Schlagwortarchiv für: managing others

The power of SCARF and how to make feedback work better, and feel better

The question of how to get employees to improve has generated a good deal of opinion and research over the last hundred years. Most of us agree about the importance and benefits of feedback. Yet research suggests that feedback is still not being given often enough and when it is given it is not really doing what it is supposed to do; which is to help us improve. A 2018 Employers Council blog post reported that 65% of employees want more feedback. In 2019, Gallup found that only 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive helps them do better work. However, another study found that 71% of respondents overall agreed that they find critical feedback helpful and motivating. Once you delve into the topic of feedback, you’ll even find conflicting evidence that feedback in business truly enables learning and change. Talking to participants in our management training programmes supports some of these statistics. We often hear from managers that they want to give more feedback, but they lack the methods to give them confidence when they do it.

Statistics aside, let’s focus on two of the most obvious factors of the feedback conversation: The person giving the feedback, and the person receiving the feedback. When both have the skills, confidence and ability to have a productive feedback conversation then you will have a high chance of success (i.e. change). And the glaringly obvious… if the feedback is positive („you’re doing a great job, keep it up“)… easiest conversation ever! Having a negative, or critical feedback conversation, while making it a productive conversation is of course where the skills, confidence and ability are most needed…

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Before you continue reading take a moment and ask yourself 3 questions …

  • 1. When you go to work, how often do you receive feedback from management?
  • 2. Do you feel the feedback you get helps you to improve your performance?
  • 3. When you give feedback to others how often does it make a difference?

Why is feedback sometimes not effective?

Because sometimes, when we are given feedback, we feel threatened (or attacked), instead of supported and helped. The keyword there is ‚feel‘. When humans ‚feel‘, or perceive threat, it invokes a primal response (fight or flight) and we can no longer hear what the rational brain is saying.

 

Minimize danger – Maximize reward

David Rock believes that our response has its roots in the way our brains deal with perceived danger and how we always seek to minimise threats and maximise rewards. He developed it into a model of 5 areas that influence our behaviour, the SCARF model (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh5Egsa-bg4, or scroll to the bottom of this post). As Dr. Rock explains in the video, these five factors have a tremendous impact on our motivation on whether we are in that reward state or that danger state.

  • Status – our relative importance to others
  • Certainty – our ability to predict the future
  • Autonomy – our sense of control over events
  • Relatedness – how safe we feel with others
  • Fairness – how fair we perceive the exchanges between people to be

 

 

Managers who want to influence others, their job is to find just the right levers to move people into that ‚maximize reward‘ state. Leaders tend to know all about the carrot and stick. They use money and other external rewards to try to motivate people. Turns out there are often far more powerful rewards and threats going on inside people’s heads that are generating their behavior. So if you want to be the best that you can be at influencing others, you need to better understand what makes people tick.

Dr. David Rock

Status

Your perception of your position in relation to other people is what is meant here. Scientific evidence shows that when you experience a drop in status, your brain responds in the same way as when you experience physical pain. Who hasn’t felt intimidated at least once in their life, when we get feedback from others who are (or we perceive as) senior or more competent than us? The opposite is also true; when we receive praise from people more competent than us, we can find it highly motivating. This is the reward side of the status dimension.

If status is a relevant issue in your feedback conversation, remember that who gives the feedback becomes more important than what the feedback is. Naturally, status also plays a part when giving upwards feedback, or feedback to a client or colleague. When you are giving feedback take a moment to reflect on how your relationship with the person may impact your message.

  • Status is not the same as a formal position in a hierarchy, it is the worth we feel for ourselves and the worth we feel others assign to us
  • Status derives from credibility but also from knowledge and competence, so if you lack credibility with a specific audience you can gain it from demonstrating what you know/can do
  • Language makes a difference; using ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’ feels and sounds much more inclusive than ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘my’ and can help remove status risks
  • Everybody in an organisation needs to know their role is important and valued

Certainty

„The brain is a certainty creating machine, always trying to predict what’s going to happen.“ So, when the feedback giver can provide a really clear explanation about what is going to happen and what is expected, it provides much more certainty for the feedback receiver from the outset. Consider your reaction if your manager unexpectedly drops by your desk and says, “Can I have a word with you in my office?” Do your feelings move towards danger, or reward? When we know what to expect, we tend to feel safer. Introducing predictability, structure and goals in conversations can establish certainty and help people feel more open to feedback.

  • Humans perceive uncertainty as a threat. Recognizing this will help prepare a strategy to reduce what is threatening
  • Communication is a key tool to creating certainty, even if you have nothing ‘certain’ to tell people, the act of telling them precisely this will help
  • If there is genuine uncertainty about the future we can fall back on ‘why’ we are doing something; this can introduce purpose and a feeling that ‘we are in this together’ that can mitigate uncertainly about how things may actually turn out
  • You can mitigate the threat of uncertainty even in small conversations by telling the other person what will happen in the conversation – very important in giving feedback
  • People can gain a sense of certainty by being clear about what their role is and what is expected of them

Autonomy

Autonomy is a key part of intrinsic motivation. Micro-management undermines our autonomy by reducing the control we have over our work  …  and negatively impacts our motivation. Research shows that people who feel that they have no control or autonomy have higher stress levels. If feedback is supposed to be developmental, managers need to take the risk to let team members find their own paths to development. In other words, to be more coach/mentor than director.

  • Autonomy is closely linked to certainty – we if can’t predict the future we won’t feel we have any control over it
  • We react negatively when we perceive we don’t have control over events, our environment and our own choices
  • Autonomy requires trust and a feeling of safety around others, so that we can express our true feelings/opinion without fear of reprisal or rejection
  • Autonomy can be given to team members by e.g. empowering individuals by setting the ‘what’ and allowing them to decide the ‘how’
  • The idea of having options, i.e. making choices, is important to a sense of control

Relatedness

In short, relatedness refers to „our common ground“. When we feel comfortable with the people around us we are more likely to open up, express true feelings and reflect on our own behaviours. We relate to different people for all kinds of different reasons. Think about the people you turn to at work when you have a problem or challenge. Then think about the people you would definitely not turn to.

