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 …

The key to receiving feedback is…

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about giving feedback (you can read it here). A reader wisely observed, “This is helpful not only for giving, but also for being open to receiving feedback.” Absolutely true, and since I hadn’t thought of that, I was especially grateful she took the time to email me. (I hope it’s no surprise that I …

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 …

Corrective feedback: are you making one of these 3 mistakes?

As a leader, giving feedback to your people is part of your job. And while we all enjoy giving “yay, you!” feedback, it’s safe to say that no one likes having to deliver correction. That said, it’s still part of the job of developing your people and ensuring they deliver top-quality results. Here, then, are three mistakes and myths you …

Why you should never ask “Why?” (and what to ask instead)

It seems entirely reasonable: someone does something wrong – or at least, not as you’d expect – and you ask, “Why did you do that?” There’s just one problem with this – just one, but it’s a big one: “why” creates an immediate sense of defensiveness and self-protection. “Why did you do that?” Feel it for yourself. It carries a …

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 …

Well, what did you expect?

Last week, I facilitated a two-and-a-half-day boot-camp-style workshop. It was intense. Especially since after the first hour and a half, participants were upset, complaining, and threatening to leave. By the end of the second day, they were raving fans. It all came down to expectations The marketing and pre-workshop emails hadn’t set expectations about what was going to happen. People …

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 …

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 …

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 …