Author: Dr. Lynette Reed

Writer, researcher and advisor on human potential for personal and organizational development, Dr. Lynette Reed has mentored people from in businesses, not-for-profits, schools, allied health agencies, chambers of commerce, government and churches. She has taught courses on team building, leadership, ethics, world religion and world cultures. Her current literary contributions include an executive summary paperback titled, Fixing the Problem: Making Changes in How You Deal with Challenges, as well as book contributions, articles, guest radio appearances and a series of children's books with Abingdon Press. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Institute for Soul-Centered Leadership at Seton Cove. Lynette holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spirituality, Sustainability, and Inter-Religious Dialogue and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Contact her at expectations2reality@icloud.com.

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Managing Chaos and Pandemonium in a Complex World

Explore the challenges of managing chaos and pandemonium in today's fast-paced workplace, gain insights from the impact of the Internet and globalization, navigate post-pandemic adaptations, and develop critical thinking skills with Dr. Lynette Reed in our on-demand course.

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Communication is the Key: Unlocking Doors with Effective Communication

Unlock the potential of your team through effective communication. Explore its effects on efficiency, team dynamics, and organizational success.

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How Instant Gratification Affects the Way We Work

Instant gratification creates pathways in your brain that can impact your actions and decision-making. Exchanging instant gratification for delayed gratification strengthens resolve and relationships.

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Creating a Core Culture for Your Team: Strengthening Your Cultural Ecosystem

Creating a core cultural ecosystem for your team is crucial in strengthening your company, as each action shapes the whole organization.

Leading Through Change Without Burning Out

Check Out Your Culture: A Management Tool to See How Behavior Strengthens Culture

Culture starts with thoughts and feelings that translate into behaviors. The Rules of Engagement Management Tool (ROEMT) helps assess how individual behaviors impact workplace culture and identify areas to strengthen for increased trust, authenticity, and forward momentum

The Importance of Kindness for Project Managers and Teams 

Kindness can be a tricky topic in the business world. If you look online, you’ll see multiple articles written about this theme. One of the challenges of incorporating kindness into the workplace is that there are many different views on being kind. Everyone defines kindness based on personal experiences and belief systems. Kindness, for some, may include a bonus or gifts. In comparison, others may view kindness as helping or getting a note of thanks. Because of these differences, kindness in one team may look different than kindness in another. You might see kindness in a team member with a gruff demeanor appear as taking time to check in on how each team member is getting along. Or you might see kindness from a quiet boss in the form of including thanks for the work accomplished in an email communication.   Regardless of individual representations, two defining elements characterize an act of kindness. These elements are maintaining behaviors that strengthen relationships between individuals and teams, and recognizing that each person is of equal value regardless of the events and feelings involved in a situation.  When you can approach another person that you work with, with the understanding that they are of equal value as a human being, you strengthen the relationship. Kindness established with these core elements becomes a cycle of behaviors that changes the fear response behavior of fight or flight into acts rooted in calmness and a cumulative sense of value. You can choose between acting from these core elements to strengthen a relationship or from a fear response that may fracture the interactions. State of mind Try to avoid thinking of individuals and situations as good or bad, or wrong or right. When you think of the other as bad or wrong, you take the role of good or right, thereby artificially increasing your value. The focus shifts away from kindness and toward actions that reduce the fear surrounding your need to protect your sense of worth. Fearful people react with a fight or flight response that might exhibit behaviors such as yelling and abrasiveness for the fight response. You might see behaviors such as passive-aggressiveness or avoidance of situations for a flight fear reaction. When used to communicate, these fear behaviors tend to fracture relationships, which splinters a team’s cohesion and makes it challenging to find kindness within the workplace.  Your choice of kindness comes from self-awareness about your actions and how they impact others working on your project. With kindness, you become more intentional about finding solutions that strengthen not only one person but also yourself and the cumulative team. Your response is not just about the action but the intent behind the action. This outlook of kindness shows a more profound sense of what it means to be kind. You can use these elements of kindness to support your actions and strengthen the relationships within your team. The added value includes reduced conflict, increased job satisfaction, and a greater sense of connectivity among team members.  Team Connection A recent Work Human article suggested that kind leaders can look at the day from a place of wholeness. They also want this same level of connectivity from their team. Wholeness brings an environment of calm and forward momentum to work and projects. A similar view of kindness was discussed in a Harvard Business Review article that suggested practicing kindness helps life feel more meaningful and shapes how others perceive you, improving not only your reputation but also how you view yourself.  Kindness is especially valuable in today’s current environment, where there are many dangerous events taking place that would warrant a fear response. You might find that you and your team have an elevated sense of fear that pulls you toward fear reactions and away from acts that support kindness. The challenge then becomes identifying how to maintain a sense of cumulative value among everything in the face of your need to protect yourself from possible harm. Kindness becomes an incentive to work by creating a place of connectivity and safety within a challenging world. You and your team can retain the understanding of the intrinsic value of other people and address issues not based on fear but from a place of calm. This view of relationships within a project team reduces the need to use fear behaviors to make a point or talk to a team member. A project manager that understands his may say, “There is no good or bad or wrong or right for this person or situation.” Instead, they find a way to move forward into the workday, knowing that kindness is an essential element. With this mindset, acts of kindness you take have a deeper level of intent that turns a simple action into a meaningful event. 

