5 Steps for Tackling Tough Conversations

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Business Woman Pointing To Coworker. He Refuses TaskIn a new article for Talent Management magazine, consultants Rachel Eryn Kalish and Pat Zigarmi, coauthors of The Ken Blanchard Companies Challenging Conversations training program, share how leaders can address intense and emotionally charged discussions with open, vibrant, and direct communication.

In an article titled, Conflict? Talk It Out, they explain that while most leaders recognize the importance of open and direct communication, many are reluctant to enter into these challenging conversations. That’s a mistake, according to the authors.  Withholding information or avoiding difficult discussions tends to make things worse. Dealing with conflict always calls for more communication, not less.

To help leaders more easily succeed with challenging conversations they face, the authors suggest a five-step process that can help both parties speak up without pushing the other person away.

5 Steps for Tackling Tough Conversations

  1. State concerns directly. Communicate in a way that doesn’t alienate the…

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3 Ways Good Leaders Get Conversations Wrong

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Male Question Marks Misunderstanding Enigma Men Pop Art Comics RImproving the frequency and quality of conversations that take place inside your organization is one of the best ways to improve the overall quality of your company’s leadership. That’s the message Ken Blanchard and Scott Blanchard share in their latest column for Training Industry Magazine.  With the speed of work, the generational and cultural diversity of the global workforce, and the variety of day-to-day challenges leaders face, the ability to communicate effectively with direct reports may be the defining skill that sets great leaders apart.

And while managers never intend to have unproductive conversations, bad conversational habits can often get in the way of effective communication.  Here are three they recommend that leaders keep an eye on:

Intentionality lapses. Leaders sometimes plunge ahead in an inappropriate setting with negative consequences. For example, you bump into a direct report who has a question, and before you realize it the…

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From PERFORMANCE Management to CONTRIBUTION Management: 3 Keys to Making it Work

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Performance evaluation formHow is performance management going in your organization? If the emphasis is on assessment, it’s likely that employees and managers alike would rather avoid the whole affair. Who wants to judge—or be judged—and face all of the emotional fallout that comes with it?

Instead, I recently have been working with clients to approach performance management as a way to leverage an employee’s contributions toward organization goals.

The subtle but important distinction between performance management and contribution management can turn a once-negative process into a positive “How can I help you succeed?” approach.

For this kind of partnering to work, managers need to have a few prerequisites in place.  Without them, you will continue to find yourself assessing and evaluating performance instead of working in tandem with direct reports to help them succeed. Think you are ready for this more positive approach?  See how you would score yourself in each of…

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The 10 Commandments of Communication to Build Trust

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Ten CommandmentsThe way we communicate with others is a primary way we build trust. Along with specific behaviors and actions, communication serves as the vehicle for building trust in relationships. What we say, how we say it, and how we respond to what others communicate can make or break trust. That’s why it’s important to develop your interpersonal communication skills. There are some basic communication do’s and don’ts…the 10 commandments if you will…that everyone should know to facilitate the growth of trust.

Check yourself against this list to see how many of the 10 Commandments of Communication you adhere to:

1. Thou shalt demonstrate genuine care for the other person – People can see right through a phony. If you don’t genuinely care for the other person in the relationship it will show in your words and actions. If it’s important for you to build trust with someone, then you should find…

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What Do Workers Want? Better communication with their leader for starters

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Business InterviewEarlier this month, I noticed that a few of my Facebook friends were posting a link to a Wall Street Journal post titled What Do Workers Want from the Boss?

The article describes the results of a Gallup study showing that employees want communication, a trusting relationship, and clear measurement standards from their immediate supervisor.

I messaged some of my friends to learn why they posted the article. They all replied that the findings matched their own experience and they wanted to share. In fact, each of them told me about how a negative experience in one of these areas had resulted in their search for a new place to work.

That’s pretty sad.

The findings identified in the Gallup study are consistent with those uncovered through research by The Ken Blanchard Companies on the subject of Employee Work Passion. We frame these elements as Connectedness with Leader, Feedback, and

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Mindfulness and Leadership: Three Easy Ways to Be a Better Leader

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zen stone garden round stone and raked sand making line patterns In the world of coaching, we’ve long practiced and shared the concepts of mindfulness with clients because we’ve seen and felt the results. Mindfulness as it’s practiced as a part of leadership development can take many forms, from something as simple as NOT multitasking or as intentional as active listening, or regulating self-talk.

So, how does mindfulness make you a better leader? Let me give you an example.

I work with a client who is very intense. She’s heading quickly to the top of her organizational structure and is the heir apparent. She is super busy and rarely sleeps more than five hours a night. A few weeks ago she commented that she was having trouble focusing on so many things at once and has been reacting rather than carefully responding to situations around her. Her edge was slipping. She wanted a way to adjust, change, and retool her leadership capacity…

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Improving Your Motivation: Seven Important Considerations

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MotivationA new article in Costco Connection, Improve Your Motivation, highlights Susan Fowler’s new book, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … And What Does, and points out an important fact about motivation—it’s an inside-out proposition.

The article summarizes some of the key takeaways from the book, and shares important concepts for individuals and leaders to consider when evaluating their own motivation—or when they are trying to help others with theirs.

  1. Recognize that each of us is already motivated—it just the quality of our motivation that might be a problem. Some forms of motivation are sustainable, satisfying, and promote well-being while others don’t.  Fowler explains that leaders need to ask why people are motivated to do what’s been asked of them.  Otherwise we end up with well known examples such as the young student who hates law school because of the pressure his parents put on him to succeed.

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