Tag Archives: teamwork

Leadership - Mindset

Vixen on Leadership in 2020

‘Twas a week before Christmas

When all through the town

Every creature was stirring

As video meetings abound.


Work products were paused

By the employees with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas

Soon would be there.

The colleagues were dressy

From the waist up, it’s true

Remembering office parties and merriment

And feeling a bit blue.

Every face was covered

With masks and face shields

Sending grandma food from a distance

All portioned and sealed.

When suddenly my email

Ping and ponged with a clatter

I sprang to my standing desk

To see what was the matter.

A problem with your colleagues

I dialed in with a flash

Together we talked

A manager was brash.

Our talking revealed

Mean words fallen like snow

Tainting relationships and productivity

Above and below.

When what to my wondering eyes

Should appear

An enlightened and humble leader

Oh what a dear!

With kindness and generosity

So lively and quick

I knew in a moment

She was sent by St. Nick!

More rapid than eagles

Her words and actions they came

And she praised and appreciated

As she called them by name.

Now Work Ethic!

Now Kindness!Now Humor and Vixen!

On Patience! On Collaboration!

On Caring and Blitzen!

The pandemic started in March 

And then all through the fall,

Necessitating accountability, flexibility

Appreciation to all.

The leader wrote notes of good cheer

And gave her team a big whistle

And away they all flew

Like the down of a thistle.

But I heard her exclaim

As she rode out of sight

“Happy Christmas to all,

And to all a good night!”

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Communication - Performance Management

What Does Your E-mail Say About You?

On the same day I received e-mails from two men, Farik and Dave, in different organizations. While both men are about the same age and in a similar place in their careers, their e-mails were very different.

Dave’s e-mail concerned me because it had these issues:

  • The salutation was “hey.”
  • There were two misspellings.
  • The tone, while positive and pleasant, had a fair amount of slang.
  • The subject line didn’t reflect the topic of the message.

Farik’s e-mail was professional and had none of those problems. When I complimented Farik, he said that his mentor took him aside after a snafu and shared with him the importance of e-mail etiquette. Those lessons came at a cost during his internship, but had made a lasting impression. Farik was glad he learned the e-mail lesson early in his career!

And the most important email rule of all is to “never write anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t say directly to the person in a face-to-face conversation.” In fact, remember that whatever you write can, and likely will, be passed throughout the office and potentially to a news source.

Click here for more tips on e-mail etiquette

I have written about this topic before, and it’s as important as ever:  

Last Week You Were Still There

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Communication - Employee Engagement - Performance Management

Zoom And Oops

Two weeks ago I shared many of the techniques that my client Sally used effectively to create a productive meeting for her environmental lobbying community group. Below are some of the constructive suggestions I will make to her when we debrief:

  • If it’s appropriate for your meeting, record it. It’s a fantastic way to watch yourself and improve. No better learning than by reviewing the actual event!
  • If some of the participants are on video, and others are only connected to audio, give priority to those who are on video. In other words, don’t repeat or read slides to the attendees who are listening but may be multitasking in the background. Reading to those who have chosen not to join video limits any motivation to join visually and to be more engaged.
  • Here’s an easy one…Put the camera slightly above your eye level. Otherwise your eyes will look somewhat closed.
  • Request that a colleague take notes, monitor the chat, and interject as needed. It’s too much for anyone to expertly facilitate a call and oversee these additional elements as well. Get help.
  • Remind those on the call that have dogs barking in the background, or young children interjecting, to please mute themselves. Unless of course they are your dogs or your children, in which case try your best to ignore them!
  • Leave at least 10 minutes at the end of the call to summarize accomplishments and review action items. Make sure that agreements are understood and repeated.

And in between your Zoom meetings, be sure to get up, move, and have a glass of water!

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