120: Christine Porath: That really cost me in terms of happiness and stability

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120: Christine Porath: That really cost me in terms of happiness and stability

Christine Porath Show Notes

Christine Porath decided to take the non-traditional path. She wanted to make a difference and it wasn’t what they were looking for. As a result, she had to make a move and it set her back. And she would do it all over again. Listen as Christine shares why she made her choice.

Christine was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She’s the oldest of 4 (she has 2 brothers and 1 sister). Growing up, her passion was sports. She played basketball and soccer at College of the Holy Cross. She majored in Economics.

After graduating from college, she thought she landed her dream job: helping launch a sports academy. However, she quickly learned that this workplace was rife with rudeness.

The actions of a narcissistic, dictatorial boss trickled down through the ranks. He belittled employees, demeaned managers in front of others, and barked orders at employees. Employees felt disconnected and disengaged.

Some intentionally sabotaged the organization; many took out their frustrations on others, disparaging colleagues, making snide remarks to customers, and failing to pitch in like good teammates do.

This experience led her to study the costs of incivility—defined as any rude, disrespectful or insensitive behavior. Christine’s goal was to help organizations build more positive cultures.

She pursued her Ph.D. (in Management) at Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her first academic job was at Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

While she remains affiliated with programs there, she is now a professor in the management department at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

She splits her time between Los Angeles, California and Washington, D.C

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @PorathC to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“When there is incivility, people just shut down.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“Leaders showing that they care can start with some really basic things.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“It doesn’t mean that you get soft on results.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“Civility is a pathway to showing people they’re valued.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“Just commit to doing the little things that make people feel connected.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“You reduce turnover significantly by making people feel they matter.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“We can make subtle adjustments that really matter to those around us.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“It’s difficult to multitask and be attentive and effective with people.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“At the core, civility is really about connecting with people.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“The number one thing that people want from leaders is respect.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“We miss how important it is for people to feel respected and valued.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“The higher you go in an organization the less negative feedback you get.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“Choose something that’s consistent with your values and know that there’s sacrifices to be made.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“Hard work pays off.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“When you face setbacks, it’s the ability to bounce back quickly that’s going to make all the difference.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“The quicker I can focus on my future, the better off I’ve been.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“Too many with incivility get stuck and ruminate for years.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

“Bet on your future, don’t let your past sink you.” -Christine Porath Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Christine Porath decided to take the non-traditional path. She wanted to make a difference and it wasn’t what they were looking for. As a result, she had to make a move and it set her back. And she would do it all over again. Listen as Christine shares why she made her choice.

Advice for others

Become more self-aware and pick one or two things to work on that will bring you closer to people.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Interrupting people.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Don’t worry about who gets the credit.

Secret to Success

Hard work.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Resiliency

Recommended Reading

Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace

The Rhythm of Life

Contacting Christine

Website: http://www.christineporath.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-porath-4b660a11/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PorathC

Resources and Show Mentions

Civility at Work Self-Assessment – Take this quick assessment of your behavior.

Feedback Worksheet – Use this tool to tool to improve your feedback skills and performance.

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

 

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

120: Christine Porath – That really cost me in terms of happiness and stability

Intro Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

 

Need a powerful and entertaining way to ignite your next conference, retreat or team-building session? My keynote don’t include magic but they do have the power to help your attendees take a leap forward by putting emotional intelligence into their employee engagement, customer engagement and customer centric leadership practices. So bring the infotainment creativity the Fast Leader show to your next event and I’ll help your attendees get over the hump now. Go to beyondmorale.com/speaking to learn more.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader Legion today I’m excited because the guests that I have on the show today is actually going to help us gain some critical new perspectives on an old yet growing problem. Christine Porath was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She’s the oldest of four. She has two younger brothers and a younger sister. Growing up her passion was sports. She played basketball and soccer at the College of the Holy Cross where she majored in economics. After graduating from college she thought she had landed her dream job helping launch a Sports Academy where she quickly learned that this workplace was rife with rudeness—the actions of a narcissistic, dictatorial boss trickled down through the ranks. He belittled employees, demeaned managers in front of others and barked orders at employees. Employees felt disconnected and disengaged some intentionally sabotage the organization many took out their frustrations on others disparaging colleagues, making snide remarks of customers, and failing to pitch in like good teammates do. 

