will have a basis to do so. 

 

“Model courage” 

The third quality, modeling courage, means building truth-speaking practices with your team to have deeper, more trusting relationships, especially when paired with the clear boundaries you set.  This includes needing to be honest when things aren’t working.  It takes a big dose of courage to go in front of your team and ask, “What am I doing wrong and how do I fix things?”  Hopefully, honest suggestions will come out of your discussion and dispel some anxiety.  Assuming you follow up (which you must), more trust and better relationships will follow.  

 

There you have it.  Be self-aware, believe in your people, and model courage to build a strong foundation with your employees for when the tough stuff happens!  What values do you utilize in the way you lead?  And, are there different strategies you use with your staff? Please share with us in a comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

–Amber
Amber Peterson is a partner at Perme & Peterson Associates, LLC.

Amber Peterson

Contact Perme & Peterson Associates

Phone: 952.831.4131

e-Mail:  info@permepeterson.com

Keep Calm in the Storm – Simple Strategies

Keep Calm in the Storm – Simple Strategies

You’re at your desk and a coworker comes by with their half of a project.  The finished product falls short of your expectations… Your immediate response is fueled by emotions instead of calm inquiry and you instantly regret your quick reaction. 

 

Does this scenario sound familiar?  Trust me, we’ve all been there!  

So what is the first step in decreasing these emotional responses?  It’s recognizing what’s happening.   

  • Notice when you respond quickly or give an emotional answer instead of the one you would have liked to give. Is there a pattern?   
  • When our brains sense a threat, the thinking part (pre-frontal cortex) shuts down and the “animal” part of the brain responds. This is our “fight-flight-freeze” response.
  • The pre-frontal cortex needs oxygen to perform better. 

 Ok, now what?  Some strategies you could employ in the moment:  

  • Take a drink of water before responding (gives you a moment to assess)
  • Take a deep breath before you respond (this activates the prefrontal cortex)
  • Use a quick breathing technique –
    1. Breathe in for a count of 4
    2. Hold for a count of 4
    3. Breathe out for a count of 4
    4. Hold for a count of 4
  • Use inquiry as a strategy to pause (from Human Systems Dynamics Institute)
    1. Turn judgment into curiosity – “I’m curious what led you to that decision…”
    2. Turn disagreement into shared exploration – “Let’s examine how this issue may work for both of us”
    3. Turn defensiveness into self-reflection – “What is my part in this?”
    4. Turn assumptions into questions – “Was there a circumstance I don’t know about which prevented this person from accomplishing their task?” 

There are also tactics you could use between meetings, prior to or just after a conversation, or as a break in your day: 

  • Use the “4 count” breath exercise to connect with your thoughts…
    1. What made that conversation go the way it did?
    2. What can you take away for future conversations or meetings?
    3. With whom can you discuss this?
  • Movement
    1. Take advantage of breaks to get some natural sunlight
    2. Even just 10 minutes outside can stimulate your body and brain
    3. If you must stay inside, take a few minutes for a stretch break

What other strategies could you use to improve your communication with your team?

What conversation can you start with your co-workers to change the way they communicate with you?

–Amber
Amber Peterson is a partner at Perme & Peterson Associates, LLC.

Amber Peterson

Contact Perme & Peterson Associates

Phone: 952.831.4131

e-Mail:  info@permepeterson.com

Creating a culture INSIDE that builds public trust OUTSIDE

Creating a culture INSIDE that builds public trust OUTSIDE

Culture, specifically the culture within your department, is everything when it comes to building public trust.

 

The social capital of your organization is built upon the trust of the public.  This is especially true in law enforcement, where employees are taking action in ways that not everyone appreciates.  Many agencies in the policing world are on the lookout for ways to build more trust with the community while minimizing activities which destroy this trust.  How do they do so – with meaning and consistency?  What are some strategies which will provide the most benefit for their valuable time?  Well, it isn’t about posting touching stories on social media or by organizing community events. 

It’s by creating a constructive culture inside that builds public trust outside.  Period. 

If you want collaboration and cooperation to happen between the police force and the community, it needs to start within the department. 

We need innovation in policing: to foster new ideas, drive alliances with stakeholders, and engage employees at their highest realms of performance. When officers are restricted with too many rules, made to frequently run decisions by a supervisor, or are forced into a cookie-cutter version of a cop, their chance to innovate is squashed.  They have less control over how their work gets done.  These are all factors which Human Synergistics International, a culture company, has pinpointed as directly related to a defensive culture, and a defensive culture is all about protecting yourself.  (https://www.humansynergistics.com/Files/HTML5/Circumplex/index.html)

When an organization runs primarily in a defensive fashion, it loses out on productivity, retention, and customer (or community) satisfaction.  In order to make the switch from a warrior to a guardian mentality, as identified in the President’s Task Force Report on 21st Century Policing, this needs to change. An agency needs to have a constructive culture instead.

Building a constructive culture within the department creates more engaged officers who are achieving their goals, bringing their whole selves to work, and deploying creative tactics and sound decision-making skills to the situations they encounter. 

How would the community react if officers 

  • gave more encouragement to each other, shared more ideas, and engaged in more courageous conversations with peers?

How would things be different if officers were able to – 

  • be a bigger part of planning for the future of their department, more frequently deploy novel ways of thinking, and embrace the unique differences they each have to offer?

These are some of the primary elements of a constructive culture, according to Human Synergistics. Ideally, through a constructive culture, officers uphold the agency’s mission on a daily basis, feel empowered to perform their duties, and feel supported by their supervisors, amongst many other measures. 

Through using the tools provided by Human Synergistics, an agency can assess where they stand against many other organizations and what factors they need to work on in order to perform more constructively.  In over 45 years of research, Human Synergistics has found that constructive organizations increase efficiency, retain their employees, and are more effective at what they do. 

As consultants certified and experienced in the use of these tools, we help agencies develop proven roadmaps for change to guide the entire department, from the top leaders to the line workers, in the movement from the current culture to their ideal culture.  By fostering a constructive culture within a public safety department, officers and staff can develop the skills, tools, and confidence they need to build public trust and provide outstanding service to the community.

 

–Amber
Amber Peterson is a partner at Perme & Peterson Associates, LLC.

Amber Peterson

Contact Perme & Peterson Associates

Phone: 952.831.4131

e-Mail:  info@permepeterson.com

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