Posted by & filed under Active Listening, Career Development, career development leadership development, Feedback, increasing personal effectiveness.

Know How To Give Constructive Feedback In The WorkplaceWithout a doubt, knowing how to give constructive feedback is a cornerstone of increasing your overall personal effectiveness. Following these simple steps ensures your feedback is well received and encourages development. Remember, feedback should be an ongoing part of developing your employees. Don’t wait until an annual review to give your team members the tools they need to be effective!

Step 1: State the constructive purpose of your feedback. – First, briefly state your purpose by indicating what you’d like to cover and why it’s important. If you are initiating feedback, this focus gives the other person a heads up about how the conversation will go. If the other person has requested feedback, a focusing statement will make sure that you direct your feedback toward what the person needs. Remember to be clear and straight to the point.

Step 2: Describe specifically what you have observed and the ideal outcome. – Have a certain event or action in mind and be able to say when and where it happened, who was involved, and what the results were. Stick to what you personally observed and don’t try to speak for others. Avoid talking vaguely about what the person concerned “always” or “usually” does. Most of all, describe what you would like to see in the future. For example, “I’d like to foster a workplace where everyone has input,” or “Let’s focus on supporting each other to reach our sales goals this quarter.”

Step 3: Describe your reactions. – Explain the consequences of the other person’s behavior and how you feel about it. Then give examples of how you and others are affected. Describing reactions or consequences allows the other person to see and understand the impact their actions are having on others and the organization.

Step 4: Give the other person an opportunity to respond. – Feedback is a two-way street; don’t forget to listen to what the other person has to say. Remain silent and meet the other person’s eye, indicating that you are waiting for answer. If the person hesitates to respond, ask an open ended question.

Step 5: Offer specific suggestions. – Whenever possible, make your suggestions helpful by including practical, feasible examples. Offering suggestions shows that you have thought past your evaluations and moved to how to improve the situation. Constructive feedback is centered around development and coaching. Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways, discusses effective feedback and highlights that “you have to care about the person and their development.” Even if people are working up to expected standards, they can always benefit from ideas that could help them perform better!

Step 6: Summarize and express your support – At the end of the conversation, it’s always important to review the major points you discussed. Summarize the action items, not the negative points of the other person’s behavior. For corrective feedback, stress the main things you’ve discussed that the person could do differently and develop their skills. It’s important to always end on a positive note by expressing confidence in the person’s ability to improve the situation. By summarizing, you can avoid misunderstandings and check to make sure that your communication is clear. The summary is also an opportunity to show your support for the other person and an effective way to conclude a negative feedback situation on a positive note.

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

 

Posted by & filed under Employee Development, Generational, increasing personal effectiveness.

When Generation Xers Manage MillennialsMillennials may be the younger brothers and sisters of Gen Xers, but they were raised differently, with different expectations from their (usually Boomer) parents. Gen Xers, now in the role of manager to Millennial employees, are finding that their view of work, priorities, and use of time differ from those of their employees.

Born between 1965 and 1977, Gen Xers are the last of the “free range” children raised to be independent, take responsibility, and get things done in the absence of supervision. In the economic chaos of the 1970s and 1980s, when 40 percent of their parents lost their jobs and/or got divorced. Gen Xers came home to an empty house, started dinner, and had their homework done before their overworked parents got home. They could not call their parents at work for dinner or homework help without getting them fired. As a result their world view is skeptical and pragmatic—they are businesslike, realistic, and determined. Often the only child or one of two children in the household, Gen Xers are used to working alone.

Born between 1978 and 1989, Millennials are the most over-scheduled, highly supervised generation to come along. The economy improved and jobs were more available in the 1990s. Their parents worked fewer hours and became their Millennial childrens’ “best friends.” These “hovering parents” accompanied their children to: school, ballgames, plays, even weekends away at college, and now many go with their adult Millennial children to job interviews and often want to negotiate job offers and salary increases. After 9/11, parents wanted to be able to reach their children by phone at all times, so every Millennial had a cell phone and is used as a constant contact. In the words of a Millennial I know, her parents never told her “no” or any variation of “no.” Hovering parents tried hard to say “yes” to all requests. Millennials can be overly optimistic and not particularly inclined to follow policies and procedures. Millennials are multitaskers who grew up with groups of friends who did everything together and often worked on collaborative projects in school. It can be difficult for them to make decisions without input from parents or friends because of lack of practice.

