The #1 Thing Sabotaging Your Conversations & How to Fix It

The #1 Thing Sabotaging Your Conversations & How to Fix It

What are identity concerns? Identity concerns are the internal questions that arise and make us feel attacked when faced with tough conversations. We race through all that’s going on around us, all we can remember about the situation being discussed, the data points we have about the person talking with us, and perhaps most important all the questions we have about ourselves. Identity concerns look like the following: Why are they saying this to me? What do they think of me? What do others think of me? What are they NOT saying? Am I good enough? Am I worthy of this relationship, this job, this opportunity? Am I capable? As the questions swirl in our head, anxiety grows, and we began to move along the spectrum of fight or flight. Our body tenses and emotions take over. Our ability to hold a quality conversation diminishes as we get lost in our stories. These thoughts complicate the situation and inhibit our ability to be truly present and engaged in the conversation at hand. We introduce dynamics that cloud our judgement and prevent moving the conversation toward resolution and the outcome we truly want. Dealing with our identity concerns helps us get back in conversation and keep communication flowing.  It helps us move from a place of blame and judgement to contribution and mutual purpose. Start by naming your identity concerns. What questions or concerns about yourself are popping up most and generating emotions which are in the way of dialogue? Look for patterns:  Is there a recurring trigger that generates the concerns? What personal filters are you applying to how...
How to Understand the Impact of Our Stories in Tough Conversations

How to Understand the Impact of Our Stories in Tough Conversations

Communication is a tool. Communication is easily one of the most underrated tools we use. We go about our days casually conversing with each other, and perhaps not realizing just how important our exchanges are. We’ve all been hurt by something someone has said; during our rumination of the conversation, we think “If they only understood where I was coming from!” Unfortunately, we don’t often take the time, or have the fortitude, to seek out understanding. We feel as though our version of events is THE version of events. Knowing there are two sides to every story and actually practicing it are two very different things! Just like a hammer needs a nail, communication requires understanding of our stories. My story. One day a few years ago, my friend Matt and I were writing a song. With a notebook and our voices, we sat at the piano and teased out lyrics and a melody. Once finished, we decided to record a video of it to share online. I pressed record, and we were off! When we were about mid-recording, I looked at the camera screen in front of us and noticed there was something going on in the background. I turned around to see my sister doing an interpretive dance to our composition… “Daria!” I exclaimed in frustration, “We’re recording!!!” She, feeling sheepish, confessed she had no idea we were filming and left the room. She disappeared for an hour and eventually returned with a bruised ego. Once Matt left, she told me I had made her feel terrible - that the tone of my voice was really harsh!...
Simple Emotional Intelligence Advice to Improve Your Day

Simple Emotional Intelligence Advice to Improve Your Day

If you were asked who your toughest critic is, who would you name? Your boss, a family member, a mentor? Chances are, it’s actually you. As a coach, I see this all the time. As a person, I experience it myself. Our inner commentators have something to say about everything, and when we don’t live up to our own lofty expectations, it goes into overdrive. So, here’s a simple phrase I’ve found can help build your emotional intelligence and brighten your day! It’s the phrase I speak when a client is being hard on herself for something she doesn’t like about herself. It’s the phrase I speak when a client beats himself up because he thinks he’s not supposed to feel whatever he’s feeling. I say: “BE KIND TO YOURSELF TODAY.” Something as simple as telling someone to be kind to themselves can lift a heaviness they weren’t even aware was there. I’ve asked myself, What is that heaviness? And what I’ve seen is that it’s the part of us that refuses to accept ourselves for however we’re showing up in any given moment. If you think about it, we get mad at ourselves for being mad, frustrated with ourselves for being frustrated, and sad that we’re sad. We add intensity to whatever negative emotion we’re experiencing and make the situation more challenging by harping extra judgment on ourselves. We tell ourselves we’re not SUPPOSED to feel whatever we’re feeling, that we’ve got to stop being that way, and it downward spirals from there. But what if we extended a little more grace to ourselves? Which is where, “Be Kind To Yourself...
How big is your accountability? Probably not big enough.

