Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Emotional Maturity


Emotional maturity seems to be elusive to most people.  Physical, intellectual, and mental maturity are often developed through study and life experience – not necessarily so with emotional maturity.

Head (think) knowledge  vs.  Heart (believe) knowledge

(Logistical)                           (Transformative)

“Head Knowledge” and “Heart Knowledge” are two separate levels of awareness.  It’s a given that nearly everyone hired in a business who presents a resume and successfully completes an interview process will possess “Head Knowledge.”

Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to discern if a person has “Heart Knowledge.”  There are no diplomas, degrees, or certifications verifying emotional maturity and yet common sense, wisdom, belief, and understanding are the four most effective attributes to have when dealing with people.  Anyone can learn how to “crunch” numbers, but people are not numbers – they don’t like to be “crunched.”

Because life gives us lessons, which will be repeated until learned (chapter 6), most of us don’t develop emotional maturity until later in life – if we develop it at all.  Another Basic Law of Life is:

(concept #28)

People will only change

when it becomes too painful not to.

Our resistance to change, or rather our fear of it, is why it is so difficult to accept and learn from our “life lessons.”  It’s not until a person gets sick and tired of doing the same thing over and over and getting the same old painful results each time that they finally surrender to change.

But what if we learned to embraced change instead of fight it?  After all, change is the only constant in the universe.  What if we could view change as an adventure instead of a threat?   Embracing change before it becomes too painful not to would save us from experiencing a lot of pain in our lives.

Who am I?

As indicated in Chapter 9, “Living with Purpose” is the process of discovering who you are.  Self-awareness is a journey and it’s the journey which is important – not the destination.  Do you know who you are?  Or do you just guess?  Or do you just think you are who you would like to be?  Do you play the parts the people around you want you to play?

When it gets right down to it, most people have no clue who they really are.  Busy with the process of life, they miss its meaning.  Pleasing your spouse, keeping the boss off your back, tolerating the neighbors, satisfying your in-laws, impressing your friends, and evading the taxman becomes a full-time job.  We give in a little here, take a little abuse there, bite our lip, force a smile, then we let this slide and that slide all in an effort to keep the boat from rocking. Before we know it, we find ourselves exhausted and spinning in circles.

We find ourselves playing many parts and doing many dances, playing the good spouse supporting our mate, the good parent ever involved at Little League and the dance recital, the good grandchild visiting the rest home, or the good citizen volunteering in the community.  Then one day we wake up and

“No man, for any considerable period of time,

can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally

getting bewildered as to which may be the truth.”

– Nathaniel Hawthorne

wonder who we are and if this is all there is.  Most of us at one time or another had hopes and dreams – big plans for “someday.”  Some of us have lost our hopes and our dreams.  Others may still hold onto them but continue to bide their time waiting for “someday.”  Well understand this:  there are two days in particular which never have been and never will be on a calendar – “Yesterday” and “Someday.”

“Who are You?”

“Well, I’m an account executive, a Little League coach, an usher at church, and a chairperson on the Community Support League.”

“No, that is ‘what’ you are.  ‘Who’ are you?”

“Well, I’m a husband, a father, a son, a brother, and a friend.”

“No, those are ‘how’ you are.  Who are you?”

“Well, I’m a veteran, a college graduate, the CIF high jump record holder, and a bone marrow donor.”

“No, that is ‘when’ you are.  Who are you?”

Please understand that self-discovery is a process, not an event.  It’s a life-long quest in which the journey is what’s important, not the destination.  And the most wondrous aspect of this journey is we are ever-evolving, ever-growing if we allow ourselves to evolve – to grow.  It’s the willingness to look at oneself (warts and all) and accept the miraculous, unique creation which is you which propels this process.

My life does not belong to others and I am not here on earth to live up to someone else’s expectations.  I can reclaim power over my life by celebrating my differences.  Everybody farts – nobody’s perfect.  Everyone has flaws.

