Can You Unify Your Team?

8 Tips for Increasing Team Unity By John R. Stoker Before the start of the college football season, the head coach of the local university’s football team announced that he had decided to take the football players’ names off of each of their jerseys, not uncommon in college football.  However, in place of their names, he proposed having the team’s motto of “Tradition. Spirit. Honor” printed instead.  Because the team members were unhappy with this change, they called a team meeting to express their displeasure at the coach’s decision.  The players told the coach they believed that displaying their last names on their...

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12 Ways to Connect with Millennial Employees

This summer has been a new learning experience for me.--this is the first time in a number of years where my two oldest sons returned home to work and live. I must admit that I have not been forced to relate with these two twenty-somethings for such an extended time in such close quarters.

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How to Cut Through Fake Talk to Increase Employee Engagement

Will had worked hard for the company for about two years.  Not once in that time had his manager spoken with him about his development. Somewhat concerned, Will approached his manager and asked if they could discuss his career development. The manager said, “I’ll have my assistant reach out to you next week to schedule some time together.” Nothing happened, so Will brought up the issue with his manager again.  This time the manager scheduled the appointment himself about two weeks out.  When the time finally arrived, the manager canceled the appointment about an hour before the meeting.  Frustrated, Will...

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How Can We Help Others to Engage?

Many times when I speak at conferences, individuals will find me after a session and request coaching with a difficult situation. These encounters always provide wonderful opportunities for learning and expanding my knowledge of the human condition. A couple of years ago, a young woman came to me and asked for some assistance in mending her relationship with her sister. She told me how her sister refused to engage with her or talk in any way. I asked if I could ask her some personal questions to help both of us understand the situation. She agreed. I told her to place...

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Why Don’t Others Listen to You?

Nine Tips for Improving Others Willingness to Listen to You I had been on the road all week and I was eager to hang out with my family on Saturday morning. I came downstairs to find them watching cartoons. In a somewhat animated and enthusiastic voice I exclaimed, “Hey, let’s go outside and hit the ball around! What do you say?” My young son looked up at me and said, “Please Dad, don’t yell at us.” Realizing in that moment that my children had been socialized by their mother who is much more reserved than myself, I quietly whispered almost inaudibly, “Would...

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Eight Suggestions for Improving Your Listening Skills

Late one evening after all the children had gone to bed, I was sitting in the kitchen eating a wonderful piece of chocolate cake and thumbing through the latest L.L. Bean catalogue. My wife approached and asked if I had a moment to listen to her. “Sure, go ahead!” I responded. I continued to eat, look at the catalogue, and listen to her concerns. Suddenly she launched, “You’re not even listening to me!” “Sure I am!” I responded. “Prove it!” she retorted. I repeated back to her everything she had said for at least five minutes. Not a good idea! In frustration and exasperation,...

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10 Tips on Improving the Vitality and Quality of Your Relationships

A number of years ago at the conclusion of a two-day REAL Conversation class, two elderly gentlemen waited for me after class. After everyone left, they approached me and thanked me for the session. I asked them what had been most memorable and helpful for them. One of them perked up and said, “Before this class, neither one of us had spoken to one another for the last 21 years!” When I asked how that had happened, the other man said, “Funny thing is, we can’t remember now what we did that made each other so angry!” Can you imagine working...

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