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These training materials are designed for use by all people working in call and contact centres (we use the terms call and contact centres interchangeably) i.e. agents, representatives, team leaders, trainers, managers, coaches etc. The production of the materials was supported by the European Leonardo da Vinci programme. The purpose of the materials is to raise the emotional intelligence skills of people answering or making calls, and also between those working within a contact centre. If people are more aware of, and in control of their emotions they are likely to: • Be more productive and more successful. • Feel less stressed. • Have better relations with their customers, co-workers, boss etc. • Have less time off work through sickness. • Feel more satisfied with their job. We believe that these training materials are the first ones to be published for contact centres which address this important area of emotional intelligence. The subject of emotional intelligence is large and we have chosen some of the main areas which we think will be useful for people working in contact centres. The materials can be used for self-study in their hard-copy form and can be used by team leaders, trainers and managers to help design classes for groups of people. They can also be read onscreen using the CD-Rom or printed out for personal use and training. The materials can be read from cover to cover but their value is more useful when they are dipped into and used appropriately to develop skills. They can be used after conducting a training needs analysis; as part of a personal development plan; after listening to call recordings; or simply for personal development. We hope that you enjoy using these training materials and applying the learning in your work and your personal lives.
Good luck The CONTAKT Leonardo Team
The CONTAKT Leonardo Team
John Wilson Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield. firstname.lastname@example.org Janet Brookman Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield. Christine Cross Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. email@example.com. Andries de Grip Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) Maastricht University. firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas Garavan Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. email@example.com David Holman Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield. firstname.lastname@example.org Colin Mackay Contact Centre Association (CCA) Glasgow. email@example.com Inge Sieben Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) Maastricht University. firstname.lastname@example.org Christer Strandberg Department of Social Sciences at Mid Sweden University. email@example.com Hans Tegeback Adeator Consulting Group, Sundsvall, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org Jasper van Loo Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) Maastricht University. email@example.com
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What is Emotional Intelligence? Understanding and Managing Stress Self Management Developing Positive Self-Talk Keeping Motivated Communication Strategies Understanding How to be Assertive Transactional Analysis Handling Difficult People Selling Techniques Happiness Bibliography
to carry out some research. He concluded that people possessed multiple intelligences and he initially identified seven of these: Mathematical-logical . Verbal-linguistic . we all probably know so-called intelligent people who are unable to interact with other people. The Development of Emotional Intelligence Multiple Intelligences For decades people were only aware of the notion of intelligence quotient or IQ and it was often used to select people for jobs and other activities. cannot cook. What is Emotional Intelligence? "Knowing others and knowing oneself. can quickly mend a car.the gaining of knowledge through feedback from physical activity. in one hundred battles no danger. and cannot do many other ordinary things which the majority of us take for granted. an American academic. and the ability to reproduce them.the ability to organise thoughts sequentially and logically. one victory for one loss.1. An IQ of 100 was meant to represent the average and people possessing lower or higher scores were assumed to have lower or higher intelligence. Not knowing the other and knowing oneself.sensitivity to tone. Techniques to apply emotional intelligence in work and general situations. in every battle certain defeat. pitch and rhythm. Likewise. Yet. This anomaly was recognised by a number of people and caused Howard Gardner. 1 What is Emotional Intelligence? . there are many people who are not assumed to be intelligent but can communicate wonderfully with other people. Not knowing the other and not knowing oneself. The relevance of emotional intelligence in the workplace." Sun Tzu. The Art of War In this chapter you will learn about: • • • The origins of emotional intelligence. Musical . or possess fantastic skills on the football field or golf course. Bodily-kinaesthetic . are unable to change the tyre on a car.the ability to understand and express ideas through language.
Recognising emotions in others. Inter-personal . Interpersonal intelligence is that which involves recognising and responding to the emotions of others.having access to one’s own feelings. Intra-personal . Intrapersonal intelligence involves recognising and responding to our own emotions. Goleman agreed with Salovey and Mayer that there were five main domains of emotional intelligence: 1.the ability to learn directly through images and to think intuitively without the use of language. A few years later two authors Peter Salovey and John Mayer (1990) described the term ‘emotional intelligence’. Motivating oneself. 2. Managing emotions. 5. We have divided this guide into eleven chapters which deal with intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence. motivations and intentions of others. Daniel Goleman (1995) wrote a book titled Emotional Intelligence which greatly popularised the concept. “A form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor ones own and others feelings and emotions. Handling relationships. to discriminate among them. temperaments.” Sometime later. In the table below you will find the chapters which relate to each of these forms of intelligence.the ability to notice and make discriminations regarding the moods. Intrapersonal Chapter 2: Stress Handling Techniques Chapter 3: Self Management Chapter 5: Keeping Motivated Chapter 11: Happiness Interpersonal Chapter 6: Communication Strategies Chapter 7: Assertiveness Techniques Chapter 9: Handling Difficult People Chapter 10: Selling Techniques Chapter 4: Developing Positive Self-Talk Chapter 8: Transactional Analysis Gardner’s research was one of the reasons for emotions being given greater recognition and priority than had previously occurred. 4. and to use this information to guide ones thinking and action. They defined emotional intelligence as. 3. Emotional Intelligence The last two of Gardner’s multiple intelligences are of particular interest for those working in contact centres. 2 What is Emotional Intelligence? . Knowing one’s emotions.Visual-Spatial .
The diagram above shows that under normal circumstances the brain processes information it receives from our senses through the part of the brain known as the thalamus which interprets this information so as to direct it to the most relevant centres in the brain so that we can act appropriately on the information received. What is Emotional Intelligence? 3 . the brain behaves slightly differently as shown in the diagram below. We process the information and then act on it where necessary. The diagrams below explain how the brain functions differently in normal circumstances and when under pressure.e. touch. sound. sight.How the brain works Much of the work on emotional intelligence has been supported by recent advances in understanding the way in which our brains work. In many situations the thalamus directs the information to the cortex where it can be consciously interpreted. Amygdala 3. taste. How the Brain Processes Information Thalamus (air traffic controller) Cortex 1. 2. Signals are received through our senses i. In other situations and particularly in emergency situations. smell and are transmitted to the thalamus. The thalamus acts like an air traffic controller and directs the messages to the cortex (the conscious thinking part of the brain) and the amygdala (which deals with emotions).
This diagram shows us what happens in an emergency situation. What is Emotional Intelligence? 4 . We step back onto the pavement. your first response is not to notice that it is the Number 19. This can be the difference between a serious accident and safety. if you step off a pavement and suddenly see a bus bearing down on you. For example. Signals are received through our senses e. such as stepping off the pavement into the path of an incoming bus. 3.Emotional Thinking Thalamus (air traffic controller) Cortex 1. The first thing you do when you see the bus is to leap back to the safety of the pavement. a bus about to run over us. When the signal goes from the thalamus to the amygdala it takes a few thousandths of a second less than if it goes to the cortex. and there is an advertisement for breakfast cereal on the side. The thalamus recognises a potential danger and immediately sends the message to the amygdala bypassing the cortex. which is the emotional centre of the brain and which calls for an immediate intuitive response. Amygdala 2. There is a strong reason for the thalamus to quickly send a message to the amygdala and that is ‘survival’. that it is full and people are standing up.g. The brain bypasses the conscious cortex and sends the information directly to the amydala. The amygdala stimulates the release of peptides and hormones which result in emotion and fast responses.
the old advice of counting to ten really was valuable and is now backed up by scientific evidence. this emotional response which was imprinted on the brain a long time ago may not reflect the true nature of the current circumstances. the next time you feel emotionally pressured count to six or to ten. The amygdala checks what we are currently experiencing and compares it with our past experiences. if someone shouts at us on the telephone we might feel like shouting back or disconnecting the call. 1998) this involves 360-degree evaluation of people in the organisation and provides individual feedback reports as well as for the whole organisation. These include: EQ-I (Bar-On. This understanding of how emotions can govern our behaviour has greatly added to the study of emotional intelligence. Essentially what happens is that the brain is flooded by electro-chemicals and these may cause it to respond in an emotional way.The part of the brain which causes us to experience emotions is called the limbic system and this includes the brain stem and amygdala. Emotional Competency Inventory (Goleman. Sometimes we have an instinctive emotional response to what we perceive as a threat. What is Emotional Intelligence? 5 . count to ten before you speak.” Thomas Jefferson Measuring Emotional Intelligence There are a number of psychometric tests which claim to assess people’s emotional intelligence. However. their impact rapidly decreases after 3 . 1997) – this is a self report questionnaire which assesses personal qualities in which some people have better emotional well-being. In these circumstances it can be very easy to get carried away in the moment. to hit someone or to run away is not normally the best way to handle an incident in the workplace.6 seconds which then allows us to think more rationally. Likewise. So what can we do? Well. However. if very angry. “When angry. an hundred. but it will not achieve a positive outcome. If it finds similarities in the present which match with emotional events from the past it triggers an emotional response. This is known as emotional hijacking when an emotional response is out of proportion to the actual situation. This can make us angry or perhaps experience some other emotion. Fortunately. Emotional Hijackings One danger which can arise from our emotional responses is that they are sometimes out of date. So.
UK supermarket managers high on emotional intelligence experienced better performance. less stress. Some of the factors that may contribute to the stresses of working in call centres are listed below: • • • There may be high levels of monitoring. The agent has a reduced degree of personal control over his/her own work levels. Emotional Intelligence in the Work place Advantages of Emotional Intelligence Numerous research projects have shown that high emotional intelligence has a significant impact on sales and performance at work. originally expressed uncertainty about whether it was possible to produce a questionnaire to accurately measure emotions.Multi-factor Emotional Intelligence Scale (Mayer. It is also significantly different to many other office-based jobs. Indeed. Moreover. and better health. US insurance agents who were weak on emotional intelligence sold less than half that of colleagues who scored high on emotional intelligence. Research into the subject suggests that it is demanding and sometimes stressful for numerous reasons. While it can be useful to be able to assess the extent of a person’s emotional intelligence there are some reservations about whether or not it is possible to accurately measure it. understand and work with emotions. 1998) – this test assesses the ability of a person to recognise. partners who were high on emotional intelligence achieved $1. identify. In a study of over 300 top US executives emotional intelligence distinguished high achievers. US and UK research has shown for example that: • • • • • In an international consulting firm. one of the leading figures in emotional intelligence. Goleman (1995). In many cases the customer’s call requires first time resolution. it is not entirely clear which types of emotional intelligence are best suited to specific circumstances. (Chapman. Working in Call Centres Working in a call centre is often a challenging occupation. The main cause of career disruption for top US executives was identified as lack of emotional intelligence. Caruso and Salovery.2m more profit. What is Emotional Intelligence? 6 . 2001).
The agent needs to have good language skills. listening and speaking to the caller. The person also needs to recognise signs of stress in fellow workers so that they can provide support for his/her colleagues. Managing rapidly changing work levels can be difficult as call volumes fluctuate • • • • • • • • • • • • • • This is by no means an exhaustive list neither are all of the situations unique to call centres. After a difficult or confrontational call it is difficult to unwind afterwards. navigating the system etc. especially as he/she is not directly responsible for the cause of the caller’s complaint. The agent may have to cross-sell or up-sell services or products. The agent needs to sound interested even if it is at the two-hundredth time of asking. but they can all contribute to stress for call centre staff.• • A wide range of knowledge is often required about many aspects of the organisation’s operations. The agent has to disguise his/her true feelings. What is Emotional Intelligence? 7 .g. typing information into the computer. The agent often has to behave in a way which may be contrary to the way he/she is actually feeling. The agent needs to have good listening skills. The agent needs to quickly identify the mood of the caller so that they can respond appropriately. The agent needs to have the same level of energy and enthusiasm at the end of the shift as at the beginning. The role of an agent requires him/her to multi-task a number of different operations at the same time e. The agent needs to display a positive interest in the caller. It can be difficult not to take the caller’s frustration or disappointment personally. The agent is often in the firing line of a caller’s complaint about the services or products of his/her organisation. The person needs to learn how to stop taking home work problems and pressures.
and this can create stress. when we are customers we want to feel that the other person is interested in us and our concerns. Although the food may be of the highest standards it is not normally good enough to fully compensate for the poor service which we experienced. For example. because you believe in what you are doing it becomes easier to present a positive attitude and it is therefore less stressful. or we have had a long and tiring day. can empathise with the caller. they act and use their skills to give the impression of being very interested and positive.” One of the personal attributes required for working in many call centres is to be lively.Emotional Labour Working in a call centre has a number of similarities to being employed in other areas of the service sector such as retailing and catering. In essence. as we can see in the points above. can communicate well – listening as well as speaking. “Smiling down the telephone. when you go to a restaurant and find the waiter rude or offhand this influences the overall quality of the evening. That is. have good energy levels. This is called ‘surface acting’ when a person doesn’t really believe in what they are saying. An alternative option is to ‘deep act’. In some respects there is a dissonance between how they are feeling and how they are behaving. But. What is Emotional Intelligence? 8 . This means believing or buying into the product or service which you are offering. energetic and ‘bubbly’. and are positive. it is sometimes very hard to present a lively disposition when we don’t really feel like it. The quality of the interaction is measured not just by whether we get what we want but also by how positive the person was delivering the service. For this reason. contact centres employ people who are well motivated. In the following section we will look at how we can apply principles of emotional intelligence to improve general work performance. Using Emotional Intelligence in Call Centres The Range of Emotions The range of emotions which we can experience is vast and sometimes it is possible to swing from emotion to another in a short space of time. In order to maintain this positive disposition all the time many people adopt a positive ‘persona’. It can be summed up by the statement. We will also deal with how to better manage the difficult times using other techniques. In this way.
there would appear to be three ways in which people deal with emotions: • • • Self-aware – people are aware of their emotions. Sometimes we are aware of our emotions and manage them to suit the situation (self-aware). Engulfed – people feel overwhelmed by their emotions. we may respond in any of these three ways. aggression boredom disgust fear happiness loneliness rejection anger confidence enjoyment grief hate love sadness anxiety depression envy guilt joy pride shame The feelings which we experience can sometimes be very powerful and have a great influence over our behaviour.g.Exercise Take a look at some of the emotions below and think about times when you experienced these feelings and what it felt like. Lastly we may recognise our emotions and just accept that we are having a bad day or are in a particularly good mood and not alter our behaviour to accommodate the situation (accepting). What is Emotional Intelligence? 9 . As can be seen in the chapter on Stress. how we respond to circumstances is very much dependent on who we are and our sensitivity at the time e. On other occasions we may become engulfed and overwhelmed by the circumstances and find ourselves unable to deal with the situation logically in light of our emotions (engulfed). Depending on the. if we are tired or hungry our response may be very different from when we are full of energy. Just by thinking about these emotions can give us a flavour of how powerful they can be. According to Mayer. Accepting – people accept their moods. Dealing with Emotions The way in which a person handles her/his emotions may differ from that of other people.
However. We pick up on their uncertainty and this can have a negative impact on our self-esteem. Their positive reaction then feeds back to us and further boosts our self esteem. if we are not feeling very confident we may project ourselves uncertainly. new position. a new job. our uncertainty may make them less sure of our intentions or affect their confidence in what we are talking about. new work methods etc. 10 What is Emotional Intelligence? . For example. This response to different environments is often described in relation to people moving from their own country to another and suffering disorientation. we can create a virtuous cycle in which we present ourselves confidently and this has a positive effect on others. It is clear that our behaviour towards others can have a direct impact on our own emotional well-being and vice versa. This may be described as a vicious cycle of negativity. It can also apply to people adapting to a new work environment i. This appearance is then noticed others and influences their response to us.e. Culture Shock One specific source of stress or problems in the work-place can be culture shock. In sales situations this can be very detrimental to the success of the interaction.The Behavioural Cycle My level of selfesteem Their behaviour influences my selfesteem Influences my behaviour Their opinions affect their behaviour to me The people I meet only see my behaviour They develop opinions about me They react to my behaviour The Behavioural Cycle The diagram below shows how our behaviour is influenced by our self-esteem. For example.
however. Difference as well as similarities provide rationalism for continuing confirmation of status. The individual is capable of exercising choice and responsibility and able to create meaning for situations Contact Disintegration Differences are impactful Contrasted cultural reality cannot be screened out Confusion Disorientation Loss Apathy Isolation Loneliness Inadequacy Depression Withdrawal Reintegration Differences are rejected Anger Rage Nervousness Anxiety Frustration Rebellion Suspicion Rejection Hostility Exclusive Opinionated Autonomy Differences and similarities are legitimised Self-assured Relaxed Warm Empathic Assured Controlled Independent ‘old hand’ Confident Independence Differences and similarities are valued and significant Trust Humour Love Full range of previous emotions Expressive Creative Actualising Adapted from Adler (1975) What is Emotional Intelligence? 11 . psychological. Growing awareness of being different leads to loss of self-esteem. is a form of self-assertion and growing selfesteem The individual is socially and linguistically capable of negotiating most new and different situations: he or she is assured of ability to survive new experiences Social. and cultural differences are accepted and enjoyed. These are described in the table below: Perception Differences are intriguing Perceptions are screened and selected Emotional range Excitement Stimulation Euphoria Playfulness Discovery Behaviour Curiosity Interest Assured Impressionistic Description The individual is insulated by his or her own culture. Individual experiences loss of cultural support ties and misreads new cultural cues Rejection of second culture causes preoccupation with likes and dislikes. role and identity Cultural differences begin to intrude.There are thought to be five stages in culture shock as people go through a period of adjustment to the new ‘culture’ in which they find themselves. Negative behaviour. differences are projected.
It was. like trying to juggle too many balls at the same time. The problem is that these perspectives tend to pull meetings in one direction and then another often creating confusion and disagreement.“What are the limitations?” “What information do we have / need?” White Hat Information What is Emotional Intelligence? 12 . creativity. Each of the hats was given a different colour which related to its purpose: Blue Hat Organisation of thinking Creativity “How are we approaching this?” Green Hat “What ways problem?” can we solve this Red Hat Emotions “How do you feel about this project?” Yellow Hat Good Points “What is good about the proposal?” Black Hat Bad Points Caution / Assessment . To avoid this de Bono suggested another way of looking at problems and challenges which reduced the possibility of disagreements. logic etc.Six Thinking Hats It can often happen in meetings and other interactions that people have very different perspectives. information. said that we try to do too much at the same time by considering emotions. he said. Edward de Bono. This is not to say that one person is right and the other person is wrong. instead their views may just represent different but equally valid perspectives. He suggested six thinking hats which would allow people to move from their usual mode of thinking to consider the matter in different ways. the champion of lateral thinking.
It is clear that he had emotionally intelligence and on his gravestone were inscribed the words. “IQ offers little to explain the different destinies of people with roughly equal promises. And in the day to day world no intelligence is more important than the interpersonal. “Many people with IQs of 160 work for people with IQs of 100. schooling and opportunity. what job to take. He sold it in 1900 for $350m and maintained that he would leave this earth with the same wealth in which he had arrived. and so on. If you don’t have it. He was true to his word and put his money into the Carnegie Foundation which endowed thousands of libraries around the world.” What is Emotional Intelligence? 13 . you’ll make poor choices about who to marry. Emotional intelligence is considered by a number of writers as more important than intellectual intelligence. “Here lies a man who knew how to get people to work for him that were better than he was.US Steel. emigrated to the United States and built up a very successful steel company . if the former have poor interpersonal intelligence and the latter have a high one.” Andrew Carnegie.Emotional Intelligence for Success at Work and In Life There is little doubt that intelligence or IQ is important in helping us to be successful in life but it is not the only thing which helps us achieve.” Gardner and Hatch (1989) noted that. a Scotsman. Goleman (1996) said that.
