Welcome to Our Knowledge Base
At Gallaher Edge, we want you to be able to ask anything that comes to mind. That’s why we’re here! Below we have broken up answers by self, team and organizational culture just as we do with content. Our “self” answers are for those who wish to look inward and focus on learning more about the self. This helps you understand your own behavior and make more effective choices for your life. The “team” answers are for those who want to learn how to improve the way they work with the team. Especially for those who want to lead and interact more effectively with others. The “organizational culture” answers are for leaders who want to know how to organize and structure the company for a culture of success.
If you have a question to add to our growing database – just pop it in Ask a Coach or on Slack. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you’re looking for answers around the technical part of Insider Edge, check out our FAQ!
In the audio file, I give an example of interrupting. Let’s say you’re working to interrupt people less. As you do that, you will likely find that at times, it seems to pay off well for you. You notice that people open up to you more, and you have a better understanding of their perspectives on things. Then, you notice that as you work to not interrupt people, you become fidgety or agitated as you wait for your turn to speak. You stop listening and start focusing on how annoyed you are that the other person won’t stop talking. After that meeting, you determine that interrupting people is essential for you to get your voice heard, and that this effort you’re making to not interrupt people is bogus. “NO wonder I interrupt people!” You think to yourself.
And the efforts that you had made to be a better listener fall away. That would be an example of a saboteur. You had payoffs from your earlier behavior of interrupting others, and when you feel the pain of losing those payoffs, instead of finding a new way to get that payoff, you resort back to old behavior.
Self-esteem is how you feel about your self-concept. Your self-concept is how you see yourself (consciously and subconsciously). So your self-esteem is driven by how much you like your self-concept. Sometimes our brain hides parts of our self-concept from our conscious mind because we dislike it so much, which is why sometimes people have lower self-esteem than they think, which leads to rigidity (AKA defensiveness).
When we talk about “recovering” we are referring to getting back to a place of being grounded, centered and non-defensive, or “authentic.” We all have defenses (if you think you don’t, then they have you!), so the goal is not to never be defensive. The goal is to be able to recover from a place of defensiveness and get back to feeling open and authentic.
Language is often the first thing that comes to mind for me. My ex is Vietnamese and when we were dating and I met his parents, I was fearful of looking foolish when I was meant to bow and say a polite greeting to them as elders. If I let my fear of looking foolish get in my way, then I wouldn’t have greeted them and honored their culture, or I would have avoided meeting them altogether, which likely would have created an issue in my relationship. So I was able to practice toddler mentality, but engaging in the bow with the greeting, and allowing them to provide corrections so that I would not look foolish.
When it comes to a lot of this type of work around communication, making requests took some time for me. I started out using the language more formally: “I would like to request that…” and I would speak slowly so that I could form my thoughts clearly and stay open and non-defensive. Many of us fear some of these communication tools because it could mean altering our speech patterns, slowing down, and even (heaven forbid) – allowing silence to sit for a moment while we gather our thoughts!
All of these things are scarier in our minds than they are in reality. Give it a try!
We advocate openness, and being more open than normal, in order to simplify communication and therefore, relationships. We do not, however, advocate for “diarrhea of the mouth” or spouting off every random thought that you have. The point of openness is to be effective. So, if you notice that you do not like the shirt that your waitress is wearing while you eat lunch at a restaurant, what is the relevance of telling her your opinion of her attire? There is (probably) none. In most cases, it wouldn’t even occur to you to say something if it isn’t relevant.
It can be easy, however, to use “irrelevant” as a reason to withhold something, when it would actually be more effective to be open. In general, the rule you can choose to follow is: if you find yourself asking “Should I say something?” Then the answer is “yes.” You have thought about it enough that you’re asking yourself (or somebody else) the question – then yes. Practice openness.
The first recommendation is to slow down in your thinking and your communication. Picture a specific example or interaction where you found that your expectations weren’t met, or that boundaries were crossed, or that you noticed yourself having a negative reaction. Now, imagine that interaction or experience going as you would like it to go. How is their behavior different in your mind, when you imagine what you want? This can be exactly what you request.
Remember that it is a request, and not a demand, so the person may say no to the request, but that does not have to be the end of the conversation. You can find out what is important to the other person, and inquire (I in FRIC) as to what they would like from you.
You can absolutely use these communication tools with people who have not learned them the way you have. Here is an example that applies to communication. While it may confuse them to use phrases like “green line” – you can say something like “I’d really like to be very open in my communication with you. I want to share the thoughts and feelings that I have and be as clear and direct as I can.
Or – you can also just practice openness without any kind of explanation or caveat.
One of our clients (and members) shared examples where they used these communication tools in conversation with a client, who has not been through the workshops or the videos on Insider Edge (yet!) – and at the end, the client said “I think this is the most productive meeting I’ve had all week!” (I’m paraphrasing.)
So yes, you can definitely practice these tools and concepts, even with people who don’t yet know them.
However – feel free to send them over to Insider Edge, so they can become members, and learn, too! It is always easiest when there is a shared knowledge set and a shared language around how you all can work better together!
It’s best to think of triangulation as something that is not ever effective for issue resolution in the workplace. In the “ideal” organization, triangulation never happens. Even in an extreme situation, like where one leader wants to fire an employee, and another one doesn’t. Especially if the leaders are practicing concordance, I could make an argument for working through the disagreement about how to handle the employee in their presence. Ideally, the leader who wants to fire the employee would be open with that employee about why, so there wouldn’t be any secrets.
I think it is a mistake for leaders to always want to display a “united front” at all times. I don’t think it is effective for leaders to undermine each other, but I actually think it is useful and healthy for leaders to demonstrate that healthy conflict can be used to reach agreement, or concordance, and that it doesn’t just happen through magic. It is similar to parents displaying healthy conflict resolution for their children. Parents (or leaders) who never disagree in front of their children (employees) miss an opportunity to model useful skills to succeed in the “real world.”
I believe wholeheartedly that personalities are fluid, and that behaviors absolutely CAN change if we want them to. It may not be an issue for you to work by yourself most of the time, but just about every role these days requires collaboration with other humans – clients, customers, peers, suppliers, managers, employees – so your ability to flex your behavior is what matters most. The key is that when it is most effective for you to collaborate with others, that you can do so with minimal to no anxiety, and then return to your preferred mode when that becomes the most effective way to be.
One thing to notice as a leader, is that any requests you make may inherently seem like demands. Because of legitimate lines of authority that exist in organizations, sometimes employees believe they will be punished, implicitly or explicitly, if they say. No.
If you have this thought or fear (or maybe you do now!) – remember, you can still practice “green line communication” with tools like “first truth first” and FRIC to express that. It might sound something like: “I have a request that I’d like to make. I notice I fear that you will hear it and think that must say yes. That’s not what I want. I would like us to co-create a relationship where we can each practice openness, and you both our interests are being met. Is there anything I can do that will make it easier for you to make requests of me, or express concerns about any requests I make of you?”
The other thing to notice, too – as a leader, is that you will be most effective when your behavior is aligned with your words. So, when you make a request, and an employee doesn’t immediately say yes, or they express some concern – if you feel frustrated and they see that in your body language, or hear it in your tone, they could be less likely to be open with you later. Don’t underestimate how much your position in the organization can trigger fear in others, especially if they have past experience of feeling punished for being open with their concerns.