How big is your accountability? Probably not big enough.

Is accountability on your radar at work? It should be, because chances are it’s on your leader’s mind. Here’s a sobering statistic: 1 out of 10 managers believe 50% of their employees avoid taking responsibility for their actions. And, to add insult to injury, The Workplace Accountability Study recently revealed that 82% of respondents have no ability to hold others accountable, but 91% of people rank accountability as one of the top development needs they’d like to see at their organization. Now that we understand the impact it has, what is accountability anyway? Tryb Founder, Lexy Thompson believes, “The essence of accountability is simple: it starts with us and continues when we pass our choices, commitment and awareness to another.” Accountability can vary for many reasons, but it always begins with a choice. I recently had the opportunity to see this in action at a local leadership summit. The event was a veritable revolving-door of the city’s most influential leaders, and after I had the opportunity to learn from, ask questions of and collaborate with each, one thing became crystal clear: accountability is definitely NOT one size fits all. [Related Read :3 Ways You Can Actually Build Accountability at Work] The guest leaders did their best to tow the line of their respective office or department, but there was something different about the way each connected to their message, or to us, that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I quickly realized what was eluding me…accountability! There were two varieties of leadership accountability in the room that day: Some leaders had accountability for changes to their teams, projects,...
2 Tips To Actually Have a Successful Job Transition

2 Tips To Actually Have a Successful Job Transition

Congratulations! You just got the job offer you’ve been waiting for. Now all that stands between you and your new, exciting position is to give notice to your current employer and making your path toward the proverbial door. Sounds easy, right? Maybe your new employer offered you more money, more responsibility, a bigger team or chic workspace. You’d be chomping at the bit to part ways with your old role, happily shaking hands and hugging people after receiving heartfelt congratulations from colleagues and bosses alike. The last view they’ll have is you skipping joyfully towards your car, cardboard box and withered office plant in tow. Well, while we’d all love a sendoff as kind and uneventful as I’ve depicted…unfortunately, many transitions are anything but. It’s just not that easy…but it IS simple. There are two factors you’ll want to keep in mind as you or a colleague transition: 1.    Emotions2.    Boundaries Ending one journey to begin another is an emotional process. From joy to fear, gratitude to disgust, our own emotions (and those of colleagues, etc.) can run the gambit. And you know what happens when emotions run high? We tell STORIES! Stories leave us stuck and make having productive conversation very difficult. There might be things unsaid, plans left to be made or handoffs that need to happen before you go. How can you get past the stories (your own or others) to have the discussions you need to have? Gossip is another inevitable part of the transition. It’s a form of story that can have far-reaching consequences. One of those consequences is blurred and breached boundaries. Boundary...
Losing talent? Burning bridges? Lacking this communication skill is why.

Losing talent? Burning bridges? Lacking this communication skill is why.

Righteous anger or snap judgement? It’s Sunday as the president of the company strolls through the facility. Everyone is either at the plant or on call. Orders are at the highest level in years and margins are screaming high. The shop can’t supply parts fast enough to meet demand. At the same time, other company divisions are struggling to meet sales targets. Pressure from corporate to maximize returns for stockholders is incredible. Everyone feels it! Shop floor employees are stressed because they’re being measured in every way possible. Management is scrambling to cover every minute of the day with resources 24/7. Customers have multiple representatives in the plant to personally monitor progress of their orders. As the president approaches a key piece of equipment, he finds no operator and the machine stopped. He shakes his head in disgust, and his temperature rises in anger. He storms a path to the supervisor, loudly and intimidatingly expressing the need to have the machine running non-stop! The next morning, at the twice daily production meeting, the shop manager starts his usual report of production metrics when the president interrupts and asks about the machines running through breaks and shift changes. The manager states, “That is exactly what’s being done.” The president pounces! He proceeds to raise his voice and curse at the manager about lack of control, lack of responsibility, and disregard for the company goals and customer expectations. The manager’s body slumps as he glances at the faces of his peers in the room as if begging for help. His eyes are red and the lack of sleep and immense stress...