Snowden.185-211. P. 13-23. S. New York. Gardner. No 4. London. Educational Researcher. Management Pocketbooks. De Bono. pp. pp. Thomas (1989) “Multiple intelligences go to school”. Peter and Mayer. pp. Cognition and Personality. 18. No. MA. Bloomsbury What is Emotional Intelligence? 14 . Imagination. Howard & Hatch. (2001) “Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study”. Howard (1983) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Beacon Press. Hants. 15. Harmondsworth. Damascio. Zohar. Gardner. Danah & Marshall. Victor (2000) Man’s Search for Meaning. and Friesen. D. Quill.Bibliography and Further Reading Adler. Vol. No. Reason and the Human Brain. Frankl. London. Antonio (1995) Descartes Error: Emotion. Danner. Edward (2004) Six Thinking Hats.. 5. Ian (2001) Spiritual Intelligence: The Ultimate Intelligence. 8. Alresford. 804-813. Chapman. D. Salovey. Vol. pp 4-10. Boston. Daniel (1996) Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than intelligence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Goleman. Margaret (2001) Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook. Bloomsbury. Vol. W. (1975) “The Transitional Experience: Alternative View of Culture Shock” Journal of Humanistic Psycholog. 80. John (1990) “Emotional Intelligence”. Penguin. 9.y Vol. New York. Basic Books Inc.
The reality of working in the 21st Century.2. many individuals feel a loss of control over their daily lives. Stress has been called the ‘invisible disease’ and can affect you. however. we have no time to stand and stare. Work for most call centre staff involves deadlines to meet. means that these deadlines are often moved. at some time experiences pressure. This triggers the release of adrenaline directly into the bloodstream. However. Being able to fight or run away ensured his survival. The problem arises however when there is no physical outlet for your stress. This is sometimes called the ‘freeze’ response. where we do not know what to do or are overwhelmed by the circumstances. Everyone in his or her job. targets become ever more challenging and despite the promise of empowering workplaces. Understanding and Managing Stress 1 . full of care. The purpose of adrenaline is to prepare us for either ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. which neutralises the stress response. allowing our stress levels to return to normal. the same ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response is triggered by the body. i. The second stage in the process is the consumption of that energy. your employer. How to identify when you or others may be suffering from stress. It is important therefore that you understand what it is and how you can manage your working life in order to minimise its occurrence. That is unless it is managed properly. In the workplace if you feel threatened or challenged. Too much pressure over a sustained period can however result in stress. So. neither of these responses is appropriate in a work situation. targets to reach and problems to solve on a daily basis.e. primitive man." William Henry Davies In this chapter you will learn about: • • • The nature of stress and its effects. Understanding and Managing Stress "A poor life this if. Techniques to deal with stress. What is Stress? Stress is effectively any interference that disturbs a person’s healthy mental and physical wellbeing. you use neither response. occurring when the body is required to perform beyond its normal range of capabilities. to mobilise energy. This puts your system under even more pressure. your colleagues and those closest to you. It is caused when the body is placed under physical or psychological stress. resulting in stress. This was a very important bodily function for our ancestors.
ongoing relationship problems. including your: • General outlook on life – Do you think the glass is half empty or half full? • View of the stressful situation – How bad is it? Can you get through it? Understanding and Managing Stress 2 . Potentially harmful stressors or warnings include noise. Long-term 'chronic' stressors are those pressures which are ongoing and continuous. We mostly think of stress as a negative or uncomfortable feeling that we associate with sweaty palms. For instance. Examples include: ongoing pressurised work. Too much emotional stress can cause physical illnesses such as high blood pressure. Stress: An Individual Response Different things can trigger stress in different people. Interestingly. like when it helps you win a competition or meet a deadline. a certain level of stress can be beneficial! Stress can be divided into positive stress and negative stress. ulcers. When the threat subsides the body returns to normal. isolation. While negative stress can result in you becoming less efficient. a racing heart. The call centre working environment can generate both acute and chronic stressors. and persistent financial worries. but is more likely to be a source of chronic stressors. overcrowding. Positive stress adds challenge and excitement to life. you might enjoy having to give a presentation but it might be totally frightening for a friend. bullying or harassment. physical stress from work or exercise is less likely to cause such ailments. and both physically and mentally unwell. How you respond to stressful situations depends on several things. and feeling out of control. and we thrive on a certain amount of it. some stress is motivating. or even heart disease. less productive. danger. At times.Fight Flight Freeze Stressors are also described as either short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic): • • Short-term 'acute' stress is the reaction to immediate threat. also known as the fight or flight response.
office politics 2." The key to understanding stress is to realise that the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response is only activated when you perceive something as a threat or challenge. fall into in two categories: internal and external stressors: • • Internal stressors .psychological problems such as worrying about something.g. suppliers 3. The job: being in the ‘wrong job’. Training and career development: few opportunities for career development. bored and non-productive. It can also mean that you may perceive a situation as stressful today.physical conditions such as heat or cold. too much or too little responsibility.. deadlines which are too tight. targets which are too demanding. managers. being in a minority. when there is ‘down-time’ you may feel extremely frustrated. You may be emotionally distressed from what you feel as "doing nothing. insecurity in terms of contract 4. but not so tomorrow. stressful psychological environments such as working conditions and abusive relationships. if you are a person who enjoys the ‘buzz’ of the call centre environment. policies and/or procedures. ambiguity in reporting structures.• General health and well-being – Are you well-rested or sleep-deprived? Do you have a healthy diet or live on junk food? Do you get enough exercise or is there never enough time to fit it in? Because stress is best described as an individual’s response to pressure.not all of which are work-related. peers. Causes of stress which are known as stressors. customers. In fact. guilt associated with spending long hours at work 5. e. Work-life balance: time spent travelling to work. and inadequate training to enhance employability Understanding and Managing Stress 3 . For example. stress means different things to different people. constant changing of structures. They can be categorised as follows: 1. or physical ailments External stressors . Sources of Stress at Work Stress is caused by various factors . that what may be relaxing to one person may be stressful to another. repetitive work. There are many sources of stress in the workplace. bullying and harassment Work can be a source of both external and internal stressors. attending meetings which achieve little. People: relationships with colleagues. juggling family commitments and work demands. Organisational climate/culture: lack of information.
Continuous unreasonable performance demands. Workplace stress affects the performance of the brain. increases management pressures and actually makes people sick. and 85% of serious illnesses (UK HSE stress statistics). No way to voice complaints. In Ireland. No opportunity to use personal talent and ability effectively. Inadequate time to complete the job properly. including the functions of memory. 90% of voluntary sector workers consider Understanding and Managing Stress 4 . Prejudice in the workplace. No clear job description or chain of command. Unpleasant or hazardous working conditions. Too much responsibility with too little authority. Feeling powerless. the majority of workers in every industrial sector claim to be stressed. In the UK over 13 million working days are lost every year because of stress. Bullying or harassment. Stress is believed to trigger 70% of visits to doctors. Un-co-operative fellow workers. such as family and relationship problems. Consequences of Workplace Stress Stress may be related to personal attributes and individual circumstances outside the workplace.The most commonly reported causes of stress at work include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • A feeling that one's reward is not matched by levels of responsibility and effort. Office politics and conflict among staff. Excessive time away from home and family. Lack of job security. No recognition or reward for doing well. and learning. it is now widely acknowledged that stress in the workplace reduces productivity. concentration. However. Long working hours. Lack of effective communication and conflict resolution.
Construction workers have the lowest levels of stress at 63% (ICTU 2001). low morale and poor work performance. More subtle and even more damaging effects of long term organisational stress include pervasive negativity. where would you ideally like to be on this scale. the likelihood is that it stresses you. identify where you are now on the same scale. aside from the obvious ethical considerations. lack of organisational commitment. Reduces commitment and motivation. The organisational effects of stress can include the following: • • • • • • • High absenteeism and staff turnover levels. Deterioration in industrial relations. Quick Stress Quiz If you take into account that we all need some level of stress in our lives. Stress at work also provides a serious risk of litigation for all employers and organisations. General dissatisfaction. Dealing with stress-related claims also consumes vast amounts of management time. Understanding and Managing Stress 5 . So. carrying significant liabilities for damages.their job to be stressful. bad publicity and loss of reputation. there are clearly strong economic and financial reasons for organisations to manage and reduce stress at work. Stress which is not managed can effect the organisation. Interdepartmental conflict. sabotage and ultimately organisational breakdown. Workplace accidents. Reduction in long-term productivity. no matter what job you do. Teachers (88%) and workers in the health service (82%) also report high levels of stress. So. 1====2====3====4====5====6====7====8====9====10 Take a few minutes to reflect on what is causing you to be at this point on the scale. it is in everyone‘s interest that stress is given the recognition that it deserves and policies are developed to tackle it. where 1 is totally relaxed and 10 is ready to ‘crack up’? 1====2====3====4====5====6====7====8====9====10 Now. So basically.
2. stress management techniques. Long term effects include backache.Stress Effects on Health and Performance Stress is proven beyond doubt to make people ill. interpretation leading to overreacting. not thinking clearly. and impairs the immune system. lack of concentration. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Chest palpitations. crying. 4. along with methods for coping with anger. and evidence is increasing as to number of ailments and diseases caused by stress. migraine. restlessness and nausea. it causes hypertension and high blood pressure. diabetes. and after six months actually equalled the effectiveness of anti-depressants. Signs and Symptoms 1. weakened immune system and irritable bowel syndrome. for chronic tension headache sufferers it was found that stress management techniques increased the effectiveness of prescribed drugs. forgetting. feeling of hopelessness. Stress is now known to contribute to heart disease. Emotional: Periods of anxiety. absenteeism form work. Stress at work is costly both to industry and to an individual's psychological wellbeing. muscle and joint pain. dry mouth. perspiration and respiration. alcohol consumption. nail biting. Understanding and Managing Stress 6 . alopecia and even premature tooth loss. heart trouble. panic attacks and irritability. increased smoking. sweaty palms. Behavioural: Changes in sleeping and eating patterns. Stress is also linked to strokes. The clear implication for these ailments is that stress makes them worse. high blood pressure. muscle tension. contributed to a reduction of high blood pressure. stomach ulcers. and. ulcers. 3. confusion. Various US studies have demonstrated that removing stress improves specific aspects of health: stress management was shown to be capable of reducing the risk of heart attack by up to 75% in people with heart disease. Physical: Increased heart rate. miscarriage during pregnancy. Mental/cognitive: Indecision. Recognising Stress Recognizing the early signs of distress and then doing something about them can make an important difference in the quality of your life. allergies. depression.
using the following scale: Scale: 1 =hardly ever.Stress Self-Test Stress can be assessed scientifically by measuring the levels of two hormones produced by the adrenal glands (cortisol and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone)). ill at ease I feel keyed up. nor are they certain proof of stress. over excited I worry excessively I become confused or forgetful I have difficulty concentrating I feel generally irritable I become depressed I feel bored or apathetic I feel my heart pounding I breathe rapidly I develop headaches or eye tension I experience low back pain I am short tempered with others I become withdrawn 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Understanding and Managing Stress 7 . There are many widely used stress tests which you can take and this is just one of them. but it will give you the opportunity to appreciate how many symptoms there are of stress. Some of these are not exclusively due to stress. 3 = often. anxious. It will not exactly measure your stress level. 2 = sometimes. but most of us do not have ready access to these methods! We must therefore rely on other signs. 4 = very often I feel nervous. but they are indicators to prompt investigation as to whether stress is present. Read the questions below and circle the number which best reflects how often you have had that symptom in the last three months.
stay in bed I suffer from insomnia I have minor accidents/make more mistakes I fail to meet deadlines I have conflicts with co-workers I take lots of sick leave I use alcohol excessively I am afraid of violent confrontation I experience exaggerated fears or phobias I have constant financial difficulties I have constant feelings of not being worthwhile I have too many pressures at one time I have difficulty carrying responsibility 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Understanding and Managing Stress 8 .I am achieving less than normal My stomach becomes upset I feel light headed or faint My mouth and throat become dry I develop nervous twitches I can't sit or stand still My muscles become tense and stiff I stutter or stammer when I speak I clench my jaw or grind my teeth My hands and fingers tremble My appetite changes markedly I sleep too long.
If you do not feel capable of dealing with the situation. a poor memory and concentration levels. It is your duty to do so. unsupported I feel lonely.I find it difficult to cope with frustrating situations I can't handle a demanding environment I have difficulty relaxing I find it hard to communicate I have unreal expectations of my relationships I feel obligated to others I experience lack of recognition and approval from others I am resistant to change My co-workers often seem hostile I feel unappreciated. especially if the sufferer has a tendency to ignore or deny the problem. Understanding and Managing Stress 9 . especially if you are that person's team leader or manager. you must refer it to someone who can deal with it. do not ignore it. Do something about it. changes in their eating patterns. the lower your total score the better. Where appropriate this may involve removing the person from the situation that is causing the stress. It is often easy to spot the signs of stress in those you work with. Management Responsibilities If you recognise signs of stress in a staff member. Symptoms can include becoming over emotional. isolated 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Scoring: There are no right or wrong scores for this quiz! Obviously. Any item you have marked as a three or four indicates a potential problem that warrants your attention. You should also look for signs of non-work-related stressors or factors that increase susceptibility to stress. Counselling may be necessary to identify the cause/s. and a decline in their personal appearance. do not ignore it. because these will make a person more vulnerable to work-related stressors. This quiz is designed really to draw your attention to the myriad of stress symptoms you may have been disregarding.
or counsellor can help you see your problem in a different light. The next stage involves understanding the cause of your stress. It may be that something you can deal with during a quite period becomes something you feel you cannot cope with during a busy time. insomnia. It will just get worse. such as the end of the month. The final stage requires you to commit/agree to remove the cause/s and to take positive action to relieve the symptoms of stress. there is no single solution that applies to every person suffering from stress. If you ignore it. If you feel your problem is serious. These include a feeling of constant tiredness. Recognising that you are suffering from stress. Running. The essentials involve 1. The essentials involve recognising you are suffering from stress. week and year which you find trigger stressful feelings. walking. angry. Exercise burns up adrenaline and produces helpful chemicals and positive feelings. Knowing when to ask for help may avoid more serious problems later. understanding the cause/s and committing to remove the cause/s and relieve the symptoms. Stress manifests itself in both physical and emotional signs. working in your garden. Some of the most commonly advocated strategies include: • Exercise: Exercise is widely acknowledged as beneficial in reducing anxiety levels. They can help reduce the outward symptoms of stress and provide an emotional respite. you can release the build up of pressure through exercise or physical activity. This can be a result of a combination of stressors and stress susceptibility factors. yoga. When you are nervous. Talk about your stress: It helps to talk to someone about your concerns and worries. 3. family member.Handling Stress There are many methods advocated for dealing with stress. 2. colleague. • Understanding and Managing Stress 10 . the problems will not go away. and most solutions involve a combination of methods. you might seek professional help from a counsellor. or upset. Remember that it is often the effects of cumulative pressure that can increase your stress levels. Perhaps a friend. Study your work patterns and try and identify times during the day. soccer are just some of the activities you can try. loss of appetitive and digestive disorders and headaches. Become aware of what it is that causes you stress and recognise the signs. However.
Relaxation can be learned by anyone and costs nothing. The time and energy you spend managing your stress will pay off in the long run • • • • Understanding and Managing Stress 11 . We often then resort to eating ‘convenience’ foods and ‘junk’ foods. as a result. learn how to say no. When breathing out. Ask to attend a time management course if you feel this will help. Breathing Techniques: Stress leads to hyperventilation or over breathing. hold the breath. Improving your diet: When we are stressed we often feel too busy to take lunch breaks and feel too tired in the evening to cook for ourselves. This is dealt with in more detail in the section on Assertiveness. and massage are commonly used as methods of relaxation. The most common of these is to learn breathing techniques. you may not accomplish anything.• Identify ways to manage your time: One of the major symptoms of stress at work is the feeling that there are just not enough hours in the day for you to do everything that needs to get done. Assess the current diet and identify where improvements should be made and commit to those improvements. Trying to take care of everything at once can seem overwhelming and. This replaces oxygen levels in the bloodstream and increases carbon dioxide. Balanced healthy diet is essential. Push this part out when breathing in and let it rest when breathing out. Give priority to the most important ones and do those first. There are many relaxation exercises which can be done in the workplace. Yoga. And don't commit to new things just because you feel you have to. Learn to relax: The best strategy for avoiding stress is to learn how to relax. Learn to say "no": If there are things at home or at work that you just can't or don't want to do. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Instead. make a list of what tasks you have to do and then do one at a time. Diaphragmatic breathing counteracts the stress response. Place one hand on the diaphragm (the stomach area between the rib cage). meditation. checking them off as they’re completed.
IN. London. Anxiety and Depression. Vermilion. London. Norris Rick (2005) The Promised Land: A Guide to Positive Thinking for Sufferers of Stress. Hodder Arnold. Chris (2003) Overcoming Anxiety: A Five Areas Approach. London. Carnegie. Williams. Bloomington. Author House. David (2002) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity. Dale (1990) How To Stop Worrying and Start Living. Understanding and Managing Stress 12 .Bibliography and Further Reading Allen. Piatkus Books.
allyou-need-is-love approach to being a boss. Self Management 1 .” Jill Geisler In this chapter you will learn about: • • • • What self-management is.. suspend your cynicism. Totally disagree How did you answer? Do you agree with the statements completely? Partly? Or did you not agree at all? The statements all have to do with self-management. Self Management “The term "emotional intelligence" can be off-putting to some who hear it as just management-speak or some touchy-feely. Think of it as managing yourself so you can lead others. How would you rate the following statements? Totally agree 1A I have to take initiative for my own training 1B I am responsible for my own training 2A I have to take initiative for my own career development 2B I am responsible for my own career development ………. The background of self-management. Why self-management matters in the modern workplace.3. But bear with me. How self-management impacts on training participation and your career. A Simple Test Think about your training and career development. and try considering emotional intelligence as I have come to see it.
What is Self-Management? What exactly is self-management? One possible definition is the following: Self-management is the degree to which individuals feel that they are responsible for their own training and career development. Self-responsibility in a work situation implies that the locus of responsibility is squarely on the individual. which implies that they have strong expectations that they can execute the behavior required for performance. o Re-assess goals in the light of new experiences. It is the process by which individuals: o Identify their personal development goals. In fact. o Develop and use methods of monitoring progress and assess outcomes. not completely new. It is a state of mind that determines to what extent employees are willing to take their own development into their own hands. Employees that have a high level of self-esteem are likely to have a strong sense of self-efficacy. o Consciously take responsibility for planning and taking appropriate action to reach these goals. either absolutely or in comparison with others. Self-development is also a self-concept that is concerned with training and development. Self-management is about the attitude of employees towards their training and career development. • • • Self Management 2 . Self-esteem has been linked to career decisions and behavior. who is employed based on current value to the organization. It is however. We list these below: • Self-esteem is the extent to which one has a positive image of oneself and a measure of the extent to which one approves of and accepts oneself and regards oneself as praiseworthy. A Little Background Self-management is a relatively modern concept. it may be regarded as a combination of earlier self-concepts developed in the past.