  • Relatedness is a feeling of belonging when we sense that people care about us as individuals
  • People often sense relatedness (or lack of it) via non-verbal communication, e.g. a nod or a smile to recognise you relate to what others are saying/thinking
  • Buddying, mentoring and coaching are all ways to build trusted relationships and make people feel valued
  • There is a need to pay attention to functional teams in organisations to prevent some teams feeling they are not as important as others; this can lead to silo working and disunity

Fairness

Fairness is highly subjective, so we need to work on people’s perceptions of fairness rather than trying to make things ‘equal’ – not everyone is equal, but we can hold people to a common set of standards. Sensing something is unfair immediately triggers a defensive reaction in our minds. The most common perception of unfairness in the workplace is when we see we are being treated differently to others. Managers can reduce this threat by explaining why they want to have conversations with individuals, and by setting common objectives, standards and rules.

  • Team members need to be able to cut each other some slack when individuals are facing special circumstances and perhaps some standards can be flexible – if this happens we need to communicate it is an exception and only temporary
  • Rewards and recognition need to be based on what people have accomplished rather than who they are, in order to avoid accusations of favouritism and bias
  • Transparency in decision making can help mitigate feelings of unfairness by showing that a range of perspectives were considered
  • Helping individuals see things from different perspectives can promote empathy and reduce a sense of discrimination

To wrap up

We hope you’ll consider using the power of SCARF in your next feedback conversation. For more feedback content, these posts might be of interest to you:

 

 

 

Building a culture of accountability (whitepaper)

In December 2021 we surveyed our clients and contacts, receiving 192 responses across a wide range of roles, industries, and European nationalities. Respondents commented on 7 simple statements. Some excerpts and the results of the survey are below. If you are interested to read the full whitepaper, you can download it here.

What is accountability?

Merriam-Webster defines accountability as “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions”.  Clearly there is an obligation for accountability in organisations via job descriptions, performance reviews, etc. However, today’s workplace with its demands for individual autonomy, remote working and complex project structures means that the ‘willingness’ to be accountable must be continually developed by leaders. Some effective, concrete ways of doing this are:

  • making clear agreements
  • empowering people to make own decisions
  • providing feedback
  • recognising achievements
  • modelling accountability

Our experience shows us that leaders sometimes lack the full range of skills to do this. However, let’s first turn to the factors responsible for the gap in expectations and practice of accountability, by looking at the research we carried out.

 

 

 

Analysis of results

  • Respondents answered positively to most statements, particularly recognition (Q.7) and empowerment (Q.3)
  • Respondents’ impressions of effective delegation (Q.1), clarity of expectations (Q.2), and feedback giving (Q.4) were also significantly positive
  • HOWEVER … when it came to managing accountability within and across teams (Q.5 and Q.6), respondents were divided, many disagreeing that managers hold team members accountable to the commitments they give each other.

There is salience in the results. There are positive impressions of managers’ abilities and willingness to hold individuals to account. However, Q.5 and Q.6 suggest managers may need to develop their skills at managing accountability between team members and teams.

Conclusions and recommendations

Our research suggests that while some leaders are very capable of demonstrating the elements that build accountability with individuals, they may struggle with building and displaying accountability between individuals and teams.

Leaders need to …

  • develop accountability with and between individuals
  • develop their team member’s skills to have courageous conversations and hold each other accountable
  • hold the team, as a unit, accountable
  • contribute to a culture of accountability within their management team

The process for developing accountability in Fig. 2 (not shown in this post) applies to all 4 of these challenges, but the actions required differ!

Ultimately, accountability is as much about ‘doing’ as ‘being’. It is the small, noticeable actions over time that build it, specifically:

  • Being clear – delivering an unambiguous message about roles and responsibilities
  • Being courageous – challenging individuals and teams to take responsibility… and taking responsibility ourselves
  • Being empathetic – understanding individuals and relationships

Leaders need to invest in the steps, skills and behaviours that build accountability naturally. Our experience is that when we can break down big concepts into smaller, more practical elements, we can help people to take the everyday steps they need to achieve bigger goals.

Download the whitepaper

The answers to „How can accountability be developed in individual leaders and organisations?“ and „What are the skills and behaviours driving each element?“ are discussed in the full version. You can download it here.

Leading a team that is working from home

When workers are suddenly sent home to work they will face plenty of challenges, especially if they’ve never done it before. Team leaders will face an additional challenge: Leading a team that is working from home. In this post we offer a range of tips and advice for how you can do that. To keep it simple and easy to implement we’ve stuck to a 3-step approach:

  1. Start by understanding the challenges
  2. Keep the team working together
  3. Lead your team as they work from home

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What are the challenges?

Technical

An immediate priority for leading a team that is working from home is to ensure that team members have the tools to do their jobs remotely. This includes both productivity and communication tools. As a leader you can approach this with the whole team by checking they have what they need and discussing which kinds of communication technologies work well for them. Not everything will work as it did in the office and as a team you may need to decide to use ad-hoc technologies as a temporary solution.

Emotional

Some team members may feel isolated and this can have a serious impact on motivation. This is best discussed in a one-to-one setting. Individuals will all have different emotional and psychological challenges and you need to know what these are in order to help them. A simple question like, “How are you looking after yourself?” can open up a discussion and go a long way to making team members feel supported individually. Read more on this topic in our post Dealing with Loneliness and Isolation when Working from Home.

Personal

Don’t forget to also look after your own needs and work through your own personal and logistical challenges. If you don’t address these, you won’t be as effective at helping other people with their issues. Get advice on how to do this in our post Three Steps to Adapt to Home Working.

How do I keep the team working together?

In the 1970s, MIT Professor Thomas Allen discovered that team cohesion is strongest when employees are physically closer. His ideas have been taken forward by some of the most successful companies who engineer ‘collisions’ between employees to strengthen bonding and group affiliation; simple things like coffee-machine conversations, team social events, sharing stories, etc. So, how can you do this with a team that works in physical isolation from each other? Here are some ideas we have seen that work:

  • Set up daily check-ins or ‘stand-up meetings’ at the start of each day where the team shares their priorities for the day and any impediments they face. This can give team members a reassuring routine which is both work and socially focused and help to overcome feelings of isolation. It also gives you a helicopter-view of what’s happening each day.
  • In team meetings always add an agenda item with a question like, “How is this arrangement working for us?” This helps to address emotional/psychological issues of individuals and build trust. Avoid closed questions (asking “Is everyone ok?” won’t give you much information) and use “us” and “we” to reinforce team togetherness.
  • Monitor team communication patterns to pick up on problems, side issues and tone that team members are using with each other. This doesn’t mean using spyware! You just need to go over conversations that are happening on Slack, Teams and other conversation channels.
  • Use video in team communications; humans bond much better to faces than to voices and non-verbal communication sends powerful signals of belonging and empathy. Seeing faces also puts more energy into calls, which helps to overcome feelings of isolation.
  • Create and manage social interaction to replicate what normally happens in the office; have a virtual lunch together, share internet memes, play games together, just get people laughing and having fun. Social interaction is the base of creating trust in a team; you just need to do it a bit differently in a virtual work setting.