 

This experience led her to study the costs of incivility—defined as any rude, disrespectful or insensitive behavior. Christine’s goal was to help organizations build more positive cultures. She pursued her PhD in management at Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Her first academic job was at Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She remains affiliated with programs there but now she’s a professor in the management department at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She splits her time between Los Angeles California and Washington DC. Christine Porath are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Christine Porath:    Yes. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Alright. I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us your current passion is so that we get to know you even better? 

 

Christine Porath:    Sure. I really love getting out there and talking to leaders about what’s working as far as building positive cultures and what they’re learning to really reduce rudeness in the workplace. So it’s a lot of fun to learn from others and then be able to take those ideas back into the classroom and teach our MBAs and executives about what works and what doesn’t. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I’ve been studying this whole employee engagement and human behavior and human connection for—gosh, I’ve been in it for a long time but studying it for you know over a decade and I became certified in a couple programs and certified in emotional intelligence and people are familiar with employee engagement but then when you throw in civility for me it’s like in order for you to get to engagement you have to go through the door of civility. 

 

Christine Porath:    Yes, absolutely. It helps people to be engaged. When there’s incivility, even if you’re just working around it a team a department organization, what I found is people just shut down. They don’t even mean to necessarily so in experiments what I find is people have a really tough time concentrating, they lose focus, they don’t remember as well, they aren’t attentive to information and so you lose the production of those just working in that kind of environment. 

 

Jim Rembach:    So, when you start thinking about the differentiation between engagement and civility and you think about that as being applied within an organization, I’m thinking about a culture, how can an organization really transform from disengaged to engaged when they have to go through that civility door, what are you looking at from a progress perspective?

 

Christine Porath:    I think it’s leader showing that they care. And this can start with some really basic things like acknowledging them, whether that’s in the hall or going out and seeing folks in person I think a lot of it has to do with making them feel valued in different ways. So, Doug Conant, for example, I was speaking with him this week and he turned Campbell’s culture around a CEO in part by writing thank-you notes. His perspective was about touch points but in every interaction he sought to make the most of it and people really felt that. It doesn’t mean that you get soft on results like his whole idea was tender-hearted with people, tough-minded with results. I don’t think that they’re exclusive of each other I think they can work together but I think that at least big surveys show that the number one reason why people are engaged is they feel like their leader is genuinely interested in their well-being and I think civility is a pathway to showing that in very small ways that do not take a lot of time on leaders part but make a big difference to people feeling a part of the company and feeling valued. 

 

Jim Rembach:    To me it definitely seems like that’s the starting point. You’re step which can be huge, is really this one if you want to get to engagement. 

 

Christine Porath:    Yes, absolutely. Again I think it starts with baby steps you know just committing to doing the little things and doesn’t necessarily involve huge financial costs by any means but I think the whole idea is people want to feel connected. And so if you’re able to find ways to do that you stand to gain a lot across things like performance, engagement, even creativity people are much more likely to be helpful and of course they’re much more likely to want to stay with that organization so turnover costs are huge reduce cost significantly by making people feel like they matter. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Definitely. Right now we’re talking about some of the information and the insights that are reflected in “The Mastering Civility—A Manifesto For the Workplace which is your recent book and in here there’s some statistics to me that if you’re thinking about the impact and what we’re really talking about here is it talked about 48 % of people intentionally decrease their work effort, 47% intentionally decreased the time spent at work, 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work and it goes on and on and on and 78% said that their commitment to the organization declined because of this incivility issue. But we have so many social cues that are telling us that we’re supposed to be behaving this way, how do counteract that? 

