Gossip, venting, or mentoring?

Is it gossiping when you vent to your spouse or a friend about a frustrating co-worker? How about when you discuss that co-worker with another co-worker? Or when you tear your hair out about the situation with an advisor? Pretty fine lines, aren’t they? And it’s easy to think it’s all harmless when … maybe it isn’t. Let’s look at …

gljudson Better conversations

Got a tough feedback challenge?

I once worked with someone who was, let’s say, an extreme health enthusiast. He ran marathons for fun, and ate raw garlic for his immune system and cholesterol. He was smart and good at his job … and we all thought he was probably an interesting person, but no one wanted to get close enough to find out. A colleague …

gljudson Better conversations, Management & Leadership

How does your team think?

Every now and then, Amazon puts a really good book on their Amazon Kindle sales. I would never have come across Time to Think: listening to ignite the human mind, by Nancy Kline, if it hadn’t showed up as a 99-cent special one day. (Sorry, everyone, it’s back up to its regular digital price of $5.99, $12.99 for the paperback, and still …

gljudson Better conversations

Are you a speechifier?

There’s a lot of standard, cliché-ridden instruction out there on how to be a better listener. Most of it hovers around the tried-and-true “don’t listen to answer” directive – meaning, of course, don’t do what we all do: listen with half an ear whilst formulating our response (rebuttal, argument, disagreement…). Or, put in more positive terms, “listen to hear.” Listen …

gljudson Better conversations

Does your team lie to you?

Whoa – did I really ask that? Here’s the thing: we teach people, including our teams, colleagues, and family and friends, to lie to us all the time. Here are three examples. “I don’t like it when you say / tell me {whatever it is}.” Think about times when you’ve heard this. Does it make you reluctant to tell them …

gljudson Better conversations

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 …

gljudson Better conversations

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 …

gljudson Better conversations

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 …

gljudson Better conversations

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 …

gljudson Better conversations

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 …

gljudson Better conversations