Which skills do I need for leading a team that is working from home?

 You don’t need new skills to become an effective leader of a home-working team, but you will need to use some of them more. Here is a short list of where to focus your leadership skills:

Be available

You may have an open door policy in the office but that won’t work in a remote team. So, be explicit about when and how team members can contact you. If you haven’t heard from someone in a while, check in with them and ask how they are. At the same time be careful that you also ring-fence the time you need for yourself and your own tasks.

Solve problems

This is probably the biggest thing your team will need from you, at least at the start. You may need to be flexible and change processes if necessary, for example lifting constraints on how and where data is stored and shared. Focusing on outputs rather than processes will help push the team towards purposeful activity and away from missing their old physical environment.

Make rules and hold people accountable to them

It’s important to establish some ground rules with the team, for example on which communication tools to use for different tasks, how and when to contact each other. You then need to monitor that the team is sticking to those rules and jump in when they are not.

Continue to manage performance

Research shows that employees value their performance being managed and they rate managers highly when it’s done well. This is still true in a home-working environment, but it will take more communication and more regular, smaller steps to address the distance and isolation. A practical start is to set some short term performance goals on adjusting to home-working at the beginning.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post and please share what works for you in the comments. If you would like to know more about our experience of helping teams with remote working, feel free to contact us. We also offer training on managing your focus, energy and impact when working from home and leading people when they are working from home.

 

Balancing your emotional bank accounts – practical activities for managers and leaders

In our previous blog we explained what an emotional bank account is and why managers need to care about building them . To quickly recap, an emotional bank account is a metaphor coined by Stephen Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship, and when trust is high, communication is easy and effective. Every time a manager says something supportive, shows respect, helps somebody with a difficult situation, etc., they make a deposit in that person’s emotional bank account.  Every time they criticize, blame, lie, intimidate, etc., they make a withdrawal.  Over time, the effects of these deposits will help transform that relationship. This post goes deeper into how to build your emotional bank accounts.

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How do you build a healthy emotional bank account with your team?

Every manager and team are different, and culture can play a part, but at the end of the day it comes back to our relationships and how we behave. Covey identified six ways to make deposits (or reduce withdrawals):

1) Understand the individual

You need to know what the individual wants and what constitutes a deposit and withdrawal for them.  Whereas one employee might be exhilarated by presenting their project results to the board another may prefer to be in the background and their contribution acknowledged privately.  Ask yourself what drives them? How do they want recognition? What makes their eyes light up?

2) Keeping commitments

We have all broken a promise and let somebody down, and when we do this, we are making a withdrawal.  Keeping commitments is about doing what we say we’ll do, keeping our promises, delivering what we said we’d deliver, being on time, being where we should be, fulfilling our promises. If you consistently keep your commitments, you build healthy emotional bank accounts with people.

3) Clarifying expectations

Each of us have different backgrounds, experiences and expectations. We see the world differently.  Clarifying understanding and expectations is essential if you’d like to minimize misunderstanding and wrong assumptions. By proactively investing time in clarifying expectations and building a  mutual understanding of what you need, don’t need, want, don’t want etc you can minimize the “ I thought that..”, “I’d assumed ..”, “To me it was obvious that …”.  And keep in mind that if you are leading people and teams virtually, then the risk of false assumptions and misunderstanding does increase, and formalizing things with communication charters does help.

4) Attending to the little things

Relationships aren’t only built by big moments but by the little things too. These are the smiles in the corridor, holding the door open, short thank you emails, remembering their daughter has just started school, not heading straight to your office but spending a moment walking through the open office to be seen. Kind words, smiles, courtesies, warmth. Human interest, and taking time when you don’t have to.

5) Showing personal integrity

Relationships are built on trust and integrity. What does integrity mean? The word “integrity” comes from the Latin integritatem, meaning “soundness” or “wholeness.”  Integrity is not situational –  it is a state of mind.  In Covey’s words…

 

 

“ Integrity is conforming reality to our words … keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.”

 

 

What does this look like in practice? Here are 7 musts to start with…
  1. Do the right thing for the right reasons and because it’s the right thing to do – even if it is going to be unpopular with some people.
  2. Face the truth and talk about it. This is the reality principle of “seeing the world as it really is, and not as you wish it is”.
  3. Be upfront in your communication. People want to know where they stand and what is going on. People won’t always like what they hear but they will value the adult-adult relationship.
  4. Know you are sometimes wrong and that you sometimes make mistakes – and admit this.
  5. Take responsibility for what you do and don’t do.
  6. Put the needs of others before your own.
  7. Be loyal to those not present – confront gossiping, complaining and bad mouthing about people who aren’t in the room.

6) Apologizing when we make a withdrawal

we are all human, and we all make mistakes and get things wrong. Know when you’ve made a mistake, admit it and apologize with sincerity. Admitting you’ve made a mistake doesn’t necessarily mean it is acceptable but it’s a start, and can be healing to a relationship.  Avoid the temptation of wanting to discuss why you made it before you discuss and show understanding of the impact it had on others.  And understand that if you are continually making the same type of withdrawal, trust will erode. It’s the smaller things that kill relationships in the long run. Finally, don’t try and lighten withdrawals with banter, humour or a “shit sandwich”– this is rarely appreciated.

To add to the list above , tolerance and forgiveness are also powerful deposits, as is appreciative inquiry and holding back judgment and sweeping statements.

A 10-minute practical activity for managers

  1. Write down the names of 5 team members that are important to your team’s success.
  2. Now look back at your calendar over the last 2 weeks and use this, plus your memory, to find evidence of deposits and withdrawals.  A meeting went poorly and they left frustrated – that’s a withdrawal. They bent your ear and you listened and gave them your attention – a deposit. Build a simple balance sheet (name at the top, left column is deposits, right column is withdrawals.
  3. Now put the paper down / close the document and go and do something.
  4. A few hours later (or even the next day) come back and for each of the 5 team members write down what you believe motivates and drives them?  What gives them energy and what takes it? How do they like to communicate? And what do they see as recognition?
  5. Almost there … now
    1. Look at your evidence of deposit and withdrawals (step 2) and ask yourself hwo you feel about the balance
    2. Look at the types of deposits and withdrawals and ask yourself does this tie in with what they need? Not everyone will see public recognition as a deposit And not everyone will see direct feedback and getting straight to it as a withdrawal. Deposits and withdrawals are personal.
  6. And now the final step. Ask yourself what can you do in the coming month differently?  If possible, plan them into your calendar by finding tangible moments e.g.. You can’t enter “Tuesday 14:00-14:30 listen” but you can set up a meeting to discuss a project and make a conscious effort to listen first.  https://www.targettraining.eu/listening-skills-10-areas-to-improve/ @brenda – was there an ALF download ??
  7. And if you are keen to make more deposits then why not use a regular catch up meeting or a chat over lunch to learn from them more about what is actually important to them, what would increase their trust in you and your relationship , and what you could do more/less of.

