Are you one of the 69%?

According to a Harris Poll / Interact survey, 69% of managers are “often uncomfortable” communicating with their employees. I think that number is probably a lot higher. I would be willing to bet ALL managers and leaders are uncomfortable in at least some interactions with their teams. Communication is an essential leadership skill. It’s also a skill where there’s seldom …

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The perils of personality assessments

Personality style assessments are everywhere. Myers-Briggs, DiSC (or DISC, depending on which version you take), Keirsey, the Enneagram, the Five Languages of Appreciation – the list goes on and on. Organizations love these assessments, and with good reason. Using a reputable, validated assessment can help people understand in a felt way, rather than just intellectually, that people really are different from …

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Do you welcome feedback?

This is a guest post from Will Bontrager, the software wizard and writer par excellence behind Will Bontrager Software, LLC. His website and his newsletters are treasure troves of straightforward, reliable software tools, tips, tricks, and techniques. As someone who uses several of his software tools, I’m delighted to include links to his site in this article, and highly recommend …

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How do you ask?

How you ask affects the answer you receive. Latin allows us to be explicit in this formation, as I learned many years ago when reading the classic British mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers. This line appears in the next-to-last book of the series, Gaudy Night: “One First of April, the question had arrived from Paris in a single Latin sentence, starting …

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You’ve heard this before – and it’s still true

One of the challenges of listening well is that we tend to listen to respond instead of listening to understand. This comes in several flavors. You might listen to the first few sentences, and then start constructing your answer in your mind … which means you tune out the rest of what’s being said. Or you might have something you really-really want to …

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What’s the elephant’s name?

There’s an elephant in the room. It’s the conversation you don’t want to have. It’s the thing you’re uncomfortable about sharing. It’s the topic you’re anxious about discussing. Whatever it is, you think about it often – but never straight on; always kind of sideways, like when you look out the corner of your eye because you don’t want to …

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Will you or won’t you?

“I can do that.” But will you? “I can do that” means you have the capacity, skills, knowledge, time, and resources to do this thing. “I will do that” means you have the motivation, intention, desire, and drive to do it, as well as the capacity, skills, and so on. I’d much rather hear someone say, “I will do that,” than “I can do …

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Why are difficult conversations so dang difficult?!

Those conversations. The ones that make us anxious, frustrated, worried. The ones we postpone and avoid. Whether it’s an ongoing disagreement with your partner, an employee who keeps making the same mistakes, a kid who persistently “forgets” to take out the trash, an aging parent, or your neighbor with the barking dog – whatever it is, there are some conversations …

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The dance of connection

A friend mentioned recently that she and her partner experience a lot of near misses in their interactions. As she put it, “communication zings by,” and it’s only later that she realizes what she heard maybe wasn’t exactly what was said – and vice versa. And this is a couple who’ve been happily together for over 20 years! We all know that different …

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Three steps for handling chronic complainers

The chronic complainer. We’ve all encountered them. They love describing all the things that are wrong in the world – and not just once. It’s the same story every time we encounter them. And they suck the energy out of the room! We quickly start avoiding them, whether by running to the bathroom when we see them coming, or choosing …

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