Millennials are loyal to their managers, not to their company, and they have no fear of quitting without another job in hand—because mom and dad still have a room waiting for them. While Gen Xer managers will leave at 5:00 p.m. to spend time with their families, childless tech-savvy Millennials may come in late or want to work from a café, home, or other location, not necessarily between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The greatest challenge for Gen Xer managers is to focus on managing their Millennial employees’ outputs and quality of results, not time at a desk. It can be a challenge for skeptical Gen Xer managers to provide the level of encouragement and feedback that gives naturally optimistic Millennials confidence and keeps them engaged. Face time is the secret management tool that retains Millennials.

Gen Xers can command loyalty by encouraging constant learning, modeling desired behaviors, and patiently letting Millennials try new approaches. Wise Gen Xer managers build relationships with their Millennial employees by focusing on areas of commonality such as both generations’ interest in constant learning, project success, and community service.

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

Posted by & filed under Accountability, Active Listening, Actively Engaged Workers, increasing personal effectiveness, Leadership.

One of your most valuable skills is the ability to “read” people. The people you interact with each day send you signals on how to work with them most effectively. If you learn what to look and listen for, each person will tell you exactly how to treat him effectively.

 

So what is there to read? Management Hack: Teams with Diverse Personalities

Dozens of signals–verbal, vocal and visual, tell you when to speed up or slow down, when to focus on the details, or when to work on building the relationship with the other person. But why does your technique work sometimes and not at other times? Mostly because people are different.

Each style represents unique combinations of openness and directness and is linked to separate and unique ways of behaving with others. The name given to each style reflects a very general characteristic rather than a full or accurate description. As you better understand why people behave the way they do, your knowledge can help you communicate with others effectively and openly to help them feel more comfortable in their interactions with you.

Where do you start?

Start by downloading The People Puzzle, a quick guide to the personality types. You will learn about your own personality type and how you come across to others. You’ll also get a glimpse into what personality types you have on your team and how they likely receive (or don’t receive) the messages and directions you are trying to convey to them.

Appreciating the differences of your team members, and the value of their distinctions, makes for a more comfortable work environment and lets each of them know how you value their strengths, and work with them to use those strengths. This will have a positive impact on your bottom line results.

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

Posted by & filed under Accountability, Career Development, Coaching.

The most important step in establishing a high performing culture is to define it yourself. If you can’t write it down and understand it clearly, you’re not likely to be able to make it happen in your team.

Define Values vs. Behaviors
Are you weary of discussing “core values” and the under-appreciation for the importance of behaviors? The difference is critical.

Values are abstract terms.Establishing A High Performance Culture In The Workplace
They are concepts or notions, ideas we may believe in.
Values
• Trust
• Loyalty
• Respect
• Integrity
• Quality
• Service

Behaviors are concrete.
They are actions we can literally see people doing.
Behaviors
• Practice blameless problem-solving
• Do it right the first time
• Be vigilant about safety
• Do what’s best for the client
• Take ownership
• Communicate to be understood

Why Do We Care?
The reason this difference is so important is CLARITY!  Values often leave too much room for interpretation. They can mean many different things to many different people.

You may value respect, but what it means to act in a respectful way can be vastly different from one person to another depending on the family and the culture in which they grew up. We can all agree that service is a value we can get behind, but what constitutes great service? It varies with each person. Go beyond the vagueness of values and articulate specific behaviors.

Behaviors are clear – Because behaviors are actions, they are far easier to explain with more clarity. We can actually see someone doing a behavior and can more easily understand just what is expected. For the same reason, it is far easier to teach and coach behavior, and to give people appropriate feedback for improvement.

When we describe our culture in terms of the values we believe in, most people will respond emotionally, although it tends to do little to actually influence what they do on a daily basis. Vagueness makes it difficult to operationalize.

On the bright side, when we describe our culture in terms of the behaviors we want to see taking place each day, it resonate with your team in a way that influences their actions. As leaders, it gives us the tools and the opportunities to actually teach and reinforce what we are looking for. And at the end of the day, that is what creating and driving a culture is all about – getting our people to more consistently be the way we want them to be.

