Archive for the ‘compelling communications’ Category

Giving feedback that fuels success.

September 12, 2010

Giving feedback is a critical part of a leader’s job. I’ve written quite a bit about the importance of positive feedback and acknowledgement (see a few links below). But what about those times when you have to give some critical feedback? Perhaps an employee is falling short on their performance or their attitudes and behaviour aren’t up to par? How do you deal with those situations? Do you see feedback as a necessary evil and something to get over with quickly? Or do you see this as an opportunity to invest in your people and strengthen both the performance and maybe even engagement.

Canadian HR Reporter invited me to contribute an article for these scenarios. It’s just been published and I’m delighted to share it with you: Giving feedback that fuels success

I’d love to hear your feedback and any additional tips and experience you may have had. In the meantime, I am getting ready to deliver a workshop to a group of leaders at an organization related to this very topic this week. I will be focusing on “Performance Development” and teaching coaching skills that can be very helpful in the continuum of leadership development and particularly the leader’s role in developing people. We will be focusing on both actualizing conversations as well as those seemingly more difficult situations.  More about that in future posts.

Other articles I’ve written that you may be interested in:

 Ramp Up the People Side of Your Leadership

Bring Thanks in a Thankless Environment

That Time of the Year – Performance Reviews

To a TGIMworklife!

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As well,

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Webinar Invitation (free): Are You Addicted to the Yes Habit?

April 5, 2010

How often do you find yourself saying yes when you really want to say no? Can you take on this extra project? Would you join our volunteer committee? We know it’s last minute, but can you organize next week’s meeting? Would you like to get together with so and so (someone perhaps you’d rather not)?

The ‘Yes Addiction’ can be tiresome and get in the way of your fulfillment and your success.

INVITATION: CICA is hosting a free webinar: “Are you Addicted to the Yes Habit”, presented by yours truly (Eileen Chadnick), on April 21st at 12:30 EST.  It is open to all – you simply have to register online in advance (takes 20 seconds) and show up.

Details:

One Hour Webinar: Are you Addicted to the Yes Habit? Strategies to tame the “Yes Habit and learn to say “No” when it counts.

Date/Time: April 21st at 12:30 – 1:30 EST

Registration: register online in advance

Hope to ‘see’ you there!

Eileen

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On June 12th Get a Taste of Coaching for the Price of a Coffee

June 9, 2009

If you live in the GTA and could use a little boost, then head on down to one of four Starbuck locations where the International Coach Federation GTA Chapter is hosting “Coaching Conversations for Power and Possibility“.

A few of my peers in the coaching community got together and asked: “What do coaches have that can help people cope with the impact of the current economy?”  Well, coaches are trained to help people shift perspectives from downward, spiraling conversations to those that are more empowering and uplifting – leading to more purposeful action.

So more than 70 professionally trained coaches are donating their time on June 12th at 5 Starbuck locations. For the price of a cup of coffee you can get a taste of an empowering coaching conversation. And proceeds go to the United Way so not only will you be helping yourself, you’ll be helping others in need too. Now how could you go wrong with that?!

Check it out! Read more here.

To a TGIM Worklife!

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Now Where Was I Again…..?

July 7, 2008

Hello again! Remember me? I know, it’s been a while since I’ve last posted. I confess, I’ve been MIA (missing in action). I haven’t been much in the blog writing mode these days because I’ve been in the major “DOING” mode. Busy, busy…..espousing/talking/working….TGIM work-life in a variety of workshops/retreats/webinars.  It’s all been great fun — with a lot of work — but lots at once, so a little less time to blog (sorry folks!).

In any case, I thought I’d share a quick snapshot of where I’ve been recently wrt to workshops, presentations, etc. :

Ministry of the Environment: I delivered a 1/2 day workshop: “Strategies for a TGIM Work-life” — Tips and strategies for engagement. See here for testimonials.

Centennial College: Lead a two and a half day retreat for the college’s most senior leaders: “Reflective Leadership Forum” — exploring strategies to build reflective practice in one’s daily work and life. See here to read what they had to say.

Project World / Business Analyst Conference: Lead a two day workshop for project managers and business analysts: Coaching Skills for Leaders.  See here to read what they had to say.

Upper Canada Law Society: Participated in a panel discussion on Work-life balance at their 3rd annual Solo and Small Firm Conference. Great feedback – soon to upload.

Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA): Presented a Webinar :“Assertiveness at Work” (which I’ve written about in previous posts – and am in process of planning a follow-up teleclass – details to be announced but likely in the fall).  If you’d like to listen to the archive – click here. And to read some of the great feedack – see here.

Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC): Presented a Webinar: “Asking the Right Questions for Career Success”. Testimonial.

AND ALONG THE WAY…and in between I had all my other work — I’m not complaining, actually I’m quite grateful for all my clients and the terrific work opportunities I’ve had. But (yeah, there’s a ‘but’)….it has been BUSY so I’ve been time-challenged these days,

Now that summer’s here….I hope to slow down just a bit for a little while. Time to reflect on all that ‘doing’ and the learning along the way. I’ll be back….will write about the experiences, learnings, insights, etc.

But for now….I’m honouring my TGIM work-life needs and catching my breath.

To a TGIM Work-life!

Eileen

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What Do You Think About Email Free Days?

February 29, 2008

I’ve been reading a lot lately about organizations that have implemented email free days. It’s got me thinking about my fairly recent but avid attachment to my Blackberry (see earlier post) and about another post a while back about humanizing the workplace. In the latter, I had referenced a talk by Tod Maffin who spoke about the impact of technology on people and organizations from a social and ‘human’ perspective.

cat-at-computer.jpg 

(Photo courtesy of Sage on Flickr)

As I wrote in an earlier post work isn’t going to get any less busy – rather, we’re going to have to learn new habits to cope. Malcolm Gladwell has been quoted as saying (Globe and Mail article): “I’m quite prepared for the possibility that the next revolution is not going to come from a machine…..it’s going to come from creating a more thoughtful work force and giving people the opportunity to be thoughtful.”  

Given that, I think the idea of an email-free day is an interesting possibility to help develop those habits of reflection and working a little differently now and again. What about you? What do you think?

Would an email free day…

-Offer an opportunity for more meaningful reflection?

-Encourage people to communicate differently and better  (i.e. like actually pick up the phone and talk now and again!)?

-Bring more ‘humanity’ to workplaces and/or specifically to your personal work experience?

– Lessen the distraction factor and reduce that frazzle factor?….recognizing that while there’s a whole lot of meaningful and important use of email there’s also a whole lot that we can live with out.

I suspect that for me it would take some time to self-manage my own email habits and mindset to get a real benefit out of an email free day. I have my own long list of “yeah buts”. For one, I work independently vs with one particular organization; Another ‘yeah but’ is that part of my biz is within realm of communications, I can’t imagine turning off for a whole work day. I also have clients who work in PR and well…..I suspect they’d say a whole day each week seems real unreasonable for their biz. 

Still….something there to consider, don’t you think? If a whole day each week isn’t feasible, what about an email-free hour or two or three or four……? Or what other possibilities can there be to pause….?

In any case, whether this idea is the right thing to do or not….and/or whatever it looks like (full day, just hours or something different all together) I do applaud those companies who are trying to find ways to help humanize their culture.

To a TGIM worklife…..with or without email!

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Ask the Coach: What to Do With a Poor Performer…

February 18, 2008

Here’s one of my latest “Ask a Coach” columns published in CA Source, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) online newsletter. If you have a question of your own, please send it to me — see Coaches Corner for options on how to connect.

 Q. I’m in a difficult situation. I hired a fellow about a year ago who came with excellent referrals and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the role. He (let’s call him “John”) seemed to have all the technical skills for the job and for the first six months was doing great. His work was good quality and he seemed to be getting on well with the team and was gaining their respect. Then things changed. For the past six months his work has become increasingly sloppy. He’s been late on a few too many occasions and just not on the ball in many respects. On several occasions I have communicated to him – often through email — that he needs to shape up. He needs to bring his work and behaviour back up to standard. I’m at the point of not knowing what to do. I don’t really want to let him go but if things don’t change, I may have to. How do I handle this?

A. I understand how disappointing it can be when an employee doesn’t seem to be living up to their potential or worse, is underperforming. While I also understand that quality work and dependability are important, I wouldn’t give up on him too quickly. He has shown in his first six months that he is capable of performing at that standard, and so I wonder if something has changed in his personal situation that is impacting his work. I encourage you to explore that further before making any concrete decisions.

