How Well Do You Do Empathy? The Secret to Understanding and Connecting with Others
This summer my son, Matthew, and some of his mountain-biking friends decided to ride their bikes down a fairly steep hill. Matt, on a dare, decided to go first. As he sped down the hill, he hit a small dirt mound that catapulted him 10 feet in the air. He came over the handlebars and landed on his shoulder, severing his clavicle from the growth plate on his right shoulder. When I finally arrived on the scene, I knew something was terribly wrong when we removed his t-shirt and could see his clavicle sticking up under the skin.
Can You Help Others to Understand a Different Perspective? Seven Steps for Increasing Understanding
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.
Do You Follow the Facts? Three Tips for Strengthening Your Conversations
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.
Leaders, How Do You Begin Your Conversations? Nine Phrases NOT to Use
I really believe that what begins well ends well. It is important to begin a conversation in such a way that allows the other person to hear and think about your message.
Recently, I sat and observed a senior leader begin his conversation with two directors by stating, “As you are probably already thinking….” One director looked at the other and then at their leader and said courageously,
Have You Learned Your Lessons? 11 Communication Tips for Improving Your Change Initiative
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.”
What Are the Rules of Conversational Engagement? 10 Rules for Improving the Quality of Your Interactions with Others
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.
How Easily Do You Take Offense? Seven Strategies for Maintaining Your Cool
Jane was sitting in an online meeting where current deadlines were being discussed among team members. At the close of the meeting, Jane’s manager asked if anyone had any other concerns that needed to be addressed.
Jane broke the team’s silence by stating that the IT group had committed to solve a software problem for one of her clients by July 1st.
How Do You Handle a Naysayer? Eight Tips for Managing Those Who Are Negative
Have you ever worked with or met someone whose regular answer to anything they are asked to do is usually “No!” Or perhaps every time you offer an idea, they say, “Yeah, but....”
Are You Lost in Your Assumptions? Seven Questions for Challenging the Accuracy of Your Thinking
A good friend of mine recently sent me a link to an interesting article. It seems a summer intern was not particularly happy with the strictness of the company’s dress code. This person decided to let the issue go until it was discovered that another company member was allowed to wear cloth shoes and sometimes running shoes.
Are You Wearing the Emperor's New Clothes? Six Questions for Improving Your Results
We are all familiar with the Hans Christian Anderson story of the emperor who thought that he was arrayed in magnificent attire when in reality he was naked. And yet, no one would tell him what was obvious to everyone.
Are Your People on Board? 6 Questions You Need to Answer if You Want Change to Succeed
In one of the first cultural change projects that I worked on, I was tasked with teaching company members process improvement and critical thinking skills. The organization was committed to involving everyone in improving their processes and making a difference in the way they served customers with increased efficiency.
Are Your Assumptions Getting the Best of You? 9 Questions for Challenging Your Thinking
Last November, I wrote a blog post about dealing with difficult people. I told a story of coming together for a family dinner at Thanksgiving.
Nine Questions to Consider When Changing Your Culture
When I first started working in the field of organizational development, my mentors told me three things that I always needed to remember about change: people don’t like it; people don’t understand it; and people won’t like you for trying to implement it. For the most part, I believe that is the case. Why?
What Messages Are You Sending? Nine Questions for Improving Your Broadcast Message
A number of years ago, I was asked to coach an individual who had pretty much alienated everyone with whom he worked. When I was asked to work with him, I asked why his rehabilitation was so important. His senior leader indicated that he was extremely competent, but that he was interpersonally challenged.
Do You Foster a Culture of Encouragement? Eight Questions for Improving Your Leadership
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to watch one of my favorite college basketball teams win their quarterfinal contest in the NIT. What was so memorable about this game was that one of the team’s long-time stars played even though he was very sick. He contracted the flu before the game and was not expected to play.