• Self-knowledge is an individual characteristic relating to career management skills. and Balancing work and non-work activities. to anticipate future business and life changes and to promote one’s own career interests. we need to look at career skills: skills and abilities which enable employees to successfully navigate their careers. o identifying development needs and assessment of requirements for successful performance. but rather reinforce each other. • These self-notions have in common that they are all to some extent concerned with the individual self-management of training or career development activities.e. o anticipating future changes and preparing for future job opportunities that may arise. Self-governance skills are those skills that are required to manage oneself. o learning from the experience of mentors. which means that they are not separate skills. The concept of self-management can be linked to four of these career skills. These skills include the willingness to act ethically. It concerns knowing why one is pursuing a particular career.g. which are displayed below in Figure 1: Optimizing the current situation. Self-development is concerned with development activities. • Career planning is a cyclical iterative process of career review (i. the ability to forego short-run opportunities that may damage the long-run and the foresight to plan the next useful career step. It requires call centre staff to take a goal-directed approach to career planning. Other self-concepts stress elements of self-management. partners and colleagues. these career competencies partly overlap. • Optimizing the current situation is about creating the right set of circumstances to further a career in call centres in the absence of career ladders or opportunities for career advancement. knowing with whom to initiate contact and relationships and knowing how to perform the tasks and roles needed for capturing opportunities. e. Career planning helps in: o reviewing whether skills are used and needs and interests are satisfied. Self Management 3 . As can be seen. How does self-management relate to training and career development activities? In order to gain a deeper understanding of self-management. Engaging in personal development. Career planning. the ability to combine work and nonwork activities. what happened in the past) and decision-making.
balancing work and nonwork activities has become a required characteristic for all those in the workplace. o To be effective learners with a positive attitude towards learning. In order to distinguish between the main two foci of self-management it is. family and career. employees need: o A sufficient level of self-awareness to review and identify their development needs. The dynamic interplay between work and non-work activities implies that finding a successful balance is essential. however. There are a number of advantages of personal development. taking external assignments in a client company or in an emerging market. 4 Self Management . The combination of these two items constitutes self-management.Figure 1: Four overlapping career management skills • Engaging in personal development can take many different forms. Self-management can therefore be seen as something that includes both developmental (training and learning) as well as other career management skills. or increasing opportunities for informal learning. Career-related self-management. useful to distinguish between two separate types of self-management: • • Training-related self-management. In addition. In order to pursue personal development effectively. employees that actively engage in personal development become more employable and therefore more attractive for the external labour market. increased job satisfaction and a higher degree of marketability within the call centre. These include a greater sense of fulfilment. • Self-management focuses on two of the four career management competences: Career planning and personal development. Balancing work and non-work activities involves the successful combination of individual needs. As these three aspects of work life become more integrated. It may consist of participating in call centre training.
or it can involve feeling responsible for something. In traditional employment relationships. careers were thought to evolve within the context of a few organizations. employees exchange loyalty for job security. Three major changes mark the transition from Self Management 5 . Once. Self-management responsibility is the perceived obligation to be liable for outcomes in terms of training participation or career development. however. The ‘deal’ that employees face is changing as many jobs evolve from traditional employment relationships to a more contingent employment contract. In these types of careers. These components are shown in table 1. Self-management can be about taking the initiative to take action. employees exchange performance and flexibility for continuous learning opportunities and marketability. success was typically defined by the organization and measured in terms of wage increases and career promotions. Table 1: Components of self-management SelfInitiative Management Responsibility Training Training-related selfmanagement initiative Training-related selfmanagement responsibility Career Career-related selfmanagement initiative Career-related selfmanagement responsibility Why Self-Management Matters Why is self-management important? The importance of self-management stems from the fact that the nature of workers’ relationships with employing organizations such as call centres is changing. Self-management initiative may be defined as taking the lead in training or career development activities. Our discussion shows that self-management has four components. progressing in relatively predictable ways. the traditional career concept is making way for a different view on careers. In the past few decades. for both career-related and training-related self-management we have to consider an initiative and a responsibility element.We thus have two main types of self-management: training-related and careerrelated self-management. In modern employment relationships. There is another distinction that is very useful when discussing self-management. Therefore.
many workers need new or other skills than previously required in order for organizations to remain sufficiently productive. The changes in employment relationships are related to three main developments within and around call centres that shape the characteristics of the modern workplace. Next to changes in production technologies. The classic intensely specialized mass production of the past. • Firstly. Of the changes taking place in call centres and their environment. jobs or tasks. in recent decades we have witnessed a transformation in production technologies. • A change from firm-reliance to self-reliance. Both abrupt and gradual organizational changes have implications for job requirements and content in call centres. there are important developments in the organization of work. but also in how specific tasks are performed. These changes are often related to changes in production technology. a measure of vertical success is applied. technologies are changing considerably. family happiness. for instance in the case of reorganizations or mergers. The emergence of ICT in production processes may also lead to the disappearance of certain types of jobs all together. or gradual. They may be abrupt. be they achievement. e. is making way for new modes of production that take the tailor-made product or service as the main focus and that require different organizational configurations.traditional to modern careers: • A change from organizational loyalty to professional loyalty. the increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has been one of the most profound changes. the ICT-revolution has prompted changes in jobs themselves. Although there have always been changes in the technology applied to convert productive inputs into production of goods and services. the ultimate goal in a modern career is psychological success. In fact. • A change from focus on extrinsic to intrinsic rewards. when there are changes in management systems or more dependence on team-based production. In the last few decades. In traditional careers. Organizational changes may manifest themselves in different forms. or something else. Psychological success is the feeling of pride and personal accomplishment that comes from achieving one’s most important goals in life. The extrinsic goals in these careers are climbing the corporate ladder and advancing in terms of salary. for instance when the introduction of a new computer system requires other ways of cocoordinating and organizing work. inner peace.g. The second change reveals an essential difference between these two career concepts in terms of the measure of successfulness applied. • Self Management 6 . In contrast. This change is universal in the sense that a large share of the working population is affected.
employee development will be cyclical. Various developments in the labour market.• Finally. This leads to more pressure to keep up with competitors and requires a focus on efficiency in the production process. and new strategies that focus on speed. Second. responsiveness to market conditions and innovation. The changes in production processes and the increasing international competition and globalization of markets requires greater productivity and flexibility by both call centres and their personnel. organizational developments. which provides security. which implied a trade between employee loyalty and job security from the organization. stability and predictability. From 1970 onwards. firms and sometimes even occupations during their entire career. into a more modern arrangement in which possibilities for employability are traded for employee flexibility. career development is in the hands of call centre staff. such as technological innovations. instead of relying on career development that is managed by the Self Management 7 . both in national and international markets. less relevant for an increasing share of the employed. employees will change jobs. Finally. In this setting. Customers demand tailor-made products and services that correspond to their needs and desires. Career planning therefore comes into the hands of call centre staff. the degree of competition between call centres is intensifying due to globalization and the liberalization of world markets for goods and services. the ‘corporate knot’ between organizations and employees. the concept of self-management may be seen as the attitude workers have towards modern employment relationships. and self-management is a powerful strategy to manage individual careers. The competitive pressures imply that organizations increasingly focus on quality in products and services. Even work for a single call centre features job rotation. quality management and increased competition have transformed the traditional employment relationship. call centre staff manage their own career. Self-Management and Training Why is self-management important for training participation? As we saw before. First. developmental assignments and transitions to different parts of the company. is becoming incompatible with the needs for cost reduction. What are the consequences of the new career concept for call centre staff? There are three important implications. which in essence is a trade of job-security for loyalty. as the flexibility that call centres need no longer allows them to meaningfully plan their employees’ careers. Concepts such as ISO certification and total quality management have therefore become quite common in many organizations. involving periods in the career where employees are involved in retraining. The need for flexibility and productivity at the organizational level makes the traditional employment relationship. flexibility and performance improvement.
As self-managed employees take their career development into their own hands. Apply what they learn in their work. Being self-managed in training has a number of advantages. Taking the necessary action to achieve career goals. How do self-managed employees manage their careers? Analogously to training. Are motivated throughout the training. Being independent makes it easier to keep their skills-up-date and enhances employability. Scanning the future environment and pinpointing threats and opportunities affecting career progress. They develop and shape their career by: • • • • • • • Assessing present personal strengths and weaknesses. but also to careers. others are unable to do so as a result of the intense developments they face.employing organization. Selfmanaged employees are able to establish successful career paths despite the absence of support from the call centres in which they work. While some firms still provide some opportunities for career development. Identifying what will create satisfaction and fulfilment. Evaluating past career successes and failures. Developing short-term career objectives. Take pride in performing well during training activities. Self-managed employees take their development into their own hands and become relatively independent from any particular job or employer. Being career self-managed has a number of advantages. This is important as not many employees will have a lifetime employment career in a single job at a single call centre. Self-Management and the Career What about self-management and the career? As we have seen before. Know their skills shortages and training needs. they are no longer dependent on the policy of the call centre in which they are employed. At all stages. Take action to find the right training opportunities. Self Management 8 . There will most likely be several instances where they will need to change jobs. Establishing a long-term career strategy. Are able to effectively combine training activities with work duties. Self-managed workers: • • • • • • • Take the initiative when training opportunities become available. Workers are considered to be ‘entrepreneurs’ of their own skill development. they take the initiative and feel responsible. self-managed employees are entrepreneurs of their own career. Self-managed employees are pro-active in the training process all the way. They take the initiative for their own training and bear the responsibility at all stages of the training process. selfmanagement does not only relate to training (development).
Vol. If you did not agree (completely) with any of the statements. Labor Market Outcomes and SelfManagement. Self Management 9 . J. Career Development International. pp. Hall.. T. Richard (2002) The Rules of Work: A definitive Guide to Personal Success. No. 2237.Are You Self-Managed? Reconsider the four statements. 26. 74-79. D. E. (1998) “The new protean career contract: Helping organizations and employees adapt”. Utrecht University. P. 365-380. taking matters into your own hands will ultimately bring you a feeling of fulfilment. control and joy. B. Jasper (2005) Training. would you change your answers now that you know what self-management is and why it is important? Keep in mind that self-management will probably become even more important in the future. Templar. Utrecht. 2. Prentice Hall. Mirvis. 15. pp. pp. T. and your answers. Industrial Relations. & Hall. (1997) “Career management competencies: The individual perspective”. Vol. at the beginning of this chapter. 2. Van Loo. NJ. H. Englewood Cliffs. Even more importantly: next to being useful in your working life. No. D.. & Moss. Vol. 3. (1994) “Psychological success and the boundaryless career”. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Bibliography and Further Reading Ball.
this thought is also recorded and will. One of the most powerful influences on our attitude and personality is what we say to ourselves in response to events or to what may be said. If you can learn to control your self-talk so that it focuses on solutions and positive outcomes then you will hold a critical skill for happiness. note will not might. you’re probably right. perhaps even most. It is not what happens to you.4. You may have a bad experience and register it in your memory. or think you can’t. Developing Positive Self-Talk “If you think you can. “I did everything right. that determines your actions and reactions and whether you feel happy or aggressive or disadvantaged. The way negative self-talk prevents us achieving our full potential. In fact almost all of the emotions we experience are determined by how we talk to ourselves and how we interpret the events of which we are a part. The Basics Many. but how you respond to. or think about the experience is critical. next time I could get there”. lessen the impact of your bad experience. success and high achievement in life. of us relate how we feel to outside events or the positive and negative actions of people around us. Developing Positive Self-Talk 1 . We should first of all try to understand the difference between an experience and a thought. The way positive self-talk can lift our feelings and improve our performance. but how you respond internally to what happens to you. If you fail to achieve your goal but think. Thinking negatively – "I did everything right and I still didn’t achieve” will reinforce the negative experience and potentially reinforce the potential to fail. By deciding to keep your “self-talk” or inner dialogue positive you can begin to assert control over every part of your life.” Henry Ford In this chapter you will learn about: • • • The nature of self-talk.
that it is not the actions which you should beware but your reactions to them. It becomes easier to ignore a nasty comment when it comes from someone whose opinion you don’t value. when you express little confidence in yourself. You will usually react positively or negatively to everything that happens in your life. You can decide if it is there to help or to hinder. it is contrary to your self-image but if your self-talk is positive it is unlikely it will damage your self-image to the point where you have a crisis of confidence. Developing Positive Self-Talk 2 . others will have hidden and sometimes not so hidden agendas or opinions that differ from your own. However. Your beliefs can affect the way you react to situations. unless it is controlled. when you unexpectedly let the team down. You may think you are better as a leader rather than a follower. For example. Sticks and stones from other people you can usually consciously or unconsciously discount since their point of view can be rationalised away. you talk to yourself internally. After all.negative "self-talk" -. your self-talk) is influenced by your existing self-image.Your beliefs about yourself are known as your self-image. if you focus on the negatives it is possible. Your reaction to the success or failure (i. however. giving negative feedback to yourself -. You have a voice in your head which generally will comment on what is happening around you and may even tell you how to react. that's when words have a real potential to do damage. You may have a very high opinion about your ability as a team player but as an individual performer. Apart from the occasional hurtful comment made by people you love. However. If you're like most people. you may audibly say words that others can hear but for most of us. Any action which suggests a different picture from your view has the potential to have a positive or negative impact on how you feel. if you work closely with the team to achieve a major success then that might be what was expected and your self-talk will simply confirm your self-image. So. the belief confirmed and this is reflected and confirmed in the self-talk. even probable that your performance will deteriorate. The important thing to recognise is how your reaction to the situation affects your subsequent participation. Occasionally. This self-talk will gradually influence your self-image or self-belief.your self-talk. to promote calmness or stress. In each area of your life you have a view of how you perform or are perceived by others. to act for or against your interests. and this reaction can be captured in what you say to yourself . when we talk to ourselves.is the worst kind of self inflicted damage. It may be different in work or in sport or socially. If however you let the team down in some way then your self-talk.e. your image could be completely different. we just say it in our minds. Therefore if your self-image is fulfilled then the result was expected. The point is. The key thing to remember is that you are in control of your voice. will be negative and will reinforce the potential for failure in a similar situation. or different ways of looking at things.
into preconceived categories? Do you avoid thinking of people as unique individuals? This could give you an undeserved sense of superiority or inferiority. They do everything possible to avoid problems. “On my personal scale just how bad is this and what can I do about it?” Do you always expect the worst: "What if I say the wrong thing?" "What if I don't get this contract?" Expecting the worst does not help you to behave effectively. “What interim steps would mean that I was progressing and what have I achieved to date that means I’ll hit my target?” Do you think negative thoughts about yourself? Sometimes it seems that people are ready enough to pass some negative comment on your performance or 3 Developing Positive Self-Talk . One of the common characteristics of all high achieving men and women is that they recognize the inevitability of temporary setbacks and disappointments. Expecting the worst promotes anxiety. you will most often be right and yes. sometimes there will be better performers. They accept them as a normal and natural part of their life. successful people learn from them and rise above them.Are You Being Fair? You need to establish first of all if you are fair with your self-talk? For example do you focus only on the problem and not on the solution? How would it be if you accept that the vast majority of problems have a solution and you gave your attention to what that might be? Could your self-talk ask. and yourself. could you have done something but didn’t to resolve your challenge? Could your self-talk ask. but when they come up. Could your self-talk ask if you are wrong this time how you might learn and improve by the experience? Do you think only about final goals and not steps along the way? Faced with a huge task do you target yourself to complete it in a single process? Do you set yourself up for failure? Do you have an all or nothing attitude to goal setting or could your self-talk ask. worst of all. Could your self-talk point out that we all have unique personalities each with their own qualities and shortcomings? Do you think in the past tense? Should you have taken some action or would you have but for what seemed a perfectly good reason at the time? And. but not never and always and everyone. If you have the opportunity to worry about a situation you have the opportunity to prepare for it. Could your self-talk ask. "How can I make a favourable impression?" "How can I promote my product effectively?" Do you put others. They continue to move forward towards their goals. Could your self-talk ask questions that presuppose positive outcomes. “How can I make this better or avoid a repeat?” Is every bad thing that happens a catastrophe? Try to be realistic in your assessment and quantify events in a way that you find you can cope with. “What can I do now or in the future to avoid this bad situation or repeat this good one?” Do you think you are never right or always wrong or everyone is more skilled at some action than you? You will sometimes be wrong.
“What can I do to help develop a solution to the problem?” Do you really listen to alternative suggestions or do you spend the time preparing reasons why they won’t work? Could your self-talk ask. your actions. Since the purpose of talking to yourself is to influence the way you feel. perceptions." "me." and "my. Unfortunately for most of us who have not considered the opportunities of positive self-talk much self-talk is actually negative affirmations. really listen to advice and give it a fair hearing before dismissing it so quickly. you would wish to see as a fact. as you have seen. “If I genuinely consider alternatives. Perhaps the most powerful influence on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself and believe. By controlling your inner dialogue.” Do you blame those around you instead of solving the problem? If we can blame others it’s easy to avoid responsibility. It's easier to change a behaviour so could your selftalk ask why not change my negative statements about myself into a statement about my behaviours? For example “I’m inclined to give opinions without listening to others. For the purposes of this exercise a positive affirmation is a statement of something. But if you weed out misconceptions and irrational thinking and challenge them with rational. self-talk can be positive or negative. or “self-talk. Our most dominant thoughts shape our emotions. probably about yourself. Could your self-talk ask. It is not what happens to you. You now understand that when the theme of your self-talk is mostly negative. your self-talk will gradually become realistic and self-affirming. positive thoughts.some other aspect of your life so do you really need to contribute to that yourself? You may engage in stupid behaviour occasionally.” you can begin to assert control over every other dimension of your life. lack of information and distorted ideas have overpowered your capacity for logic and reason. but how you respond internally to what happens to you.yourself. how much better would that be?” So. Your affirmations should state your own Developing Positive Self-Talk 4 . but that doesn't make you a stupid person. What we most often tell ourselves can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and if we accept that premise then it follows that we want our most frequent thoughts to be positive. "I. your own misperceptions. Our most frequent thoughts represent goals which the subconscious mind strives to achieve. and behaviours. react and take action it follows that you should always make your positive statements using words that refer to you like. ultimately." You can rarely control circumstances or how other people will act or react so make your affirmations about what you can control . Affirmations Unless you are already comfortable that your self-talk is positive you will need to reprogramme your self-talk by repeating positive affirmations until you begin to get a good sense of what positive thinking really sounds like. that determines your thoughts and feelings and.
don’t say. It is vital to building strong relationships with other people. For example. “I will not eat too much at meals”. If you want to avoid a particular behaviour then focus not on that behaviour but on the behaviour which will replace it and which will support your goal. A positive mental attitude is a key ingredient for success and happiness. How you internalise discussion about what is happening to and around you will decide your emotional state. Many experts say that you should repeat them all at least once a day and in a way that fits with your own style of learning. measurable. It is possible to make statements in the present tense which will drive you positively towards your goals. Be positive in your affirmation. Be Positive As we have seen. It is generally more effective to state your affirmations in the present tense because future promises are there to be broken or disregarded. Decide how to rise above them and carry on.” Make your affirmations short. relevant and time-based. Write your affirmations down. Seeing things positively and looking for the good in people and situations. Your internal discussions should set goals which are specific.A. Clearly you may have problems in making statements about the present which do not reflect your self-image – for example. easy to remember and if you can catchy. “I am happy that I completely support the team”. values and commitments . both positive and negative. They trigger thoughts.R. Remember that occasional setbacks and difficulties are a normal and natural part of life. The S. Talk about things the way you want them to be rather than the way they might be today. images and feelings. you could say “Every day I am making a real effort to support the team”. Short statements will stay longer with you and you must repeat them regularly so that your positive self-talk becomes routine. and relationships are Developing Positive Self-Talk 5 .goals. For example. Work your way up to bigger accomplishments and develop short-term goals which support your eventual objective. will make you a very positive and optimistic person. Your potential to succeed or to be happy will come from the way you deal with life.M. Finally select the words you use with care. achievable. “I will eat just enough at meals.T rule applies when you begin to affirm positively. but.not someone else's. if that is not what you believe. perhaps achievable is most important since you will need to stick to these rules for a time before you are truly using positive self-talk to real advantage. So far as you can you should focus on the positive aspects of your life and refuse to think about anything that might upset you unless you can find some positive statement on which to focus your self-talk. Put them in your diary or have them somewhere that is easily accessible to you because you will need to refer to them often and implant them in your mind. your self-talk determines the majority of how you feel about life. Of these.
will be so much easier. you keep your mind and your emotions positive. if you keep your words and thoughts positive. so by choosing the positive thought to dwell upon. Positive Self-Talk How can I make sure I get this right next time? What can I learn from what I did to make sure it doesn’t happen again? If I persist I’ll learn a new skill. Developing Positive Self-Talk 6 . It's an opportunity for me to learn something new. No one wants to be around a person whose glass is always half empty. Since your thoughts and feelings determine your actions. whether that is business success or happiness. You’ve got the potential to do this job with a little more time. Let’s look at some ways you can turn negative self-talk into positive self talk and consider some examples. When you develop the skill you will respond quickly and positively to any adverse event and interpret it as being external and having a solution. I’ve made a stupid mistake. I've never done it before. Positive people are resilient and bounce back fast when they meet the inevitable problems that life brings. With the help of positive self-talk you will take full control of your inner dialogue and dismiss negative feelings by reviewing the event so that it appears positive. If you can support a positive mental attitude through talking to yourself in a positive and supportive way then achieving your objective. You’re not measuring up to this job.the foundation on which happiness is based. Negative Self-Talk I always get this wrong. Your mind can hold only one thought at a time. Everyone wants to be around someone with a cheerful and sympathetic attitude towards life. you will automatically be a more positive person and move more rapidly toward your goals. I’ll never be able to do that.