In addition to being accountable for the quality of work (in your department), a big part of a leader’s role is about managing, developing and supporting the people who work for them. Rather than judging John’s work in isolation, a more productive place for you to start would be to try to understand what’s going on with John — i.e., what’s underneath and influencing this shift in his behaviour. With that understanding, you’ll have a better sense of what to do next either in terms of supporting him and/or making other decisions.

There are probably many ways to go about this. Here are a few thoughts:

Focus on the person, not just the work and start with an appreciative stance of John and his potential
In considering the situation, make sure you are reflecting on John as a person and not just on his current performance. Remind yourself of his attributes and character before he started to slip. Sometimes things happen outside within lives that unfortunately do impact our performance at work (e.g., a marital issue, health problems).

Employers that attract, retain and engage top talent find ways to be supportive of their people during tough moments. If you can understand John’s situation more fully, you might have a broader range of possibility to work with as you deal with the performance issues.

Have a conversation with John directly
Email isn’t the best way to communicate at this point. I’d recommend you have a direct conversation with John, ideally in person. It will allow for a more productive exchange. Acknowledge respectfully that there continues to be an issue with his work but focus the conversation more towards gaining an understanding rather than further admonishment — i.e., ask questions that illicit understanding about his situation and emotional mindset.

Establish Trust come from a place of empathy and inquiry rather than judgment
If John is to open up about any issues, he needs to feel safe in the conversation (and overall relationship) to disclose.  Empathy is an important attribute in leaders. While he may not disclose the minute details of his situation (nor is he obligated to), it is important that he feel safe to share at a high level what he is going through (if that is the issue). The kinds of questions you ask — your tone and your listening — will be very important in this conversation.

Communicate from an appreciative stance of who John is and his potential
If John is going through a tough time, it might be helpful for you to remind him of his strengths and character when he is at his best. From there, perhaps the two of you can work out what he needs to get back to that place. Focusing exclusively on what’s wrong can be very demoralizing.

Tread sensitively, respectfully and honestly
Whatever John’s situation is, it is important to handle this sensitively and respectfully. It’s also important to be upfront and honest if there are implications related to his employability. Balancing all this will take skill — and might be an important time to test your leadership communications ability.

Consider who else can support this situation
Depending on what transpires from your preliminary conversations, you may need to enlist the support of others in your organization. For instance, HR may be able to provide guidance, counsel and additional support (e.g., EAP programs).

Ask yourself: what kind of leader do you want to be right now
The exact steps you take can’t be predicted until you know more. But the most important question you can ask yourself at this stage is: What kind of leader do I want to be right now? What parts of your own character strengths do you want to bring to this situation? If you found yourself in a situation like John’s, how would you want to be treated?

I’m confident that if you bring yourself fully to the situation, in both heart and intellect, you will handle this situation well. Good luck to you both.

 —

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Superbowl Lessons for Today’s Leaders

February 1, 2008

Worth noting… an interesting article in today’s Globe and Mail Careers section about the “perfect coach”.  In light of Superbowl Sunday, Brian Christmas wrote a feature about Bill Belichick’s success coaching the New England Patriots.  I confess, I’m not an avid football fan but I love the article because it explored many of the traits in Belichick’s successful leadership that are relevant to leaders of all kinds in today’s workplaces.

Christmas interviewed experts who gave credit to Belichick for: drawing the players to his vision and keeping them focused week in and out; finding the right players to fit the various team roles; mentoring the talent; paying attention to detail while empowering team members to think on their own; having a solid competitive strategy; communicating  clearly and giving feedback constructively (not personalizing)….and more.

One of the last quotes in the article really stood out for me. Professior John Phelan, an adjunct professor in Organizational Behavior at Queen’s University School of Business spoke about Belichick’s approach to empowering his team “From an employee’s perspective, that shifts them from a compliance to a commitment.”

The leadership team at Tribute Communities will love reading that one. “Commitment – Not Compliance” was one of the key guiding principles behind its employee engagement initiative (which earned the Prism award from International Coach Federation — read more here).

Another quote worth repeating: Chris Shultz, a football commentator for TSN said  that it appears Mr. Belichick understands that “there’s football players, and there’s people who play football,”……implying that the coach focuses on the latter….i.e. coaching the person not the ‘label’.

Coaching people as people….another theme and guiding principle that I distinguish regularly with many of my clients who are leaders and have responsibility for supporting and developing others.

