4 Skills to Speak with Clarity in Tough Conversations

4 Skills to Speak with Clarity in Tough Conversations

Miscommunication… What an annoying word! We hear and experience it all the time, with seemingly no end to the “mis-” of it all. Miscommunication is inevitable when we’re dealing with people. Right? Maybe not. Being human guarantees we won’t “get it right” 100% of the time—it also means we strive to do and be better, so if we can reduce the amount of miscommunication on our end of things, we can contribute to the general death of “miscommunication”. Though there are many things contributing to poor communication, speaking with clarity—our message is delivered inline with our intentions—goes a long, long, long way in preventing drama and repetitive conversations. There are 4 skills we can employ to speak with clarity when conversations get tough: Story ≠ truth Say what you mean Share how you got to your conclusions Do NOT exaggerate Reflecting on the previous night’s events, Patrick shook his head in disbelief.  He estimated a single email had blown up to at least 20 emails, 5 phone calls, 20+ texts, multiple hallway conversations, snaps, instant messages, etc.  Not good for his career. Unfortunately, we tend to kick up a lot dust when it comes to tough conversations.  Rewind back 12 hours.  Patrick was running the night shift.  After he had the team settled in on the schedule and made his rounds he sat down to catch up on emails.  Shortly after he began a new email popped up from the night operational administrator, Cindy.  It was short and direct.  “Prep room 8015 on the East wing.  We have a VIP arriving tomorrow morning and that room is to be held for them.”...
[Lucrative Lookback] How Team Dysfunction Hurts Your Bottom Line & Our Free Cost Calculator

[Lucrative Lookback] How Team Dysfunction Hurts Your Bottom Line & Our Free Cost Calculator

We already know the Cost of Avoidance is $1,500 & and 8 hour workday for every conflict we avoid, which, for an organization of 250, costs a minimum of $200,000! If you thought that was steep, get ready in this week’s Lucrative Lookback to see the baseline cost of dysfunctional teams. I’ll give you a second to take a deep breath and really get comfortable. We’re heading into 7 figures here, folks! Down to the business of team dysfunction. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a dysfunctional team, or have witnessed one first hand. Now, raise your hand if you thought that was/looked like fun! No one? *Cue Sarcasm* How odd! In all seriousness, dysfunctional teams are the bane of every stakeholder’s existence. They look bad, they feel worse and their performance is even more dismal than that…if you even want to call what they are doing performance. This infographic sums up the baseline financial cost of dysfunctional teams in an organization of 250 people: That number is a bit sobering, especially considering this is not a large organization! Keep in mind, this is only the baseline financial cost. It doesn’t even include the estimated $200,000 from conflict avoidance! Other detriments that aren’t calculated above include: Lack of trust & safety High levels of disengaged employees Wasted time gossiping, avoiding conflict etc. High turnover Knowledge gaps Lost faith in leadership Poor internal mobilization Missed opportunities Absenteeism Inefficiency Low morale Stress/health problems Poor teamwork Calculate your costs. Infographics are great, but sometimes it’s hard to find them relatable. Perhaps you’re in an organization larger or smaller than 250....
When To Talk About It and When To Let It Go

When To Talk About It and When To Let It Go

Has an encounter ever bothered you, and you weren’t sure whether to talk about it with the person involved, or just let it go? How do you decide such a thing? Maybe you created a pros/cons list, maybe you sought advice from people you trust, or maybe you just did whatever felt best in the moment. For many of us, one or all of these strategies have failed, causing us to make a not so desirable situation worse. Talk about it, or let it go? I’ve been leading a lot of workshops lately and have received feedback after each session about the clients’ experience. Overall, the feedback has been great, until yesterday. I received feedback from one person that wasn’t necessarily negative, but it also wasn’t singing my praises. Man!!! I thought to myself, should I ask a little bit more about what was there for this person, perhaps what was missing to learn for next time? Or should I just let it go? (Not everyone is going to give us raving reviews, right?) Based on what I’ve been learning recently from the book, Difficult Conversations, I reexamined what might be my purpose for bringing it up and what also might be my reason for just letting it go. [Related Article: How to Talk to People Better] Here are three purposes that work: 1. Learning Their Story In other words, how can I explore the other person’s perspective about what happened in the workshop? What information do they have access to that I may have missed? What is their reasoning for their feedback? What past experiences have influenced their current...
How To Talk To People Better