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

Posted by & filed under Career Development, career development leadership development, Employee Development.

How To Improve Your Critical Listening SkillsWe all interface with a variety of messages every day. But who are those messages for? Are they intended to help the communicator or the receiver?

Critical listening can be learned with practice but is not necessarily easy to do. You may be an expert at discerning when messages contain accurate information, are biased toward the sender’s opinions, or are simply false. Many people aren’t able to think critically about the messages they  receive. Unfortunately, sometimes messages are intentionally complex to avoid critical scrutiny. Here’s how to improve your listening skills:

Recognize the Difference between Facts and Opinion – Often when people have a negative opinion about a topic, they are unwilling to accept facts. Instead, they question all aspects of the speech and have a negative predisposition towards both the speech and the speaker. Critical listeners may agree or disagree with a speaker’s opinions, but the point is that they know when a message they are hearing is based on opinion or facts.

Uncover Assumptions – If something is factual, supporting evidence exists. We still need to be careful about what evidence does and does not mean. Assumptions are gaps in a logical sequence that listeners passively fill with their own ideas and opinions and may or may not be accurate. When listening to a public speech, you may find yourself being asked to assume something is a fact when in reality many people question that fact. By listening critically, you will be more likely to notice unwarranted assumptions in a speech, prompting you to question the speaker if questions are taken or to do further research to examine the validity of the speaker’s assumptions. Don’t let yourself be persuaded because of passive listening!

When you listen critically to a speech, you might hear information that appears unsupported by evidence. You should not accept that information unconditionally. You would accept it under the condition that the speaker offers credible evidence that directly supports it.

Rely on Reason and Common Sense – If you are listening to a speech and your common sense tells you that the message is illogical, you very well might be right. You should be thinking about whether the speech seems credible and coherent. In this way, your use of common sense can act as a warning system for you. Come to your own conclusions from evidence that has been presented!

To increase your critical listening skills, continue developing your ability to identify the central issues in messages so that you can take accurate notes that represent the meanings intended by the speaker.

At EDS, we offer practical, down-to-earth personal and career development tools that can transform workplaces (and lives!).

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

Posted by & filed under Actively Engaged Workers, Coaching, Corporate Culture, Employee Development.

5 Tips for Effective Team Building RetreatsTeam building retreats can improve employee performance, increase job satisfaction, and lead to greater cooperation and a heightened understanding of your company’s business goals and objectives.

Focusing on the following areas during the planning stages will ensure your next team building event has the desired, long-term results.

Make Team Building Activities Relevant

The team building events you choose during the retreat should have a direct correlation to the challenges your employees face in their day-to-day duties, and the solutions you hope to employ in the workplace. For example, if the goal of the retreat is to encourage better cross-departmental communications in the office, the activities they engage in during the retreat should focus on improving these skills. Choose and activity that requires them to work together but not directly in person or in silence are highly effective. Engaging in activities that don’t dovetail with your stated goals can result in frustration among attendees who feel their time would be better spent back in the office.

Select the Right Venue

One common objection to off-site team building retreats is that the cost doesn’t justify the results, when in fact taking the team away can help become more open to new ideas.

As Buffer founder and CEO Joel Gascoigne wrote in a recent blog article regarding retreats, “the conversations you have with team members are enhanced. You know the tone of somebody’s voice and the way they approach problems and discussions. You read their emails differently. This changes things, and is why we’ve found retreats to be not only a fun part of our culture, but an absolute necessity.”

When it comes to selecting an off-site venue, be sure to do your due diligence to ensure the facility’s amenities and accommodations meet for your group’s specific needs.  Think about the environment needed to be enhance your goals.  If you are trying to build a team take them to a place that is new to everyone and atypical of their work space such as a camp retreat center.  Using an online retreat center directory to compare and connect with multiple properties can save a lot of time and legwork.

Include Plenty of Free Time

When it comes to scheduling team building event activities, don’t make the mistake of equating quantity with quality.  Although it may be tempting to try and jam pack your event with activities, including ample free time will actually help you achieve better results.  In fact, many of the most impactful interactions between team members take place during unstructured times.  Make sure there are plenty of small group gathering spots such as porches or pavilions.

