How to Have Awkward Conversations At Work

How to Have Awkward Conversations At Work

Addressing Policy Issues with a Direct Report In case you couldn’t guess what month it is, just walk into any major retail store. The arrival of spooky, creepy, and haunting decor is the hallmark of the month of October in the United States. Halloween reminds us that there are scary elements to this world and the worlds beyond. So, what better time to talk about one of the scariest things you may have to do this Halloween season – engage an employee in a policy discussion! EEK! If you’re in a leadership role, talking to your employees about policy issues such as hygiene, dress code, poor work performance etc. comes with the territory. When it comes to sharing this news, there is an effective way to handle the situation… and a not so effective way. While there are many versions of effective and (especially) ineffective, the framework of these two scenarios remains relatively static. In one scenario, the tools of enacting a tough conversation are implemented (Hint: effective). In the other, they aren’t- it’s really that simple (Hint: ineffective). Taking the “Boo!” Out of Feedback When you are delivering feedback to a direct report, especially if it’s negative, it’s best not to shock them with the news. Most people don’t enjoy having these conversations, much less feeling as though they are out of the blue. Base your approach on the severity of the infraction and the specific employee. For example, if a high performer with little to no mishaps comes in wearing jeans when they should be wearing slacks, there is no need to make a big production of it. This employee rarely, if ever, does...
Why Outstanding Internal Customer Service is Powerful

Why Outstanding Internal Customer Service is Powerful

The Importance of Internal Customer Service Everyone who has ever had a job understands what customer service is and why it’s important. Great customer service keeps the cash flow up, and bad customer service interrupts it. But, who is your customer? If you’re not leading a “client facing” team, do you even have a customer? Most likely, the answer is yes. Despite the fact that you may or may not deal directly with the consumers of your product or service, you do deal directly with at least one other team or group. That “at least one other team” is, in fact, your customer. Identifying Your Customer If you don’t deal directly with the customers outside of the business, you deal with customers inside. You may be thinking, “Wait, if they’re inside the business, they aren’t really a customer. They’re a co-worker, right?” Sure they are, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t also a type of customer. If you consider that a customer is someone you provide a service to, then you have to include those customers whom you work with internally. For examples, if you work for the IT department, then you provide a service to anyone who uses technology within the company. Most likely, the vast majority of people at your place of work use a computer, printer, or phone. All of these people should be considered your team’s customer. A Brilliant Assist is Part of Making the Goal Imagine if any inquiry made of you or your team was treated as a customer request rather than an annoyance. In that case, you would make that request a priority, and...
How to Build a Coaching Culture: Building Block Two

How to Build a Coaching Culture: Building Block Two

Originally posted on HCI.org After learning who to assess, and how to assess, the potential impact of a coaching model that supports the business, as discussed in Building Block 1, managers must take another step: uncover the best way to create the infrastructure to roll out the coaching program, including how to gather the right stakeholders and communicate the plan. Stakeholders: Identification and Enlistment Stakeholders are the leaders who are the direct and indirect beneficiaries of the coaching program. They will help with influencing and enlisting those within their reach, and they’ll set the appropriate metrics to measure the program’s success. As assessment of the coaching model is the first step in identifying potential stakeholders, some key stakeholders will simply shine due to their alignment with the business goals toward which the coaching program is aimed. Other leaders can and may step in as stakeholders for various reasons; some of the most common are demonstrated coaching competencies, mentor program integration and stretch assignments for emerging leaders. Some key things to keep in mind when confirming your stakeholder lineup are: Create room for stakeholders to execute their additional responsibilities Enable stakeholders to remove barriers as they show up Avoid appointing anyone who is not performing or exceeding expectations in their current role The investment in a coaching program is a long-running game, so it’s important to ensure long-term alignment with the stakeholders. Creating an onboarding and offboarding process for all stakeholders will be imperative to that leader in enlisting their team and managing the metrics put in place. Multi-phase Coaching Infrastructure: Coaching Philosophy: Framework Coaching Strategy: Assessment Coaching Infrastructure: Stakeholders/Roles and...
Hurricane Harvey: What We Can Learn From it and How to Help

Hurricane Harvey: What We Can Learn From it and How to Help

Our hearts go out to all of our friends, family, and clients in Texas who are coping with Hurricane Harvey, the event of a lifetime. Personally, I am very blessed to be in Georgetown, Texas with my family and with no negative impact. In the absence of being able to be on the ground or in a boat, we have donated to several great charities that are providing relief. See the links below if you feel moved to help from afar. Throughout this experience, I was reminded repeatedly that there is so much more that unites us than divides us. That our hearts and souls are the threads that bind us. The political nonsense and labeling on everyone’s social media stream are now gone. In their place are resources, love, and compassion. I find myself wondering how to be a part of maintaining this level of care, once the crisis has passed. The importance of clear communication has also been highlighted. When someone was asking for help in the over 2,000 rescues (as of writing this), they needed to be very clear on where they were so they could be located. With the many sources of support that were coming through, clarity of message was crucial for resources to be accessed. The Cajun Navy even had walkie talkie apps that were specific to them completing their job. There are even systems in place to check-in as “safe” so your loved ones can see you are okay, even when you may not be able to communicate directly. Early on, the lack of alignment between state and local government about whether...
Listen Up Leaders: How Body Language Plays a Crucial Role in Communication

Listen Up Leaders: How Body Language Plays a Crucial Role in Communication

Most people are aware that body language is a crucial part of communication. What most people take for granted is just how important it is to leadership. Yep, that’s right! The placement of your arms, your posture, even the way you cross your legs communicates something to your team members. Being aware of the way you present yourself to people could just give you the edge you’ve been searching for in your leadership and/or communication style. It almost seems unfair to give you one more thing to think about when you’re presenting or having a conversation. You have to make sure your dress is audience appropriate, you’re knowledgeable about what you’re saying, your word choice is intelligent, concise, and work appropriate, not to mention your presentation materials, and now you’re expected to pay attention to your body language? Yes, it’s a lot to ask, but you’re capable and can definitely handle it! So, let’s look into why this is such a vital part of leading. Establishing Your Presence If you’ve ever seen someone speak in front of a room, and immediately thought, “Wow, they must be important”, a huge part of that probably has something to do with their body language, specifically their power pose. A power pose is usually one that makes you appear large in your space. For example, a wide stance with your legs and large gestures with your arms make you look bigger by helping you occupy a larger space. This unconsciously gets people’s attention and records in their brain as “big and important”. Remember, all people have a limbic system, or “animal brain”, which subconsciously operates. It’s the same system that...