How can I make the time for this? There's no way it will work. How could I do this better? It's too radical a change. Stress becomes bad and is a pressure or tension you might feel when the demands of life. you may feel tired and irritable and the little things that you normally manage with ease will seem difficult or even impossible. I can try to make it work. Every one of us has stress in life and a common mistake is to regard this as a bad thing. Positive Self-Talk How can I simplify this? I don't have the resources. Developing Positive Self-Talk 7 . business and everyday responsibilities are more than you can handle. I know people who can help me.Negative Self-Talk It's too complicated. Your muscles will tense. It's good enough. I don't have the expertise. Where can I get the resources? There's not enough time. Some stress is good for us and it only becomes bad when it exceeds our ability to cope. Different people meet this point at different levels. I’ll give it my best shot No one tells me anything Who can I talk to? Stress It will be useful here to consider the impact of positive self-talk on stress.
A Process Let’s now look at a practical exercise for establishing you as a positive selftalker. Here is an opportunity for positive self-talk – “I can do this!!” • • Think of a situation. We have already discussed the need to make your self-talk personal to you. If you prefer other routes that’s all right too. Integration (marry it to your circumstances). Management of stress does require a positive view and with self-talk delivered correctly you can turn pessimism into optimism. Illumination (see the answer). Incubation (let your subconscious mind think about it). Illustration (show to yourself and others how the idea will work). depressed? • Developing Positive Self-Talk 8 . A clear vision of the end result will help you to avoid dwelling on the problem and allow you to focus on the solution. How is it going? What are you saying to yourself? What are your worries and your beliefs? What judgements are you making and what assumptions are they based on? How do you think the situation will turn out? What are your feelings? Try to define them in as few words as possible Are you angry. that generates stressful feelings for you. Steve McDermott. a successful business consultant. In fact it is probable that as your self-image changes and improves others will notice and you will be able to influence them and perhaps improve their lives as well as your own. preferably one that you are actually experiencing. • You should have or create a clear idea of what a successful outcome would look like for you. upset. ‘How will I get there?’ The subconscious mind is very creative and once you have identified your goal and programmed it in. but accept that changing your attitudes will involve you in some hard work. At a recent UK conference. promoted this process through the five I’s: o o o o o Information (gather it). It’s easy to slip back to the old ways because the old ways are ingrained in your mind. annoyed. We said that you could influence only your own feelings and actions and that your self-talks should use “I” or “me”.In moments of calm you should give some thought to how you might deal with excessive stress in your life. Look on this as a possible process for moving you along the road to success. Now write down your self-talk about the event. Allocating sufficient time for a task and making that allocation realistic is a good start. your creative mind can go to work to guide you to make the vision a reality.
such as. • Substitute positive self-talk for your negative thoughts • • • • • • • • Substitute positive feelings for negative feelings by turning your negative self-talks to positive statements about behaviour. • Write your positive affirmations about this situation down and review them at least daily. or I cause myself undue suffering by convincing myself to be unhappy? I’m going to be alright. I’ll take a deep breath and focus on relaxing. You will also have a positive outlook on life. I can decide how I feel about this. Read about people who have overcome different struggles. In this way. Begin to review your feelings and self-talk against the questions listed below: • • • • Is there any rational support for this idea? What evidence do I have that this idea is true? False? What do I know about myself in other situations that tells me that my negative self-talk is wrong? Is there any evidence that my negative self-talk is true. “I did a good job!” “I knew I could do it!” Conclusion Saying positive things about yourself is an effective way to enhance positive thinking. I’ve done well in the past. • Reward yourself when you achieve success – give yourself credit for doing a good job with more positive self-talk. If I feel myself getting tense. and succeeded in life. Developing Positive Self-Talk 9 . The way you communicate to yourself influences your thinking and your emotional approaches to people and things. you will be able to gain knowledge and it will help you understand new ideas.• Think about what you are saying to yourself and try to identify which parts of your self-talk are negative or unhelpful. Trying something new is challenging and stimulating. fought fear. I’m not going to let this situation upset me. I can keep my reactions within limits that are comfortable for me.
You may find yourself inspired in doing the things you have been previously challenged by while you are self-confident. Orlando. Hal and Stone. you will be able to respond and react internally to what you would like to happen in your life. Always be aware of where you want to take your life. London. Pan Books. Pocket Books. Hay House. Timothy (2002) The Inner Game of Work: Overcoming Mental Obstacles for Maximum Performance. Remember you cannot control all things that will happen in your life. you can plan on how you can promote the positive and eliminate the negative from your life. Then. Helmstetter. Louise (2004) I Can Do It: How to Use Affirmations to Change Your Life. Stone. Harper. However. Shad (1990) What to Say When you Talk to Yourself. Positive self-talk is a powerful tool that can influence your attitude and behaviour. Confidence inspired by positive self-talk is a platform on which to build success. Stay positive on how you view and see things. When you practice self-talk. When you say positive things about yourself.Be motivated in accomplishing your goals no matter how hard they may seem to you. Bibliography and Further Reading Gallwey. Sandra (1993) Embracing Your Inner Critic: Turning SelfCriticism into a Creative Asset. You must also start questioning yourself about your attitude and behaviour. You may have a moment when you see yourself in circumstances that will bring negativity and doubt about your capabilities. Texere Publishing. thoughts and your reactions. London. Timothy (1986) The Inner Game of Tennis. you will start to assert control in every aspect that can affect or change the way you deal with life. It determines your personal feelings. Developing Positive Self-Talk 10 . New York. FL. San Francisco. Gallwey. You must start changing those old internal discouraging pictures with positive images that you would like to experience. you can decide on how you will talk to yourself about them and choose to face challenges in a positive way. Hay. Deal with them in steps that are achievable.
After reading this chapter. you should have more insight into your own motivation and you will know how to stay motivated in the long term.” Winston Churchill In this chapter you will learn about: • • • • How motivation affects performance. When was the last time you seriously thought about your motivation? Motivation is something many call centre staff and management do not typically think about in depth. Your response offers insight about how motivated you are and on your preferred motivational style. How to stay motivated. How to enhance motivation. This is remarkable. as motivation is very important for both daily performance in the workplace and learning. answering as honestly as possible. Assessing your motivation How motivated are you and what is your preferred motivation style? Read the following statements and complete them by circling one of the three responses. failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. These questions have no right or wrong answers. Keeping Motivated “Success is not final. How to motivate others.5. Choose the one that best characterizes you. Count the number of circled answers and write your total at the bottom of each column. Keeping Motivated 1 .
When online.. Make friends. I like to do things . Learning:____ Totals Goal:____ Social:____ Keeping Motivated 2 . When completing things .. and considerate. fair. Are a useful tool. Ask constant questions.. What's next. Search and retrieve. Help other people. Think things through. Help coordinate with people. efficient.1. Now or on a schedule. Being clever and smart. When it feels right to me.. 3.. Get things done.. productive. I like to be recognized for… Being organized... Keep order. or chat. 6. 2. Hang out and. Ideas. and punctual. I finish what I start. not a destination. thoughtful. Write e-mails. Done in groups... I liked to . In school. being kind. 4. To relax. I believe that life is a journey. I am proud when I . making discoveries. I believe schedules . People. 10. Do whatever it takes to accomplish relaxation. I mostly think about . surf the internet to learn new things.. I like to . Meaningful to me. Noticing others. 7. instant message... Projects should be . Look around and linger. I like to enlist the help of others.. neat. 8. 5... Explore. When it works for everyone... and solving problems. Finished on time. I tend to . Read. talk with friends. 9.
you’ll probably reach for your goals through a direct and obvious route. or the nature of their character. Next to the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. incentives. allowing 3 • • Keeping Motivated . you perform and learn mainly for social contact. When you meet with people. It is similar to the ‘Kaizen’ (continuous improvement) approach of Japanese management. This might lead you to a book. When people are intrinsically motivated they engage in an activity because they are interested in and enjoy the activity. You automatically search for knowledge and you may become frustrated by problems that require you to spend time on procedures and processes rather than on actual learning. Persons with affiliation motivation perform work better when they are complimented for their favourable attitudes and co-operation. you also learn things at the same time. which are listed and discussed below: • Achievement Motivation is the drive to pursue and attain goals. or an expert. people engage in activities for instrumental or other reasons. When extrinsically motivated. such as receiving a reward. What is Motivation? How can motivation be defined? There are a number of definitions available but a quite general and common definition is the following: Motivation is what makes an individual do what he or she does. You do not prefer to work independently because that doesn’t give you the interactivity with others which you enjoy. If you are relationship-oriented (social). You are most likely to prefer meeting in-person when it’s the most effective method and you are not motivated by the learning experience itself. Affiliation Motivation is a drive to relate to people on a social basis. If you are learning-oriented. There are two main types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. learning itself drives you. whether those influences are goals. Here. There are several distinct types of motivation. My primary motivation style: ------------------------------------------------------My secondary motivation style:---------------------------------------------------If you are a goal-oriented person.Your primary motivation style is the column with the highest total. Competence Motivation is the drive to be good at something. The column with the second-highest total is your secondary motivation style. accomplishment is important for its own sake and not for the rewards that accompany it. other classifications of motivation have been proposed. your personal computer. An individual with achievement motivation wishes to achieve objectives and advance up the ladder of success.
their belief in themselves. but how are motivation and work performance related? In order to see the relationship. The individual performance is influenced by ability (the individual’s capacity to perform) and motivation.the individual to perform high quality work. Well-motivated staff are an enormous asset to call centres. It is their selfconfidence. Use their skills and knowledge in the best ways possible. If employees do not believe that their performance will lead to achieving the rewards or outcomes they desire. take pride in developing and using their problemsolving skills and strive to be creative when confronted with obstacles. They learn from their experience. Align corporate objectives with their own goals. It is not the same as behaviour (which means observable action). because incentives are lacking. training will not induce them to behave in desired ways. Motivated employees achieve better performance as they: • • • • • Strive to achieve long and short term goals. Power motivated people wish to create an impact on their organization and are willing to take risks to do so. Job performance consists of three interrelated elements: • • • The individual performance. • Think about your own motivation again. Keeping Motivated 4 . The context. Motivation is not only relevant in work performance. It is how they feel about the future and how they react to the past. we first have to take a look at job performance. Are you mainly intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? Do your own motivation styles fit within any of the five listed motivation categories? Motivation and Work Performance Motivation is important for work performance. The activity. Competence motivated people seek job mastery. Work towards furthering their own careers. their attitude to life. A common definition is that job performance is the result of a pattern of actions carried out to satisfy an objective according to some standard. It also plays a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of training and development activities. Feel a greater sense of responsibility for their own actions. Attitude Motivation is how people think and feel. • Power Motivation is the drive to influence people and change situations.
Often this suggests some personal or organizational problem. Provide more in terms of return on training investment to the call centre. some call centres try to improve motivation through employee discipline. but there are number of general guidelines available. This type of training focuses on content that is attitudinal in nature in the form of values or beliefs. There is a poor match between what the people can do and what they have been hired to do (capability need).But motivation does not only translate into better work performance. It also leads to improved training and learning outcomes. Providing appropriate financial rewards for achievement. It is vital that any motivational problems are analysed thoroughly before any action is undertaken. Providing appropriate non-financial rewards such as recognition for achievement. but achievable goals. Clarifying expectations on how people should behave in carrying out their work. Transfer more of what is learned to their daily job situations. Well-motivated call centre staff: • • • • Are more likely to participate in training and learning. In order to solve these types of problems. Are better prepared to learn. Another way to improve motivation is motivational training and development. they often know what to do and how to do it. Why are employees not motivated to perform as required? Some explanations could be: • • There is little recognition of performance as a requirement (work environment factor). Providing feedback on performance. They just refuse to perform. Enhancing motivation involves: • • • • • Agreeing on demanding. Enhancing Motivation When call centre staff lack motivation. It is generally pursued through intense structured experiences such as emotional presentations and often features trainers that place employees into unfamiliar settings such as wilderness or survival situations that are actually quite safe. Keeping Motivated 5 . What then should call centres do to enhance motivation? Of course the required actions and initiatives are dependent on the specific situation and the types of employees involved. but are simply unwilling to do it.
Take responsibility for your learning. it is time to discuss what you can do to stay motivated in the long run. your motivation might eventually decline. Working in the same environment for years. Giving people the experience and training that will develop the knowledge and skills needed to improve performance. Selecting and developing team leaders who will exercise leadership and have motivating skills. • • • Enhancing motivation is. You may eventually become frustrated with the HR policies of the organization you are employed at. Do you recognize yourself in these guidelines? If not. If you think about potential problems in the future and act on them now. and autonomy. you will be able to stay motivated in the long run.• • Communicating the links between performance and rewards. but call centre employees are responsible for their own motivation as well! Besides the actions the call centre management can undertake to improve motivation. what items could you improve on? Would you agree that enhancing your motivation is in your own interest? How to Stay Motivated Now that you know more about motivation and how and why you are motivated yourself. Here are a few guidelines: Keeping Motivated 6 . The bad news is that all these things can actually happen. You might also find yourself not being able to keep up with changes going on around you. Of course it is important that call centre managers support motivation. All these phenomena may cause you to feel less motivated. however. learning what doesn't work is on the same path as learning what does work. Accept the risks inherent in learning with confidence. or only partly. Recognize that "failure" is success. not only the responsibility of call centre managers. Or your skills and knowledge might become insufficient to do your job properly. Celebrate your achievement in meeting your goals. Designing roles which give people a sense of accomplishments and the opportunity to use their skills and abilities and to exercise their decision making powers. competence. there are a number of things you can do for yourself: • • • • • Recognize your sense of discovery. Showing people what they have to do to develop their careers. The good news is that they do not have to cause you to feel less motivated.
2006. Michael and Stephens. Wiley. 3348 Widener. You simply have to realize that if you want to stay motivated over the long term. Have a vision for your life: Remember to have a vision. Motivation and results interact! Put good thoughts into your mind: Read. That is normal. (2006) The Top Six Ways to Stay Motivated. 61. it is something you will have to apply to yourself each and every day. And.refresher. Smarter. Emotion is a passion which needs to be fuelled. Chandler. Gregory J. issue 1. London. New York. listen to advice and learn more about your motivation and what drives you. Set goals and sufficient rewards. Tina (2005) A Handbook of Management and Leadership. Keeping Motivated 7 . Work hard enough to get results: You can enhance motivation by getting results. Steve (2004) 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever. and Faster. Career Press.html. Conner. You have to renew it each and every day. enhancing motivation is learning. retrieved September 25th. set out a strategy for getting there and keep to your plan. Franklin Lakes. Dunifon. probably more importantly: develop a plan. a Guide to Managing for Results. Kogan Page. so use the good materials available to you. Make sure you feel good about yourself when things go the way you want them to go.com/!chwmotivated. It is not important to know how it works.• Get motivated every day: Motivation does not automatically last. You have to have a vision that is suitable to motivate you. (1998) “Long-run effects of motivation on labor-market success”. • • • • • Bibliography and Further Reading Armstrong. Hard work implies results and the better results you get. For a large part. Ride the momentum when it comes: Sometimes things go well and sometimes they don’t. the more your motivation will grow. That means that you have to work on your passion. NJ. Marcia (2004) Learn More Now: 10 Simple Steps to Learning Better. Rachel and Duncan. Vol. Fuel your passion: Motivation is largely emotional. C. Social Psychology Quarterly. but it is important to realize that it works. http://www. pp.
Watch your actions. they become words. tones and gestures. Listening effectively. Watch your words. they become habits. In this chapter we will concentrate mostly on the main areas of communication and how this relates to interactions with customers on the telephone.” Unknown. Communication Strategies “Watch your thoughts. Watch your character. Watch your habits. Their key aim is to facilitate interaction between the customer and the organisation so that the outcome is satisfactory to both. The model is a formula containing the following 5 Ws: Who? says What? in What channel? to Whom? to What effect? Communicator Message Channel Receiver Effect Communication Strategies 1 . The importance of words. Handling different types of customers. Communication in general The subject of communication is a fundamental one for call centres because that is exactly their purpose. In this chapter you will learn about: • • • • • One-way and two-way communication. Using positive phrases rather than negative ones. they become character. one of the biggest problems which organisations face is ensuring that they communicate effectively both internally as well as externally. These skills can equally be used for internal organisational communication. Harold Lasswell developed a communication model in 1948 which is still applicable today. Yet. The sociologist. it becomes your destiny. they become actions.6.
However. would take a very long time to resolve a problem which is one of the reasons why call centres have become so popular.Lasswell was primarily concerned with mass communication and propaganda. an announcement at a railway station. One-Way Communication Communicator Encoding Medium and message Decoding Receiver Two-Way Communication Communicator Encoding Medium and message Decoding Receiver Feedback Communication Strategies 2 . although one-way communication is often quick and easy it has limitations because the receivers of the message are not able to check that they fully understand the message and they may have misinterpreted it. To have twoway communication with letters. for instance. When studying communication we should consider the elements in the table above in terms of who says what in what channel to whom and to what effect. a notice put up in the office etc. a television broadcast. The clearest means of communication is to have two-way communication so that there is interaction between the communicator and the receiver. there can be clarification that both parties understand each other. Examples of one-way communication include sending a letter or email. In this way. This model has been modified and a common model today is the one-way or the two-way communication model.
You can see and hear if the receiver has understood your message. To communicate two-ways the feedback is very important.g. and this person repeats the information to the next person and so on. Essentially.: • • • • • • • • • Communication overload Filtering Frame of reference In-group language Pressures of time Problems of meaning Selective listening Value judgments Status differences Even quite similar people can misinterpret messages in different ways. Finally. Even if we have a communication gap we can reduce this gap by the feedback mechanism. Instead you must concentrate on the situation and the person you are communicating with. If the communication process doesn’t work it might be that the received message doesn’t correspond to the message that the communicator has in mind. There can be several reasons why this can happen e. Of course it is very important that you are not stressed. Here we can talk about a communication gap. If not.We can see that Lasswell’s communication model has been expanded to include encoding and decoding elements. the last person relays what they think is the message to the first person in the chain. Communication Strategies 3 . To communicate more effectively it is better to use a two-way communication model than a one-way commmunication model. One person in the ring starts the process by quietly whispering a message to the next person. The Chinese Whispers exercise in which a message is circulated around a ring of people is a classic example of how information can be distorted. you can repeat your message or you can formulate it in another way. decoded and understood by other people (always assuming that they speak English). when we have a thought we must encode it into language (in this case English) so that it can be transferred. and on most occasions this message is often quite different to the original information the first person sent.
This is a big challenge and it is important that we communicate clearly. remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic. Here are some examples how you can use positive language instead of negative language: • • Communication Strategies 4 . Your Words and Your Voice “When dealing with people. Here are some helpful principles: • • • • Use clear words. Repeat important things like names. knowing about the organisation and products / services etc. And if needed. let the customer summarise the conversation. navigating the system. we tend to place more emphasis on what we see than on what we hear. action that the customer should take. keying information. etc. Use positive language. phone numbers. For this reason. Making notes also signals to the customer that you are taking the call seriously. Spell difficult words. Research carried out by Mehrabian suggested that the whole communicated message is made up of: • • • 7 % words 38 % tones 55 % gestures When we are communicating on the telephone we are losing more than half of the communication channel by not seeing body language. it is extremely important to compensate for this by carefully choosing our words and tone of voice. It is perhaps even more important that we listen very carefully to what the other person is saying.Communication is more than words On the whole. developing empathy. If a customer talks so fast that you don’t have time to make notes – ask him to speak more slowly so you can make notes.” Dale Carnegie We saw in the first chapter on emotional intelligence that there are many demands on call centre staff including: listening to the caller. but creatures of emotion. Summarize the most important aspects of the conversation! Therefore it’s important that you make notes.
Open questions are used to get more information. Sorry to keep you waiting. The essence here is that negative language encourages a mental response from the caller. • • • • Speak clearly! Don’t slump in the chair! This affects your voice in a negative manner. The Elephant's Child in the Just So Stories for Children: I have six honest serving men. • • • • • • What kind of information did you get from us? How does the razor sound? When did you get the product? Why do you dislike the product? Where did you leave the power of attorney? Who have you spoken with at our centre? These questions are a means of gathering broad information and finding the key facts. while positive language encourages a mental response of. And how and where and who.Negative Language I don’t know. such as. like. “That’s all right. These 6 questioning words are neatly summarised in Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 poem. Communication Strategies 5 . Positive Language I’ll find out for you. Thank you for holding. Their names are what and why and when. If you need to sound more assertive – stand up! Emphasise important words! How to Ask Questions Closed and opening questions There are two main types of question: open questions and closed questions. They taught me all I knew.” Some good principles working with the voice are. “So you should be!”.
