Archive for the ‘Team Building’ 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,

Nothing says ‘thanks’ like….

June 17, 2010

Ever been in that crazy work mode and feel like it’s all for naught….a thankless work culture? Well not me! Sorry to gloat but I just received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a client for a project I’ve been working on with them. It was mid afternoon and just as I was feeling the wear and tear of a busy week (and craving a snack), I get a delivery of  a beautiful bouquet of flowers…even better, chocolate-covered fruit that look like flowers! Doesn’t get  better than that!! Yummo!

click on picture to see this up close….easy on the drooling…!!

Honestly though…chocolate aside. Nothing is better in my books than knowing you are making a difference and you are appreciated.  All too often, we all get so caught up in the frenzy of our work and life that we forget to say ‘thank you’.

Thank you’s of all kinds (from flowers to a simple verbal ‘thank you’..or an email’) can make such a powerful difference. Especially when you are working hard as it seems everyone is these days.

I feel blessed that my hard work (and contribution) is appreciated and that I am making a difference. This, I must confess, is my second ‘thank you’ bouquet in a month. I received a bouquet of fresh flowers from another organization with whom I’ve volunteered some of my time and professional ‘stuff’ this year. I worked hard for them too….but it was worth it because they appreciate it (and it’s a good cause).

This ‘business’ of thank-you is serious stuff. In fact, I was just chatting about this with a coaching client of mine who was reflecting on how important it is to show appreciation for her team.  And studies (and experience!) have proven that the act of showing appreciation has a positive impact on both the giver and the receiver.

There’s loads more ways — formal and informal — to show appreciation. If interested in a few ideas of how to create more of this appreciation in your work-life, check out my article,  “Bringing Thanks to Thankless Work Culture” which was published in the Globe and Mail.

And for all of you who stop by, read my stuff and who are part of my TGIM work-life, THANK YOU!!

To a TGIM worklife filled with gratitude and appreciation.

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Are You Creating a Great Place To Work?

April 15, 2010

What makes a great place to work? Is it the people? The management? The relationships? The culture? All of the above and more!  And according to the Great Place to Work Institute – there are many great places to work in Canada – as they just announced their 2010 list.

Congratulations to Environics Communications for placing first in the list!  Kudos to Bruce Maclellan, president and founder of Environics Communications (and a friend of mine who was my very first boss when I began my career in Toronto many years ago). Bruce created a workplace culture that has earned this recognition along with the energy, loyalty and passion of a great team that does great work. I first met Bruce, when he was my first boss at Hill and Knowlton (who also placed on this list) and then I worked with him Environics Communications in the very early days of its start-up.   I know him to be a great guy – very smart and very dedicated to creating superb work for clients. He knows you can’t do that unless you create a great workplace so people can bring bring their best to the task.  So a well-deserved shout-out of congrats to Bruce and the whole gang at Environics – well done!

So what does it take to become a ‘great place to work’? According to the Great Place to Work Institute’s 20+ years of research, they say: 

At the heart of our definition of a great place to work – a place where employees “trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with

They measure the quality of the three, interconnected relationships that exist including: 

  • The relationship between employees and management.
  • The relationship between employees and their jobs/ organization.
  • The relationship between employees and other employees.

So, how’s that going for you in your workplace?

If you want to create TGIM attitudes, aptitudes and altitudes – then time to pay more attention to these and other factors.

Btw, and btw, I can help……if you think you’d like to do a bit better in any or all of these areas 🙂

To a TGIM work-life!

Eileen

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Soup’s On! …for Employee Engagement

February 4, 2010

Who doesn’t like a good bowl of steaming, home-made soup? Especially during the cold winter months – soup can really warm up the soul.

(My own home-made beet borscht!)

Well  – turns out soup can also warm up the ‘soul’ of a company according to internationally acclaimed Diamond + Schmitt Architects. Featured in the Toronto Star, this company has “soup day” every Thursday in the third floor kitchen of their office. But this isn’t soup to order: each week a different employee dons the chef’s hat and is responsible for brewing up the batch – from scratch.

Selected as one of Canada’s best-managed companies, Diamond refers to this initiative “a culinary project on workplace convergence.” And according to Jack Diamond, head of the firm, “..activities like this create a sense of community at a time of day the staff might otherwise be stepping out to a cafe or stressfully hunched over their desk with a sandwich.”

 Now that’s a recipe for collegiality and inspiration!

Is there something about builders? They seem to get it. Another builder who gets it is Tribute Communities – they earned an International Coach Federation Prism award for their Engagement at Work initiative. Disclaimer: I was involved in coaching and leading that project. 

Soup is one (great!) idea. There are so many more. One of my clients in the financial services industry was out last week with her co-workers building a house with Habitat.

So how about you? What are your experiences with activities that are meant to rally the troupes and build more ‘community’ at work? What’s working? What’s missing that may offer an opportunity to address?

I was interviewed for an article on this topic that was published in the Canadian HR Reporter. You can read it here.

In the meantime, to soup and other strategies to foster that TGIM work-life!

Eileen

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In the News: Bring Thanks to a Thankless Culture

July 22, 2009

See today’s Globe and Mail Careers for my latest “Mentor Minute” column in a response to a reader question on how to survive in a thankless work culture.

See article here: Bring Thanks to a Thankless Work Culture – Globe and Mail July 09

To a TGIM work life!

Eileen

Help Make My Day – Happiness is Contagious

December 5, 2008

Have you heard? There’s another virus threat going around. But no worries. It’s actually a good virus. It’s called the happiness bug. Have you caught it yet? At risk of getting it? If not…bet you wanna know how to…:)

happy-by-pink-lilly-blossom

(Photo courtesy of pinklillyblossom on Flickr)

New research from Harvard University and the University of California have just released a new study that confirms that happiness loves company — and can be spread around just like a virus.  It’s in all the papers today. See here for one article from the Globe and Mail.

According to the research, you can catch “happiness”  from people you don’t even know and spread it around to others.  Sometimes just a smile will do it. It can have a ripple effect on a social stratasphere.

Given the doom’n’gloom of the economy these days  – I think this is GREAT news. And can be deployed as a major TGIM strategy. Simply start to smile more and see what happens. You can make a difference.  

Go on – try it. You’ll be doing the world some good

🙂

It also makes you wonder: are you hanging around the right people? Are you hanging with happy people? Are you the kind of person someone will want to hang out with too?

Hmmm…food for thought.

To a happy TGIM worklife

Eileen

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It’s All About the People….

July 20, 2008

A client of mine (on the communications/PR side of my biz) recently retired from her role as VP Communications of the organization she’s worked with for the past 10 years.  I’ve had the privilege of working with her these past 6 years (I provide communications counsel) and have come to know her quite well.  In the days leading up to her farewell party – and at the party itself — I’d heard her reminisce about her career and repeatedly say: “It’s all about the people.” In her parting words, she counseled her younger staff to remember how important and valuable relationships are in one’s work-life – in many cases, even more important than the actual work!

“It’s all about the people”.  I couldn’t agree more. To read more -><> (more…)

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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Making Social Committees Work

March 17, 2008

Social committees can serve many purposes. Certainly they can add some ‘joie de vivre’ at work (a sense of fun). And they can also help build a more engaged internal ‘community’; encourage teams and departments to work together; give people opportunities to stretch their skills outside of their particular job role — and more.

HR Reporter interviewed me for an article on the topic. If you are interested, have a read.  And as always, would love to hear your thoughts.

To a TGIM work-life!

Eileen

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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!