Feedback: Friend or Foe?

Whether you are giving feedback or receiving it, does the word itself just make you want to run the other way? I’ve heard this response more than once and I myself was once quite adverse to both giving and receiving it. I thought it meant I was being criticized and took it to mean I did something wrong and in some way was doing a poor job. But if we think about the gymnast training for the Olympics or the NFL player working towards the Super Bowl or the dancer trying to get in to the New York City Ballet, are they doing something wrong?  These people train year after year with coaches who are inches from their ear with guess what…feedback! They would get no where without this constant stream of information moving them towards greater and stronger improvements. What if we saw feedback as if we were training for the Gold in our workplace? What if we thought of it as an opportunity to get better at our skills and attitudes? In other words, what if we ran towards it rather than away from it? Continue reading

Confronting Without Conflict: A workplace communication tool

After recently re-reading Jim Collin’s book From Good to Great, I was once again reminded that the ability to disagree without fighting or tension, is both an art and one of the most useful skills we can have for great communication at work.

Without a doubt, we will have differences of opinions and frankly, we want differences of opinions from which to adopt and cull the best solutions. But how do you express these differences without the extra baggage of angst, stress, and negativity that so often get in the way of making ourselves understood?      communication at work

What do these words mean?

We can understand the word confront to simply mean laying out what you see. In other words, here are the facts. It comes with no extra baggage, but merely stating a point of view or position in a particular situation. If we expressed ourselves in this type of easy manner our communication at work would be hugely more successful. But often times we aren’t that easy and instead we might be more apt to create conflict.

You may have noticed I said that we “create conflict” as opposed to conflict happening to us or being a fact of life. Continue reading

Communication at Work: Authenticity is Key

You’re at work and the person you’re talking to continues to text away without a stop. How do you respond authentically to this situation? You could just stop talking as a hint to the person to stop texting or tell them that you’ll wait until they’re donCommunication at worke.

But why not talk about what’s going on? Why not have a quick open  conversation so that both people get clarity and mutual understanding about what’s happening and then decide how to proceed?

If we want to have effective communication at work and have mutual understanding, then being authentic is essential. 

What is being authentic?

It’s a fundamental support tool for helping your staff understand goals, intentions, and the strategies for achieving those goals. It’s the great confusion buster because when we say what we think and what we know, we always create greater clarity. Continue reading

Case Study – From High Turnover to Raving Fans

Sandra owns several movie theaters in the Northeast region of the US. When we first started working together, her staff turnover was high and she described her customer service as atrocious. Her staff was angry, frustrated, and not working for the welfare of the business. They basically modeled themselves after Sandra who herself was angry, frustrated, and spoke to the staff with a sharp tongue. The going line amongst the staff was, “Whatever you do, don’t tell Sandra.” The reason was that no matter what you would tell her, she would come back aggressively angry.

Consulting Process
After Sandra and I worked together for several months, she clearly saw that her anger was actually covering up (1) her lack of trust in her employees; and (2) her ability to manage. She had a general fear of letting go and allowing her staff to take over responsibilities for her business which she began to see was unfounded since they were a capable group of young people.

The result of the work we did together completely changed how she operated. She started by letting go of being angry and instead approached her staff with open-ended, non-accusatory questions to accomplish training and management. She learned to listen to her employees in a new way which led to really hearing what they said instead of just telling them what to do.

She has created warm and respectful relationships with her staff who now will do anything to support her and the business. Whereas before she had a high staff turnover, it’s now next to nil and her customers have become her raving fans. They now tell her, “Your prices got me in, but it’s your customer service that keeps me coming back.”



Conflict Resolution at Work: The Essential First Step

If you Google the phrase Conflict Resolution, you will come up with 7,630,000 entries. That’s a lot of people talking about a subject that people want help with. Why?