• • • Have you a connection with our web-site? Have you received the invoice dated 11th August? Did you get the April edition of the magazine? Another tool which is used in the business field is Toyota’s “5-whys” approach.” “Why?” “The carburettor was dirty. “Have you got the equipment and the invoice?” and the answer is. • Multiple questions If you ask two questions in the same sentence. • Leading questions If you use leading questions you confirm your viewpoint.” “Why?” “I didn’t have the car serviced. “Yes”. don’t ask.g. if you ask. You will probably get an answer.” “Why?” “I thought it would be alright for a few more months. Closed questions require the person to reply with a “Yes” or a “No” e. 6 Communication Strategies . Problem: “My car broke down.g.A closed question narrows the range of responses by the caller and allows us to get the precise details. you can not be sure if the customer means the equipment.” “Why?” “The filter hadn’t been changed.g. but you don’t really know which question the answer is connected to. the invoice or both. For example. This involves continuously asking the question ‘why’ in order to identify the root cause of a problem e.” Why? “It hasn’t happened before but I realise now I need to get it serviced regularly. it can be confusing. “What was the reason for the car not being serviced?” Questions to avoid There are some types of questions to avoid. If a customer is not satisfied with a product.” You should be aware that if you ask too many ‘Why?’ questions you may begin to sound like an interrogator. You should be careful and intersperse ‘why’ with ‘what’ e.
Don’t talk over the customer.e. Don’t raise your voice when an angry customer calls. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. • • • • The conversation can be more effective if you also apply following principles: • • • • Treat your customers as you’d like to be treated! Communication Strategies 7 . Otherwise you create annoyance. If you ask too few questions. it can happen that you misunderstand the customer and that the call can be too long or that the customer comes back later.” Summarise and repeat key points. A good outcome is to achieve a first call resolution. “mmm” to show that you’re listening actively. “Of course. It can never be wrong to ask too many questions. Ask questions to check for understanding. This is not polite.” Ernest Hemmingway There are some basic principles that you should use when talking with a customer: • • • Don’t interrupt. use phrases like. Don’t be rude. It is better that you respond in a calm way which often has a positive effect on the customer. If you do it is likely that the customer will respond by raising their voice even higher and the conversation declines into a negative spiral.Effective Listening “I like to listen. To show that you are on the same wavelength as the customer. use terms like “yes”. “I see”. you should listen twice as much as you talk. Show interest in the customer and his problems by asking questions. Use your ears and mouth in the same proportions i. Most people never listen. Do as many journalists do. When you think you have solved the customers problems ask them if they are satisfied and find out if there’s anything else you can do.
Here are some examples: Incorrect What’s wrong? You sure have a problem. have quarrelled with someone etc. I am sorry you had to wait so long. products work that way. Listen this time. we are tired. we would not be human if we didn’t sometimes have a bad day e.Using ‘I’ Instead of ‘You’ When using the word “You” to a customer. inflexible and dictatorial. tell the customer what you need so you can help them. the customer creates a mental picture of you based on your gender. Let’s explore where the difficulty lies. your possible age. the words you use. Act Like an Actor Who Enters a Stage The first seconds when you begin a call are extremely important. Thank you for being so patient. However. Whether you like it or not. or at least a positive impression. One way to handle this mood is 8 Communication Strategies .g. it is of course important that you make a good impression. your accent. I may not be making myself clear. Allow me to explain again. Instead of telling the customer what they should do for you to help them. When you are in good mood. Incorrect Listen it’s not broken. Therefore. In these situations it is a challenge to perform in a positive manner. You don’t understand. is pointing at the chest of the customer. your finger. Here are some examples of how you can transform imperative phrases. If you use an imperative phrase you appear domineering. dialect etc. Correct How may I help you? Let’s see if I can help to resolve this situation. Avoid Using Imperative Phrases An imperative phrase sounds rude and commanding. It’s better to use the word “I”. it is not so difficult to present a good. All Correct these It appears that the product is working fine. metaphorically speaking.
It is very important that you make your voice pleasant regardless of how many customers you have talked with and how many times you have heard this type of call. the product hasn’t been delivered in time. etc. In these circumstances it’s very important that you still remain calm 9 Communication Strategies . especially when they are upset. Smile as you speak. if you need additional help after you have received this material. the customer likes to hear their own voice etc. If this doesn’t work you can try asking the customer. Trying to interrupt a verbose customer is not good practice. The customer can feel lonely and therefore wants to speak with another person. offer to get back to the customer the following day. The customer can’t see you. however. Each customer expects and deserves to feel that he or she is the sole focus of your attention and that you express your willingness to help.to act like an actor that enters a stage i. you are free to call again. “When you get this material I’m sure you will see how the equipment functions. Be Calm! Customers often have a relatively clear idea of what they want to say when they telephone a call centre. “Have I answered all your questions today?” This question will force the customer to think about the original purpose of the call. you mentally switch the role from being a private person to a professional agent. A better way in most cases is to say. However. but he or she can hear it! How to Handle Verbose Customers It is not unusual to receive a call from a verbose customer who talks and talks and who never seems to be able to stop talking. “I know you’re busy. They may be upset because they has received a duplicate of an already paid invoice. Another way is to give the customer a compliment like.e. Sometimes. When you show an understanding of the problem. so I’ll let you go”.” If the call is going nowhere. being calm does not prevent a customer still being upset. There can of course be several reasons why a customer prolongs a phone call. This gives the customer an opportunity to collect her thoughts so she can better explain her needs and concerns. A method that some companies use to put their employees in a good mood and leave personal problems behind is to start the working day by listening to soft music for 5 or 10 minutes. the customer often becomes calm and sees you as a friend and not as an enemy.
The agent has good product /service knowledge and competence.” John F.99% of customers. In other words the customer wants to meet an attentive and positive agent. “I understand” or “I see. can understand the customer’s situation. is competent. “Is there anything else I can help you with?” This shows an interest in the customer and that encourages a long relationship with them. Smith Communication Strategies 10 . Even if this call costs more than a normal call there is a greater possibility of revenues in the future. takes the initiative to help the customer.” But the closing of the call is also very important. “the first seconds of a call are extremely important. An agent who: shows an interest in the customer. Let the customer know that you are listening closely by saying.and let the customer finish their description of events. Even if you have pressure on you to handle many calls. The customer feels important. You should attempt to provide a satisfactory solution for the customer. it is never wrong to ask the customer. What Does the Customer Think? Results from studies of customers that have been in contact with a call centre show that the most important attributes are: • • • • • Empathy. There is one call resolution. or put in place steps which will keep the customer satisfied . The agent takes the initiative to help the customer.” You are not necessarily agreeing with their point of view but you are indicating close attention and concern. and ultimately resolves their need will satisfy 99. it may be a unique event for the customer. The conclusion of this is that if you want to build a long term relationship with the customer you must be active and also try to be proactive in terms of seeing the long-term picture rather than just the current situation. Closure As mentioned earlier. transfer them to someone who can. Although you may have heard this kind of problem numerous times. “We listened to what our customers wanted and acted on what they said. Good things happen when you pay attention.
Kevin (1998) The Human Face of Call Centre Management. Clients and Customers. Financial Times Prentice Hall. Pat (1995) The Customer Only Rings Once: Managing Telephone Contact With Your Customers. Principles and Practices. Selby. Blundel. (1972) Nonverbal Communication.Bibliography and Further Reading Mehrabian. Chicago. Alresford. Hook. Management Skills Pocketbooks. CallCraft. Communication Strategies 11 . Mary and Hailstone. Richard (2004) Effective Organisational Communication: Perspectives. Richards. Phil (1997) The Telephone Skills Pocketbook. Aldine. London. FT Prentice Hall. Hampton Roads Publishing. London. Hants. Charlottesville VA. A. Cochrane. John (2007) Empathy on Demand: Creating Genuine Connections with Collleagues.
Many people think that being assertive means being aggressive but this is not the case. it’s who you are. is not a natural behaviour for most people. It is not something that they have been trained to do. in order to avoid having a row? Do you put up with aggravation from customers when you know you don’t need to? Do you keep quiet when you really want to complain? Do you say ‘yes’ when you really want to say ‘no’. Understanding How to be Assertive 1 . when you either shouted angrily or cried! and regretted it afterwards. Or perhaps you’ve just had an outburst. but didn't. Pure assertiveness. The fact is that most people simply are not naturally assertive. and often some insecurity. The assertive behaviour of highly dominant people tends to be driven by their personality. Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to say something to your manager.7. How to use language and body language to communicate assertion. being good-natured and honest.” Cal Le Mon In this chapter you will learn about: • • • • The differences between assertive. Being assertive means being to the point in your communication. Developing skills to use in the workplace and during telephone conversations. or dominance for the sake of being dominant. It is these situations where you need to behave in an assertive manner (Back and Back. The extent to which you are assertive. Understanding How to be Assertive “Assertiveness is not what you do. Assertiveness training can also reduce stress by teaching you to stand up for your legitimate rights. aggressive and passive behaviour. without bullying others or letting them bully you. 2005).
Yes. No 4. No. Do you know how to ask for help without feeling dependent? Yes No 10. No. 2. Yes. No 7. If someone cuts in front of you in a queue. Do you feel intimidated by people in authority? Yes No 7. 10. 5. When you do not understand the meaning of a word. 3. Do people often ask you to speak more loudly in order to be heard? Yes No 6. Do you buy things you do not want because you are afraid to say no to the salesperson? Yes No 2. 6. 9. do you ask about it? Yes No 3. No Understanding How to be Assertive 2 . Yes. do you usually tell them off? Yes No If you are responding assertively you would have answered as follows: 1.Try the following assertiveness quiz: Assertiveness Quiz 1. Do you look directly at others when you talk to them? Yes No 5. even if it is not your fault? Yes No 4. Yes. No. Do you feel responsible when things go wrong. 8. Do you generally have good posture? Yes No 8 Do you often feel so angry you could scream? Yes No 9.
To feel responsible for things beyond your control leads to unnecessary feelings of guilt. 9. The assertive person takes responsibility for his or her own behavior but does not take responsibility for the behavior of others or for situations which are beyond his or her control. 7. 6. The assertive person is not afraid to say no. 10. Fear of seeming ignorant does not prevent the assertive person from asking questions. The assertive person works to get his or her needs met and does not let situations build to the point of crisis. When posture is limited by a disability. 3. She or he feels free to make choices. The assertive person takes responsibility for getting his or her needs met. An assertive person does not allow status to intimidate him or her. An assertive person wants to be heard. The assertive person is able to ask for help without feeling dependent because he or she maintains a strong sense of self worth and self-respect. Adapted from Head Injury Hotline 1998 Understanding How to be Assertive 3 . good eye contact and facial expression can be used to express a positive self-image. 4. aggressive response The assertive person would state that he or she is irritated by the unfairness and ask the person to move to the end of the queue. self-confidence and the expectation that others will listen. Good posture communicates a positive self-image. 5. 8. Direct eye contact is assertive and suggests sincerity. 2. Telling someone off is an angry.Explanation of Answers to the Assertiveness Quiz 1.
what they usually really mean is: • • • How can I become more able to resist the pressure of excessively dominant people. Life however often brings us into conflict with each other. Assertiveness is essentially the middle ground between passivity and aggressiveness. which will result in you achieving this change. just to please someone or to avoid conflict. It also means you do not violate the rights of others. either in person or on the telephone? How can I stand up to a customer who acts in a bullying manner? How can I exert a little more control in situations that are important to me? Doing this is not difficult and we will outline a number of simple techniques later in this section. Being assertive means standing up for your rights. A lot of the time we say yes. Aggressive Behaviour Understanding How to be Assertive 4 .What is Assertiveness? Assertiveness is based on the premise that we are all created equal. These minor differences which happen daily in the workplace must be worked out. However when most people talk about wanting to be more assertive. 'Non-assertive' people do not generally want to transform into being excessively dominant people. We should therefore treat each other as such. when what we really want to do is say no. It is important that you are not confused about the three terms: • • • Aggressive Passive Assertive You can of course be a mixture of these. but it’s easier to look at each in turn. First we need to get a better understanding of three interpersonal styles which are often discussed when we talk about assertiveness.
• Standing up for their own rights. fighting behaviour. For example. I could work on to fit it in. • Involving threatening.I can get someone else to pick up the kids I suppose so I could do that…. you sort it out. The bully gets his or her own way. But they often use indirect means to get what they want. They voice their thoughts and opinions in such a way that it seems that their needs are the only ones that are important. They dominate because they are too insecure to allow other people to have responsibility and influence. Passive people often feel their needs are not being met and that people don’t listen to them.” Passive Behaviour Passiveness is also referred to as non-assertive behaviour. blaming. wants feeling and opinions of others. It’s your mess. accusing. ahh. and so it persists.uummmhh…. Dominant bullying behaviour however is actually reinforced by the response given by 'nonassertive' people to bullying. their resentment of what they perceive as unfair treatment builds up and has no outlet. The bullying dominant behaviour is rewarded. they may try to make others feel guilty and pity them for having so much work to do. An example of aggressive behaviour could be: “No way! I’m up to my eyes with all this work already. An example of passive behaviour could be: “Well. They feel hard done by a lot of the time. Bullies deep-down. are essentially very insecure people. but…… I suppose if no one else can do it.. Shouting and ridiculing are both examples of aggressive communication. The fact is that most excessively aggressive and dominant people are usually bullies. but in a way that violates the rights of others. I really have quite a bit to do already. They may refuse to take responsibility for mistakes and blame others when things go wrong.” Understanding How to be Assertive 5 ..We normally use the word aggression to refer to behaviour that we view as: • Ignoring the needs. Because they are unable to speak up for themselves. These people want to avoid conflict at all costs and try to please others.
” These feelings actually act to reinforce your passive behaviour. you value others equally. Lack of assertiveness can affect your relationships and quality of life. And you may even feel pride in being able to take on so much. your behaviour will result in a growing loss of selfesteem. You stand up for yourself and express your true feelings in a way which takes the feelings of others into account. you need to see yourself as being of worth and as having a right to enjoy life. Assertive Behaviour When you behave assertively you do not let other people control you. Understanding How to be Assertive 6 . other people you work with and your organisation. You may feel sorry for yourself because you’ve taken on so much work. but I’m actually not. Exercise 1 Stand in front of a mirror and try adopting different types of posture and body language as you imagine acting aggressively. frustration and self-pity. This may lead you to feelings of anger. “I didn’t realise that that’s the way I behave. backaches etc… It also affects the customers on the end of the phone. backed up by a set of skills for effective communication.thankfully I’ve avoided a conflict situation. At the same time. A build up of these feelings can lead to health problems. Assertiveness is an attitude and a way of relating to the outside world. such as headaches.” It’s important to note that behaving in a non-assertive or passive way affects not just you.Many people will read this and think to themselves. I thought I was quite assertive. We will look at the importance of body language later. as you will fail to communicate effectively and end up not getting what you want. How do you look? That is how you look to other people when you behave in that way. This happens when you begin to realise that you are unable to say no. To be truly assertive. Assertive behaviour is always respectful. • • • • When you behave in a passive manner. over the longer term at work. Then imagine being on the receiving end of aggression. However. respecting their right to an opinion and to enjoy themselves. and you do not try to control them. Others in your department/company may say “you’re great for staying late. it’s likely that your first thoughts are .
You have certain rights in every situation." "I don't understand. Being clear about what you feel.Behaving in an Assertive Manner Most of the information you read about behaving assertively discusses ‘rights’. emotionally dishonest. and self-denying." You have the right to take the time you need to put together your ideas before expressing them. you may react very passively. be it in the workplace. Being happy to defend your position. and saying "no" when you mean "no". Some of these include: • • • • • • The right to your own values." "I don't know.and the right to respect yourself for them. you are likely to feel hurt. and judgments of others to become more important than your own. This kind of passive or non-assertive behavior is often indirect. optimistic outlook. and even angry. When we talk about these ’rights’ we are talking about something to which you are entitled." or even. and emotions. Understanding how to negotiate if two people want different outcomes. what you need and how it can be achieved. When you allow the needs. open body language. Understanding How to be Assertive 7 . The right not to have to justify or explain your actions or feelings to others. Having confident. Acknowledging your own feelings. The right to tell others how you wish to be treated. just as we have done. Being Assertive Means: Knowing what you want to happen and making your requests very specific. Being able to communicate calmly without attacking another person. Having a positive. Being confident that you can handle conflict if it occurs. at home or elsewhere. and to sometimes act illogically . The right to change your mind. opinions. anxious. to make mistakes. opinions. "I don't care. "No. no matter the opinion of others. The right to express yourself and to say. even if it provokes conflict. The right to ask for information or help . Giving and receiving positive and negative feedback. Saying "yes" when you want to.without having negative feelings about your needs. When you don't believe you have these rights.with full understanding and acceptance of the consequences. beliefs.
Stand up straight with your body at an angle to the other person. Your face should reflect what you are saying. upright body posture. you should look serious. Stay on an even level. Body Language This includes not just gestures. and a relaxed. If you are angry. When you are behaving assertively. facial expressions. People don’t like you invading their personal space. such as crossing your arms or leaning away from the other person. Putting your hands on your hips. When you are dealing with clients on the phone. shaking your fingers at the other person. We will look at the importance of body language later. the way you say something is even more important as the person on the other end of the phone cannot see you. So. you need to develop assertive body language. Don't stand too close. these are all aggressive gestures. Comfortable personal space is about arm's length from the other person. having contempt in your voice. in a face-to-face situation: • • • • • Look the person in the eye. Assertiveness Techniques Two of the simplest techniques you can use to assist in ensuring you behave assertively are the use of body language and communication. direct eye contact. eye contact. how you communicate nonverbally. with the tone of your voice. This influences the way you impact on those listening to you. How do you look? That is how you look to other people when you behave in that way. Then imagine being on the receiving end of assertiveness. If the other is standing. Understanding How to be Assertive 8 . and posture but also. invite them to sit with you. If the other sits. Assertive body language consists of using the right tone of voice. you sit also. Also watch out for closed body positions. Adopt appropriate body language.Exercise 2 Stand in front of a mirror and try adopting different types of posture and body language as you imagine acting assertively. Behaving assertively involves both what you say and how you say it (communication and body language).
• In describing your feelings. most people find it difficult to communicate honestly. "I feel hurt" as compared to "You hurt me" or "You are inconsiderate". directly and openly with other people. speech is clear and audible.. don’t tell everyone except Joe. These excuses can be used by the other person to argue you out of your "no. but avoid long elaborate explanations and justifications. This is particularly important when you are on the phone. and the other person role-plays the client. I just don't think so. I don't agree with you" as compared to "You are wrong. How did you behave? Passively. Meeting in your space gives you more power over the outcome. Then swap roles." Ask for clarification: if you don't fully understand what is requested of you. that you cannot do what they want you to do. or in a conference room.. In behaving assertively. If you want to tell Joe something. own your message: Use these "I" statements to express your feelings instead of evaluating or blaming others. • • • • • Understanding How to be Assertive 9 . and polite but firm. Exercise 3 With another person in the group. tell Joe. Be as brief as possible: give a legitimate reason for your refusal. act out a scenario where you have to tell a client on the phone." Avoid statements beginning with you: these instantly make people defensive. e. Be direct: Deliver your message to the person for whom it is intended.. Not in their space. "Well. Meeting in the other person’s space gives him/her the advantage and the power over what the outcome of the discussion may be. use "I" messages. You play the role of the agent. consider meeting in your office.To discuss a conflict situation at work. aggressively or assertively? Did you behave different than the other role-player when you were acting as the agent? In what ways? Communication At certain times." Actually use the word "no" when declining: "no" has more power and is less ambiguous than.g.
etc. "You constantly. A direct statement of one’s own needs in the situation. using words like. but I will work on it first thing in the morning.. Use the words: "I won't" or "I've decided not to". "You never. This begins the communication on a positive note. The following statements are useful: "I want to. but still want to help her/him out. and specific in their feedback to you. but this time you really have to leave to go to the party..• • • • If you do not want to agree to the person's original request. How do you behave? Understanding How to be Assertive 10 ..".. I think that.. "You always. This should be brief and clear.." You can also use one of the following depending on the situation: • • • An empathy statement: one recognizes the other person’s needs.. offer a compromise: "I won’t be able to complete that today.." "I have a different opinion.?" "I liked it when you did that.." "I don't want you to.".. direct." "Would you." Avoid sarcasm and using absolutes: e.. rather than "I can't" or "I shouldn't".. A proposed way to resolve the conflict.g. Exercise 4 You are feeling under pressure as you have made plans to celebrate your best friend’s 21st wedding anniversary this evening. This can be an offer to discuss the situation further if needed. Ask for feedback: Ask "Am I being clear? How do you see this situation? What do you want to do?" Encourage others to be clear.. This emphasizes that you have made a choice. however your boss has now also asked you work late to meet a deadline.".. Your usual tendency would be to try to do what your boss asks..
