Wendy Hanson 0:24
Welcome, everybody. I'm so happy you have joined us today. You know, we've all been going through such challenging times, when we're working remotely or we're in a hybrid environment, we can at times feel disconnected. And as managers and leaders, we work on the different opportunities that we need to take to help others to help lead to manage to get people really feeling connected. But we also need to take time to lead and manage ourselves. I am excited about today's conversation with Jennifer Chapman. Jennifer has many actionable ways to build confidence, be more assertive in a way that works in your business culture, and leverage your relationships at work. As they say, when we get on a plane and instruct us when we're flying, we need to put on our oxygen mask first before we help others. And that's what today's podcast is going to be about. So let me tell you a little bit about Jennifer. She's very humble. She wrote a very short bio. Jennifer Chapman is an expert leadership coach working with STEM managers and leaders who want to increase productivity and performance by strengthening their confidence and their people skills. So welcome, Jennifer, I'm so happy to have you on today.
Jennifer Chapman 1:44
Oh, it's great to see you. Thank you.
Wendy Hanson 1:46
Well, let's let's start off by what are some of the situations that your clients bring to you that start out as they're managing others, but it really is about managing themselves.
Jennifer Chapman 1:59
I work with a lot of people who either become first time managers or they get promoted into then managing managers and so on up. And often in those transition times people experience. Just feeling like I'm not being taken seriously. I got promoted from my peers, but my peers still treat me like a peer. How am I supposed to act like their leader, or I just got promoted into this group of leaders, but they're so cliquish, and they don't want to hear what I have to say. And it makes my clients feel small. And the way they pose these issues to me as a helped me deal with these other people's issues have not given me the respect that I have earned.
Wendy Hanson 2:54
And I can see where, yes, it's so easy to point the finger to somebody else without being able to stand back and look at yourself in these situations. And, you know, I can imagine there is a lot of trepidation when you start, you're put into a leadership position where you these people used to be your peers. So you get your head Mojo a little messed up there. So what kind of advice to they give them? How do you help, you know, instill their confidence so they can they can understand this situation that they're in. So first,
Jennifer Chapman 3:27
what I do is I help my clients be mindful of what is in their control and what's not, you know, you might work with a jerk, and you know what, that jerk might just always be a jerk. And that's not in your control. But more often than not, when I am seeing issues dealing with I'm not getting respect, I'm not getting buy in. It's really an internal issue. And it's a matter of feeling confident and authentic in that confidence. One of my pet peeves is this, the quote of fake it until you make it. And I think that's the worst advice ever. Because when someone's faking it, you can tell, and then that just continues to undermine how people see you. They're like, well, you know, because people come off too aggressive when they're trying to be assertive, for example, or hear all of our accomplishments and you go overboard and now that person's got a huge ego and, and that that's been telling this is going to backfire. So what I want my clients to do is you didn't get where you are by accident, you've worked hard to get there. And so take a moment, take a few moments and keep a journal or just a little place in your notebook that you have and write down what are accomplishments that you have done in your life that you're really proud of. And these can be anything they don't have to be work related. I I work with people who have done triathlons or really proud of some big weight loss and lifestyle changes, or I am a mom or a dad, and I juggle my family. And I'm there for you know, I coach, a little league sports team, and I present for work, it could be anything. And when you take time to remember the hard things you've done before, then it just reminds you that, okay, I have endurance, I have confidence, I have patients I have, I'm smart, I'm savvy, I think on my feet, whatever those things might be. So use data. I'm all about data, I work a lot with people who are very task focused and data focused. So give yourself some data to work with and prove to yourself, Hey, I am a capable, accomplished human being. And so why doesn't that apply to the situation I'm in now? Yeah. Oh, I
Wendy Hanson 6:01
love that. Because I do think we remember the times that we failed, because we get a visceral feeling in our body. And we can feel that. But we don't always celebrate those wins. And so I love how you suggest that we write them down. And when you're feeling it, then you can go back and read that and say, Oh, I do have this together. I can do that. Yeah,
Jennifer Chapman 6:25
exactly. And another thing I've noticed about some of my clients what and I think it's human nature that as the day goes on, whatever happens at the end of our workday is typically what we carry outside of that work time. And then that's what lives in us for the evening and the night until we start a new workday. And so if the last thing that happened on a day was that you got some difficult feedback on a work product, then you feel grouchy, and that it's hard to shake that feeling off. And I have a client I'm working with right now, one small thing we did was I had her at the end of her work day, before she logged out, then she rated herself on a scale of one to 10 with how confident she was feeling. And I said before you give yourself a score, just look at your calendar and do a quick review of what that day entailed. And it was really amazing. Because if I, when I asked her in that coaching session, where would you rate your confidence for the week, she was like, four. And then when I had her start tracking it every day, and looking at her day before she gave herself a score. Her she was consistently seven, eight. And she was shocked. And again, it's data, your brain can't refute data. And she thought, Okay, I it's all about what is my final thought before I close out work. And when you can intentionally remember what went well about the day, what a world of difference that makes for how you show up outside of your work life.