What is Your Mindset? How You Think Changes the Way You Work

Remote work, brought on by the Covid 19 Pandemic, makes up a significant amount of total work done in a lot of organizations. Most us have gotten used to it; however, it’s important to consider the heightened sense of fear stemming from ever-changing events and narratives, too. Within our brains, this can impact interactions with people and influence the success of human connectivity at work. Your brain continually processes information and proposes behaviors to help you feel protected and thrive in the chaos of change. Dr. Andrew Huberman, a Stanford neurobiology professor, suggests that your brain power can be tricky because the mind’s primary purpose is to act as a stress-reactive machine. Its primary job is to keep you alive. Because of this, it is easy for your mind to lead you into reactive fear mindsets.  You may not often think of fear reactions when you are at work, but it is the basis for how you treat people especially in high stress or chaotic situations.  In fact, you will likely see two types of mindsets emerge among managers and team members.  The Mindset of Scarcity One fear pattern is that of scarcity, where there is only room for you and the people you choose to protect. Scarcity responses are different from physical scarcity in the workplace. A recent Harvard Business Review article suggested that you can promote improved innovation with physical scarcity. Managers can use planning efforts as creative prospects for real change. Team members can also make bolder decisions.  This may be true, but let’s consider the implications. A scarcity fear response is a mental mindset that has a limiting purpose in your brain for making you believe that survival comes from protecting or hoarding resources that may or may not be available in the future.  In a fear pattern of scarcity, you may see a communication breakdown and an environment where people do not share information or nurture the team experience. The scarcity pattern is not an intentional wish to harm or reduce team cohesion, but rather an unconscious response to protect. Most managers do not deliberately start their day by thinking. “I’m going to disregard my employees today.” The scarcity minded manager may even feel as if they are good leaders because they achieve their inherent goal of feeling safe and protected.  The disadvantage of the scarcity pattern is that you cause fractures in the team since the intrinsic goal of protecting yourself contradicts the activities for creating a stable work environment that safeguards everyone. You also communicate differently when you are in a scarcity mindset. There is more of a chance of communication breakdown because the fundamental goal is to use the information to protect individuals instead of keeping team members informed and creating a safe space.  The Mindset of Abundance The opposite of the scarcity fear behavior is that of abundance. This translates into activities where there is room for everyone, and all people are a valuable part of a team. There is a feeling of abundance even with limited resources because people work together to make the team strong. With an abundance response, you find that communication becomes a pivotal part of the team experience because you want to share information to keep everyone on the same level of understanding. The abundance mindset also helps you see different angles of a situation and consider the varying viewpoints of team members. Every opinion offers value, which adds to the overall team cohesion. Abundance recognizes that strength and safety come from everyone having equal value regardless of external circumstances. In his TEDx Talk, Naveen Jain, an award-winning CEO and entrepreneur, identified that the abundance mindset is crucial to management and workplace success.  The abundance response, which encourages maximum communication, may also help improve a company’s financial security. A recent Holmes Report found that companies with leaders who are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years than firms with leaders who are the least effective communicators.  Both mindsets are available, and you choose which direction to take. Even though our brains tend to lean toward a scarcity model to find safety, that is a short-sighted approach especially when in a position of management. If you can find ways to implement an attitude of abundance in your workplace, it won’t be about how many resources you have, but rather a sense of safety and protection that comes from everyone’s hard work when the skills and talents of each individual are valued. The abundance mindset does not mean that everyone will like each other or that there will not be conflict. It’s more about viewing work as a team event rather than a self-protective event. This is no small task in a fast-paced world with a fair amount of fear. In fact, it may take a little investment up front. The results won’t be immediate, but your effort will be worth it. Here are a few questions to consider if you are looking to bring a more abundant mindset to your thinking: Do I feel like I am in control of my behaviors? Do I communicate information to all team members in a timely fashion? Do I feel like I am working for something bigger than myself? Do I like to hear different perspectives for solving a situation? Do I feel like I always have a choice? Your consideration of these questions and recognition of the scarcity and abundance patterns is the springboard for success!   

