Tag Archives: coaching

Family Wealth Alliance Webinar – Sept 14

15 Aug

webinar

Criticism–used well, this powerful leadership tool can promote positive change and strengthen relationships in business and life. Is it possible to use criticism at work without breeding resentment?

Dr. Deborah Bright, best-selling author and business coach, joins Family Wealth Alliance CEO Tom Livergood for a free webinar and fireside chat about the highly misunderstood topic of using criticism positively in the workplace.

Dr. Bright offers valuable techniques from her most recent book, rated by getAbstract as one of this year’s top 5 business books! She pulls tips from her book The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change to help us:

  • Understand the essential role of criticism in the workplace
  • Overcome common mistakes made when giving criticism
  • Gain insights on handling difficult work-related situations

Register now for this free 1-hour webinar on September 14th, 2:00PM EDT. Turbocharge your workplace and career by learning to strengthen relationships and enhance performance with criticism!

Note: Dr. Bright’s 30-minute fireside chat will follow Bob Legan, of Whitnell & Company, discussing unique issues and planning opportunities with family owned or closely held businesses.

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You Don’t Have to Like Those You Manage

16 Oct

It’s yet another reorganization and, as the manager of the customer service department, you now have Marilyn reporting to you. It doesn’t take long before you secretly decide that you don’t like her. She has annoying habits that get under your skin. For instance, like most people, you hate to be interrupted and invariably, when speaking with her, she frequently, and unhesitatingly, boldly cuts you off in the middle of a sentence.. To make matters even worse, in meetings she has the habit of correcting you in front of others over the most trivial of items. She also anticipates what you are going to say before you have a chance to finish your sentence. She’ll say, “I get it,” when you believe she really doesn’t. Keeping this picture in mind, what do you need to do to motivate yourself to work with and develop this employee?

Let’s be honest, you need not think of yourself as the only manager who has had to come to terms with a situation like this. While it may take a lot of energy on your part, here are some tips to consider before you actually go into action and approach this type of employee.

Tip #1: Liking a Marilyn is not a prerequisite to dealing with a Marilyn

To begin with, even though you dislike this employee you must not be discouraged from managing her effectively. As a manager, no one ever postulated that you have to like the people who report to you. Your job and role as a leader is to work with them. If you have ever played competitive sports or acted in a play, you’ll easily recall how important it was to focus on the overall goal and to pull together, even if all the players didn’t like one another. It’s a similar situation here. Once you adopt this mental framework, you’re now ready to create an atmosphere of acceptance for criticism. That’s right! Once you realize that by using the proper application of criticism as a way of diminishing the behaviors that get in the way of the major goal of working effectively together, it is then that you are on your way to a successful working relationship. At this point, you are not pointing out Marilyn’s behaviors that annoy you. Instead you are investing time and energy to build a common understanding of how best to work together, so that future conflicts will be minimized and any criticisms delivered will be perceived as helpful.

Tip #2: Create an Atmosphere of Acceptance for Criticism.

Like most people, you might think that criticism of others is a sure way to invite conflict. But, the truth is that criticism, used properly, can be one of the best and most effective learning tools available to managers. It can actually enhance trust and respect in relationships. Most people fail at the effective use of criticism mainly because they do not first create the atmosphere in which it can thrive to everyone’s advantage. To establish an atmosphere of acceptance means taking some time to develop a clear understanding of how best to approach each other when criticism becomes necessary . What’s important to emphasize during your discussion with Marilyn is the role criticism plays at work and how it is linked to helping her to grow and develop. This is a valuable discussion to have because most employees have received little to no training on this subject. Furthermore, if your organization has painted over the word ‘criticism’ – like so many have – then like others in the workforce, Marilyn will be very confused and will need to understand this essential aspect of communication. To further encourage a two way exchange, find out if Marilyn has encountered bosses in the past who have engaged in candid conversations about her performance and what she can do better. By taking this broad approach you are positioning yourself to enter more easily into a discussion about how best to approach Marilyn with criticism. You should never have to guess about how best to approach her. During you exchange, the focus is to develop a common understanding of expectations. If you are wondering whether or not Marilyn would be able to engage in a conversation where she expresses her preferences for how best to be approached, fear not. It’s been my experience that every employee knows what turns them off and what turns them on. They just need to be asked. Millennials, in particular, are looking for feedback. What they are sensitive to is how it is delivered. It needs to be digestible.

