communication skills

Transforming the Employee Evaluation

As a supervisor, giving an employee evaluation can be dreadful. You start by staring at yet another blank form. You go through each performance category, carefully marking your choice of below average, average, or above average. And when done, you recheck your responses, making sure that the report is “balanced.” Too many low marks, and your employee might be upset. Too many high and there is nowhere to aspire. What is the answer? Rank the employee in the middle…the sweet spot! Not hanging back, not showing off. The solution is average.

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10 Ways to Become a Horrible Communicator

Are things just going too smoothly? Does everyone seem to be in harmony and all on the same page? Here are a few ways to really rock the boat and make everyone hate communicating with you. Then you don’t have to be a communicator at all!

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Why are you ignoring me?

One of the toughest jobs in an organization is that of a front-line supervisor. In this position, they get hit from both directions – from those who directly report to them and from those that they report to. Often, they have less authority to make decisions and more overall constraints. Instead, they are given directives on what should or should not be done and are expected to carry out the directive without question. Recently, we’ve had several front-line supervisors share with us that they are frustrated and feel like their suggestions, recommendations, and opinions are dismissed, ignored, or not taken into consideration.

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The Business of Listening

Of all the skills important to a successful manager, effective listening is arguably the most valuable. It can be the difference between mediocre and exceptional relationships between friends, customers, employees, and co-workers.

Listening is one of the most difficult skills to master. Most people aren’t born effective listeners. One reason is because real listening involves letting go of personal agendas to better understand another’s message. Many would much rather be heard than hear, usually resulting in misunderstanding.

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What’s your problem?

Recently we were working with a group of leaders and discussing an issue about an employee. The issue the leader brought up was how to get an employee to look for multiple options in order to solve a specific problem. As we do in many sessions, the group took turns asking questions about the situation. No one is allowed to offer solutions until the issue is fully vetted. This process forces the other leaders not to jump in to solve the problem right away, but get to the root cause of the situation.

Through this process, the team discovered that the situation that was being discussed was merely a symptom of a much larger issue. The leader that brought the situation to the group had been repeatedly frustrated by some of the actions of this employee but had not looked beyond whatever the current ‘problem’ was.

How often does it happen where we address concerns with an employee multiple times but don’t really get the problem solved? 

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Crucial Conversations

What is it about some people that make them so great at leading people? Is it their conversational style? Is it their personality? Or is it a person’s ability to approach crucial conversations in a way that is respectful and effective?

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How Do Your Communication Skills Measure Up?

Communication: It’s an exchange. A process of sharing your thoughts, ideas, or feelings with another person. It’s easy right? Not so much. For communication to be effective, it requires great skill in both listening and speaking. Here are a few tips to improve your skills as a communicator.

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Communication…It Doesn’t Come Easy!

As we all know, the way people interact with each other in today’s world is drastically different than it was twenty years ago…Who are we kidding? It’s even different than it was five years ago. Problems can quickly arise if people don’t know how to handle or manage conflict. Even something as small as a short email can be easily misconstrued. The result: a cascade of collusion affecting culture, morale, and even productivity. And getting your team back on track can take a large amount of time as you try to act as referee or translator.

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It’s as simple as a conversation…

Do you find yourself doing projects yourself because you don’t trust that others will do the job correctly? Team members and managers alike fall into this habit more than you think. What tends to follow are things like enormous workloads, anger at teammates, job dissatisfaction, low morale, and employee burn-out.

Common sense would tell us to confront the people on our team to fix the problem. Right? Well, in reality, many people will avoid this confrontation altogether. 

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