While assertive behavior definitely increases the odds of better communication. without giving in. and the other person role-plays your manager. But you are also showing you understand their objection. this is a skill that will improve with practice. Then you ignore the rest! ”That may be so. You will feel confident in your ability to handle conflict. It is something which many agents experience when they are dealing with clients on the phone. Unfortunately. or else people respond by overreacting and becoming angry. and you can continue to interact with that person in an assertive way. You will have greater selfrespect and will in turn be respected by others. to ask for what you want. Then swap roles. How did you behave? Passively. and to say difficult things without hurting yourself or the other person. Learning to behave assertively will bring you great benefits. the middle ground between passivity and aggressiveness.Suggestion: “I understand that the work needs to be done this evening. One the techniques you can use is called ‘fogging’. Remember.” Dealing with Criticism Assertiveness is as we have said. it does not guarantee that the other person will respond as you hope they would. Often when people are criticised they tend to react either by saying nothing. Exercise 5 With another person in the group. You play the role of the person asking. I still need to explain to you about…What I would like is…” By using this technique. But you are in control of your reactions. We tend either to give in to the criticiser or fight the criticiser by criticising back. act out a scenario where you want to ask your boss for a pay rise. You could also add the following if you wanted to compromise: ‘”If it can wait until tomorrow I can do it then. aggressively or assertively? When responding assertively. I’m not going to be able to stay late tonight because I have already organized to be somewhere else. insulting and obnoxious. 11 Understanding How to be Assertive . Here you acknowledge something in the criticism that you agree with. remember to stick to the main points and avoid being sidetracked by other issues. in other words by being completely intimidated by the criticism and not standing up for themselves. you are acknowledging the person’s right to their position. loud. to say no.
(2004) Asserting Yourself: A Practical Guide for Positive Change. London. Kogan Page. Sue (2006) Develop Your Assertiveness. TN. London. and Bower. London. Understanding How to be Assertive 12 . G. Bishop. Jackson. H. A.Bibliography and Further Reading Back. Ferguson. Bower. Kate (2005) Assertiveness at Work: A Practical Guide to Handling Awkward Situations. Jan (2003) Perfect Assertiveness. Ken & Back. De Capo Press. McGraw-Hill Educational. Random House Business Books.
Transaction analysis was first developed by Dr Eric Berne during the 1950s. P Parent Ego State – Thoughts. C – Child Ego State – Thoughts. adult and child.” Unknown In this chapter you will learn about:: • • • • The nature of transactional analysis. feelings and behaviours are learned from parents and other responsible people and are then often repeated throughout life. How to avoid the dangers of the drama triangle. Transactional Analysis “The key to understanding others is first to understand yourself. at work. Adult and Child based on Freud’s Super Ego. Ego. He developed the concept of three ego states: Parent. and Id. Adult and Child can be represented as below. feelings and behaviours are learned in childhood are repeated later in life. What is Transactional Analysis? Transactional analysis is a useful strategy which will help you in your understanding of how people interact in life. The three basic states of Parent. Transactional Analysis 1 . The perspectives of parent. feelings and behaviours are responses to what is happening in the present. and on the telephone.8. How understanding transactional analysis can help your telephone communication skills and other interactions in the workplace. A – Adult Ego State – Thoughts. Berne investigated how people interact with each other and concluded that dysfunctional interactions were often a result of ego state problems. It will also help you to manage the conversation so that you can communicate more effectively and develop empathy with the caller.
Makes rules e. and can be quite critical and negative.g. shoulds and shouldn’ts etc. The Parent role can be divided into two ego states: The Critical Parent and the Nurturing Parent. when we are in situations which we have experienced before we tend to imitate the behaviour that we saw when we were younger.Critical Parent CP NP Nurturing Parent Adult A Adapted Child AC FC Free Child Parent Ego State As we grow up we absorb thoughts. Transactional Analysis 2 . Judging and disciplining. do’s and don’ts.g. The Nurturing Parent would tend to be supportive and caring. Nurturing and protecting. feelings and behaviours from our parents and other people who had responsibility for us e. we may shout at someone because we learned that this may have appeared successful in getting someone to do something. teachers etc. Subsequently. The characteristics of a parent ego state are: • • • • Giving advice. The Critical Parent is always judging. for example.
if there is an opportunity to say something I will. We might say to ourselves. feelings and behaviour which deal directly with things which are happening in the present time. “Let’s give it a try. The Adapted Child and the Free Child.” Transactional Analysis 3 .Adult Ego State This ego state involves thoughts. Child Ego State The Child Ego State is based upon experiences from our childhood when we were much more impressionable. when we attend a meeting we might decide to keep quiet and not contribute because the inner dialogue in our head (the Child) is saying. “You are hopeless at that. there’s no real problem if it doesn’t work. “If I don’t say anything no one will challenge me or ridicule my comments. For example. There is no reason to be scared. “Yes. I am confident about my knowledge.” The benefit of the Adult acting as an integrating factor is that it can logically analyse the potential language from the Parent or the Child and decide if it is appropriate. “I hope that he/she doesn’t ask how the project is going because I am not confident about it. the Adult inner dialogue might be. “I know my subject area well. If the dialogue is unnecessarily negative or authoritarian it may choose to adopt a more understanding form of language and tone. We take thoughts feelings and behaviours and replay them from when we were young. There are two main ego states. An example of the Adapted Child might be the feeling of anxiety we experience when a boss walks into the office. I am hopeless.” Or from the Child which might say.” Characteristics of an adult ego state are: • • • Collects information from various sources. When a person is in the Adult Ego State they take an objective assessment of the real situation.” Alternatively. Chooses among the best alternatives. Identifies and plans next steps. It manages the internal voice coming from the Parent which might say.” An inner dialogue (self-talk is also discussed in Chapter 4) goes on in the heads of most people and because this it is so common we are almost unaware that it happens. the Free Child can adopt a ‘fun’ attitude and take things in a playful mood. For example. For example. The reason that the Adult Ego State is placed between the Parent and the Child is that it operates in the form of an Integrating Adult. The way in which we respond is not dependent on events which have had a negative response on us in the past. don’t do it again. I will never learn to do it properly.
I’ll manage it for you. creative and intuitive.Characteristics of a child ego state are: • • • The child is curious. who. Language and Behaviour Ego state Critical Parent Words/phrases Because I told you… Don’t ask questions. You should… Voice tones Angry Condescending Critical Dictatorial Judgemental Negative Behaviours / Gestures Banging on table Bullying Finger pointing Over-bearing Scowling Nurturing Parent Don’t worry Excellent. That’s disappointing. I am really pleased… That was well done. how. The child is the main source of energy and feelings. Balanced Clear Composed Enquiring Relaxed Attentive Confident Good eye contact Relaxed Transactional Analysis 4 . Encouraging Supportive Sympathetic Warm Caring Compassionate Encouraging smile Supportive touch Adult What. where. Just do it now. Let’s consider the situation. Examples of Ego States. why when. The child often indicates how we respond to people in positions of authority.
Adapted child I can’t… I’ll do my best. Examples are: “I am not going to put this down until I have got it right. Are they holding us back or perhaps encouraging us to take too many risks? Diagnosing Behaviour If we listen closely to a person on the telephone it is possible to make a reasonably accurate evaluation of the mood or ego state they are in. This often addresses concepts such as.” We should learn to recognise the inner dialogues we have with ourselves and assess the extent to which they are influencing our lives. words.” And. “I am an honest person and I must tell them how I feel even if it hurts their feelings. For example. People who are in Critical Parent mode tend to use phrases which contain value judgements. Transactional Analysis 5 . Please can I? Would you mind if? Hesitating Mumbling With malice Mocking Sarcastic Dejected posture Downcast eyes Wanting to please Submissive Defiant Free child I feel fantastic. Lets… Let’s do it now I want to… Fast speaking Often loud With energy Laughter Rapid behaviour changes Spontaneous Shows true feelings Life Scripts Life scripts are essentially the way in which we perceive our life to be. tones. “How do I manage my life”. breathing. “What type of person am I?” and “What matters in life?” The difficulty with life scripts is that they are often stuck in a particular groove in which the person maintains that story no matter how problematic and painful it becomes. For example. speed etc give helpful indicators to how we might respond.
There appears to be a misunderstanding regarding an order I made. Please would you put me through to someone who can deal with it. measured and understanding e.What kind of person sends an incorrect bill for the third time in a row? The service from your organisation sucks! You would never get away with it in the real world. Would you give me some advice about the available options? Transactional Analysis 6 . I am calling about an incorrect bill. I would like to review my account with your bank.g. Just pay attention to what I am saying? Adult words tend to be clear.
Examples of language which might be used by a Free Child are: Come on.” Child 1: “Wow. let’s give Samira a loud cheer. that’s a fantastic example of good selling.” 7 Transactional Analysis . Let’s finish work early and go home. These can be parallel transactions such as: Parent 1: “The people in that department always seem to be complaining. Have you tried that new game on the PlayStation? Complementary Transactions A complementary transaction is one in which the ego state which is addressed is matched to the one which replies. and it looks excellent. they regularly appear to have problems.” Adult 1: “Do you know where the XYZ project report is?” Adult 2: “I last saw it in the office.” Parent: “Yes.” Parent 2: “Yes.The type of language which we might hear from a Free Child would be spontaneous and playful.” Child: “I’ve done the report which you asked me to do. Some sales training encourages people into the Free Child state because it is believed that it is easier to encourage them to make a buying decision.” Child 2: “Yeah! Everybody. how can I access the internet website when I am calling you to arrange connection! That was brilliant work.
In essence complementary transactions are ones which are appropriate for the circumstances. Generally speaking, the safest option is to remain in the Adult ego state, however, you can often develop more empathy by joining a person in the Parent or Child states.
“The people in that department always seem to be complaining.”
“Yes, they regularly appear to have problems.”
A crossed transaction is one in which the respondent’s ego state is not the one addressed or which does not address the initiating ego state e.g.: Adult (to Adult): “Do you know where the XYZ project report is?” Critical Parent (to Child): “Can’t you see I’m busy, take a look for yourself.” Parent (to Parent): “They can’t organise anything.” Parent (to Child): “Well, you should have given them more instructions.”
“Do you know where the XYZ project report is?”
“Can’t you see I’m busy, take a look for yourself.”
The concept of giving strokes is based upon research into the needs of children and young people. It has been found that babies need a lot of touching in order to develop and grow healthily. Babies who are deprived of human contact tend to experience more illness and when they grow up are often less able to interact properly with other people. Similar findings have been observed with young people who have grown up in institutions where there have not been the same levels of interaction as other children would receive from a mother or father. Furthermore, it has been found that when people stroke pets such as cats and dogs their heart rate goes down and so does their blood pressure. Have you noticed that some people make you feel a lot better after you have talked with them and others leave you feeling totally deflated? Of course, these responses can depend on the nature of the interaction but often it still depends on the person. There are some people who you positively look forward to meeting and there are others who you avoid at almost any cost. 9
But it is not just babies and young people who need interaction with others. We all do, and it is not uncommon in call centres for customer service representatives to recognise the same people, often old and frequently at nighttime, calling just to have a chat under the pretence of a simple transaction such as checking a bank balance. Think about some of the people whom you enjoy interacting with. They make you feel valued and interesting. On the other hand there are some people who make you feel depressed. What is it about the interaction which makes you feel this way? Sometimes it is the chemistry between you and that particular person; and it may be the case that they are very different and more positive with others. However, on the whole people’s personality does not tend to vary too greatly. A definition of a stroke is an act which recognises the presence of another person. The stroke can be recognition such as a smile or a frown; be verbal e.g. “Good morning”; or physical contact such as a handshake or a touch on the arm. One aspect of strokes is that negative strokes are considered better than no strokes at all. The ignoring of a person and not acknowledging their presence is considered, particularly in transactional analysis, as being worse than a negative stroke. This can sometimes be seen particularly with young people who may sometimes be naughty in order to gain attention. An example of negative attention seeking can be seen in the film Kramer versus Kramer, the son of the character played by Dustin Hoffman is largely ignored by his father who is occupied with work. After several attempts to get his dad’s attention he runs off to his room very upset. Naturally enough, his father then gives him the attention he so much needs.
People who make us feel positive are often giving positive strokes. They may say things such as: “That’s really good work! “You are working fantastically well in the team.” “It’s really good to see you.”
Negative strokes, as they suggest, tend to have an adverse reaction on the person they are communicated at. Examples include: “I don’t like you.” “You’ve made a really mess of that work.” “That was poor communication with that caller.”
Exercise Make a list of verbal positive strokes which you might use in conversation with a caller. Phrases you might have written could include some of the following: Thank you for calling. May I call you Fred? That’s really interesting, how long have you…. (On closing a call) I hope you have a lovely holiday, journey, anniversary etc. I hope you business does really well.
The OK Corral Another way of considering relationships between people is through the OK Corral developed by Harris (2005) and can be seen in the diagram below. Examples of conversations between the different types of ‘life positions’: I’m OK – You’re OK “That was a good meeting we just had.” “Yes, we all found some very constructive solutions to the problem.” I’m OK – You’re not OK “I only accept good performances in my department, but you’re not up to standard.” I’m not OK – You’re OK “I wish I could communicate as well as you do with the difficult callers.” I’m not OK – You’re not OK “I was hopeless in that presentation and you were no help either.”
better etc than the victim. The persecutor and rescuer consider themselves more organised. but that we tend to rotate around these positions depending on the interaction. The Drama Triangle Persecutor Rescuer Victim Transactional Analysis 12 . smarter.Me OK I’m OK You’re OK Not OK I’m not OK You’re OK You Not OK OK I’m OK You’re not OK I’m not OK You’re not OK The Drama Triangle The Drama Triangle was developed by Stephen Karpman who was a teacher of transactional analysis. He said that the three points of the upside-down triangle represented the interaction between the persecutor. Karpman explained that we learned these roles from our childhood and have a preferred starting position. rescuer and victim. The victim is at the bottom of the triangle because they feel inferior or put upon.
Sometimes the victim sees this withdrawal and may say something like. the persecutor needs to withdraw from the situation. Please won’t you help me? Credit Agency Representative: “We appreciate your position. “You are always picking on me. we are unable to offer further credit. but are unable to extend it any further. all you want to do is harass and trouble people!” Credit Agency Representative (now playing the victim): “After all the time we have given to you to begin repayments that is unfair. An example. how can I help you?” Caller (quietly in victim mode): “I have just received your letter informing me that I have gone over my credit allowance and that I can’t extend it any further until there are regular repayments.” On returning home the father. This should be resisted perhaps by responding. as I have already explained. “Why don’t you give him a break?” Thus the father becomes the rescuer and puts himself at odds with his wife. Each person in the interaction must take personal responsibility for the situation. David speaking. What is actually happening is that the victim and the persecutor or rescuer are part of the problem. it is filthy!” The son might reply in victim mode. do you?” This can then encourage the other person to return to the triangle. Here is an example from a call centre: Credit Agency Representative: “Good morning.The victim at the bottom of the triangle develops a dependency on the rescuer or the persecutor. The rescuer must acknowledge the feeling of self-worth when they try to help resolve the situation. In this way. “You really don’t want to help me.” The only way to break this dysfunctional cycle of claim and counter claim is to remove oneself from the triangle. And. Can we take a look at your financial position and then we might be able to do something about it?” (The caller originally sees the Representative as a Persecutor but the Representative then moves into the rescuer mode) Caller (The caller seeing that playing the victim does not work particularly well then changes position to persecutor and shouts) “ You people are all the same. might be a mother (persecutor) telling her son (victim).” Transactional Analysis 13 . “Unfortunately. might say to his wife. I have monthly demands due on my car and council tax in the next two days and really need some support. the victim should recognise what is causing them to play the victim. “Clean up your room. Easy Credit.
Conclusion This chapter has described a number of strategies to interpret how a person is feeling or what position they are taking. Of course. you should be ashamed!" Tech Support (Adult to Adult): "Is there any message on the screen?" Customer (Critical Parent to Child): "You're ****** right there is! It happens every time I try to save the file. 14 Transactional Analysis . 'Write protect error. You will see that the Technical Support person keeps their cool even when the caller is abusive. Use and practice constructive words. Cannot save to external memory source! What's the use of a memory stick if you can't write on the ******** thing!?" Tech Support (Adult to Adult): “Would you move the switch on the memory stick from lock to unlock and try again?” Customer (Adapted Child to Parent): “It saves the material! I am so ****** stupid!” Tech Support: “Yes. You are useless and your company should be prosecuted for selling rubbish!" Tech Support (Adult to Adult): "Would you describe the problem to me?" Customer (Critical Parent to Child): "They won't let me save files to them! Why do you keep selling things that don’t work. is also being recorded. normally you should warn the caller that this language is unacceptable. How can I help you?” Customer (Critical Parent to Child): "Your memory sticks don't work! I've had two of these ******* memory sticks and neither of them work. Below is a dialogue between a technical support person and an irate caller. It says. Sir! We are always pleased to help. the last laugh is with the support person. phrases and expressions which help develop empathy and encourage positive communication. However. and you will terminate the call if it continues. Technical Devices. Darren speaking. Tech Support (Adult to Adult): "Good morning.
Helena (2002) Ego States: Key Concepts in Transactional Analysis. Penguin.Bibliography and Further Reading Berne. Sherwood Publishing. Worth Publishing. London. Harmondsworth. Hertford. Sills. Eric (2004) Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships. You’re OK. London. Harris. Charlotte and Hargaden. Transactional Analysis 15 . Arrow. Julie (1996) Transactional Analysis for Trainers. Hay. Thomas (2005) I’m OK.
Handling Difficult People “Eventually we will find (mostly in retrospect. The people you meet who make it hard for you to relate will sometimes be driven by their own past experiences. Regardless of how you would categorise a relationship it can cause short or long term anxiety and frustration. Others will have developed a tendency to be negative making life hard for their contacts without any conscious effort on their part to be difficult.” Ayya Khema In this chapter you will learn about: • • • Four categories of difficult people.9. They may in their own past have built up a number of frustrations which they carry with them and from which they will seek relief by venting their feelings on you. Often these people will fail to realise 1 Handling Difficult People . People who constantly complain. but sometimes they will be with colleagues or acquaintances when the problem becomes more significant. bring you to anger or retaliation and turn you too in to a person who is difficult to deal with! Broadly speaking. Who Are They? It’s impossible to go through life without running in to the sort of person who can create relationship problems for you. Each requires a specialist technique beyond using some basic rules and an understanding of what you want to achieve. there are four categories of difficult people that you will have to deal with: • • • • People who demonstrate open aggressiveness. Choosing when to address difficult people. of course) that we can be very grateful to those people who have made life most difficult for us. People who hide behind jokes and innuendo. People who are silent and won’t cooperate. Techniques to handle difficult people. Sometimes the problems will be simple short term relationship difficulties with shop assistants or salespeople.