Tip #3: Have a Marilyn’s Best Interests in Mind

It’s also essential for you to let Marilyn know you have her best interest in mind so she readily recognizes that the criticism is meant to be helpful. One way you can convey this is by making sure you always show value when delivering criticism. In order to show value, you need to link the criticism to what’s important to Marilyn or to her career goals. Let’s say in the six weeks that you’ve worked with Marilyn you’ve learned from talking to her that she places importance on being respected. Knowing that makes it possible for you to point out to Marilyn how her interruption of others sends the wrong message. More specifically, point out to Marilyn that interrupting others is not only rude but also conveys the notion that what she has to say is more important than what they have to say. It also communicates that she is not interested in listening to what the other person has to say, and that indirectly says she doesn’t respect them. Perhaps your reminded of the following expression, “I wouldn’t give you the time of day if I didn’t respect you.” So listening without interruption sends an indirect message of respect. Now, Marilyn will readily understand where you are coming from as opposed to concluding incorrectly that what you have to say to her is trivial or that you are picking on her.

By taking care to create an atmosphere for effective and acceptable criticism you are ready now to communicate with the Marilyn’s out there and turn them around from someone who is tough to work with to someone you can get along with and go forward. By putting these important tips to work you will immediately find that being open and transparent will be interpreted as helpful and that’s motivating, not only for Marilyn, but for everyone on your team who has to interact with Marilyn.

Deb Bright, Ed.D., is founder and president of Bright Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm devoted to enhancing performance. Her roster of clients includes Raytheon, Marriott, Disney, GE, Chase, Morgan Stanley, and other premier organizations. She is also a best-selling author. Her newest book is entitled The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change (AMACOM Books).

Sure Fire Tips for Handling Pressure: Symptom #3

8 Jan

Office Worker with Mountain of Paperwork

Symptom #3 – You are experiencing difficulty concentrating and getting to work on the task at hand because your mind is racing at the speed of light as it scans all the things that you have yet to get done.

Cause and Cure:  What’s happening is that you have momentarily lost your focus.  It’s quite a common occurrence today.  So it’s relieving to know you are not alone.  To regain your focus and to handle the pressured feelings, try practicing Bright’s 2M Simultaneous Focus Quick Charge.  The first “M” stands for the macro picture and the second “M” represents the micro picture.  By imagining a camera lens, you can adjust your focus so you see both the Macro and the Micro perspective simultaneously.

When you are able to see the macro picture you may realize that you are not dealing with life and death issues, or consider reminding yourself that five years from now this deadline will not significantly affect your life.  With this realization in mind, the intense pressured feelings you are experiencing will suddenly lessen and you will be able to better direct your energies and move into action.

Likewise, if you are operating in the macro picture and feeling overwhelmed by viewing everything that needs to be done, you can move yourself into action by focusing your camera lens on the micro picture.  Do this by asking yourself, “What is one thing I can start working on right now that will ultimately result in making a valuable difference?”  For instance, imagine having lots to do and only three hours left in your day.   Adjust your lens to view the micro picture, and choose one task you can work on in the next three hours that will make a valuable difference.  Using the 2M Zoom is a catalyst for moving into action.

Please visit us at www.drbright.com

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Receiving Criticism: Tip #1

16 Nov

Ask yourself if the intent is positive: Pay more attention to the “what” versus the “how”

Being able to sort out the intentions behind the criticism is a valuable way for you to exercise the control that is inherently yours. The giver’s purpose of the criticism should be delivered in such a way that will inspire you to want to bring about a change in behavior that ultimately helps you to perform better or to resolve a situation.

 

Here’s an example: Just as you walk through the office door, your boss screams at you for not having finished a report the night before. (Notice that you haven’t said anything yet, not even “hello.”) After examining what your boss is saying and questioning his intention, you may conclude that he’s having a bad day and his only intent is to take it out on you. Reaching this conclusion is easier when you and your boss have a relationship rooted in trust and respect.