More about our leadership and management training solutions

If you are interested in learning more about how we integrate emotional intelligence into our leadership and management training solutions, please contact us.

Why managers should care about their emotional bank accounts

In our Practical Toolbox for managers training program, we often hear that the time spent on giving feedback is one of the highlights, and implementing DESC frequently makes it onto the manager’s transfer plan. One of the key points they take away is that the success of your feedback/feedforward rests upon your broader relationship with your partner. Put simply, if you have invested in them as a human being then feedback conversations are far more likely to go well.  To look at it from the other side, if you haven’t invested in somebody, if you haven’t built trust, and if you haven’t built a meaningful professional relationship with them … well don’t be surprised when thing go pear-shaped.  If you are managing others, you need your emotional bank account with your staff to be healthy.
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What is an “emotional bank account”?

The term “emotional bank account” appears in Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In Covey’s own words:

An emotional bank account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship.  It’s the feeling of safeness you have with another human being.  When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”.

Covey made the term popular, but the concept behind the “emotional bank account” is not new.  When we take more than we give from a relationship over the long-term, then we shouldn’t be surprised if the relationship suffers.  This holds true in all our relationships, from those with our partners, kids, friends, colleagues, clients, and suppliers.

The metaphor took off within the business training world because it is immediately understandable. You make deposits, save up money, and when you need that money later, you withdraw it. An emotional bank account is an account of trust instead of money. We all know how a bank account works … plus bank account sounds more business-like which helps a certain time of person accept the idea.

Every time a manager says something supportive, shows respect, invests in somebody as an individual, helps somebody with a difficult situation, makes time for them etc they make a deposit in that person’s emotional bank account.  Over time, the effects of these deposits will help to transform that relationship. And conversely, every time they criticize, blame, defend, ignore, lie, intimidate, threaten, etc they make a withdrawal.

We are all human and there are times when we are making more withdrawals than deposits.  Just like a bank, we can go in the red and then come out of it. The trick is to be in in the healthy green zone over the longer term.

Why should managers care about emotional bank accounts?

It is rare to hear managers dismissing the concept.  Almost all managers we work with in our management and leadership solutions want positive, productive, rewarding, trust-based relationships with their staff and teams. Concepts such as authenticity, credibility and trust are valued by the vast majority of organizations, and books such as “Servant leadership in Action”  and Goffee & Jones’“Why should anyone be led by you?”  and have captured this.

A personal sense of self-worth and respect is important, but meaningful and strong relationships in the workplace also lead directly to tangible results.  As a manager, your success is largely is dependent on your staff. Leaders who build strong and meaningful relationships within and beyond their organization give their business a competitive advantage. Emotional bank accounts are not just about the “soft stuff”. They are about delivering results through performance.

Healthy emotional bank accounts play a role in practically all of a manager’s day-to-day tasks.  When a manager tasks, delegates, motivates, influences, leads meetings, communicates, reviews, resolves conflicts, gives feedback, navigates difficult discussions etc., the relationships impact the success. All of these are moments where a manager can deposit or withdraw, and each of them has a range of potential for success or failure.

To summarize: If a manager cares about their emotional bank accounts they are more likely to succeed in the short, medium and long-term. If a manager doesn’t take care of relationships and withdraws more than they deposit, then they can’t expect to see a highly motivated team delivering outstanding results.

Check your emotional bank accounts – a practical activity for managers

  1. Write down the names of 3+ people that are important to your team’s success. Ideally try and identify a range e.g. team member, manager in another department, customer, supplier etc …
  2. Then ask them if they have time for a meeting to reflect on your working relationship. Make sure they understand that this is truly the reason, that nothing is wrong per se, that there isn’t a second goal to the conversation.
  3. Start the meeting by reiterating that you would like to strengthen the relationship. Ask them to share things that you have done/not done which will/can/would build trust.
  4. Listen and ask exploratory questions to understand. Do not reframe what they say into what you wish they had said. Do not defend. Just listen.
  5. Thank them and let things settle.
  6. Finally, identify specifics and patterns amongst the people you’ve spoken too, and identify next steps.

More about emotional bank accounts

In our next blog post we’ll go deeper into the behaviours related to  “how you build emotional bank accounts” and share another practical exercise.

Die vier Reiter: Verachtung und Einmauern am Arbeitsplatz

Healthy and respectful working relationships are a must if you want an effective and enjoyable workplace.  In the first post of this series, I introduced John Gottmann’s work on the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In the second post, we looked at what you can do to tackle the toxic behaviours of criticizing & blaming and defensiveness. This blog post will dive deeper into the last 2 toxic behaviours – and possibly the most damaging of the 4: stonewalling & contempt. We’ll explore why they happen, their impact and how both parties can change things for the better.  We’ll end with what a manger can do when they see these behaviours within their teams.

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Contempt

Contempt is when somebody makes it clear that they feel somebody has no value and deserves no respect. As it has been built brick-by-brick over time, it is tough to dismantle, and is probably the most destructive behaviour amongst Gottman’s “Four Horsemen”.

Contempt can manifest itself as ongoing sarcasm, cynicism, insults and aggressive, belittling or mocking humour. It can be seen in small gestures (eye-rolling when a colleague starts talking in a meeting, snorting at the mention of a project, a smirk or a single “hah” when a  colleagues name is mentioned) to full on mocking and cruel statements e.g. “Wow, you’ve done better than I ever expected – even by your standards that’s truly great work Susanne. You must be exhausted after having made so many mistakes”.

When somebody shows contempt, they are actually communicating that they see themselves as better and worth more.

Why do we do show contempt?