 

Christine Porath:    You mean because people are rude these days and there’s a prevalence of it?

 

Jim Rembach:    Yes.

 

Christine Porath:    It’s sad. I just want to clarify because it is a sad state. Well, my first step was just to show how it matters so I felt like it was really important to show as objectively as possible what the costs of this are in order to gain leaders and organizations attention. I think, I was an economics major as you mentioned, and so for me it was very much like show them the money, you know from Jerry Maguire like show them how it’s hitting the bottom line and then hope to then move the needle such that—I’ve been trying to show most recently what are the benefits of civility? Like for leaders it pays. They’re twice as likely to see you as a leader it shows up and in their performance ratings. 

 

So, trying to make the case to shift from the rudeness that you mentioned and not even get to just neutral but to push beyond that to create the engagement that you mentioned. And I think that that’s where I’m at now and fortunately organizations have seemed to respond well to this message. When I started this research about twenty years ago no one was talking about this. It was very hard to convey the importance given that all leaders have to deal with and so I think it’s been helpful to try to document in small ways over the years like what are the outcomes that matter? And how civility really does pay? And I think it’s evident also by the fact that the best places to work they have great return on investment things like that. I think that there are also some stats from organizational culture telling us that it does show up in the bottom line. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Well it does. But I will have to say though that I’m guilty—guilty as charged. Because when I also look in your book you have a really cool checklist and on your show notes page on the fast leader show we’re actually going to make a link to people being able to take this test on their own. It’s really important because for me it’s like there was some aha’s, right? 

 

Christine Porath:    Yes. 

 

Jim Rembach:    And so, one of the things of course it says you have to neglect to say please and thank you, well that’s kind of like we should be doing that and it should be a standard practice. But the next one I’m like, yep like when we use email when face-to-face communication is really needed—yet guilty I should be doing more of that. Another one is emailing or texting during a meeting. This are all things that we don’t realize that we’re doing that creates incivility.

 

Christine Porath:    Yes, it’s funny you mentioned the latter two because the number one thing on the list most recently was people admitting to using email when face-to-face communication is needed you. I think most of us has fallen into that. And what’s interesting to me that when I go out and speak with employees and organizations the number one complaints I hear about is leaders not being attentive to them not listening because they are on their devices. When you’re meeting with them or in a larger group meeting and leaders of course don’t realize that this might rub people the wrong way their answer is, “Hey, I’m just doing my job fighting fires I’ve never thought about that.” 

 

And so I think it’s one of these things the test is really meant to bring more self-awareness to what are you doing that might be perceived as uncivil or might be losing your employees respect or engagement or what have you. But I think the whole idea behind the test is that we can make subtle adjustments that really matter a lot to those working around us. And so it’s just meant to bring about that attentiveness or mindfulness to some of the things that we fall into and we’re all guilty of many of these things, so it’s pick one or two and work on it kind of thing.

 

Jim Rembach:    Yeah, I think that’s a good point. I think when you start thinking about social cues and habits especially the younger generation—I actually was having a conversation with some parents of a fellow teammate of my daughter’s in her basketball team and they were talking about how it’s gotten to the point to where when they tell their kids to put their devices away they don’t know what to do they don’t know how to interact and it’s just ridiculous. And I think we’re going to have to be more intentional and do like you hear some businesses saying we’re leave your cellphone in the basket at the door before you go into this meeting. 