Story #8  Everybody Farts

About to present one of my first workshops, I was washing my hands in the restroom and trying to calm my jitters, when in walked the keynote speaker of the weekend seminar.  This gentleman was one of the most famous and important speakers in the business.  He had the uncanny ability to hold an audience of thousands in the palm of his hand.  When he was on stage, you could hear a pin drop.  I had always admired his talents and looked up to him, though we had never met.  Introducing myself, I began telling him how much I enjoyed his work, but he seemed not to hear me.  I felt offended.  Washing his hands, he looked up into the mirror and began to breathe heavily.

Suddenly, he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry.  Please forgive me but I’m about to go on and I’m terrified.”  And then he farted, turned a little red, and apologized again.

“You, terrified?” I stammered.

“Of course,” he replied.  “I always get terrified right before I go on.  I never know if they’ll like me.  Once I go on everything’s fine, but beforehand I’m a wreck.”

It suddenly occurred to me that he was human.  I had put him on a pedestal, on a higher plain than the rest of us mere mortals and I asked myself why.    I shared with him my fear about going on and we both laughed.  Then I realized I was no longer afraid.

I thanked him for sharing that with me, for farting, and for giving me permission to “be human.”

*     *     *     *     *

Everyone has character defects which they deny and try to hide from others and from themselves.  But when I can accept that everyone has flaws and that it’s just part of being human, I can acknowledge, accept, and start working on my flaws and stop beating myself up for not being perfect.

At the same time, I must also nurture my attributes and talents – those good qualities I possess.  By celebrating my differences, I begin the process of discovering the “real” me.  As I work to change or heal my flaws, I learn more and more about me.  I grow to a place where what I think of me is far more important than what others think of me. I capitalize on my talents and ask for help with my weaknesses.

As manager, I will have expectations of the individuals on my staff.   My job is to help them catch the vision and develop their passion.  Once they do this, my expectations will become their expectations and people will strive to live up to their own expectations.  My job is to alleviate their fear, insecurity, and negativity.  In other words, to help them get out of their own way.

Earlier, we spoke of the damaging effect of negative self-talk and how it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Negative Self-talk: “I just got the greatest sale of my life, but will I ever get another sale?  How can I ever top that?”

Positive Self-talk: “I just got the greatest sale of my life, and if I can do that then I can do anything.”

Helping people get out of their own way is probably my most important job as manager.  Assisting staff in recognizing negative self-talk and instructing them in how to change it to positive self-talk empowers them.  Remember the blow up clown punching bag as a kid?  No matter how many times you knock it down it popped back up?  Positive self-talk nurtures healthy self-esteem and people with healthy self-esteem cannot have a failure – they persevere.

If as manager I live the principles of this book, I cannot help but to develop respect for the inner dignity of each and every other person.  I begin to look for the beauty and the goodness instead of the ugliness and the badness in others.  I come to realize that everyone is a wonderful person, but most just don’t know they are – yet!  If I give them permission to be human the way the keynote speaker gave me permission, then I can share with them the blessings of being human.

Where am I?

Once I begin the discovery process of who I am and begin celebrating my differences, my uniqueness, I need to make a daily effort to “be” me on purpose (no more playing parts or dancing for others).  I must begin “Living in the Present.”  I need to get out of the past and stay out of the future.  It’s all right to remember the past, but not to “Be” in the past.  It’s all right to plan for the future, but not to “Be” in the future.  By living in the present, I am able to identify problems and solutions and to do the necessary footwork to affect change in my environment.

In effect, I begin to “choose” to direct my own destiny.  I look at my flaws, my character defects, and decide to work on healing those things I don’t like.  If my behavior is self-defeating, I need to address it; if my thinking is distorted, I need to change it; if my perception of reality is skewed, then I need to adjust it.

Self-defeating behaviors cause us to sabotage the one experience we want the most because on some deeper level we believe we don’t deserve it.

– excerpt from “Becoming Master of Your Own Destiny”

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March 12, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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