Last fall my colleague Jennifer Ledet, leadership consultant, and I enrolled in a Facilitation Course which led to our certification as facilitators. In that high-level program we learned advanced facilitation techniques such as:
- how to gain consensus across time zones, cultures, and continents
- how to help teams manage multimillion-dollar projects and make high-level global decisions
- how to create buy-in and acceptance when many options are all reasonable and each person, division, and company has different needs and the stakes are high
This is graduate-level facilitation!
Before companies, organizations, and boards of all types can achieve graduate-level facilitation, they must master Civility 101. Before a facilitation session, I survey employees regarding their concerns and am always struck by the number of workplace issues that are matters of common courtesy.
Here are the absolute basics of facilitation, and of civility for that matter:
Don’t yell, scream, or pound your fist on tables. Don’t throw things or point your finger at anyone. Don’t slam the door when you leave the room or purposefully tip over chairs (if you are clumsy like me, well, then it’s okay).
Speak calmly and professionally at all times.
Don’t name call or label people as ignorant, lazy, fat, stupid, unmotivated, or even worse.
Refer to people with respect.
Don’t talk ill of people after the meeting.
Don’t tell or threaten anyone after the meeting (or at any time for that matter).
Don’t say, “You will be sorry,” or “This will hurt your career,” or “You better watch your back.”
Remember that what you say before and after the meeting is as important as what you say during the meeting.
Don’t allow meetings to be about how things went wrong.
Ask, “How can we prevent this from happening again?”
“What safeguards are in place for the future?”
“How important is it that this doesn’t occur again?”
“How can we support the person, department, or process to reach our objectives?”
If there are people in your organization who exhibit these behaviors, please forward this message to them. Then go to your HR department, your in-house lawyer, or your greatest sponsor and ask for training — lots of it! It is needed and the cost of not having a professional and productive workplace is huge, not to mention that your organization is exhibiting signs of harassment.
Is your organization more advanced? Great! You are ready for graduate school!
I know you wouldn’t steal your company’s computer. You know the one I mean. The one your employer bought for you that you store everything on and haul back and forth to the office. Fortunately, MY readers don’t steal. They are honest folks.
And of course, in 2018, most of us realize that many of us are being paid for our brain power. Some people do actually perform tasks and produce goods that are tangible, but most of us write, read, talk, organize, email, prioritize, and distribute. Most of us are paid for the knowledge we hold and convey. So, all I am asking you is, “Are you mostly productive?”
This is a gentle reminder that while you are texting, Snapchatting, Instagramming, and Facebooking, unless you are contributing to the social media for your organization, you are sort of stealing.
I am frequently asked about software that monitors how much time employees spend surfing the net, or are otherwise disengaged. I ask, “Who’s going to monitor the employee monitoring system?”
If you wouldn’t steal a computer, then don’t lose track of the time your employer is paying you for. It’s just a simple reminder.
Are you mostly productive?
How do you know if a person needs encouragement?
If they are breathing!
If you know me, you know I believe in the power of appreciation and encouragement. None of us get enough of it. So, if you read many, or any, of my blogs, you know I write about this a lot. Here are some practical tips for giving more encouragement to the people around you.
On the way to the parking lot, elevator or bathroom (pick your favorite), always find someone to encourage. Can’t find anyone? Send a text of encouragement.
Set a reminder on your calendar to send an email, text, or make a phone call of appreciation. Have the reminder repeat daily. Okay, you can take your birthday off.
Never eat lunch until you have told someone something they are doing well.
Begin every meeting noticing something that is going well.
Bring 20 note cards to work each month. Use them up each month. Repeat. In the note card write things like, “Enid, thanks for putting in a good word for the research team when you spoke to the board,” or “Ralph, when I was walking into work today I noticed you stopped and picked up trash. Thank you.”
Put up a whiteboard in the break room. Write down something great that you noticed about a colleague every day. “Saresh always makes me laugh.” “Ashley is so efficient.” Be prepared to run out of white board space as others will join in.
If you feel encouragement is important, make time for it.
What are your best ways to encourage others?