The Key The key to dealing with difficult people. making the effort to understand the point of view of someone you would normally regard as difficult has great benefit since it is an opportunity to increase your own knowledge and capacity to work with people. • Do you recognise your own defensive mechanisms and do you generally react quickly when you feel you are under attack? Try to slow down your reaction and realise that probably you are not being attacked. Listening properly is a key to understanding others. We are all entitled to a point of view and sometimes it will be different to your own. In business particularly. understanding their motivation and asking why they act the way that they do. recognize that it may be useless to argue with them. a sympathetic approach which seeks to understand why people are difficult will often have significant payback for your investment of time and energy. where you may need to work effectively with individuals who have relationship problems. Help Yourself First It’s too easy in life to blame others and place the responsibility for failure on them. In both cases the focus is on helping them to better understand themselves and through that process helping yourself.how their actions impact adversely on their own lives. Are you aware of when you have stopped listening and are you are using the time to formulate a rebuttal of what is being said? If you think you may have misunderstood do you ask for a repeat or an alternative presentation of what was said? Even when you think you have understood do you repeat back your understanding to make sure? If you don’t know do you say so? Sometimes you will need time to consider what has been said and you will be able to come back with a • • • Handling Difficult People 2 . will be based on communication. downward spiral of further frustration and negativity. They can be in a In both sets of circumstances. You may be able to get them to review their attitude to life or at least to you and your project or you may be able to help them understand that they could be happier and better suited in some other role. If you can become effective at achieving understanding then you will be presented with a range of options which will help and support your own objectives. Conversely when you see someone go into attack mode or excess defensiveness. more often than not. Before you begin to think about other people and how to deal with the problems you perceive they present let’s make sure you have thought about your own attitude.
Everyone has feelings. Sometimes even if you have a satisfactory solution based on experience it is best to consider what has been said before jumping in with an instant answer. Short and to the point is a good guide in this situation. Don’t argue and do listen. so allow them to complain or explain without interruption. You will often allow the other person’s attitude to irritate or annoy you. It says that you have recognised their individuality. Make sure your own name is known. Feelings are susceptible to damage if not properly considered so watch out for people's egos.considered response. Recognising when this is true will save you a lot of time and much heartache. People may make disparaging and emotional remarks . It’s perfectly reasonable to tell someone how you are feeling but don’t do so in an aggressive way or using words that allocate blame. If you do it’s probable you will become emotionally involved and that leads to damaged judgements. Handling Difficult People 3 . However don’t use it too much since that may be patronising. Their reaction to you is rarely personal so don’t take it as such. Remember you will generally know the problem so try to allocate your thinking time to the solution. If this becomes obvious to the other person through your tone of voice and your body language this only fuels a difficult situation. Use names in discussion. • • Do you accept that sometimes other people have better solutions or will suggest a better process? How open are you to accepting that as a fact? Do you think positively about the situations in which you find yourself? Understanding your own strengths and development needs is a major step in self improvement. An ill-considered or wrong answer may do serious damage to a relationship. Some people are entrenched in their negative behaviours. People generally like to be addressed by name. Do you understand yourself well enough to focus on the shortcomings of others? • Some Basics If you are satisfied that your own house is in order.don't rise to the bait! Do choose the hill you want to die on! Not every battle is worth the cost and even as your skills develop there will be some situations that are not worth the effort needed to remedy them. Their issue may seem trivial or inconsequential to you but for them it is major and needs attention. here are a few basic guidelines before you start on the processes of resolving difficulties for other people: Difficult people will often act the same way with everyone.
I don't like it either when that happens to me. Strangely enough. you can then focus on resolution of the differences. particularly if you are angry or frustrated. If an email has not been answered try some other form of communication. how you say something will carry greater meaning than what you say. If you achieve your deadline that is good. Avoiding or refusing to acknowledge such differences can however create deeper and more damaging resentments. Always be aware that it could be you that needs to change to meet particular circumstances. That potential for confrontation is difficult for many people. In resolving issues where you need to take some action. but initially you are dealing with feelings. For that reason it is essential for you to build up your skills and so prevent communication of a message you never intended. Don’t be afraid to ask but do so avoiding words which imply blame 4 Handling Difficult People . Sometimes it's useful to include yourself in the picture – build rapport . Often when such resentments are held internally they show in other aspects of behaviour which will damage your relationships. but if you can beat it then how much better is that? Good Communication We have already identified communication skills as being key to dealing with difficult people. Since communication is the key to success in dealing with difficult people then it is critical to find a process that works for particular individuals." This may open up the opportunity for the accusation that you should have done something about it. Be genuinely empathetic. First must come some gap analysis so that you understand the differences between your own position and that of the other person. even if you disagree with it. The key word is (genuinely) since insincerity can destroy any hope you may have of success. but most people don’t act in this way.Don’t waste time in using a failed process more than once. You will need to dig sometimes to establish the real reasons behind your differences. only a minor proportion of what we say is communicated through the words we use. Resolving differences is the step which follows accepting that those differences exist. Yes. the problem needs to be resolved. Often."I can understand how you feel. make a realistic assessment of what should be possible. You have options here which include putting a genuine wrong right or explaining a misunderstanding. which is significantly more challenging. Your body language and tone of voice carry much greater significance than most people would credit. In dealing with difficult people you may need to work on two fronts. Never forget that it takes two to argue. You do need to understand and sympathise with how the person feels but do not mistake that for the need to agree with their issue. In fact your body language can say the opposite of your words. If you can properly understand their position.
There is always a way to get into the hearts of difficult people. It just takes a bit of patience while you search for the point of entry. There are some words however that should be avoided since they carry implications of direction or seem to refute any case that has been put forward e. but it's there. are there other activities going on in the background to distract from what you want to achieve? Are there any issues about the setting which detract from the subject matter? What are the obvious differences between the participants in the discussion? Is it age or gender or some other obvious factor which contributes to basic differences in approach? Is there some change required to your own approach suggested by considering these issues? How do you feel about the discussions? Why are you doing this and what do you want to achieve? Is there any issue you are bringing to the table which if left unresolved internally will prevent you from progressing to a successful outcome? How will previous meetings with this individual and what you have said influence their attitude to your conversation? Do they have any reason.. We have discussed words as carrying only a part of your message. Meetings: Environment and Content Almost as important as the content of your communication is the environment in which it takes place and your careful consideration of the factors that might influence its progress. • Where will your discussion take place? Does it need a private location and. Remember. You may not find the area of common interest immediately. “sorry” is another word to beware. Complaints or criticisms are often initially delivered in a general style and before they can be resolved require more specific discussion. perceived or otherwise. to distrust you and how will that affect the outcome? Do you have a clear idea of the level of knowledge held by the individual you will meet? Do they need an in-depth review or an overview? Will your explanation overwhelm them? Will they think you are trying to be clever and impress them? • • • • Handling Difficult People 5 ...g. Use it carefully and certainly in a complete sentence. behaviours are easier to change than attitudes. It has the potential to suggest patronisation.or resentment. Find a way to communicate with the person.” Incidentally. You will need a point of entry.. even if not.” or “but…” or “you can’t . words like “you must.
sarcastic tones of voice. The clear process here is to stand up to them. such as humorous put-downs. • • • Some Difficult Types and Possible Solutions We discussed four basic types. or worse are you over-simplifying the issue and thus seeming to talk down to them? Do you have a clear idea of what will be a successful outcome for you both? If information passing is involved. disapproving looks and innuendoes. A simple question will often do it. This will usually result in denial and if maintained will end the behaviour in question. Do not be afraid since physical aggression in a work environment is rare. This is not the case and you must respond. particularly those not related to your conversation. Try not to take your feelings and frustrations. Your goal is simply to assertively express your own views by calmly stating your point of view. People who remain silent but clearly do not support you.• Will your language show respect for the individual? If you are using jargon is it understood. Complainers have little faith in themselves or their abilities. make sure that the recipient understands the information by asking confirmation questions. Difficult people are experts at making sneak attacks in subtle ways. out on the person. Some people are naturally aggressive. give you sullen looks. Overly aggressive people expect others to either run away from them or to mirror their aggression. such as asking for an explanation of their comment or a request to share the joke. If you realise you may have done something like that acknowledge it and explain. Each of us has a view of the world around us and what may be difficult for you may not be so for someone close to you. they see that it gives them advantage at work or play. Elsewhere you may need to consider your position. We also suggested that for some types specific behaviours beyond basic communication were required. Let them run out of some steam. Don’t seek to make a friend or to discuss personal issues unless that is welcomed and supported. in some cases. This will be misinterpreted and will have a further impact on your future relations. The expert advice here is not to argue with complainers but respond with a personal and positive view of the future. They do not usually intend to be like that unless. There are a number of ways to divide the human race. You may feel that by colluding with them and accepting their behaviour as a joke or pretending not to notice the issue will resolve itself. Keep your eye on the ball. and if necessary apologise. ignore you. They will raise issues of trivia and explain why things are not possible. Then put your own point of view. “I don't know” or 6 Handling Difficult People . That does not mean fight with them. and/or respond to every question with either.
especially prevalent in technical people. You don't have to become the best of friends. When this person is relaxed and working from the positive side of their personality. “Why is it uncomfortable for you to answer my questions?” People who are experts in their field will often resent being questioned on their subject by a layman. but everyone else sees that it is false. Ask them open questions that can't be answered with just a “yes” or “no. Silent people get away with not talking because most people are uncomfortable with silence and are too quick to fill in the gaps. and doctors. This defence protects them for a while. software developers. this person will force their ideas on everyone else.silence are difficult because they're timid.” such as. Some people will try to dominate others. In this case you may need to find an alternative route for communication. that they immediately throw up a defensive shield against any possible attack. Time for Action Select a difficult person in your life as a personal challenge. Study that person. There can be no open discussion or involvement. It is proper in this circumstance to pursue a resolution to any issue you do not understand. This symptom is often a manifestation of arrogance. As in most situations seeking to reaffirm your own beliefs or views is necessary. We see it often in computer programmers. they can be quite effective and charming. Many other professions share the trait. The person is so afraid of being seen as unworthy or incompetent. looking for your "point of entry. stress or insecurity may bring on the attack. As with arrogance. The positive side of dominance is leadership. Just find a way to work together that is positive and productive for both of you. engineers. This is a well-recognized trait.” Find some way to connect with the person in a positive way. This need not be a detailed technical explanation but a simple reassurance that a system or process will perform as you expect in given circumstances. Handling Difficult People 7 . Things must be done this person’s way or else. This is another well recognized trait that seems prevalent in people in management positions or positions of corporate power. No matter what anyone says or does. It may seem to come without warning or you may be able to see the stress building up. You don't have to spend a lot of time together. They are fearful of making a fool of themselves.
Firefly Books. Deep Books. Roberta (2006) Dealing With Difficult People: How to Deal with Nasty Customers. Crowe. London. Handling Difficult People 8 . William (1992) Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People. Richmond Hill. Demanding Bosses and Annoying Co-Workers. Ontario. Kogan Page. Roy (2006) Dealing With Difficult People. Ury. Kogan Page. Lilley. London.Bibliography and Further Reading Cava. Leibling. Sandra (1999) Since Strangling People Isn’t an Option Dealing With Difficult People: Common Problems and Uncommon Solutions. Random House Business Books. London. Mike (2005) How People Tick: A Guide to Difficult People and How to Handle Them.
But if you love what you are doing. we should be very supportive of existing customers. it is often said that it is between seven and ten times more expensive to attract a new customer than to nurture an existing customer. success will be yours. Selling Techniques 1 . you'll never make it. It is less expensive to sell to existing customers. Crucially. we will look at selling for inbound calls for the following reasons: • • • There is little material written about selling for in-bound rather than outbound calls.” Ray Kroc In this chapter you will learn about: • • • Understanding the selling process. Selling Techniques ”If you work just for money. therefore. Selling During Inbound Calls Firstly. It is an opportunity to strengthen links with existing customers. Ensuring customer satisfaction through sales negotiations. Dealing with customer objections. and always put the customer first.10.
e. Action . Interest. 3.AIDA process. the seller must persuade the customer that it would benefit him/her to have that product. Action If the desire is strong it is a small step to end the process by closing a sale and getting the customer to buy the product or service.The Selling Process Versus The Buying Process When selling to new potential customers there are several steps to be taken before a sale can be closed. Interest . the process is to encourage the potential customer to progress up the stairs using the steps described: 1. Attention . which shows the stages in a sale and which mirrors the buying process for the customer. The duration of the selling process can vary and depends on: the customer’s situation. create a desire for the product. At this stage attitudes to the company and its products play an important role. its products and doesn’t have an immediate need to buy the product. AIDA Desire Interest Attention Action Progression towards a sale In practice.After gaining the customer’s attention. the sales person’s communication style. 2. Selling Techniques 2 . and if the customer wants to go further. Desire. the next step is to arouse the potential customer’s interest in the product. 4. the risks involved in buying the product. But in general it can be a relatively long time if the sales process starts with a potential customer that is not aware of the company. and so on.At the first step the customer is informed about the company and its products.. This is known as the knowledge phase. Desire Once the customer shows an interest in the product. A common structure is the Attention. i.
To achieve an effective selling result. it can be more effective to use the most cost effective promotional tool at the right level in the market pyramid and synchronise this with the different activities shown in the figure below. and the potential customer already knows about the company and its products.e. Marketing Pyramid – Promotional Tool Pyramid Marketing Pyramid Hot Personal selling Warm Luke warm Cold Telemarketing Direct marketing Advertising Promotional Tool Pyramid Customer care Let us look at an example. The next step was a Direct Marketing campaign to old and new potential customers. the selling process can start higher up the AIDA steps. the customer’s attention has already been drawn to the company and its products. A company which cuts metal products by laser.The Selling Process In The Light Of The Promotion Mix If other marketing activities have already been promoted. has also chosen to launch another cutting technique using abrasive water cutting. 1. A successful promotional campaign was developed and included the following steps. The company started with an advertising campaign in a magazine. which the receiver could send back to the company if they wanted further information.. 2. The objective here was to inform the market that the company also offered abrasive water cutting. Returned reply slips thus indicated which customers showed an interest for the product. i. This campaign contained a reply slip. This involves synchronising the market pyramid with the promotion pyramid and it can be a long distance to encourage a cold customer to become warm/hot. Selling Techniques 3 . Furthermore. which is not possible for a laser cutter. it is important that this activity is coordinated with other activities. Abrasive water cutting allows steel thicker than 60mm to be cut.
3. This reply slip was followed up by telephone call and the objective was to book in personal visits. This activity can be seen as telemarketing. 4. The last step was to visit the customer, agree understandings and close the sale.
Customer Hunt or Customer Care
When selling it is of course important to find a balance between the company / agent’s selling goal and maintain or even strengthen the bond with the customer. If you push the goal of selling too hard, there is a big risk that the customer relationship is weakened or even lost. Therefore the AIDA-model has a further step, S for SATISFACTION, which means that instead of only achieving profitability by volume (ACTION) it is a matter of achieving profitability by satisfying the customer. This idea can be shown in the above diagram, where Satisfaction is synonymous with ‘hot’ customers. Another way of describing this is that instead of a customer hunt, where you strive to get as many customers as possible, e.g. increasing your market share, it is a matter of caring for the customers you already have, e.g. increasing your customer care.
Customer Hunt or Customer Care
Number of needs
Market share Customer share
Number of customers
As the figure above shows, increasing the customer share involves developing customer care activities which strengthen the bond with the customer by satisfying all their conceivable needs and desires as far as possible.
The primary task for most call centre staff involved with inbound calls is to help the customer. The call may concern relatively uncomplicated subjects like answering a direct question, for example, what is the telephone number for Jonas Svenson; when does the shopping outlet open, etc. It can also include a report of a product which doesn’t function; an invoice that appeared to be wrong; the internet doesn’t work etc., that perhaps cannot be solved immediately. Selling may not always be suitable for these kinds of calls. It is of course extremely important in the first place to help the customer with his/her original enquiry and when it is possible, give the customer an idea of how he/she can avoid this kind of problem in the future. For example, if the customer wants to transfer money from one account to another, the agent can suggest the customer opens an Internet account which then allows funds transfer between accounts; to another person; within or between different banks; print out balance information etc whenever the customer wants. Essentially, the call centre agent makes a strong case for all the advantages and benefits of using this service.
Product Features – Customer Benefits – Meaning For The Customer
It is important that the agent has a good knowledge of the products and services that are offered to the customers. But it is also important that the agent has a list of the product features and that these features are translated into customer benefits which have meaning for the customer. Here is an example of a hair-drier with three product features translated into customer benefits and meaning for the customer. Product Hair-drier Product Features 1000 watt Adjustable front 15 cm long Customer Benefits Powerful Meaning for the Customer Dries the hair quickly.
You can adjust the air You can form the hairflow. style as you like. Small Easy to take with you on a journey.
The presentation goes from left to right and can sound like this. “This Hair-drier operates at 1000 watt, which is very powerful, and means that your hair dries very quickly. The hair-drier has an adjustable front so that
you can vary the current of air making it easy to style your hair as you like. Since the hair-drier is small, only 15 cm long, it is easy to take the hair-drier with you when you travel.
Of course, the more the agent knows about the customer, the easier it becomes to suggest other solutions/services which can benefit for the customer and that also generate revenue for the organisation. For instance, if an agent transfers money from one account to another account, this helps the customer. Then the agent can suggest an Internet account which has many other benefits for the customer. During the call the agent can look at the customer’s different interactions with the bank. Perhaps the agent notices that the customer has a large amount of money in an account with a low interest rate. In this situation the agent can inform the customer that there are more attractive interest rates and ask the customer if he/she would be interested in knowing more about these other options. Perhaps the customer is not unfamiliar with these options; “I have thought about this before, but never made the decision to change accounts.” Here the agent has a golden opportunity to help the customer take this step/decision. It is very important not to push the customer too hard. If the agent notices that the customer is not ready to take this step now, the agent can ask the customer if he can call back in two weeks and if it is OK for the agent to send the customer information about different options to look at in the meantime. It is a question of helping the customer at the right time and ensuring that the customer feels comfortable and has not been bulldozed into a decision. Otherwise you could lose the customer.
Using Emotions for Sales Decision Making
It is often said that making decisions based on emotions is not advisable and that we should always consider things rationally. However, feelings are often indispensable for decision making because they can intuitively narrow down the often massive field of options available and so point us in the direction where logic and rational can be better used in making the final decision (Damascio, 1995). When making a difficult decision, we occasionally present this a contest between our head and our heart, a contest between our emotional and rational responses to the situation. However, it is thought that when we are making a complicated decision which involves lots of information our conscious brain (the cortex) may become overloaded and not able to compute all the data simultaneously. Some researchers suggest that the limbic system of the brain
has sufficient boot space to accommodate the shopping. The customers must be able to justify their decision. If they feel that they have made a hasty decision. 84% of decisions were based on emotion. Selling Techniques 7 . If you are involved with sales you may recognise the situation described below and how principled selling can help the customer. Then in the end emotions are often the driver in making the final choice. often cost money. they will probably defend the decision in front of friends. the sales person can see this as a positive opportunity to help resolve the dilemma which the customer faces. we can see that when a customer is faced with a bewildering array of choice. However. a customer may decide on one particular model amongst all the available options because it is big enough to carry the whole family. in sales situations. in buying a car. In a sales situation it can sometimes be difficult to persuade someone to make a purchasing decision. This can have a negative effect on customer relations. the sales arguments have an important role. The reason for this is that people often don’t like making decisions because they: • • remove the choice of alternative action. they must feel comfortable with the decision they have made and must not feel that they have made the wrong decision. Thus. Research at Harvard Business School found that. an emotional response can narrow down the field of options. and demonstrates reasonable fuel economy (rational reasoning). and between the customer and their friends. Thus. For example. there is the risk that they will blame the agent. Logic can then be applied to differentiate between the short-list of available choices. Pressure from Customers Friends When customers have made a buying decision. Here the argument they heard from the agent plays an important role in providing them with supporting arguments to justify a buying decision. both between the agent and the customer. but also because they like the look of it and trust the manufacturer (emotional reasoning). people don’t like decisions hanging over them because a decision well taken will resolve the problem. both to themselves and to family and friends. Logic was used to gather and present evidence and when a decision was made there was a strong emotional base. Therefore. Even if the customers feel the decision is OK.(the emotional centre of the brain) enables people to holistically evaluate the information and make a decision in an intuitive way.