Feelings of contempt are typically built up over time – negative experiences create their own story and, too often, nobody has tackled the situation effectively. This can leave a person feeling frustrated and angry and looking to establish some sort of “superiority”.  Contempt can also come from a sense of moral superiority based on class, cultural or religious differences. Peers can feed into it or enable it.

What happens when we show contempt?

Contempt destroys teams and relationships. It prevents trust and respect and makes it hard for any real human warmth. It is tangibly damaging, causes stress and can harm people emotionally, mentally and ultimately physically.

So, what can the person showing contempt do differently?

Truth be told, if you are showing contempt for others there is a good chance you no longer care about turning things around. However, if you have a high level of self-awareness and realise that you have become somebody you don’t want to be then this is already a great step. Going forward you can focus on redefining your relationship with your colleague through …

  • seeing the other person as a human being with equal value.
  • seeking a positive trait in them and acknowledge it first to yourself and then to the other.
  • finding something they do that you value – then tell them.
  • communicating your needs with “I” statements and not “you” statements e.g. “I feel…”, “I want…”
  • actively looking to find opportunities to make deposits in their “emotional bank account”.

And what can the person receiving contempt do to limit the toxic impact and turn things around?

  • Look after yourself and work to stay balanced and neutral when interacting with this person. Shut out the unhelpful “whatever I do will be seen as wrong” self- talk. Reward yourself for not feeding into a situation.
  • People don’t always realize that they are being offensive… or how offensive they are being. Raise awareness of behaviours in a neutral / inquiring tone e.g. “What would you like to achieve by saying that?”, “Why are you rolling your eyes?”
  • Ask questions about the other’s intent – especially if they are not communicating in their first language. e.g. “Are you aware that, when I hear you say … I feel …?” “
  • Reflect how the contemptuous behaviour is impacting you e.g. “I feel belittled when you roll your eyes when I talk. Is this intended?”
  • Say how you feel about what is going on and show your desire to make things right, e.g. “Can we take a step back and slow things down?” “Insulting me isn’t helping us to move forward and find a solution”, “ What is the best way to tackle this issue for both of us?”
  • Indicate that you are willing to move beyond the present and press the reset button e.g. “I feel we are struggling. How about we try and start again from the beginning and build a new working relationship?”
  • And when things get too much, don’t be afraid to seek support within your organization. When you do this focus on you and your feelings… and not what they said/did.
  • And finally, know where your limits are and seek support from your manager or HR if you feel these are being crossed.

Stonewalling                     

When somebody feels they are frequently and undeservedly being blamed or treated with contempt, they may choose to withdraw into themselves and give one-word answers or even refuse to participate at all. Discussion, healthy questioning and positive conflict are key elements of any successful team.  Stonewalling stops this from happening, and feeds contempt, defensiveness and blaming.

Why do we do stonewall?

By refusing to cooperate, engage, react or communicate we look to protect ourselves and ride it out. Beneath this we may be seeking to control or establish hierarchy e.g. “I don’t need to listen to you”.

What happens when we do this?

The impact is that communication stops. The other person may become increasingly frustrated, angry and then despondent. Communication collapses and relationships quickly collapse too. Other colleagues get pulled in to the toxic situation as they become impacted, and everything gets slower and tougher … meaning ultimately performance and results suffer.

So, what can the “stonewaller” do differently?

If you recognize this behaviour in yourself and want to change you can…

  • focus on who you choose to be – who am I really? How do I want to behave?  How do I behave when I am at my best?
  • ask for space if you need it, and commit to resume once things have calmed down.
  • find a way to calm your emotions. Is there a third party you can express your feelings to? Alternatively, verbalize them out loud to yourself (or write them down if you prefer).
  • work out why you have reached this point. Why are you so angry and reluctant to contribute? Answering these questions may help you to understand your feelings better and enable you to continue.
  • avoid righteous indignation e.g. “ I don’t have to take this anymore” or seeing yourself as an innocent victim

And what can the “stonewalled” do to limit the toxic impact?

  • Ask yourself why are they stonewalling? What are you doing/have you done that is making the other person not feel safe in expressing themselves?
  • Focus on building safety. Agree a fixed time, neutral and private location, confidentiality and help them come back into the conversation with simple exploratory open questions.
  • Accept that a break might be needed and press the “pause” button while communicating that you are committed to continuing the conversation later.
  • Really listen to what the other person is saying.

What can a manager do when they see contempt and stonewalling within their team?

The hard truth is that as a manager you probably won’t be able to do as much as you might like to.  Whereas a skilled manager can actively help team members get past criticizing, blaming and being defensive, contempt and stonewalling are far more difficult to deal with. In fact, any blog would struggle to explore the variables and options.  Here are some questions to ask yourself…

  • What is the impact of the behaviour on the team and our results?
  • What can I accept? What can’t I accept? Where is my line in the sand?
  • Where is the contempt or stonewalling coming from? e.g. why this person? this situation? this environment?
  • How willing am I to reflect back what I am seeing? The impact it is having? And the impact it may have later?
  • Am I prepared and committed to consistently confront contemptuous or stonewalling behaviors over the long-term?
  • To what extent can I ring-fence a person without impacting the team or passing more work and responsibility on to others?
  • Am I choosing to do nothing? Or am I afraid to do something?
  • Who else can help me in this situation?
  • To what extent has HR been involved so far? What can they do?
  • Under what circumstances am I prepared to let this person go?

Whether you are just moving into a management position, managing a conflict in your virtual team, or just want to get the very best from your staff and the teams you manage, being aware of Gottmann’s work on the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse is incredibly useful and practical. At the end of the day, results are delivered through people and people are complex. None of us are always at our best and we can all struggle in relationships.  Awareness of the 4 Horsemen is a start, followed by self-reflection and support.  An effective manager is neither a counsellor nor a buddy – but they do need to manage people as individuals – and this means managing knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours.

Die vier Reiter: Kritik und Schuldzuweisung, sowie Abwehverhalten am Arbeitsplatz

Gesunde Arbeitsbeziehungen sind ein Muss, wenn Sie einen effektiven, effizienten und angenehmen Arbeitsplatz wünschen. In unserem letzten Blogbeitrag stellte ich John Gottmanns Arbeit an den 4 Reitern der Apokalypse vor; Kritik & Schuldzuweisung, Verteidigung, Verachtung und Einmauern. Wir haben untersucht, warum die Bekämpfung dieser 4 toxischen Verhaltensweisen unerlässlich ist, wenn Sie die Leistung steigern und Ergebnisse erzielen wollen. Dieser Blogbeitrag wird tiefer in die ersten 2 toxischen Verhaltensweisen eintauchen. Wir werden uns mit Kritik und Schuldzuweisungen UND der damit verbundenen Abwehrbereitschaft befassen. Wir werden dann untersuchen, warum sie geschehen, welche Auswirkungen sie haben und wie beide Parteien die Dinge zum Besseren wenden können. Schließlich werden wir uns ansehen, was Sie als Manager tun können, wenn Sie auf dieses Verhalten zwischen den Teammitgliedern stoßen..