Accountants aren’t just accountants. PR professionals aren’t just PR professionals. Construction folks aren’t just construction folks.

A good coach recognizes they don’t coach people’s roles or titles. We coach who they are in the context of their work. There’s a difference.

A big difference.

We are all more than the widgets we build or professions we represent.

Leaders who recognize this will be more effective at empowering, inspiring, challenging and growing their people.

Questions for Reflection:

What do you notice from some of your team sports observations and/or participation? What lessons can you draw for  your own leadership? What leaders do you think stand out and why? When you support others in  your team do you think of them as whole and unique individuals — or see them more narrowly – strictly through the lense of their ‘job description’ ?

Food for thought….perhaps after all the tailgating this weekend has subsided.

To a TGIM worklife and to leaders who get it right!

Ask the Coach: Assertiveness at Work

January 21, 2008

Here’s one of my latest “Ask a Coach” columns published in CA Source – the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants  (CICA) online newsletter. It’s about a theme that I encounter a lot……the issue of assertiveness at work.  Perhaps this will resonate with you or someone you know. In any case, if you have a question of your own….bring it on (see “Coaches Corner” on this site).

Q. I just had my annual review and had hopes of being promoted. Unfortunately I was bypassed — yet again. My boss said I have a lot of potential but need to work on some leadership abilities. He said my functional skills were great but I should focus on becoming more assertive if I wanted to move into a leadership role. I’ve never been a particularly aggressive person and can’t envision changing my whole personality. But I don’t want to stand still in my career either. Any advice?

A. I’m sorry about your disappointment in not being promoted. The good news, however, is that assertiveness can actually be developed — with some practice, self awareness and a dose of courage. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Well, sometimes that’s true in life too. Those that assert themselves have a better chance of getting more of what they want at work and in life. The key, however, is to “squeak” appropriately. Assertiveness is not about being aggressive — nor does it require you to change your personality. Rather, it’s more about being authentic, self-expressed and standing up for yourself when it’s called for.

Defining assertiveness

Assertiveness is a core competency within the spectrum of emotional intelligence (EQ).  According to one definition,* assertiveness can be described as: the ability to express feelings, beliefs and thoughts and defend one’s rights in a non-destructive manner. It’s comprised of three elements: 1) the ability to accept and express feelings; 2) the ability to express beliefs and thoughts openly even when it is emotionally difficult to do so (I call those courageous conversations!); 3) the ability to stand up for personal rights without being aggressive or abusive.

To better understand how your own level of assertiveness might be factoring into your career experience, here are some questions to reflect on:

* Can you identify specific instances in your work where you felt held back because you haven’t asserted yourself? What was the cost of not asserting yourself in those situations?

* Generally, when you have an opinion and/or feelings that differ from others, do you tend to shy away from voicing these opinions or do you take a stand and articulate what is important?

* How do you feel about speaking up on issues that might involve some conflict?  Does that give you anxiety? Do you worry that others may think less of you?

* Are you able to set and enforce boundaries for yourself in terms of how you want to be treated and respected?

* When you need or want something that is important to you, do you proactively and directly make requests for it?

* Do you find yourself frequently saying yes — when you’d rather say no?

* How do you validate your own feelings and views? Do you acknowledge them or tend to dismiss them and instead defer to other people’s views?

Developing new habits of assertiveness involves courage, self awareness and various communication skills. For some people, these skills come naturally; others have to work at it. Here are some steps you can take to develop your own assertiveness.

1. Tune into your inner game by owning and acknowledging your feelings, ideas, beliefs One of the key elements of assertiveness is having the ability to acknowledge and accept your own feelings and beliefs. Without validating your own perspectives with yourself — how could you confidently express them to others? Start paying attention to those moments when you have an opportunity to assert yourself — perhaps you have an opinion, idea or challenge that either differs from others or isn’t yet on the radar. Take a few minutes to reflect on why this matters; what it’s about; what’s at stake if you don’t express it. The idea is to check in with yourself first to clarify and own your beliefs so that you can more confidently express them to others.

2. Identify any limiting beliefs that might be preventing you from being self-expressed
If in those moments of opportunity you find yourself hesitating, take a moment to explore what’s really holding you back. Often it’s our internal voices of self-doubt and limiting beliefs that keep us stuck.  Perhaps you have a belief that if you speak up something negative will happen. Do you have an inner critic that says:  “Don’t rock the boat!” or “Who are you to speak up?” or “You don’t have the credibility.” We all have our inner critics — the key is to acknowledge and manage them.If the voice of the inner critic is holding you back, try on a different perspective.  Instead, listen more closely to your own empowering voice of reason and wisdom. Remember, you just explored that in step #1.