 

Christine Porath:    Yeah. I mentioned this in the book a story about a high-level leader that with his top executive team he actually put the cardboard box, he mentioned, right outside the room and they were required to drop that in there was no laptops during the meeting and what he found even though he said they were like, as the box vibrated it was like crack addicts in the room he said it was so hard for everyone, but he said, over time what happened was they cut down their meetings they were half as short it also became much more productive in the sense that it was a richer connection during the meaning, it was a lot more fun, they had people speaking up that never had a voice in meetings, and he said what was really neat about it was people took those routines and started practicing them in relationships with others. So, they ended up liking that approach but it wasn’t easy. I was just on a panel this week out in Silicon Valley at a women’s conference and on the panel there was someone from Cisco, there was the former chairwoman of CBS entertainment, and they spoke about these challenges and how they are doing things differently even with high-tech companies like Cisco because what they’re finding is it’s just so difficult to be managing the multitasking and finding a way to be both attentive and effective with people. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Yeah, I think the bottom line here to all this is that if you don’t have the human connection you’re not going to have business.

 

Christine Porath:    Right, absolutely. And I think that’s really where you win the hearts and minds of your people. And so, trying to make that a priority even though we’re so tempted, and unfortunately as you said now it starts even younger, my niece and nephews are much more challenged by this than even I am so, you start to see how it becomes the new normal.

 

Jim Rembach:    Yeah, and I think the new norm in a lot of ways when it comes to civility and engagement is something that we do have to really actually make those box at the door, do those types of actions, activities, and practices to really stem the tide because the tides are not going in the right direction. And a lot of this is really—there’s a whole lot of emotion and excitement that’s in all of this. You talked about the discomfort of those executives but then they finally warmed up and things got more productive. We look to quotes on the show to really help us find that true north get that inspiration that direction, is there a quote or two that you can share with us?

 

Christine Porath:    I think the core civility is really about connecting with people and so finding ways to connect. I think another big theme that I try to impress on people civility pays. Unfortunately, I have some research to back that up now in terms of numbers and just the various outcomes in which it pays so I think that those are two messages that I really try to impress on people. Related to that there was a huge study where I found the number one thing that people want from leaders is respect. And that actually even surprised me because it was more important to people in terms of having better focus, engagement, health and well-being, retention, it was more important than appreciation and consideration than feedback that was useful, than having an inspiring vision, and even opportunities for learning and growth. So, I think that we kind of miss how important it is to people that they do feel respected and valued and finding little ways to do that really makes a difference.

 

Jim Rembach:    And you bring up a really interesting point because for somebody to feel respected that is not simple. A lot of times they can’t explain how they need to treated in order to feel respected and you have to improve your skills at being able to interpret that.

 

Christine Porath:    Yeah, absolutely. One thing I encourage is for leaders and employees to talk to their subordinates or their peers about what could they be doing? What could they change to be more effective or influential? It can be as simple as name a couple things that I’m doing that help you? Name a couple things that I could do to change that would be more helpful and so, really focusing on that. When I’m teaching executives the higher you go in an organization the less feedback you’re getting, negative feedback in particular people are afraid to speak up. I think it’s really valuable but I encourage leaders to be the ones that seek this out and really anyone. And this can be done not only with your employees and in your work world but also in your personal life as well. We can make subtle adjustments that really matter to those around us. And often times we enjoy making these changes we need the feedback to become more self-aware to know where to invest.

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s really true. There’s actually a feedback worksheet that we created that we’ll also put on your show notes page because I think it’s a very apropos to helping people develop those skills because it’s not easy. When we start talking about your experience through work as well as being a college athlete and getting your degree and growing up in that family is that we have humps that we have to get over and they teach us a lot, is there a story that you can share with us when you had to get over the hump? 

 

Christine Porath:    Yes. I was at the time at University of Southern California, a place where I love, I love my work life and my personal life there. And I made a choice to actually do an initial book which was not what they were looking for pre-tenure, I’m supposed to do those things. I was also publishing a lot and applied outlets like Harvard Business Review and others and  I made those choices because I felt like I could make a difference in those ways more than doing just the traditional academic work. It was really difficult to do both at the level that I needed to get tenure but I felt like at the heart of it I made the right choices. 