 

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Wie man Kritik und Schuldzuweisungen am Arbeitsplatz verwerten kann.

Wie jeder Manager weiß, wenn etwas ernsthaft schief geht, ist es wichtig sich zu fragen was passiert ist und zu diskutieren: „Wie kann man das beim nächsten Mal anders machen? Dies auf transparente, offene und konstruktive Weise zu tun, ist enorm wichtig.  Jim Collins untersucht in seinem exzellenten Bestseller Good to Great genau das: die „Autopsie ohne Schuldzuweisungen“. Damit „Autopsie ohne Schuldzuweisung“ funktioniert, brauchen Sie Menschen, die sich sicher fühlen – Sie müssen Kritik und Vorwürfe am Arbeitsplatz verwerten.

Zunächst einmal ist es wichtig, den Unterschied zwischen Beschwerde und Kritik zu verstehen. Eine Beschwerde bezieht sich auf eine bestimmte fehlgeschlagene Aktion. Eine Kritik beinhaltet ein negatives Urteil über die Persönlichkeit oder den Charakter des anderen. Schuldzuweisungen sind, wenn man auf die Verantwortung verzichtet und alle Fehler und Konsequenzen in die Schuhe einer anderen Person schiebt. Zum Beispiel…..

  • Beschwerde – „Thierry, wir liegen jetzt hinter dem Zeitplan mit der FAT zurück.  Ich bin in einer wirklich schwierigen Position mit dem Kunden.“”
  • Kritik – „Wir sind mit der FAT in Verzug, weil Sie vergessen haben, Max wieder zu upzudaten. Du bist so desorganisiert.  Jetzt bin ich in einer wirklich schwierigen Position mit dem Kunden, Thierry.“
  • Schuldzuweisungen – „Das ist alles deine Schuld…. und jetzt liegen wir wieder hinter dem Zeitplan mit der FAT zurück. Du hast Max nicht so upgedated, wie du es hättest tun sollen, und jetzt muss ich die Dinge lösen und mich um den Kunden kümmern…. was hältst du davon? Das ist alles deine Schuld, Thierry.

Offensichtlich sind Kritik und Schuldzuweisung keine hilfreichen oder produktiven Verhaltensweisen – aber wenn wir ehrlich zu uns selbst sind, haben wir sie alle irgendwann einmal gezeigt.

Warum beschuldigen und/oder kritisieren wir andere?

Wir haben uns darüber Gedanken gemacht, was passiert ist und wollen entweder jemanden zur Verantwortung ziehen oder das Verhalten eines anderen ändern. Wir sagen uns, dass wir nur „Feedback geben“, „andere zur Verantwortung ziehen“ oder „sagen, wie es ist“.

Was passiert, wenn wir das tun?

Der typische (und oft unbeabsichtigte) Effekt ist, dass der Empfänger defensiv wird (der zweite der 4 Reiter) und die konstruktive Kommunikation stoppt. Der Empfänger wird wahrscheinlich weniger offen darüber sein, was tatsächlich passiert ist, da er sich nicht sicher fühlt – und möglicherweise sogar unehrlich wird, Informationen zurückhält oder Dinge neu erfindet. Alternativ fühlt sich der Empfänger bedroht und wehrt sich mit Kritik oder Schuldzuweisungen. Nichts davon ist sehr produktiv oder vorteilhaft für eine gesunde Geschäftsbeziehung.

Was also kann der „Schuldzuweiser“ anders machen?

Um das oben Gesagte am besten zu vermeiden, müssen Sie als potentieller „Schuldzuweiser“…

  • Verantwortung für die eigenen Gefühle übernehmen – und sie nicht auf den „Empfänger“ legen.
  • Offen und neugierig darüber sein, was passiert ist. Genau hinschauen, um zu verstehen.
  • Verwandeln Sie Ihre „Beschwerde“ in eine Anfrage. Konzentrieren Sie sich darauf, Lösungen für das Problem zu finden und wie Sie es in Zukunft vermeiden können, anstatt sich auf die Vergangenheit zu konzentrieren, z.B. anstatt zu sagen: „Sie haben mir nichts von dem Review-Meeting erzählt“, sagen Sie: „Ich möchte wirklich kein weiteres dieser Review-Meetings verpassen, könnten Sie mir die Termine für den Rest des Jahres schicken?“
  • verwenden Sie die Sprache „Ich“ und nicht „Sie“, z.B. „Ich habe den Eindruck, dass… / Für mich kommt das wie…“.
  • prüfen Sie, wie Sie aktiv zu einer Lösung beitragen können – es ist unwahrscheinlich, dass Sie völlig machtlos sind, und Sie werden sich besser fühlen, wenn Sie wissen, was Sie ändern und kontrollieren können, unabhängig davon, was der andere tut.
  • zukunftsorientiert sein. Auch hier gilt: genau hinschauen, um zu verstehen, damit die Dinge in Zukunft besser werden können. Auf einem Stück Papier darzustellen, was passiert ist und welche Faktoren dazu beigetragen haben, kann ein effektives Werkzeug sein.
  • Entschuldigen Sie sich, wenn es angebracht ist – Wollten Sie „angreifen“? Es könnte sein, dass Sie sich nicht kritisch gefühlt haben oder eine andere Absicht hatten, aber es kommt darauf an, wie der andere es erlebt hat.
  • und um jeden Preis vermeiden Sie es, den anderen mit weitreichenden persönlichen Angriffen wie „Was ist los mit dir?“ oder „Was genau ist dein Problem“ zu verletzen?

Was können die „Schuldigen“ tun, um die toxischen Auswirkungen zu begrenzen?