Feed the Body as Well as the Mind

One of the most common complaints employees have about team building events is the food and beverages.  What your team eats and drinks can have a big impact on how they feel, think and act, so be sure to provide a variety of nutritious options, and make accommodations for special dietary needs.  Don’t shortchange on food to save in the budget, but think creatively and appropriate to the venue.  Don’t serve typical white linen menu items at camp but you can still have great food!  Think about the menu planning as if you were planning for a family rather than a corporation and the results will be wholesome and worth remembering.

If your event is going to be held over multiple days  you might want to consider making meal time a part of your team building activities, instead of outsourcing all of these activities to a caterer.  This is a great way to reduce costs while creating a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose among event attendees.

Follow Up and Evaluation

Follow up is a key element of any successful  team building retreat.  In many cases, improvements made during the event can quickly fade as employees return to their familiar surroundings, and old habits.  For this reason, it’s essential that you establish some objective, attainable goals and monitor your organization’s progress in the weeks and months that follow in order to accurately judge the ROI of your team building events.  Communicate the desired outcomes in ways the participants will remember, perhaps even giving them names relating back to the venue.  Place-based learning has proven to be among the most successful pedagogical tools in education.  “Lessons from the Grove” or “Cabin Fever” are creative names for elements you want to be sure to bring back to the office.

Contact Us Now…800.282.3374

Results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance

Posted by & filed under Accountability, increasing personal effectiveness, Performance Management, Personal Effectiveness.

How To Get Out Of A Professional Or Personal RutAre you in a professional or personal rut? What seemed like an interesting challenge to work on a few years ago might not seem that compelling anymore. What seemed like living the dream may not quite fit your plan, like it did a few years ago.  You see your peers climbing the corporate ladder of success, while you seem to be languishing in your current position doing the same thing you were doing years ago with little sign that things will change. So what now?

Break Out!

You’re not alone. Everyone goes through tough times in their lives.
So what can you do if you find yourself in such a situation, you can’t really change the situation as such but you can definitely do a lot to change how you are reacting to the situation. Here are some tips that you might want to consider, questions that you can ask yourself and look for ways to bring about change in your attitude to the situation around you. At the end of the day, what counts is the attitude and a change of attitude will help you change the outcome.

Ask yourself these questions. They’ll help you reframe your current situation and see it in a new way. Remember, perception is 90% of reality!

  • Are there opportunities for growth that I can focus on within other parts of the business?
  • Are there other opportunities across the business where I might be able to apply my current skills?
  • What are the other skills I could pick up that could help boost career growth opportunities in the coming years?
  • Whom should I be networking with across the enterprise to understand where opportunities for growth reside?
  • Are there any other non work related initiatives that I can help drive within the organization?
  • Are there any online courses (MOOC’s, commercial, etc.) that I could focus on and pick up some additional skills?
  • Are there any open source projects out there where my skills could be of assistance?

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

 

Posted by & filed under Accountability, Feedback.

Why Do You Need to Ask for & Give Feedback?Feedback is very much like the mirrors we see ourselves in every morning. Mirrors give us a true reflection of who we are. They do not lie and they do not sugar coat the message they deliver. True feedback can also hurt at times but it is important to get it regularly and give feedback regularly as well. Take a critical look at yourself.

What is your feedback loop? It is very important to have a feedback loop, where you are constantly thinking about what you have done and how you could be doing it better. The single best piece of advice would be to constantly think about how you could be doing things better and question yourself.

Why Do You Need to Ask for & Give Feedback? Like effective communication operates in both directions. It assists you in understanding yourself better and it helps identify growth opportunities. Successful leaders use feedback effectively to bring out the best in themselves and their employees. Used wisely, feedback can help you address the weak areas within the team. It will help you build a more open team where your team members understand each other better, respect each other and most importantly establish stronger bonds with each other. Healthy self awareness, can be improved with the use of online personality tests. Here’s what you can find out:

  • Our strengths as perceived by our co-workers
  • Our weaknesses and failings as perceived by our co-workers
  • Good Qualities about us that we would have never realized we display
  • Areas of improvement we would have never picked up through pure self realization
  • When leaders make it a point to get feedback from subordinates, it is also an opportunity to let others know that they are open to failing like everyone else and are keen to address areas of weakness for their own benefit and for the good of the organization.