How To Talk To People Better

You probably remember a conversation you’ve had where someone said something harsh to you and then justified it by pleading, “I’m just being honest!” It’s like they were saying, “I’m just being a good person, in the service of Honesty, so if it hurts you, it’s not my problem.” Perhaps they think you’ll take less offense because they’re attempting to embody a noble characteristic, but most of the time that isn’t the case. In fact, if you’re like me, any time someone says, “I’m just being honest!” after saying something harsh, I take double the offense. Why is that? Well, the reason those “just being honest” people bother us so much is because they’re only taking responsibility for what they think is a noble intention and not taking responsibility for the impact of what they’ve said on us. They’re over there on their side of the conversation in their white gloves, meanwhile we’re feeling hurt. So what do we do? In the New York Times Business Bestseller, Difficult Conversations, the answer is to disentangle intention from impact. It says, “Intentions strongly influence our judgments of others: If someone intended to hurt us, we judge them more harshly than if they hurt us by mistake. We’re willing to be inconvenienced by someone if they have a good reason, we’re irritated if we think they just don’t care about the impact of their actions on us.” In the the case of someone who keeps pulling the “just being honest” card, here are five steps to assure that when you talk to others, you can leave the conversation with more understanding on both sides: 1....
How to Easily Manage Expectations for Better Work Relationships

How to Easily Manage Expectations for Better Work Relationships

Don’t you just hate it when someone does not live up to your expectations? I mean, you see them in such a bright light, knowing they’re highly competent and then they…well…let you down. If only they’d get stuff done the way you expect them to get it done! Dealing with violated expectations. How do you hold other people accountable for violated expectations, broken promises, and/or bad behavior? Well, that’s a course-worth of information! But, let me tell you about something that happened this morning with my team that got me thinking about setting people up for success so you decrease the likeliness of needing to hold them accountable in the first place. In the past, things have played out as I described earlier: I had an expectation that someone just do their job, and when they don’t meet my expectation of that, I feel let down and exasperated! That is, until I learned that sometimes what I expect of people is, unfortunately, only a conversation I’ve had with myself and not with them. How would our relationships and performance be different if the expectations we had of each other were made very clear? Like crystal clear? So, back to my team call. I began a group discussion about a change I thought could be made to a company document we use regularly. We use a project management software to keep ourselves organized, so what I might have done was, once everyone agreed upon the change, simply added it to the person’s list whose role it fell under. Tada! Request made, everything should be good to go. But, no. I...
How to Stop Office Gossip Once and For All

How to Stop Office Gossip Once and For All

In the past ten years I’ve been a part of two teams: the first, the Canadian Women’s Water Polo Team, and the second, Trybal Performance. Since joining Trybal, it’s been a natural thing for me to compare what this team feels like versus what playing for Team Canada felt like. Not so much in the “jumping in the pool and throwing a water polo ball” sense, but more in the sense of team dynamics.  The main thing that sticks out to me is having a clear set of team values. As soon as Trybal was created, so were its values, and our founder has made sure we all know and live them. I have mine taped in my notebook. For example, I know I’m expected to Create Safety (value 2)  for my trybmates and express Kind Candor (value 3), which gives me a guideline for how to behave.  Not only does it guide my behaviour, but it gives me the place to hold someone accountable when they’re not living our values. So when I think of my experience with Team Canada, that was something that was missing. When you don’t have a clear system of accountability, the essential glue that holds the team together is missing. One of the things I remember being bothered by most was the presence of gossip. We spent so many hours together, which had us argue like sisters at times (expected), but since we didn’t have clearly defined values, the arguing like sisters would turn into gossipping. There were cliques, and it impacted our ability to be united and, therfore, performant. When you grow...