Wenn Sie kritisiert oder beschuldigt werden, versuchen Sie…

  • anzunehmen, dass die Absichten gut sind. Man versucht nicht absichtlich Sie zu verletzen, noch will man, dass Sie sich „nutzlos fühlen“. Sie machen einfach keine sehr gute Arbeit bei der Kommunikation.
  • zuzuhören und eine angemessene Aufforderung zu finden, die in der „Beschwerde“ enthalten ist.
  • sich auf ihre Beziehung zu konzentrieren. Wenn andere Ihnen „Schuld“ zuweisen, was sind dann ihre Bedürfnisse
  • dem Drang zu widerstehen, sich zu wehren – bleiben Sie nicht in einer „Wer macht was mit wem“ Spirale stecken
  • ruhig, durchsetzungsfähig und empathisch zu sein.
  • Diskussion wieder auf die Zukunft auszurichten. Wie oben, hilft es, das Geschehene darzustellen und Fakten zu veranschaulichen
  • der anderen Person zu helfen, sich wieder auf eine bessere Beziehung zu konzentrieren.

Wie man „Abwehr“-Verhalten am Arbeitsplatz entkräftet

The toxic behaviour of “defensiveness” often follows feeling criticized or blamed. It is a natural fight/flight response and, just like criticism & blaming, defending is very much about the past rather than the future.  Defending can look like excuses, denying responsibility, or even blaming the other (“I’m not the problem here – you’re the problem!”). Defensiveness rarely helps move things forward.

Das toxische Verhalten der „Abwehrhaltung“ folgt oft dem Gefühl, kritisiert oder beschuldigt zu werden. Es ist eine natürliche Kampf-/Fluchtantwort, und genau wie Kritik und Schuldzuweisungen geht es bei der Abwehrhaltung sehr stark um die Vergangenheit und nicht um die Zukunft.  Sich zu verteidigen kann wie eine Ausrede aussehen, oder es wirkt wie die Verantwortung zu leugnen oder sogar dem anderen die Schuld zu geben („Ich bin hier nicht das Problem – du bist das Problem!“). Verteidigung hilft selten, die Dinge voranzutreiben.

Warum verteidigen wir uns?

Wir verteidigen uns, um unser eigenes Selbstwertgefühl zu bewahren.  Wir wollen unsere Selbstidentität, unser Integritätsgefühl bewahren.  Wir schützen unser Ego vor Kritik und können uns schnell wie das „Opfer“ verhalten.

Was passiert wenn wir das tun?

Die unbeabsichtigte Auswirkung ist, dass Konflikte entweder aufkommen oder eskalieren.  So oder so, die Beziehung leidet. Die Defensive verhindert auch die Analyse und das Verständnis des Problems, was wiederum die Suche nach nachhaltigen und realistischen Lösungen verhindert.

Also, was kann der „Verteidigende“ anders machen?

  • Wirklich zuhören…. wirklich, wirklich zuhören. Schließen Sie nicht hilfreiche Selbstgespräche aus und nutzen Sie aktive Hörfähigkeiten.
  • In Verbindung mit dem oben genannten, hören Sie hin, um herauszufinden, was Sie denken, dass Sie hören.
  • Jetzt suchen Sie nach den „10%“ der Wahrheit. Es ist unglaublich unwahrscheinlich, dass die andere Person alles erfindet. Ignorieren Sie die Kritik und konzentrieren Sie sich auf das angesprochene Thema. Selbst wenn Sie mit dem, was sie sagen und wie sie es sagen, nicht einverstanden sind, gibt es wahrscheinlich irgendwo etwas Wahrheit, die sich mit Ihnen und ihrem Teil in der Situation verbindet.
  • Und wenn Sie Ihren Beitrag zu dem Problem bedacht haben, akzeptieren Sie Ihre persönliche Verantwortung für das Problem. Jeder hat manchmal Unrecht.
  • Erkennen Sie die Wirkung an, zu der Sie beigetragen haben. Entschuldigen Sie sich, wenn es angebracht ist. Und um ein überzogenes Klischee zu zitieren, gestehen Sie Fehler ein. Sie werden überrascht sein, wie kraftvoll und effektiv es ist zu sagen: „Ich habe mir angehört, was du gesagt hast, und nachdem ich darüber nachgedacht habe…. hast du Recht. Das ist mein Fehler.“ Manchmal kann die Auseinandersetzung mit einer Situation auch schnell die Dynamik verändern, z.B. „Ich habe mir angehört, was du sagst (Kritiker richtet sich auf Leugnung ein und bereitet sich auf einen weiteren Angriff vor), und ich stimme dir völlig zu.  Ich habe das nicht richtig oder gut gemacht [Kritiker überrascht und still]. Lass uns reden und sehen, was wir beide beim nächsten Mal anders machen könnten [Kritiker in eine zukunftsorientierte Diskussion einbezogen].“

Und was kann der „Angreifer“ tun, um die toxischen Auswirkungen der Verteidigung zu begrenzen?

  • Verdeutlichen Sie ausdrücklich und authentisch Ihre Absicht. Arbeiten Sie daran, zu helfen zu verstehen, dass Ihre Absicht darin besteht, andere nicht zu verletzen. Sie wollen nur ein ernstes Gespräch führen, weil Ihnen das wichtig ist.
  • Noch einmal, wirklich zuhören… weniger reden und mehr zuhören.
  • Klären Sie, was von der anderen Person gehört wird.
  • Verwenden Sie „Ich“ und nicht „du“.
  • Zeigen Sie Respekt.
  • Und versichern Sie anderen, dass ihr Image oder ihr Ruf nicht auf dem Spiel steht. Sie konzentrieren sich auf diese Situation und nicht auf die Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft.
  • Gewinne Sie das Vertrauen wieder.

Was kann ein Manager tun, wenn er Kritik, Schuld und Abwehrhaltung in seinem Team sieht?

Kritik und Schuldzuweisung ist menschlich. Wir alle haben es schon getan. Wir alle waren unhilfreich defensiv. Unterscheiden Sie zwischen einem Teammitglied, das dieses Verhalten hin und wieder zeigt (das ist menschlich) und einem, das ein Muster auf einer fortlaufenden Basis zeigt.

  1. Schaffen Sie eine sichere Umgebung und bauen Sie Vertrauen auf, indem Sie persönliche Erfahrungen austauschen, und an beiden Enden sitzen – konzentrieren Sie sich auf die unmittelbaren und längerfristigen Auswirkungen des Verhaltens auf Einzelpersonen, Teams und Ergebnisse. Achten Sie darauf, keine Vorträge zu halten und teilen Sie stattdessen Ihre Wahrnehmungen und Erfahrungen.
  2. Konzentrieren Sie das Team auf das, was beim nächsten Mal passiert (und verstärken Sie diese Zukunftsorientierung, wenn jemand anfängt, Vergangenheitsformen zu verwenden).
  3. Wenn Sie auf ein Muster stoßen, in dem eine Person regelmäßig andere kritisiert und beschuldigt, scheuen Sie sich nicht, Ihre Macht als Manager geltend zu machen und Feedback über das destruktive Verhalten zu geben, das Sie sehen.

