Tag Archives: communication

Communication - Management - Workplace

Blooms are not Incidental

A year ago, I needed to replace the walkway leading to my office. I called three landscapers to estimate the project. The first landscaper was affable enough, took some measurements, and left.

The second assessed the area and then turned to me and said, “What mood are you trying to create?” I had no idea, so he offered to drive me around to look at “mood.” He had me show him what I liked. When we returned, he looked at the surroundings and he explained how the atmosphere created by the path would influence how people felt when they walked into the office.walkway

As we talked more, I was excited by the possibilities, but nervous about the potential cost, which must have shown in my face. “Don’t worry,” he said. “We’ll start with the walkway, and then you can do the rest of the plan in stages, if that’s what you choose. I want to give you a whole plan, so that it will all work together.”

When the third landscaper pulled out his measuring tape, I had already been won over by the second landscaper’s approach. He had created a compelling vision for the walkway and allayed my money fears.

He got my business because, unlike the other two landscapers, he was more than just an order taker.

In training programs, sometimes participants say, “Oh, I don’t need sales skills. It’s not part of my job.” Regardless of your work, it pays to be persuasive, and it’s important to have a little sales mojo.

All of us need to be able to influence, which is essentially what “sales” is. When we work with our members, patients, clients, employees, and customers, getting to know them as individuals is key. What are their goals? Concerns? Wishes?

It’s only when we know people as individuals that we can truly influence and persuade. And persuasion is something we all need to do, even if you think you’re not in sales.

You may be a doctor encouraging your patient to quit smoking, an HR manager asking an employee to fill out a timesheet – or a landscaper building a walkway.

Whatever your role, sales skills will make you more successful.

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Employee Feedback - Meaningful Conversations - Workplace

A Thimble or a Beer Stein?

You’ve followed all the rules for a effective performance review with your assistant:  you found a time that works for both of you; you booked a private spot; and you made sure you wouldn’t be interrupted.  It all seemed to be going well until he suddenly turned defensive and withdrawn. What went wrong?
You may have misjudged his capacity for feedback.
feedback-graphic
I like to think of feedback as being something you pour.  Some people have a huge beer stein-sized capacity for receiving feedback and they are appreciative the more you fill their metaphorical glass (to a degree). Others have a tiny thimble – and if you overpour, all you do is make a big mess. So how do you tell whether someone is receptive to what you’re saying? It’s all in the body language.
Keep talking if:
  • they are asking questions such as, “Can you tell me more?  Can you be more specific?”
  • they thank you for sharing your insights
  • they appear relatively calm
  • they are attentive and listening
Put a cork in it if:
  •  they start giving excuses
  •  they aren’t making eye contact
  •  they appear agitated
  •  they are red in the face
  •  they tell you why they did what they did
The key is to not let the session turn into an argument, or even a milder form of disagreement…
You’re going to lose their respect and it won’t be a productive dialog.
Understanding a person’s ability to handle feedback is a valuable tool for productivity, retention, and the bottom line.  In fact, it’s so pivotal – and so hard to get right – that we offer training on the art of giving feedback.
When have you been on the receiving end of positive feedback?   How has someone enhanced your career by sharing their observations and suggestions?  Feedback really can be a gift.
I would love to hear your experience.
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Conflict Resolution - Workplace

Bullying in the Workplace?

It’s not me, it’s you….
Four years ago, I was asked to coach Tracy.  Tracy was by definition morbidly obese.  She was experiencing extreme distress and anxiety because her colleagues – grown adults – teased and taunted her about her weight.
When the culprits were questioned, each acknowledged the behavior occurred within the department, but they said, “It wasn’t that bad,” and “They [not we] were only joking,” and even, “We just did it once.”
Interesting!  We might think bullying is an issue that goes away once we are out of elementary school.  But my years as a workplace consultant tell me that this is definitely not the case.  In some workplaces, it is overlooked when inappropriate jokes are told, when comments are made, and when whispering occurs.
Researchers have found that when employees are asked, “Does bullying exist in your workplace?” they answer “Yes.”  But, when the same researchers ask “Do you ever bully?” the answer is “No.”
stop-bullying
Who do you suppose is doing the bullying?
I asked Tracy’s colleagues, “What do you do to stop the bullying?”  They responded that it wasn’t their job to stop it.
Not only do I disagree with their attitude, so does the law:  If people are being bullied based on their gender, gender preference, ethnicity, religion, age, or as in this example weight/physique, the workplace is liable.
But not only that:  The behavior isn’t nice, and it leads to a toxic work environment.
So, what do you do if you see this behavior happening?
  1. Change the subject
  2. Talk to the perpetrators privately:”I’m really uncomfortable when you do that.  This is how your behavior affects me.”
  3. Express your expectations: “It’s really important to me that we treat one another with repect and that we only talk about people’s ideas as they relate to work.”
If these strategies don’t work, you must, by law, report the behavior to your manager and to human resources.  If your concerns are not taken seriously, you need to contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (https://www.eeoc.gov/) and ask them to research the situation.
Are you a manager who is struggling to create a positive work environment?  The law – and human decency – dictate that everyone has the right to an emotionally, as well as physically, safe workplace.
We can help you create one.
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