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Self efficacy, resilience and human potential

How many of us ever really come to know the true limits of our capability?  How often do we test those limits?  How many of us take our potential to the grave? The often-touted claim that we only use ten per cent of our brain may in fact be a myth.  However, many of us will admit that at some time in our lives, we’ve passed on opportunities for extension; opportunities that would challenge us and push us beyond the edge of our comfort zone, but on the positive side, lift us to new heights, lead us to resist defeat, to discover new capabilities, to excel or just capture a bigger piece of the action.

Our willingness to step up to a challenge, according to Albert Bandura who studied academic efficacy in children and adolescents, is directly linked to self-efficacy or the belief that one can produce the desired effect as a result of one’s actions.  Without that belief, there is little incentive or motivation to take action.  Bandura claims that self-efficacy, and its underlying belief system, influences our “aspirations and strength of goal commitments, level of motivation and perseverance in the face of difficulties and setbacks, resilience to adversity, quality of analytic thinking, causal attributes for successes and failures, and vulnerability to stress and depression”.

There are always a few rumblings about the factors that negatively impact the development of self-efficacy: the flawed education system, the teachers who beat or humiliated us or parents who didn’t understand the power of positive reinforcement. Or perhaps our biological or physiological make-up is flawed.  Certainly, there is plenty of evidence to support the link between early socialisation and efficacy in adults.  And no-one would dispute the physiological component […]

The Cost of Conflict

Unfortunately conflict within the workplace is inevitable. With an increase in diversity within workplaces in terms of  personalities, needs and expectations, there becomes an increase in potential workplace conflict. Consequently, it is important to have a ground understanding of the potential issues that can arise within conflict in the workplace and more importantly the cost this can have on businesses and employees.

Before going into the consequences of conflict, it must be said that a little bit of conflict, as long as it’s not disrupting workplace satisfaction and decreasing productivity, can be a good thing. It can foster healthy workplace attitudes and provide opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and improvement. However, let it be known that this conflict needs to be restricted to a minimum, in order to avoid  potential organisational and interpersonal costs, which are discussed in detail below.

The most obvious consequence of conflict in the workplace is the cost of productivity and morale of employees. When conflict arises at work, the amount of time spent on resolving the issue takes time away from employees designated tasks and thus signifies wasted work opportunities and decreased  productivity. In addition, the morale of employees and surrounding bystanders are also affected negatively by conflict and thus workplace satisfaction is reduced. This can also lead to increased turnover of staff in extreme cases. In a study run by CPP Inc. commissioned on workplace commitment, U.S. employees were found to spend on average 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict in 2008. This amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours, or the equivalent of 385 million working days. Meanwhile surveys by The Centre for Creative Leadership and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida, indicate that managers spend between 20-40% […]

Clearing The Air

“To handle yourself, use your head, to handle others, use your heart.”

– E.Roosevelt

Conflict and dealing with difficult people in the workplace is inevitable. A little bit of conflict can boost creativity, however if it’s personal it’s unnecessary, debilitating and even lead to an increase turnover in staff. Knowing there is conflict in the workplace is one thing; however knowing how to effectively respond and deal with it is another. With the prevalence of conflict in the workplace, we need to understand the impact it can have on organisations in order to address the issue and resolve it in a peaceful manner.

Conflict and ineffective communication within the workplace has an enormous cost for organisations which include: loss of productivity; a loss of synergy and cohesion due to the breakdown of teams ; divisiveness, low morale, motivation and staff turnover. High staff turnover results in a continual leaking of energy, knowledge and skills; weakening the organisation and undermining profits. Also, conflict can also have a burdening effect on individuals psychologically. Conflict can cause dissolution in the workplace and if the conflict is ongoing and unresolved it can cause distress and even depression if left untreated. In addition to this, the continued conflict at work can greatly reduce workplace satisfaction, reducing employees self-esteem and leading to higher turnover of staff.  Equipping supervisors and managers with the appropriate tools to deal with sticky situations that otherwise go un-managed, addresses conflict and issues when they arise and thus contributes to a healthy working environment,  increased productivity and fewer niggling hesitations.

Thankfully, VM Learning’s new C.L.E.A.R Choices program trains supervisors and managers with the appropriate skills and tools to deal with stressful work complications resolving unpleasant conflicts in the workplace. Benefits […]

The H.E.A.R.T. of the matter

We are sometimes asked about our business slogan, “Developing the H.E.A.R.T. of your business” and the meaning of the acronym.  Literally, it refers to the values of Honesty, Empathy, Acceptance, Respect and Trust – and volumes could be written about each of those values!  Symbolically, it represents that which gives life and maintains rhythm, warmth, circulation, connection and unity.

Bringing the two together, we believe that values are what determine the health of any organisation: whether it has an open flow of communication or hardening arteries and worn valves; whether there is genuine caring, encouragement, support and acceptance or an unfriendly, antagonistic stoniness; and whether all parts of the system flourish with fresh ideas and inspired action or wither and fall off along the wayside.

Traditionally, references to the heart were more commonly associated with romance and perhaps the more frivolous, less cerebral aspects of life.  There was no place for “warm fuzzies” and excitement in the world of handshakes and the stiff upper lip.  We are all familiar with phrases such as “weak-hearted”, “soft-hearted”, “big-hearted”, “faint-hearted”, “heart flutters”, “heartfelt”, “hearty”, “heart rending”, “heart of gold” and so on, and their warm and fuzzy implications.

Words like love and happiness also had a hard time fitting comfortably into business and the workplace.  They implied softness, weakness and a lack of backbone and focus.  “Hard-nosed” and “bloody-minded” on the other hand tended to indicate a no-nonsense, serious determination by someone – generally male – who means business.

More and more, however, the business world is beginning to recognise that in order to innovate, inspire and orchestrate successful business outcomes, the intellect and the heart must work together.  They are no less interdependent than heart and lungs.  Dualities such as […]