Tag Archives: teamwork

Conflict Resolution - Employee Engagement

When Objectives Collide

When I was in graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, I took a course on Facilitation held by the esteemed professor, Roger Karsk. At the end of the semester, Roger offered me a job as a teaching assistant and I sprang at the opportunity. Ever since then I have been sharing insights about facilitating groups, including most recently through a series of blogs focusing on techniques to keep a facilitation running smoothly.

First and foremost, know that trust and shared group goals are imperative!

When you conduct an internal meeting within your organization, you cannot assume that everyone attending has a vested interest in the outcome. Therefore, meet with attendees and stakeholders individually beforehand to find out their goals and objectives. It’s rare that all members of any group share the same intentions, values, and especially commitment.

Once you have gleaned that information, your role as a facilitator is to decide what to do with it. One thing is certain, you should not hold on to it. Transparency is key, but the degree of transparency is critical and that is where the trust comes in. Participants have to feel comfortable expressing their motivations.

Options include: 

  • Create an exercise or a structured time on the agenda where participants feel comfortable sharing their individual goals and objectives.
  • Conduct a written follow-up survey. Compile the data, keeping individual comments anonymous, and review the results with participants.
  • Talk to members individually to determine how the work may be interesting or beneficial to them.
  • Work with the group to collectively develop a shared approach for moving forward.

Look for more facilitation tips in future blogs, and in the meantime, let me know how you have created synergy in the groups you lead or participate in.

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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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