Managing Disruption in the Workplace

We are used to the term disruption having a negative meaning, especially in the workplace. Disruptive employees need to be counseled on the harm they’ve caused. Disruption slows down the progress of work and splinters the regular progression of a project. These types of disruptions still find their way into business and projects; however, another variety of disruption is opening doors that can change the narrative of how disruptions are viewed. Consider that when you look at disruption in the workplace, you are looking at an opportunity for change. Change can make your team feel disconnected or fearful. This is ever apparent in the post-COVID workplace, where more options are available to employees for how and where to work. However, groups that view disruption as an opportunity to innovate the workplace find a more robust path forward. Positive disruptions give teams the ability to expand thinking beyond what has always been done in the past. Through this, they are able to create new ways to work together and new pathways can be forged that reinforce teamwork. Carolyn Swora, the author of The Rules of Rules of Engagement: Building a Workplace Culture to Thrive in an Uncertain World, reinforces the idea that disruption occurs during change, but that change is that pivotal element that gives leaders the opportunity to evolve. When you fear the change, you create a negative narrative. However, if you view change as a chance to progress, the narrative becomes positive and supports the change. This evolution is especially true as we become more globally connected through technological advances. In a recent article, Deloitte discusses changes to the workplace in our technologically advanced society. These advances are connecting workers, regardless of location, device, or time zone. We are more connected each other through technology than at any time in history, and with this digital access, the workplace can be remodeled. The disruption we are all facing now gives us the opportunity to interweave technology, people, and business success for a more unified system change. As changes increase, so do fear and opportunities, however, you have a choice in how you move forward with your business. When a disruption occurs, there are a spectrum of responses that can occur along with it. On the one hand, the disruption occurs as a narrative where there is an adverse event causing problems, and you feel the need to suppress the person or event. This type of narrative pulls team members backward in an attempt to slow down or stop the change. Going back to the post-COVID scenario as an example, team members want to go back to the way they used to work because it was comfortable. Perhaps they believe any other way won’t work. The change is disruptive, and therefore unwanted. In this view, the difference is viewed as wrong, and there is fear involved. There is a resistance to looking at the situation as one that hold possibilities. The disruption occurs as a fracturing force within the team, attempting to pull the team back toward how things have always been done. Alternatively, when the narrative shifts to focus on solutions, change can move things forward. It is no longer about finding comfort from the known, but instead shifting the view to a focus on how to innovatively move forward. This other end of the spectrum views disruption as an opportunity to, not only change, but improve how work is done. It looks at the interplay between people, business, and technology, asking questions which find ways to affect the outcome in positive way. Do you look for prospects that benefit both you and your team? How can you integrate differences and disruptions to create an orchestrated environment? These open-ended questions allow room for change and more a effective use of team skills for business success. In both narratives and in all work, there will be disruption. One story; however, portrays the fear of change, while the other demonstrates an openness to new systems, which results in moving projects forward. The disruption cannot be viewed alone. The dynamics of the people and events surrounding the situation also need to be considered. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you start to move forward into viewing disruptions as catalysts to create positive changes. See if you can distinguish which questions lead you to view the disruption as negative versus those that would allow you to see the disruption as an opportunity to make a positive change. How much do I wish that we could keep everything the same forever? How open am I to set up a new workplace dynamic? How willing am I to allow another team members to voice opinions and ideas that don’t fit my working view? How often do I work with my team on setting up a plan for their future goals and success within the company? Do I prefer to have people who look and think like me at work? How do I treat people when they present me with a change in the workplace? COVID has greatly influenced how disruption will be viewed and managed in the business world moving forward. It brings a mix of fear, innovation, and resistance. As you look at the dynamics of team interactions, consider how a different narrative around disruption in the workplace could play a role in the path you are forging ahead. This is a chance to say goodbye to the days of disruption being viewed as a negative, and instead look at disruption as an opportunity to implement positive change. I’d love to know what you think. Your comments are welcomed below.

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