Look at feedback as a two-way street, you need feedback as much as your team members do, to be better at what you do. Take the opportunity to regularly ask for feedback and be open to giving relevant feedback using a clear and structured approach.

Structure Your Feedback Sessions.  Giving and getting feedback can be touchy especially when there are areas of improvement involved. There are numerous different techniques available for giving feedback although there is no saying what will work for you or your team. Here are some guidelines you may find helpful.

  • Conduct a catch up in a non-formal setup, over a coffee if possible;
  • Talk about the candidate’s achievements and areas of excellence;
  • Talk about areas of improvement including areas of immediate focus;
  • Focus on the facts, pick specific incidents to suggest what you mean and clarify your point;
  • Agree with the candidate on the areas of improvement;
  • Setup sometime for the next feedback session.
  • Structuring Sessions Where You Are Asking For Feedback – Here is an approach to get feedback.
  • Setup a catchup in a non-formal setup, over a coffee if possible;
  • Ask for input on  general areas of improvement;
  • Ask for input on aspects of work that your team member thought didn’t go so well;
  • Ask for input on aspects of work where your team member thinks there is definitely an area for improvement;
  • Ask for input on aspects of work that your team member thinks are not being performed at all but need to be performed.

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

Posted by & filed under increasing personal effectiveness, Leadership, teamwork.

How to Make Your Team More Effective At WorkSuccessful leaders have learned the art of managing success in their own lives. The base of their success usually lies in their personal accountability. That starts with self-accountability!  Those accountability skills can be applied to shaping, coaching and guiding success in others. Effective leaders are characterized by the way in which they help their teams to be successful. For example they:

  • Create a focus by developing an inspiring, energizing strategy, together with their team, that combines the need for future profitability of the business, with the need for employees to contribute to a greater purpose.
  • Communicate their strategy in a way that inspires and motivates their team to support ‘the dream.’
  • Implement their strategies through projects. They create a few short term projects that will lead their team towards their strategy. The short term project plan breaks the project into bite sizes chunks or specific action items.
  • Get their teams to plan for success. They remove barriers that exist in the team or the organization that could prevent the team from achieving success in their jobs. An open door policy makes it easier for everyone to work together better as a team.
    By providing their team with focus, discipline and support, they help their teams to be successful. In turn, they are seen as effective and successful leaders.

How can you become a more effective leader or help your team members do the same? Give us a call at 800-282-3374.

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.

Posted by & filed under increasing personal effectiveness, Leadership, Personal Effectiveness.

EDS_MillennialBusiness2We’re all constantly involved in the management of our own success. Whether we are building a career or a full, balanced life -like most of us, you’re probably doing both!  We are always guiding our teams or working with partners, and family to achieve an effective outcome. We are only as successful as our teams, so what makes some teams succeed while others fail?  It all depends on the characteristics and behaviors of the team leader. Yes, that’s you.

How to Spot an Ineffective Leader

 They Complain. However, the problem with many unsuccessful teams is that these leaders tend to demonstrate an annoying characteristic. They often lack focus. This means:
Their strategy is too complex. They struggle to explain what they are trying to achieve without numerous Power Point slides. They don’t explain simply what the team focus or priorities are.

They use jargon. When communicating their strategies, they use buzzwords and acronyms rather than simple English. They then wonder why they struggle to get ‘buy in’ from their employees.
They expect everyone to be motivated by the profitability of the organization. They don’t understand that employees are not motivated by increasing profits or cutting costs. I’ve heard many people say after listening to a strategy presentation. ‘Why should I work harder to make the CEO richer?’ Rather, employees are interested in how they can contribute to some great purpose – or something that will benefit them and their own families.

They develop too many goals. As a result, employees are often confused about what exactly is expected of them.

They believe in the broad brush. Ineffective leaders believe that broad-brush strategies are sufficient. They leave the details to their team. They expect their team to implement unclear strategies without any guidance from them. They wonder why their team constantly complains about a lack of direction!

How can you become a more effective leader or help your team members do the same? Give us a call at 800-282-3374.

Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers, to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.

We deliver results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance. Call 800-282-3374