3. Before speaking up, think about how you want to show up in the conversation.  Remember, being assertive might involve voicing your opinion — but in a way that doesn’t violate others.  This is where execution counts.

Here are a few tips:

* Choose your words wisely: Assertive communication involves being direct and open — but not brash. Choose your words carefully before you communicate.

* Tone is as important as words: Of course, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Pay attention to your tone which includes language, voice and body language if communicating face to face.

* Speak directly and with clarity: Don’t beat around the bush. Say what you need to say but do so sensitively and diplomatically. It’s important to speak with clarity. Being vague, hinting, or just implying — can be counterproductive.  It can also sometimes appear manipulative.

* Communicate empathetically: Even if your views differ from the other person(s), show understanding and compassion for their viewpoint and/or situation, e.g. “I know you worked hard on this and put a lot of thought into it and I appreciate that. But I have another perspective that I feel strongly about that I’d like to share.”

* Practise, Practise, Practise…Developing habits of assertiveness takes practice and ongoing reflection. Situation by situation, moment by moment — each will give you an opportunity to practise, learn, reflect and adapt accordingly.Developing assertiveness not only calls upon courage — it builds courage!  Stretching yourself to be a little more assertive will increase your self confidence over time.  

* Enlist support:
There are a lot of ways to enlist support to help you develop yourself in this area.  Hire a coach who is skilled to work with you; take a course or enrol in groups such as Toastmasters; actively get involved in pursuits that will stretch and challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and/or provide you with leadership opportunities (e.g., perhaps within a volunteer endeavour).It’s an ongoing journey, but it’s worth the effort. Remember, appropriately assertive people get more of what they want in work and life; it helps them to feel more authentic and self-expressed.

*Assertiveness as defined by the BarON EQi system and Connective Intelligence.

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If You Attended Today’s CICA Webinar….

October 29, 2007

Thank you to everyone who attended the Webinar I presented today at the CICA exploring TGIM worklife with Emotional Intelligence! It was a great turn-out (more than 400 attendees!) and based on the questions I received at the end – a very enthusiastic group indeed.

I thought I’d post the links to some of the articles I mentioned that might be of interest (rather than having you search for them). So here are a few:

1) Emotional Intelligence at Work — an article I wrote for HR Reporter that provides an at-a-glance summary of some of the concepts I explored today about EQ.

2) The Lizard who wouldn’t eat…. About using your Signature Strengths to feel gratified at work.

3) Tips to Make the “Bigness of Monday” Just a Little Bit Lighterwhen you could use a little boost. And the Globe and Mail article “Thank God it’s Monday“.

4) Finding Flow: Intense Work but Without the Struggle

5) Is HR Prepared to Keep the Keepers — another article I wrote for HR Reporter on employee engagemeng for high performers and high potentials.

6) Employee Engagement – Respect

AND….there was one participant who asked about self employment as a career option…so for those that might be interested, my reflections starting my 10th year in biz

AND…there’s much more so I invite you all to have a look at the blog…and visit again! Also – I did mention that I’d be introducing a tele-class program in January for leaders who want to develop more resilience at work (to navigate and deal with the ever-increasing load and work-life hurdles we talked about).

More about that later but if interested, please let me know by email or a call and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as I confirm the details (with no obligation of course).

Of course, if interested in exploring how you can learn more about developing a TGIM worklife for yourself and/or others you work with….please do get in touch! I’d love to hear from you.

To a TGIM worklife!

Eileen

TGIM Worklife Blog — in Voice….hear this!

July 9, 2007

Hey – just trying out a new little tech gizmo that allows me to show up in voice…along with a few images too. Not sure exactly yet how to link seamlessly into this blog so I’ll go the easy route for starters and invite you to listen in to this post archived in Photobucket.

The 4 minute presentation is ideal if you are new to this blog….introduces you to the site. I’ll put up more (interesting) stuff once I master this thing….but for starters, if you want to meet me in voice…Turn up your speaker volume and Listen here .

Stay tuned for more….real soon.

In the meantime, have a super TGIM start to your week. Happy Monday!

Eileen