 

For me, in terms of trying to get the message out there into hands where people could use it to make workplaces better. As a result though I wasn’t in a position where I could really realistically go up for tenure and get it there so I had to make a move and that really cost me in terms of many ways, stability, my happiness, and so forth, and yet I felt like in my heart I would do it all over again because writing books for me and writing for these applied outlets are the ways that I believe I can make a difference and it comes with some personal cost some professional costs along the way. I feel like I’m in a better place now because of it just took me longer to get there and I’m still not exactly where I want to be but I’m I feel like for me the path that was less taken was the one that I needed to take given what I was seeking to do but it was not without substantial consequences for myself.

 

Jim Rembach:    I appreciate you sharing that. I think that risk and that setback is something that’s not an easy decision to make. And oftentimes when you’re in it you don’t see it and so the question for me is, knowing what you know now would you have still taken the same path?

 

Christine Porath:    I would. Because I believe it was the right thing to do and it’s provided really rich experiences. Probably this last book was that my best professional experience I’ve ever had and part of it as you mentioned is revealing stories that are personal and getting at the root of some of this. So, for me, it has been a far richer path. But I feel like I’ve taken the long winding road and I’m not where I hope to be yet but it feels good to choose something that’s consistent with your values and just know that there are some sacrifices to be made. And for me it has resulted in a more winding career path but something that I believe I did the right thing and I would do all over again. 

 

Jim Rembach:    You talked about a lot of transitions and pivots and a lot of the things that you’ve had to do and you have a lot of things going in promoting this new book and all of that.  When you start thinking about all of those things, what are some your goals? 

 

Christine Porath:    Well, I really would like to become more of a thought leader as far as getting messages that would help workplaces, building more positive cultures for example out there. And I’ve written a couple articles for the New York Times and the Sunday Review, I think that’s a great outlet, I think Harvard Business Review, books, but I really would like to speak more and with leaders and engage in that conversation and help move organizations along the path to building better workplaces where both employees and organizations win. Because again, I think there’s a potential win-win that some organizations have benefited from but others aren’t yet there and I would really like to make a difference in that way. And I think more speaking engagements, more writing out in mainstream, to get it out in mainstream hands is where I can make the biggest difference and hope to spend more time doing so.

 

Jim Rembach:    And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor:

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Jim Rembach:    Alright here we go Fast Leader Legion, it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown, Okay, Christine, the Hump day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us onward and upward faster. Christine Porath, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Christine Porath:    Yes. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today? 

 

Christine Porath:    Interrupting people. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? 

 

Christine Porath:    Don’t worry about who gets the credit. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Christine Porath:    Hard work. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Christine Porath:    Resiliency. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book, and it could be from any genre, that you recommend to our listeners? Of course we’re going to put a link to Mastering Civility—A Manifesto for Workplace—on the show notes page as well. 

 

Christine Porath:    Thank you. Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay Fast Leader listeners, you can find links to that and other bonus information including too the checklist on civility on the show notes page that you’ll find at fastleader.net/christineporah. Okay, Christine this is my last Hump Day question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. And you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you. But you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. So, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why? 

 

Christine Porath:    Probably just hard work pays off. I think keeping at it has made a big difference because even when you face setbacks I think it’s the ability to bounce back quickly that’s going to make all the difference. And I think that it feels good to have that mentality. I think that I liked that fighter mentality so that you don’t let anything really sink you. A leader once told me that what are you going to make this mean? For me that’s been really helpful because the quicker that I can focus on my future the better off I’d been. And I see far too many people with incivility gets stuck they just ruminate for years in some cases. And I think part of the key to overcoming some setbacks in my life have spent—you need to put it in the back on the bag burner and focus on your future. So, bet on your future don’t let your past sink you. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Christine it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you? 

 

Christine Porath:    Yes. On my website christineporath.com and then my email address and everything is on there cp3@Georgetown.edu.

 

Jim Rembach:     Christine Porath, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers, and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO

 

2019-12-08T06:56:07-05:00May 10th, 2017|Podcasts|1 Comment

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