When we think about the word conflict, we usually see it as an adversarial position. In other words, me against you or you against me and is often attached to a slew of             uncomfortable feelings like fear, loss, humiliation, hurt, anger, and pain. When we’re at work and think about having a conflict-laden conversation it can feel exhausting and sometimes we become more focused on the conflict than our work, wasting precious time and energy. We perseverate about the situation in our minds and often talk about the issue to everyone except the person we’re having the issue with. We’re up at two in the morning and get headaches and stomachaches just thinking about it.  And for many people, the word conflict is just downright scary. Continue reading

5 Tips for More Effective Communication At Work

We do it all day long. We don’t even know we’re doing it. We have issues with our communication at work and not even sure why. What’s the “it” that we do as easily as breathe? We make assumptionscommunication at work

Making assumptions in our communication at work creates more havoc than one would imagine simply because we are calling something a “fact” when it is generally far from factual. For example, your co-worker is 20 minutes late for an important meeting that you’re holding at a nearby restaurant. You decide his lateness means he doesn’t respect you and as you sit waiting you begin to get angry and frustrated. What really happened was that he lost the directions, left his phone in the office, and ran like the dickens to show up for this meeting that was important to him as well. Meanwhile, you’re steaming because you thought that his not respecting you was a “fact”, when it was just your assumption.

What can you do when your communication at work is less than stellar? Continue reading

Workplace Performance and The Energy of YES!

Did you know that employee well-being has been found to have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line?

According to the recent findings from Gallup, when employees have a high degree of       ell-being they also have a high degree of engagement at work, resulting in greater workplace performance and less loss of money.

The reason for this is that every day those people come to work more consistently, more often give their best efforts, are more apt to perform at peak level, and show up with enthusiasm for what they’re doing. For those employees having a low degree of well-being, the opposite has been found to be true. Gallup estimates that this costs the workforce in the United States more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone.

What underlies a high degree of employee well-being and a high degree of workplace performance? It’s what I like to think of as, the energy of YES! The energy of YES is what’s behind all creative and successful endeavors and spurs us on to accomplishing great things. Continue reading

Great Communication Leads to Greater Customer Service

At 7 years old, if I got a penny I spent in on bubble gum. If I had a nickel, I would get some M&M’s. Money would come to me in drips and drabs until one day…I got a charge account for Jack and Goldie’s downstairs candy store. It was clear that business was booming in the sugar industry on Broadway and 204th Street in New York and the dentists were making a fortune on this little girl’s teeth.

What made Jack and Goldie’s candy store so compelling for me? Certainly it was the sugar. But it also was a place I could go to and be treated fairly and with respect. In other  words, they had great customer service…at least where it concerned me.

What makes for great customer service?

It’s an interesting question in this day and age of e-commerce, retail stores, online auctions, and probably still, the local lemonade stand. But great customer service, no matter what kind of store format, has one thing in common, which is to support and help the customer get what they want.  I certainly got what I wanted at Jack and Goldie’s and how they treated me was part of the equation. Continue reading

Gratitude at Work and Beyond

This morning I received an e-mail about an upcoming leadership workshop, which is nothing new. But today, hidden within the promo was this article about gratitude and the idea of using gratitude in the workplace as well as in other areas of our lives.  This article was written by Dr. Patricia Wheeler, who is an executive and team coach and Managing Partner in the Levin Group LLC. I was deeply moved by her story about Gratitude, loved her thoughts about using it at work, and thought you might find this useful as well. Read on!


Despite living a good life, many of us often struggle with what’s really good enough, and how can we continue to have even more.  And why shouldn’t we want more?  Doesn’t wanting more increase our drive?

Many managers believe they should focus on what’s not done, rather than feeling happy and grateful with what is done.  Where’s the balance between wanting more and being grateful with what we have? Continue reading

Case Study – From Manager Conflicts to a Smooth Running Business

Karen is the co-owner of a Midwest plumbing company and was having challenges with her two most important managers. She felt completely overwhelmed by their lack of ability to work together amicably and didn’t see how she could get them to change.

Consulting Process
From our sessions together she realized two things; (1) that she was operating from the fear that if they didn’t work out their relationship she would lose one or both, which would lead to negative repercussions for her company. As she saw what was underlying her fear, she also saw how ridiculous that was. Since she was able to manage the company before these two people came on board, she realized that she would be fine if indeed they decided  to leave. That was a huge relief and a very powerful perspective for her.

(2) She also realized she could ask them to change how they were behaving and apologize to one another in a sincere and heartfelt manner…which she did.

The fundamental change came from Karen first. Once she adopted the new belief that she would be fine with or without these two managers, she dropped her fear which then freed her to ask her managers to own their actions, apologize, and support one another.

Although they didn’t seem open at the time, two weeks later the two managers stepped up to the plate. While Karen was gone for a week, these two people worked together in absolute harmony. This was a first since typically, after being away, she would come back to havoc between these two. This gave Karen the firm foundation that she had been trying to build for months and upon which her business would now run more effectively.