However, if you are unsure of the giver’s intention, you need to  ask directly, what is the purpose of the criticism.  How this question is asked needs some special consideration in order to avoid adding fuel to a situation that may already be emotionally charged.

When assessing the intent behind the criticism, receivers need to watch out for paying too much attention to “how” the criticism is being communicated than on “what” is being said.

Discussions with hundreds of people during workshops have revealed clues to look for when trying to determine the intent behind criticism. The following are some of the more common clues for you to look for on the part of the giver of criticism. These clues should send an immediate signal to you that the giver’s intent may not be positive.

  • Approaches you knowing that it will upset you
  • Talks in generalities
  • Fails to look you in the eye
  • Is quick to cut you off
  • Exaggerates the criticism
  • Offers no corrective action
  • Compares you to an identified known enemy

If one or more of these clues are present, then you might want to ask for

clarification of the giver’s intention. A good question to ask to clarify the intent behind the criticism is: “How do you want me to take this?” or “How should I take this?” Watch your tone of voice when asking these questions!

Please visit us at: www.drbright.com

Giving Criticism: Tip #7

7 Nov

Tip:  Avoid using, “we”, and “you” and stay in third person when describing a situation. 

Avoid using “we”, “me”, and “you”.  Not using these words makes the criticism less personal, and helps to ensure that the receiver will listen to the criticism and will take the necessary corrective action.

Let’s take Chris for example. Chris has been working to complete a report for over a month and has had to work long hours and on the weekends. After submitting the report to his boss, Tyler, his boss comes to him and says, “You did not get this report completed according to specifications”. Chris immediately begins to feel like a failure and like he let down the boss.  A better way to word this criticism is, “This report is not completed according to the specifications”.

Visit us at: www.drbright.com

30 Oct

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Get on the Same Page-Get in Tune with Others

20 Jun

While at work, you get a call from your mate. The call isn’t unusual, but what you are hearing is: Your mate has just been offered a great deal on a new car. Immediately, your mind races as you reply, “You know I hate SUV’s and don’t care for leather seats.”   Your mate responds by saying, “But sweetheart, this is such a great deal. I don’t want to turn this one down. Let’s talk about it later.”  Suddenly, you hear yourself saying “OK” and hanging up the phone.

Your day isn’t over yet. Several days ago, you asked a peer in the sales department to give you some sales projections on a couple of products, and he has failed to get back to you. You’re really feeling pressured, because these numbers are to be incorporated into a larger budget report. He explains that he’s almost finished, and by late afternoon he’ll have everything ready. You say fine, but you think to yourself that his lateness is going to put you under the gun, because you really like to proof things carefully before sending them on to your boss. Afternoon arrives, and he hands you the sales projections. After glancing at the figures, you notice that he gave you projections for one, two, and three years in advance. You feel a tinge of anger run down your spine as you explain that all you needed were figures for a single year in advance. Besides saying he’s sorry, he tells you, “I thought you would have wanted to see some more figures. One year seemed inadequate, and I thought that more numbers would be helpful. If I had known, I could have gotten this to you a lot sooner.”

When you recover from that incident, you decide to check your e-mail messages. To your surprise, you get a short note from your boss with an attachment. You go to the attachment, only to find out that one of your customers contacted your boss directly about a matter that you were in the process of handling. Once again, you feel your stress level rising as you ask yourself, “How could my customer bypass me and go to my boss without telling me?”

What do these three snapshot scenes have in common? On the surface, what’s going on appears to be a communications problem. If we look more deeply, though, it becomes apparent that the expectations of the parties involved in all three situations are unmatched. Unmatched expectations span the spectrum from simple, everyday exchanges to more persistent or extensive matters. We all have expectations for ourselves and for others; expectations exist in our relationships at work as well as in our relationships with family and friends. Strong relationships are always rooted in matched expectations.

Big or small, important or insignificant, whenever expectations are unmatched, frustration levels rise and desired outcomes are put at risk. Being able to “move” forward is difficult. So what’s needed first is to listen for and pay attention to expectations that are matched.

Even though you cannot have total control, you can pay attention to and watch for expectations that are matched- prior to taking what happens around you.

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