Wendy Hanson 8:06
Yeah. And I would even add to that to say, sometimes you might want to give yourself a score mid day, and then at the end, because sometimes our days feel very long. I know at the end of the day, I'm like, I don't even know where I was at seven o'clock this morning, six o'clock, we're a global company. So it's often starts very early. And you may want to say, there are points where I should rate myself so I can really look back and know authentically what that looked like. Yes, I love it. So you, you all also have some very practical exercises that you suggest to clients when they're trying to increase their confidence and, and presence is so important and unzoom we have a different kind of presence. So we have to make sure it's different than when we're in person and you can kind of feel energy. So we need some things that work when we're in this virtual world. What is some of your suggestions there?
Jennifer Chapman 9:04
So when you have circumstances that feel really challenging to give yourself some grace and start with really small, attainable goals, because if you aim too high, then you're likely to experience failure, and then it just reinforces the negative thoughts you have in your mind. So for example, I've worked with people who are presentations are really hard, especially when you have a particular subject matter knowledge, but maybe most of the people that you present to have a different area of expertise and so it's it's difficult to get your message across. So rather than saying, Okay, well I want you to go give a presentation and this time smile a lot are like, okay, then what's, what's something small you can do, maybe it's not giving a presentation, but maybe speaking up In a meeting and making a comment about what you're about your expertise in a roomful of people that don't share the same one. So look for ways to get simple, easy wins, that will help bolster your confidence and build it up. So then the bigger things feel much more attainable. Another small thing, especially in regards to confidence is people have I've noticed have not known how to engage in zoom or virtual meetings the same way that they have in person. And especially those of you who have multiple monitors like I do, it's easy to get, like, start looking at different monitors and start looking just everywhere. When you're talking. And I had this one client, we were working on something else entirely. And one time I just said, I would love to record the last 20 minutes of our zoom call, is that okay? And she's like, Okay, sure. And then I just asked her to watch with no sound, and just to watch herself, and then to share with me what she observed. And what was really fun was when we next talked, I noticed her making a concerted effort to look at me. And so I didn't even have to plan it out. She recognized in herself that when she talked her eyes were all over the place. When she had to think about a question before she would respond, she closed her eyes, which absolutely disconnected the connection that I felt with her. And so she, she started really focusing on I'm going to talk to the camera. And she found as she did that, that and you can try this, you know, today, when you look at the camera lens, then you can't really see the details of people's facial expressions as you're talking. And then you become a lot less worried about reading into what people are thinking or what you perceive them to be thinking, and you're focused on your message and what you're trying to communicate. And it was night and day, she said I had no idea the impact that just focusing on my eye contact would do just because she said now I can just, I know what I'm talking about. And I can say what I have to say. And then she looks at her screen when she's listening, because that's when it's important to be observing body language and, and how people are communicating non verbally. So that's another trick, try looking at the camera, or if you're in person, try just really looking people in the eye as you speak, and stay focused on getting your message across before you switch roles into a listener role. Yeah,
Wendy Hanson 12:53
I think that's such great advice. And that looking at the camera, I read something the other day that said, one of the challenges on a something like zoom is you can't give people eye contact. And I was thinking, well, that's kind of strange. But we aren't giving each other direct eye contact on that. But it is important, you don't know how you're perceived. So I think that's a great exercise to record it and be able to look at yourself without words and see, wow, this is the impression that I'm making. And then you also talk about when you're gonna have some difficult conversation, you want to be able to plan it. And I think that is so very worthwhile advice. Can you speak a little more to that, Jennifer?
