One of the biggest challenges that any leader faces is to ensure that employees feel comfortable speaking up when they have difficult issues to discuss Although such topics that are difficult to talk about, they can have a significant impact on the workplace, such issues as harassment, discrimination, or concerns about the company's culture.
Angie had been looking to create a foursome for a golf tournament that her company was holding. She had been having difficulty recruiting the final two participants needed to compete in the company tournament.
When I was in college, I had a roommate who was determined to get into The Guinness Book of World Records for eating a bicycle. Every night when we returned from studying in the library, we would all sit in front of the TV and watch M*A*S*H. He would take a file and grind himself a teaspoon of bicycle. Then he would place his bicycle “grounds” in his hot cereal the next morning.
I have had the opportunity to coach a number of different leaders. Sometimes I am asked to observe how a leader interacts with their team members and then provide the leader with feedback about the impact of their behavior on the team. When I observe a lack of engagement in a leader’s meeting, I interview team members to discover the reasons for their lack of engagement in team meetings.
Q: My manager is so negative and defensive that I am afraid if I shared, “I did what you asked me to do,” I would create more defensiveness that would result in increased conflict. What can I do to reduce this person’s negative energy and create a viable solution that will improve results?
A: Unfortunately, many individuals are often negative or always seem to be defensive; every situation is always the “worst” it can possibly be. We all know people...
On a recent flight, my seatmate and I began to talk about communication and conversation strategies for dealing with difficult people. Then out of the blue, my neighbor announced: “Boy, these millennials are hard to work with!”
Q: I was reading some content on your website and noticed that you mentioned that words make up only about 7% of a conversation. I hope you aren’t devaluing the value of language or words. Are you aware of the “Mehrabian Myth,” an attempt to show how badly Mehrabian’s research was misinterpreted?
A: Mehrabian’s research established two distinct points. First, people form their perceptions of others in a conversation in three distinct ways: visually--55% (non-verbal behavior); vocally--38% (voice tone); and verbally--7% (word usage) which resulted in...
Q: I have recently attended a number of webinars and a workshop on accountability. Some of the training touched on the importance of holding clear and concise “accountability conversations” to ensure commitment and follow-through to achieve results. I understand how important it would be in holding these types of conversations, but I wondered if there are behaviors that leaders might engage in which undermine the accountability they are trying to instill in others. Can leaders sabotage their efforts to increase the accountability of those who work for them?
A: Authentic leadership requires both talk and walk. A leader who is unaware...
Being in the business of leadership development, I frequently encounter individuals who believe that they know everything about a topic. This assumption of “I’m right, and you’re wrong,” has such a limiting effect on a person’s ability to learn or even consider other viewpoints that it is well worth our reflection.
Recently I was discussing with a friend the importance of facts or evidence in conversation. My friend told me the following story about a wayward son. It seems that his son was staying out all hours of the night and coming in early in the morning. The situation was creating some conflict with my friend’s other teenage children.
I once worked with a company during a change initiative when a company’s business was not going particularly well. The CEO called a meeting of his upper management to discuss how things weren’t going particularly well. A huge process change was three months behind schedule and already $20 million over budget. He began by opening the meeting with, “I want to know who is responsible for the mess we are in, so we can fix this.”
Not long ago, I was watching the movie, Hunter Killer, starring Gerard Butler. It is the story of a submarine commander who is tasked with rescuing the Russian president who has been taken captive by a rogue minister of defense.
Recently one of my trainees went through her annual performance review. She received an unsatisfactory rating in one area because her manager told her that she was too argumentative. When she asked what that meant, she was told that she asked too many questions.