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Dealing with Negativity Managing Your Own Emotional Arousal A Presentation for Holzer Medical Center LDI Kendall L. Stewart, M.D. October 22, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Dealing with Negativity Managing Your Own Emotional Arousal A Presentation for Holzer Medical Center LDI Kendall L. Stewart, M.D. October 22, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dealing with Negativity Managing Your Own Emotional Arousal A Presentation for Holzer Medical Center LDI Kendall L. Stewart, M.D. October 22, 2004

2 Why is this important? We all spend a great deal of time managing negative people. All leaders face challenges with their –Own sensitivity, –Their uncertainty about what to do, and –Their hesitancy to act. This presentation will address all of these barriers to self- control. These challenges are not easy to overcome, but they can be mastered. Effective leaders will find a way. This presentation will suggest some practical strategies for managing your own emotional arousal. After listening to this presentation, you will be able to –Identify three categories of challenges in dealing with negative people –Describe three practical strategies for effectively managing your own emotional arousal. –Explain why those strategies make sense. –Explain how to deploy those strategies successfully.

3 What are some effective strategies for managing yourself when dealing with negativity? Analyze your past performance.* Identify your vulnerabilities. Recognize your own emotional arousal. Anticipate your instinctive responses. Take full responsibility for your own feelings.* Focus on remaining emotionally detached. Suppress feelings instead of venting or ruminating. Stop expecting difficult people to change.* Clarify others’ unpleasant feelings. Acknowledge the counterproductive emotional context. Tend to the wounded. Employ mental distractions. Adopt the observer role. Make timely notes as a distraction. Dictate a private memo. Consult with a trusted mentor or coach. Become the dispassionate investigator. Seek confirmation that negative reinforcement is indicated. Use role play to prepare for confrontation. Give yourself credit for progress.

4 Analyze your past performance. Why should you? –Reminds you that great leaders are born, not made, but that the best leaders work hard to burnish their gifts –Encourages leaders to focus on their strengths –Reminds leaders who is in charge and who is responsible –Emphasizes the need for continuous improvement –Creates dissatisfaction with mediocrity –Sets the leader apart –Renders life more satisfying –Provides insight into one’s instincts and vulnerabilities –Demonstrates that the leader need not be held hostage to others’ behavior How can you? –Keep a journal. –Create four columns. What happened? How did I feel? What did I do? What might I have done? –Ask others to critique your performance. –Reflect on what a “perfect” leader would have done. –Identify your strengths and opportunities. –Focus on one significant change at a time. –Focus on your feelings and their power.

5 Take full responsibility for your own feelings. Why should you? –Reminds you that blaming others for how you feel is a common leadership failure –Puts responsibility where it belongs –Decreases feeling of impotence –Diminishes the power that difficult people have over you. –Inspires other aggravated people to adopt the same approach –Makes you accountable for fixing the problem –Sets you apart from many leaders –Teaches others that blaming others won’t wash –Pressures colleagues to take personal responsibility too How can you? –Talk openly about your feelings –Persuade others that their feelings are their responsibility. –Reframe unpleasant feelings as opportunities to be in charge instead a helpless victim –Acknowledge your feelings on the spot –Admit that feelings color perceptions—yours and others –Tell stories about how uncontrolled feelings got you off track –Tell stories about other leaders’ feelings –Tell stories about how you repaired feelings-contaminated feelings

6 Stop expecting difficult people to change. Why should you? –People are partial to their expectations even when patently unrealistic –This often predisposes frustration and disappointment –Permits leaders to predict behavior more accurately –History, not hope, is the best predictor –Disinclines leaders to take behavior personally –Decreases the odds of recurrent disappointment –Forces leaders to face reality –Encourages leaders to face their own patterns –Gives a sense of peace with acceptance –Invites leaders to clarify their expectations How can you? –Recognize your repeatedly-frustrated expectations –Admit your unrealistic expectations publicly –Quit complaining and start explaining –Focus on proper management of current behavior instead of trying to change it –Predict future behavior and encourage others to plan –Come up with an unrealistic list of optional behaviors as a humorous distraction –View the challenge of dealing with difficult people as job security

7 What have you learned? Negativity is plentiful in most organizational environments. The best way to manage it is to begin with yourself. For most of us, managing our own emotional arousal does not come naturally. For some of us, it is nearly impossible. But effective leaders understand how important this is. They work hard at it. They rarely score a “10,” but they will not settle for just scoring “1s” in incident after incident. These strategies can help. But it takes real effort.

8 Where can you learn more? Kendall L. Stewart, et. al. A Portable Mentor for Organizational Leaders, SOMCPress, 2003 Kendall L. Stewart, “Physician Traps: Some Practical Ways to Avoid Becoming a Miserable Doctor” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, July 24, 2002 Robert Bacal, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult Employees, Alpha Books, 2000 S. Michael Kravitz, Managing Negative People: Strategies for Success, Crisp Publications, 1995

9 How can we contact you? Kendall L. Stewart, M.D. Medical Director Southern Ohio Medical Center President & CEO The SOMC Medical Care Foundation, Inc th Street Portsmouth, Ohio

10 Southern Ohio Medical Center   Safety Safety  Quality Quality  Service Service  Relationships Relationships Performance  What questions remain?


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