Jennifer Chapman 13:37
Yes. So I had a client recently, who is a very kind person and relationships are very important to her. And she found that with well, backing up, the pandemic has just messed up so many different work processes and operations, things were paused and, and so forth. And there were there were some situations in her office where projects were very behind. And some of it was out of the other person's control. But she just felt she's like, well, I don't want to appear to be, you know, not understanding of the pandemic and some of the problems that people have had. But at the same time, we have these expectations that we need to meet our business goals or stakeholders data. And so as we talked about how her emotions might be getting in the way, one thing we worked on was to just focus on the facts. So don't worry about judging, we're not going to judge we're just going to lay out the facts. So you know, here's the funding that was allocated. Here was the original projects. puram proud parameters to date. This is what's been accomplished. We're behind this deadline. And what are we going to do to get this project back on track. And then she found when she could just focus on the facts. And without judgment, then it wasn't as scary for her to communicate then with the other person. And she was able to then say, like, here are the expectations. Now let's work together to come up with a solution. And it's, it's been really cool to see how our coaching sessions have not only benefited her, but they're benefiting the organization, because she's helping now. She's overcome this obstacle two, let's get this work done. And it's, I'm so proud of her.
Wendy Hanson 15:42
That's great. That's great. And another thing that a lot of us have, and it shows up intermittently is imposter syndrome. You know, and sometimes you don't even know you have imposter syndrome. But tell us a little bit about that. Where have you seen that? Because it seems pretty common. It does.
Jennifer Chapman 16:02
And I'm finding it, it happens, as you would expect when people are in new positions. And then I'm seeing it's happening a lot to people who've been in the same position for a long time. But let's face it, the last couple of years have just been this roller coaster. And there's been so much ambiguity. And And now, you know, people are almost just bracing for what's coming next. And it's easy, then to just feel unstable. Like you don't have your sea legs and you're just going as the the ship and waves are taking you. And so first of all, I just want to assure you that if you're feeling impostor syndrome, you're absolutely not alone. And then the other thing that I think is critical, is just to not compare yourself to other people. And that might sound overly simple. But what I mean is, you might have a colleague who is your you look at them, and you're like, Oh, they're their leadership presence, I wish I could be more like that. Or this person seems to be able to do 10 things at a time and not go crazy. Well, I'm struggling with these other two, you don't know what's going on, you don't know what experiences the person has had to get there. You don't know what other struggles they may be having. And frankly, we all have times where we shine and times when we struggle. And maybe it's that person's time to shine. And it's not it's not yours, right? And so think about your work, what what do you bring to the table? What are your strengths? Where do you need to step up and apply what you've already got going for you. And then of course, we all have development areas. And it's good to acknowledge those and work on them. But what we tend to do is, like if I can pair what I'm not good at to what somebody else is an expert at? Well, of course, I'm going to feel like an impostor. And that's not fair. Compare your strengths to other well don't compare. But if you're going to compare, don't compare your weaknesses to other people's strengths.
Wendy Hanson 18:18
Yes, we're one of the we we use a few assessments at BetterManager. And we do coaching and one of them is Strengths Finder, you know, because you really need to know what your strengths are and own them. Yeah, and not get into that comparison thing. So we've been talking about confidence and what happens when you're in a new position, and you're a manager and you're now managing peers that you had before. Let's go to the other side of the coin. What do you do about somebody who is overconfident? You know, what does that look like when they come in? It? Doesn't feel that authentic. Yes. So
Jennifer Chapman 18:56
overconfidence. I think in an earlier example, I mentioned that someone who is like faking the confidence often will go from being directive in a positive way to being like a dictator, or micromanaging or when you are what like, just, it's like this misappropriation of energy. And so that's that's really turns people off when you show up arrogant or you show up dismissive of other people's ideas, or my favorite. I'd say this with my husband right next to me. He his favorite thing say is I am who I am. So just deal with it. He's an engineer. And you know what? He's super smart. And many times he is right, his answer is the best one or the right one. And so then if you're like, Well, I'm Just going to tell it to people how it is, then my next question is, so how's that working out for you? And it took me a while to help my husband see it, but he did start noticing that you know what I'm not getting buy in on my ideas, views when you walk into a room and you say, Okay, this process is crap. And we now need to do this other way. Because it makes more sense, people are just going to shut down on you, especially if the people in the room include those who created that process in the first place. And so I've helped him see how important it is to again, I know I keep pounding on data. But that really is your your friend, because it takes the feeling out of it, it takes the judgment call out of it. And so take some time to gather data and take time to research why were things set up the way they were before? And then what can you prove that your way is more efficient? And if so, you know, how are you going to capture that in a way then that you can disseminate that to your audience. And he found when he took time to package his idea in a way that it could be received by his audience? Well, now people want to know what he his ideas are now people come by and ask for his advice on something that it took a long time to get there. So if for those of you who are like, Well, I'm just direct, and so people need to deal with it. At some point, if it hasn't happened yet, you are going to lose respect, you're going to lose the buy in, in worst case scenarios, your attrition rate is going to skyrocket. And here you are with so much to offer, but no way to implement it because you can't get people on board.
