Category Archives: Communication

Having a feedback conversation with a difficult person

Having a Feedback Conversation with a Difficult Person

We’ve all smiled at the phrase “you know, feedback is a gift”.  But the receiver’s defensive reaction(s) can be a significant deterrent, when you are simply trying to be helpful by providing them feedback.  This is especially true if the receiver is someone who typically responds with difficult behaviors such as: interrupting, justifying, arguing, or worse, lashing out with brutal attacks.  They are often unaware (or even in denial) about their behavior.  I refer to these people as B/C Players.

Some leaders of B/C Players will “look the other way” and tolerate these behaviors.

The most common excuses I hear are:  “But they’re so productive and produce results”, or,
I don’t have time to deal with stuff like that”.

I find that B/C Players are usually poison in an organization.  They provide obstacles and make it difficult for A Players to thrive.  Oftentimes, they are poor examples of living the core values.

Leaders MUST deliver the tough feedback message by doing the following 8 things:

  1. Collect examples of behavior through first hand observations and interviews with A Players.
  2. Spend time thinking about how to make your feedback message behavioral (citing the actual behavior).
  3. Schedule a feedback meeting that is formal and structured.
  4. Deliver the feedback directly,  no sugar-coating.
  5. Actively listen to the B/C’s point of view, but don’t waiver from yours.
  6. Be willing to offer coaching.
  7. Get agreement about behavior change and follow up minimally on a monthly basis.
  8. Recognize improvements; stay firm if no improvement.

Leaders have an obligation to the organization and to A Players to deal with difficult people on their teams by having these conversations.

Building a high performing team

5 Steps for Building a High Performing Team

Imagine 2 Organizations…

The first is led by a leadership team whose members:

  • Are open with one another
  • Passionately debate important issues
  • Commit to clear decisions even if they initially disagree
  • Call each other out when their behaviors or performance needs correction
  • Focus their attention on the collective good of the organization

The second is led by a leadership team whose members:

  • Are guarded and less than honest with one another
  • Hold back during difficult conversations
  • Feign commitment
  • Hesitate to call one another on unproductive behaviors
  • Pursue their own agenda rather than those of the greater organization

What steps have you taken to build a higher performing organization where you work?

 

 

What Makes a Winner a Winner?

I had an opportunity today to coach and train a young middle management team at one of my Fortune 100 clients.  It inspired me to ask myself, what are the qualities that leaders need to demonstrate to be a winner?

The topic was helping them develop strong and effective meeting facilitation skills and getting groups to make a decision.  They came in a bit resistant, but within minutes I could see enthusiasm, desire and willingness to not only absorb the material but to connect with it, apply it and see new possibilities for introducing the skills and concepts into their organization.

I was in the company, all day, with “A Players”.

I can’t over emphasize the importance hiring and retaining A players in your organization.  To do this, you must focus on finding talented people who are not only smart and capable but demonstrate the values of leading, commitment, making a difference and of learning. For me, that creates a winner.

what makes a winner a winner?

What Makes a Winner a Winner?

I had an opportunity today to coach and train a young middle management team at one of my Fortune 100 clients.  It inspired me to ask myself, what are the qualities that leaders need to demonstrate to be a winner?

The topic was helping them develop strong and effective meeting facilitation skills and getting groups to make a decision.  They came in a bit resistant, but within minutes I could see enthusiasm, desire and willingness to not only absorb the material but to connect with it, apply it and see new possibilities for introducing the skills and concepts into their organization.

I was in the company, all day, with “A Players”.

I can’t over emphasize the importance hiring and retaining A players in your organization.  To do this, you must focus on finding talented people who are not only smart and capable but demonstrate the values of leading, commitment, making a difference and of learning. For me, that creates a winner.

Critical Conversations in a large group

Having Critical Conversations As a Large Group

I’m amazed at how critical meetings and the simplest elements for group communication continues to stymie the organizations that I work with.

I recently spent a day with a client’s leadership team. The following day, we added the next level of management below them to the meeting.

Initially the CEO asked me, “can you bring in the middle managers and facilitate a meaningful conversation among us?  There are half a dozen issues on which we’re not aligned, where we have conflict, and where we don’t communicate”.

We ended having an effective day, had a number of good conversations and solved several key issues.

In doing so, we identified the 5 things that an organization must do to be more effective:

  1. Leaders must become strong facilitators.
  2. A Leader must create a thoughtful agenda that includes critical conversations with outcomes.
  3. Teams must gain an appreciation for conflict and passionate debate.
  4. Team members must develop trust and be authentic with each other.
  5. Discussions need to come to a close with problems solved and decisions supported by all.

Leaders and organizations can and must learn how to do these things in order to scale and achieve outstanding results.

Having Critical Conversations As a Large Group

I’m amazed at how critical meetings and the simplest elements for group communication continues to stymie the organizations that I work with.

I recently spent a day with a client’s leadership team. The following day, we added the next level of management below them to the meeting.

Initially the CEO asked me, “can you bring in the middle managers and facilitate a meaningful conversation among us?  There are half a dozen issues on which we’re not aligned, where we have conflict, and where we don’t communicate”.

We ended having an effective day, had a number of good conversations and solved several key issues.

In doing so, we identified the 5 things that an organization must do to be more effective:

  1. Leaders must become strong facilitators.
  2. A Leader must create a thoughtful agenda that includes critical conversations with outcomes.
  3. Teams must gain an appreciation for conflict and passionate debate.
  4. Team members must develop trust and be authentic with each other.
  5. Discussions need to come to a close with problems solved and decisions supported by all.

Leaders and organizations can and must learn how to do these things in order to scale and achieve outstanding results.