Selling Techniques 8 . Of course you must figure out the real reason and the customer’s interests. In the first place figure out why the product doesn’t work. if it is available. but in the longer term it’s quite possible that you have a customer for life. Therefore. Here it is very important that the customer must have an opportunity to try this magazine within a shorter period and of course with an introductory price. In the third case cancel the subscription. He needs more information or perhaps even some training on how to use the product. for instance a digital camera.“Customer Complaints” – An Opportunity to Build Long Term Customer Relations! Customers contact call centres for different reasons. One customer perhaps is not satisfied with a product. Another customer perhaps thinks the bill for their mobile phone is too high. Some of these contacts can be seen as customer complaints. Situation 3: Cancelling a magazine subscription For some reason the customer is not satisfied with the magazine. You may also send some free written information to the customer. Below we have highlighted some suggestions on how to handle these situations. Perhaps you can offer him another subscription that better corresponds to the customer’s interests. it is very important to consider long-term sales implications. You may also offer him/her some low-cost training materials. we must try to understand how the customer uses the mobile phone. By using this step the company gets lower revenues in the short term. The first step is to help the customer on the telephone with some of the basic functions of the camera. If you simply tell the customer that the bill is correct. Then you can offer the customer a new agreement that lowers the customer’s costs. it is likely that he/she will switch operator. If we can see that the bill is OK. if you have them. where he also can see how to work with this product more effectively and use different functions that bring more value to the customer. The main task is of course helping the customer. because it does not work properly. Situation 1: The ”faulty” digital camera Sometimes the customer has not understood how to use the product. Situation 2: The “excessive” mobile phone bill In this situation the customer thinks that the bill is not correct. In the second case identify why the customer thinks the bill is too high. A third customer wants to cancel a subscription for a magazine.
If there is no balance between those two drives. a journalist asked him why he put his life in danger for a mountain. functions like a release mechanism. for instance. Too strong a drive prevents an interest in consistently closing sales. He may be sceptical of new products and needs a sales person who is confident and can support his sales pitch with evidence from clinical tests. so that he/she can receive an ”ego-massage”. “Because it’s there!” Empathy is the ability to tune into the thoughts and ideas of someone else. the selling will fail. Too weak a drive impedes the confidence to sell. A seller’s ego-drive must find a balance between. Sir Edmund Hillary thought for a moment and then answered. After Sir Edmund Hillary reached the summit of Mount Everest. following many unsuccessful attempts. In the nature of selling the seller does not always get an order. History tells us of performance that has its origin in ego-drive. addressed to two different doctors. 9 Selling Techniques . which is not discouraged by failure. 1. A strong ego. If he/she fails to get the sale it may reduce his/her self confidence. and may be motivated and stimulated by a setback. motivating him/her to renew the efforts. even if it is very small. I would like to tell you about an antibiotic with few sideeffects. Meeting Different Customers with Different Approaches Here are two examples of how to start a telephone call for an antibiotic product. Ego-drive is a force that drives the sales person to achieve an objective – closing the sale and this is not always for the money.” So why do we approach these two doctors differently? Dr Anderson is probably a doctor that is reserved and shy. The failure. A somewhat debilitated ego. Dr Anderson is a kind of late adopter (this is a person who takes a long time to purchase new forms of technology and is well behind the majority of the population).Balance Ego-Drive and Empathy In selling two important drives are ego-drive and empathy. “Dr Peterson. For a sales person with a strong ego-drive this condition doesn’t last long. a product that according to clinical tests has considerable advantages over currently available drugs…” 2. to be able to establish a contact and to understand the other person. It has been developed by …. It can also be for the sake of selling. I would like to tell you about a new antibiotic. which needs to be reinforced by closing a sale. “Dr Anderson.
This will jeopardise the sale. Sales Arguments Sales arguments are used to describe the advantage to customers of the product or service you are selling. e. Remember that as a seller. references. “high value” instead of “expensive”. it is important to deal with objections effectively. He is a kind of innovator (this type of person likes new things and enjoys being one of the first to try them out). tests. Learn the most common objections to the products or services you are selling and prepare your responses to them. To interrupt gives the impression that you are not interested in the customer’s view and do not have his/her interests at heart. therefore. The simplest way of determining the customer’s requirements is to ask them. Never present the product before the customer’s need has been identified and discussed. If possible. keep calm and listen carefully to them. substitute them with positive expressions where possible.” Treatment of Objections An objection is an obstacle and an impediment to a sale. Refer to relevant certification.Dr Peterson appears to be sceptical. A few targeted questions at the beginning of a sales negotiation can save time and effort. “invest in” instead of “buy”. it may be appropriate to help the customer to be aware or attentive to the need which you hope to satisfy through the sale of your product or service. If the customer does object. To argue strongly against objections can often result in entrenched and opposin g views. but is interested in new advances. try to ans wer the objections before the customer voices them.. give the customer the opportunity to test the product. “saving” instead of “reduced cost. This can be achieved by • • • Using product facts that the customer understands. Analyse the Customer’s Need When approaching a customer with a view to selling. In the process of negotiating a sale it is important to build the confidence of the customer. etc. If possible.g. In general. avoid using negative expressions. it is important that you understand the customer’s needs. Selling Techniques 10 .
g. “It might appear on first inspection that the price is a little high...objections or excuses. the following objections may be valid in some situations. if the customer objects to your price. “Am I right in thinking that the delivery time is crucial for you. Use a tactical pause. Can we ask her to join us now. e. may I call you tomorrow at half past three.” Postpone method For example. “How do you think that this problem can be solved?” The assume method Clarify the root cause of the objection and make a suggestion to remedy the objection and close the sale. “That was an interesting question. are we agreed?” • • • • • Pseudo-Objections Agents must learn to distinguish between real objections and pseudo.but if you look at what it means for the future…. so if we can meet your need to have the delivery in three weeks. e. so it can be easier to understand?” Return method Ask the customer to consider how they would like their perceived problem to be resolved. and when they examined the subject they decided… Yes..g.g.For example.. Is it OK if I can come back to this in a moment.. …[pause]. but can also be interpreted as a way of exiting the negotiations: • • “I have to talk with my wife first” “I’m too busy right now” The best way to uncover the real reason for the excuse is to ask questions that call for action by the customer. but. Refer to a third person . For example. or can I call back this evening?” “If you are to busy now. e. or would four o’clock be better? Selling Techniques 11 .Some different methods of handling objections are detailed below: • Return to a question For example. tell them about how the same question was asked by a customer the previous week.. “I understand that you want to involve your wife in this decision.. encourage them to consider how the price corresponds to the quality of the product or service you are offering. For instance.
e. e. then there is a strong probability that the customer will agree to the sale.g. Refer methods. if you summarize the arguments for the purchase that the customer accepted earlier in the call. if we assume a life-time of 5 years. e.g. Given the customer arguments to buy the product. Altogether this might take up time which is better spent doing more valuable things.g.g. • • • Closing The Sale The ultimate goal of any sales negotiation is to close the sale. “Do you prefer the camera in blue or red?” Stair method.” Subtraction With this method you inform the customer of what he is missing if he is not buying from you.g. e. “In addition to getting a quality product.” Multiplication You mention all the product’s functions. your monthly cost is …. “Besides being able to pay bills on the Internet whenever you like. There are also some methods to balance the products’ features and the price: • Addition You are building up the higher value of the products by plus arguments. This step can be quite easy to achieve if you have managed to complete all the steps which we have discussed earlier: • • • Succeeded in establishing a good relationship with the customer.g. However. e. “Are we agreed on a delivery in two weeks?” Alternative methods. e. you also get a one year guarantee. • Selling Techniques 12 . e. it is not good if the price comes up too early in the negotiations and it is important that the customer is informed about all the advantages of the product.The Economy Customers must have the opportunity to value what they received for the price. and might have to queue.g. Therefore.g. e. • • • Direct question. Here there are some methods to help the customer to make his/her decision. back-up in case of something going wrong etc. you refer to another person in the same situation. Identified the customer’s need. you can also use the Internet to explore different things such as…” Division The investment is divided by the life-time of the product. sometimes you must help the customer to decide. “If you don’t use the Internet bank you will have to go to the bank to pay your bills.
Believing in the product or service will help to make the process easier and more satisfying. Eades. And this has a negative effect on the customer relations. Keith (2003) The New Solution Selling. McGraw-Hill. New York.But remember that these methods imply that the customer wants the product and that you are only helping them to make the right decision. If you feel uncomfortable calling this customer next week you have pushed the customer too hard. The reality is that all employees who face the customer are now involved with selling in some form or another. Frank (2004) How I raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. Neil (1996) The SPIN Selling Fieldbook. Simon and Schuster. We wish you success. Stephan (1997) The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful Sale Selling Techniques 13 . McGraw-Hill Rackham. New York. New York. Schiffman. Bibliography and Further Reading Bettger.
11. it only increases our happiness up to a certain level – approximately $20. It would appear that we live longer and have better health because we are happy. and that is our attitude. It would appear that higher average income above this level does not lead to greater happiness and this has been found in numerous countries around the world. our average income has gone up many times and there are more household goods and better health services.. the degree of positive feelings which the nuns possessed early in their life was an reasonably accurate predictor of how long they would live. it does. In measuring happiness over the last fifty or so years a surprising thing has been noted. We cannot change the inevitable.. The quotation above illustrates very clearly that how we respond to circumstances in our life and at work depends very much on ourselves. We cannot change our past. Evaluate if the job is for us. Although. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have. Happiness and Longevity In 1932 the mother superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame in the United States asked all new nuns to write an autobiographical description of themselves. rather than we are happy because we live longer and have better health.. (Layard. The descriptions were kept and more recently they were analysed by psychologists who assessed how positive they were (Danner et al. Happiness “The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way..I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. However. This not to say that personal income does not help our happiness. 2005) Happiness 1 .” Charles Swindoll In this chapter you will learn about: • • • Some of the factors which bring happiness. The importance of taking responsibility for our own happiness. Surprisingly. particularly if we are living in poverty. 000. 2001). our level of happiness has stayed approximately the same.
There is a story of two women who walked to work each morning. These are: • • • • • • Family relationships Financial situation Work Community and friends Health Personal Freedom Taking Responsibility for Our Feelings Some people become very annoyed by adverse encounters with other people and this may stew away under the surface for hours or longer and leak out to the surface influencing the way we behave. abuse etc is harmful to our survival. The first woman replied that she would not allow anyone else to decide how she was going to feel that day! 2 Happiness . Layard (2005) identified what he called the ‘Big Seven’ things which do appear to influence happiness. There are five things which on average have a minimal influence on happiness. and then did exactly the same with the change.Generally. what makes us feel good – love. etc is helpful to our survival. These are: • • • • • Age Gender Looks IQ Education On the other hand. ostracism. When they were outside her friend asked if she was angry about the inexcusable treatment she received in the shop. What makes us feel bad – loneliness. This may continue until we recognise what is happening and use our cognition to decide the extent to which we will be affected by the incident. The woman buying them said nothing and both women then left the shop. food. friendship. The newsagent was not only rude and off-hand he also slammed the sandwiches and chocolate bar down on the counter. One day one of them felt hungry and went into a newsagents to buy a sandwich and bar of chocolate.
They age well. they change what ensues. “Habits of thinking need not be forever. 1998: 8) It would appear that our thoughts are not just responses to events we have experienced but that our thoughts can also influence the way we feel.” Another example of someone taking responsibility for their emotional wellbeing. not being a victim and blaming others is Nelson Mandela. President Clinton asked Mandela. at work and on the playing field. These experiments also show that optimists do much better in school and college. Some of those memories may have appeared quite fresh in our minds and our disposition might have changed quite 3 Happiness . “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” Martin Seligman (1998: 5) Learned Optimism In research it has been found that pessimists tend to have a more accurate perspective on the world and what is happening than optimists. These psychologists explained that human action was a result of people being ‘pulled’ by external factors or ‘pushed’ by internal drives. While visiting Robben Island. they are more apt to get elected than pessimists are.” (Seligman 1998: 7) At one time behavioural psychologists believed that people were products of their environments. “When I walked out of the gate I knew that if I continued to hate these people I was still in prison. there has been a revolution in psychological perspectives since then. A similar perspective was made by Eleanor Roosevelt who said. They regularly exceed the predictions of aptitude tests. “How do you forgive your jailers?”. although a pessimistic attitude may appear to be deeply entrenched Seligman has found that it is possible to escape these feelings. Evidence suggests that they may even live longer. One of the most significant findings in the last [few decades] is that individuals can choose the way they think.” Optimism and Pessimism “Literally hundreds of studies show that pessimists give up more easily and get depressed more often.This attitude is a very healthy one and indicates someone with a high level of emotional intelligence.” (Seligman. Their health is unusually good. “Our thoughts are not merely reactions to events. However. Yet. In the first chapter on emotional intelligence we asked you to think of times when you experienced some of the emotions listed. Much freer than most of us from the usual physical ills of middle age. When optimists run for office. And Mandela replied.
though not all. 2005: 207) There is a place for pessimism.” Seligman 1998:88) Happiness 4 . As I do it. be physically stronger and more attractive. I can’t disconnect from the system. But is can protect you against depression. “Optimism has an important place in some. less compulsively time-urgent and reflexively hostile. just by changing your posture. smile and look the world in the eyes.” (Gladwell. it is a far more pleasant mental state to be in. “Smile down the telephone. it can raise your level of achievement. my heartbeat will go up ten to twelve beats. A society that exalts the self to the extent ours does reduces an entity that is not a chimera. take a good breath and lift your head up. My hands will get hot. “When generating anger. How do you feel? We guess. realms of your life. They found on some occasions when they had been practicing particular expressions that they felt terrible at the end of the day. the wellspring of all those diet books. It is not a panacea. less pessimistic. Try standing up with your shoulders rounded and with your head down looking at the floor. Thinking about things clearly influences how we feel. lower your cholesterol level. and books on changing your personality: your type A risk for heart attack. very unpleasant. Even our posture can influence how we feel.significantly as we re-lived those emotions. exercise books. your depression. that you are none to positive! This time. You can indeed lose weight. your airplane phobia. What is remarkable is that much of this self-improving ideology is not claptrap.” Seligman 1998: 16) Cognitive Therapy “This belief is the intellectual underpinning of the self-improvement movement. straighten your shoulders. They discovered that when presenting a facial expression it had an impact on the nervous system. It’s very unpleasant. it can enhance your physical well-being. How do you feel know? We think you will feel so much more positive. It is often said that call centre staff should. The self improving self actually improves itself. This simple example above is illustrated in research by Ekman and Friesen into facial expressions. Our physical posture can also influence the way we feel.” People can hear it in our voice when we are happy.
Having more positive self- Happiness 5 . through my team leader.What Seligman and others are talking about is a concept called ‘cognitive therapy’. The next stage is challenge these thoughts and the basis on which they are made.” Square Pegs in Round Holes Near the beginning of these training materials we described that working in call centres can be physically and emotionally demanding. but as we have discussed our self-talk can have a powerful influence on how we perceive our work. However. Realism is one thing. Learn to recognise and challenge the negative self-talk assumptions which we often have with ourselves. This uses five tactics: 1. I can operate the computer system while speaking to the caller. Once you begin to recognise these negative thoughts and selftalk and to redirect your thinking to more positive aspects of your life or work you will wallow or ruminate less in the things which make you feel bad. you might say.” 3. there are only one or two elements which I need to practice. A very useful strategy is to learn to distract yourself from negative thoughts. However. I can’t do anything. These thoughts are represented by words and phrases which we can call self-talk.e. the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. 5. He said. Victor Frankl (1985) suffered as an prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp.” “There are ways of making my views known i. he was not really angry with me but with the service which he had not properly received. What can be important is how we. talking ourselves down and making us feel unhappy is quite another. Focus on the evidence which does not support your self-talk e. writing to the manager. Thirdly. “I am only a worker in this organisation.”.” 4. decide to manage that pressure. there is research which suggests that it is no more demanding than a number of other jobs and is less stressful than teaching or nursing for instance. This selftalk may say things such as: “I can’t operate this computer system. This is not to delude ourselves.g. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing. the suggestion scheme. For example.” “That caller was really annoyed and had good reason. ourselves. you learn to make alternative explanations which are called reattributions. “Actually. The first thing you should do is learn to recognise the thoughts that go through your mind when you do not feel positive. “It’s near the end of a long shift.” 2. it’s no wonder that I am not as sharp as I was first thing this morning.
talk is more likely to increase our levels of satisfaction at work than if we are having negative self-talk.g. Here are some strategies to consider: • • Have we carefully analysed exactly what is causing our dissatisfaction? Have we discussed our feelings with co-workers to see whether or not is a personal thing or perhaps more people are experiencing these concerns. positive self-talk. managing stress. relaxation techniques. assertiveness. • • • • Happiness 6 . Have we spoken to our line manager to see if there are things which can be done which improve work conditions? Are there possibilities to change our job within the organisation? At the end of the day none of the above may work or be effective. Have we applied some of the techniques described in the chapters e. It is then that we should consider alternatives outside the organisation. Even with all the strategies described in this book there may come a time when we need to consider if it is time to call it a day working in a contact centre. Having one or two bad days is not sufficient justification for handing in our notice but continued dissatisfaction should make us rationally consider what is right for us. etc.
The CONTACT Leonardo Team Happiness 7 . The more positive you are the happier you will be and you will probably live longer. At the end of the day you are responsible for your attitudes and feelings. You can choose to be a victim or you can choose to direct you life in a more positive direction. The choice is yours! We wish you every success.You are Responsible for You! These training materials on emotional intelligence are only valuable if you learn from them and put them into practice.Conclusion . Keep this binder close to hand and when you have a problem look through the chapters and see if there is advice and useful strategies which you can use.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools. being hated. But make allowance for their doubting too. If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same. Or. And yet don’t look too good. If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone. If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you. and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss. And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”. but none too much. If you can think .which is more . If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue. Or watch the things you gave your life to broken.If – Rudyard Kipling If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you. don’t give way to hating. And .you’ll be a man my son! Happiness 8 . If you can wait and not be tired by waiting. don’t deal in lies. Or walk with kings . nor talk too wise.and not make dreams your master. And lose. If you can dream . If all men count with you. If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it. If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss. And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you.nor lose the common touch.and not make thoughts your aim. Or being lied about.
London. 80. (1998) Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. Snowden. Richard (2005) Happiness – Lessons from a New Science.. Martin E. Malcolm (2005) Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. and Friesen. Layard. Happiness 9 . (2001) “Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. D. D. London. Allen Lane. Seligman. Allen Lane. P. 804-813.Bibliography and Further Reading Danner. No. Gladwell. New York. W. Free Press.
Ken & Back. Franklin Lakes. Roberta (2006) Dealing With Difficult People: How to Deal with Nasty Customers. Kogan Page. London. London. Carnegie. Richard (2004) Effective Organisational Communication: Perspectives. Financial Times Prentice Hall. Hants. G. Management Pocketbooks. Tina (2005) A Handbook of Management and Leadership. Cochrane. Bettger. No. S. Eric (2004) Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships. P. Bibliography 1 . Chandler. Firefly Books. Berne. New York. Michael and Stephens. Vermilion. Kogan Page. FT Prentice Hall. A. London. Kate (2005) Assertiveness at Work: A Practical Guide to Handling Awkward Situations. Career Press. 15. Dale (1990) How To Stop Worrying and Start Living. H. De Capo Press. David (2002) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity. Harmondsworth. Blundel. NJ.4. McGraw-Hill Educational. London. Principles and Practices. Penguin. Demanding Bosses and Annoying Co-Workers. Armstrong. Ontario. London. Bishop. Jackson. Steve (2004) 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever. TN.12. Richmond Hill. Bower. London. (2004) Asserting Yourself: A Practical Guide for Positive Change. Bibliography Adler. a Guide to Managing for Results. and Bower. Pat (1995) The Customer Only Rings Once: Managing Telephone Contact With Your Customers. Vol. Alresford. Sue (2006) Develop Your Assertiveness. Back. Simon and Schuster. Chapman. London. Allen. pp 13-23. Cava. Frank (2004) How I raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. Margaret (2001) Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook. Piatkus Books. (1975) “The Transitional Experience: Alternative View of Culture Shock” Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
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