Wendy Hanson 21:51
That's such a great example. And, and I do think that when you sometimes we have to use some of our improv skills, yes. And you know, you're bringing a new idea to the table, you can say what you appreciated about what others have put into this. So that those people that you talked about that are they're like, I develop this process. Now you're telling me it's all wrong, you'll be able to really have a dialogue and appreciate what it worked about that and then bring in the new idea and get buy in. So it's it's it's incredibly important. Yeah. And whenever somebody says, I am who I am deal with it. It's a red flag. So we figure out Yeah, yeah, try to take that out of your vocabulary, folks. Yeah, that's, that's just not a good thing.
Jennifer Chapman 22:39
And something else to take out of your vocabulary is the word but So you were saying how important it is to say yes, and that should be replacing, but so for example, if you know, Wendy, if you came to me and said, Hey, I just got these new glasses. What do you what do you think of them? And if I said something like, Well, I really liked them. But she, it doesn't matter that I like them, you're immediately gonna, like, well, what what don't you like about my glasses, and oh, Jen doesn't like my glasses, and oh, maybe I shouldn't get some different classes, because these aren't flattering, as soon as you use the word, but people forget everything that came before it. So it really is an ineffective method of communication. Instead, if I say I love your glasses, and I really liked the pair that you had before that really seemed to enhance your eye shape. It doesn't mean I don't like the glasses you have on now. But it might be that I found the other ones preferable but did you see I said it in a way that she, you know, windy, you can take that however you want. And by the way, I love your glasses.
Wendy Hanson 23:58
I take that personally.
Jennifer Chapman 24:01
Good. Sometimes silly examples are the easy ones to remember. But just take the light, just use the word but taking the word but out shows people you are listening to what they have said. And you want to add to it, tweak it or redirect attention to something else. Great. Great.
Wendy Hanson 24:25
So two things I am who I am, deal with it, get rid of that and get rid of the word but be aware, we always say and I'm sure you do this as a coach, too. Don't change anything right away. Just think of it like be aware of when you say but because then it takes the pressure off trying to change your behavior right away. But being able to say, well, in this case, it's but being able to say I think is okay. I'll say saying you know how you're going to be doing something so I think that's great. Now, the other thing we have Jen to deal with this, how do you help managers Who are not leveraging other people at work? And they're not taking advantage of the strength and skills may be on their team? Yes. So
Jennifer Chapman 25:09
I mentioned in your my bio, as you read that I really like working with STEM managers. So science, technology engineering, I keep talking about data like this is, this is my world. And I also find that with that group is they because they're so task focused, and they get rewarded for accomplishment, it's easy to put all the focus and attention into, we just got to get stuff done. And I can't tell you how many times I've been brought in to work with a group or work with a person where they just want me to, we need to increase productivity. And I'll bring up people and they'll I don't want to, I don't want to deal with the people stuff, I want to talk, get accomplishing getting stuff done. Here's the thing, guys, you cannot separate the two, you can't. And as much as the people side might sound foofy and fluffy sometimes, that if you haven't figured out how to have positive work relationships, and how to build a team of trust and loyalty, then it's absolutely going to impact productivity. And let me share a positive example. And this was back in a time where I was a manager of people. And I was noticing that we were having a lot of just really dumb errors in deliverables I grammatical errors, and maybe data old data instead of the newer data, whatever it might be. And I was spending an inordinate amount of time fixing these things into the wee hours of the morning when something was due. And so what I decided to do was I offered a it was something so simple, like a $5 Starbucks gift card to anybody who over that next week who turned in a report that was error free, that I did not have to make one change to it. And it was it turned into like this competition. But then at the same time, if I didn't limit how many people could earn it, and out of a team of 10, I only had two who had perfect reports and gotten the victim card. But let me tell you, the reduction on the time that I spent on redoing stuff was amazing. And that was an example of me, using an incentive to motivate my people that in turn had a big impact on the task on the results. Those things just are gonna go hand in hand. And, uh, you know, another thing is I rarely asked people to work overtime, I you know, when respected at the end of the business days and a business say I tried to not email or do anything, even if I was still working, I tried to keep them out of it so that they could just really be done. And then when there there were times where we had to pull an all nighter, or we had to work on a weekend. And when those times came, they didn't complain, because they knew I wouldn't be asking if it weren't absolutely necessary because all the other times I completely respected that time. And for those of you who manage millennials and then especially this gen Z's generation, they value their time and their life outside of work more than they value money bonuses, so many other things that motivated Gen X and the baby boomers so be in tune with what's important to your staff respect that honor that incentivize with it and and your productivity will skyrocket. I promise I love
Wendy Hanson 29:00
I love that example. I would have never thought of that like you know give a $5 gift card it almost makes it a little bit of a contest and and people we need to stir things up once in a while you know that the same old same old so very creative see how people could utilize a concept like that as they bring folks together. So as we start to finish up what is what are like a couple of the key messages that you want people to take away Jen from today's podcast.
Jennifer Chapman 29:33
I one takeaway then is to focus on where you feel confident back to the cliche I hate the fake it till you make it focus on make it so what ingredients do you already have? What do you already have going for you and remember those confidences and then remember back to what are some small goals you can set in development areas where you can have some wins, and then this confidence is going to build in you. And then you're going to feel a lot more capable with handling the harder tasks. But also also having those small wins gives you something to report out on to colleagues or to your higher ups that then help give them confidence in you that your things are happening. And you've got your team is accomplishing and producing. And then they give you more of the resources and support that you need. And it just is a cycle positive cycle that keeps feeding on it. And then the other thing is, just because you're confident does not mean you don't need other people. So let me flip that around and say in a positive way, confident people can and should ask for help. I'm an expert, for example, in working with with the STEM leaders, and helping people be more productive by leveraging their people skills. I have a colleague who specializes in coaching, family owned businesses. And I've been learning a lot from her about what are some of the nuances to a family owned business that's different from a corporation, for example, I have my people. And it's funny, you mentioned strengths finders, Wendy because one of my top five is connector. So I know this is something that comes easily for me, but I really feel like everybody should have this collection of experts that you have in your life that you can go to for different things. So at work, okay, if I have something that has to do with spreadsheets and financials, I go to Susan. And if I have a people manager problem, I really admire the way that Julie manages her people. She's my go to to ask her well, what would you do in this situation, and, and just if you stay stuck in your own bubble of expertise, you're not going to grow. And you're going to limit yourself in how your career can grow. Where if you have other people that are teaching you, or that are that continued resource for you, then the you the scale, the scope of what you're able to do successfully expands, also increasing your confidence and so on. It just it's all inner tied. Yes.
Wendy Hanson 32:33
And you point out something so good, which is a great leader isn't afraid to ask for help? Or say, I don't know. And it's such a compliment when somebody comes to you and says, you know, I know you're really good at this, can I run this by you? You know, I actually had somebody who used to be on my Dragon Boat Racing team who is in a different industry who said, you know, Can I can I run some things by you the other night, and she felt like, Oh, this is you do this all day, this must be an imposition. And I was like, I'm so honored that you want to use a skill that I have to be able to be your thought partner. And I think when we do that at work, and we that it will just build that those relationships, so we should never feel like, you know, we can't go ask somebody for help. And, you know, even we talk about empathy a little bit, some people aren't basically empathetic. And so they may want to talk to somebody who does have a lot of empathy and say, I have this challenge now with somebody, how would you deal with it? So there are so many ways to be able to use that. That's such a great example, Jen. Yeah. So if people want to learn more about you and reach out to you, Jennifer, what's the best way for them to do that? And we'll put this in the show notes, too.
Jennifer Chapman 33:51
Yeah. So one thing that I'm super excited right now is I've noticed that a lot of my clients, like you in the audience are listening to podcasts, or reading leadership books and articles and really trying to better yourself with self learning. But then what I also see happening is that you go to that class, or you read that article, or you listen to that podcast, and you think, Oh, that was nice. But then you don't ever do anything with it. And so let's make the most of the time you're spending with these fantastic resources. I have this article. It's really short. It's like four pages with lots of whitespace. And it basically walks you through how to make the most of these different learning resources, and just out some really simple tips that can have a great impact on furthering your learning, especially by implementing these great tips and things that you're hearing. So if you are interested in that or just connecting with me in general, you need to text the word accelerate it ACC e l e r a t 2411321. And then that'll get you connected to me and we'll get that article out to you. And and then there are other resources that are available if you're interested. But no, no risk, no anything and just a fun way to engage and make more of your precious time.
Wendy Hanson 35:26
That's great. Thank you. Yes, because we like people to be able to do something and take action and and change what you can change and what you can't change deal with yourself. Yes, how to manage yourself. So thank you, Jen, this was so helpful today, I think this is going to be a great resource for people. All of these things also go in our BetterManager library so that when when our coaches from all over the world, their coaching and something like this comes up about confidence imposter syndrome, you know, they'll be able to share that as a resource. So this not only is going to go out in the world, but we hopefully it will add some great value to people that are that are getting coaching. So thank you so much for being my guest today. Thank you all for joining us on the BetterManager podcast and have a wonderful day.