Im dritten und letzten Teil dieser Serie werden wir untersuchen, wie Sie die verbleibenden 2 „Reiter“ – Einmauern und Verachtung – angehen und überwinden können.

Lernen Sie die „Vier Reiter der Apokalypse“ kennen – Was bewirken Sie an Ihrem Arbeitsplatz?

Seit 2015 sind wir stark an einem Management Development Programm für eine der großen 4 Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaften in Luxemburg beteiligt. Einer der vielen lohnenden Aspekte der Beteiligung an so großen Vorzeigeprojekten ist die Möglichkeit, mit anderen Management-Trainern zusammenzuarbeiten und voneinander zu lernen. Dank Alexandra D. entdeckte ich 2017 John Gottmans Arbeit und seitdem habe ich gesehen, wie seine Methoden Menschen in und außerhalb der Arbeit bei den Beziehungen helfen, die für sie am wichtigsten sind. Wenn Sie (wie ich) noch nichts von ihm gehört haben: John Gottman ist ein hoch angesehener Psychologe und Beziehungsexperte, der mit seiner Frau Julie das Gottman Institute (https://www.gottman.com) leitet. Gottman studierte über zwei Jahrzehnte lang die Beziehungen zwischen Ehepartnern und Paaren und entdeckte Verhaltensmuster, mit denen er – mit einer Genauigkeit von über 90% – vorhersagen konnte, welche Beziehungen nicht  überleben würden.  Obwohl sich seine Forschung und Berufung ausschließlich auf Paare konzentriert, übertragen sich seine Gedanken und Methoden leicht auf unser Berufsleben und auch auf unsere Arbeitsbeziehungen!

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Die 4 Reiter (oder die 4 Teamtoxine)

Gottman glaubt, dass es 4 negative Verhaltensweisen gibt, die Beziehungen zerstören können. Dieses 2-minütige Video stellt sie gelungen vor.

Die vier destruktiven Verhaltensweisen sind:

  • Schuldzuweisung und Kritik – Angriff auf den Charakter, das Verhalten oder die Persönlichkeit des Partners.
  • Defensivität – sich selbst als Opfer zu sehen, um Angriffe zu verhindern oder abzuwehren und andere für sein Versagen zu beschuldigen..
  • Verachtung – das Selbstgefühl seines Partners mit Sarkasmus oder Zynismus angreifen, um ihn zu beleidigen oder zu missbrauchen.
  • Einmauern – Rückzug aus der Beziehung und jeder sinnvollen Verbindung.

Gottman nennt diese 4 destruktiven Verhaltensweisen „die vier Reiter der Apokalypse“. Ich habe auch gehört, dass Coaches und Trainer sie in „die 4 Teamtoxine“ (engl. The Four Team Toxins) umbenennen, um sie geschäftsrelevanter erscheinen zu lassen.

Warum die 4 Reiter der Apokalypse am Arbeitsplatz anzutreffen sind?

Wenn wir ehrlich sind, haben wir diese 4 toxischen Verhaltensweisen vermutlich auch schon gezeigt und uns irgendwann einmal toxisch verhalten. Wir sind menschlich. Und ob man sie nun „die 4 Reiter“ oder „die 4 Teamtoxine“ nennen will, diese Verhaltensweisen sind am Arbeitsplatz von Bedeutung – und das auf sehr greifbare Weise.

Diese Verhaltensweisen sind Gift für einen effektiven, respektvollen und bereichernden Arbeitsplatz. Wenn zwischenmenschliche Beziehungen zusammenbrechen, können Sie erwarten, dass sich die Qualität der Kommunikation verschlechtert.  Aufgaben und Projekte dauern länger, die Arbeit wird unvollständig oder unter den erwarteten Standards sein, und da das Verhalten die Produktivität beeinträchtigt, können Sie mit schlechten Ergebnissen rechnen.  Motivation, Engagement und Teamgeist werden alle leiden, und destruktive Konflikte werden zunehmen. Und im schlimmsten Fall sieht man Stress, Krankheit und fähige Menschen, die kündigen, weil „es ihnen reicht“. Wenn Sie Leistung also steigern wollen, müssen Sie diese Probleme direkt angehen.

Also, was können Manager gegen die 4 Reitern der Apokalypse machen?

„Ok, einige Leute sind nicht so nett wie andere, so ist das Leben… aber  was soll ich als Auditmanager tun? Ich bin Manager, nicht Berater.“

– Marcel, Manager im Bereich Audit & Assurance

Jeder Profi, der sich um seine Beziehungen zu anderen kümmert, wird von der Erforschung der 4 Reiter profitieren…

  • indem er in der Lage ist, zu erkennen, wann er sich negativ verhält.
  • indem er lernt, seine Denkweise bei Bedarf bewusst zu ändern

Egal ob toxisches Verhalten ein häufiges Ereignis oder ein glücklicherweise seltenes Phänomen ist, gute Manager müssen…

  • in der Lage sein, zu erkennen, wann sich andere negativ verhalten.
  • lernen, anderen zu helfen, ihr Verhalten und die Auswirkungen zu verstehen.
  • in der Lage sein, schwierige Gespräche mit Einzelpersonen und Teams anzugehen.
  • lernen, anderen zu helfen, negative Spiralen zu stoppen und toxische Beziehungen umzukehren.

In den Teilen 2 und 3 dieses Blogs werden wir untersuchen, wie dies erreicht werden kann, aber zum Schluss folgen 5 praktische Tipps für den Einstieg…

  1. And when you do see toxic behaviours between team members, tackle them.
  2. Übernehmen Sie die Verantwortung für Ihre eigenen Gefühle. Das fängt damit an, dass Sie konsequent Selbstwahrnehmung und Reflexion in Ihrem Handeln aufbauen. Konzentrieren Sie sich darauf, wer Sie sein wollen und wie Sie sein wollen… unabhängig davon, was die andere Person tut oder sagt. Das ist hart, aber enorm wirksam.
  3. Die Neugierde der Praxis – fragen Sie sich „Was passiert hier eigentlich“, „Was fehlt mir“, „Wie habe ich zu dieser Situation beigetragen“ und „Was wird uns dabei helfen“
  4. Machen Sie keine Annahmen und überprüfen Sie Ihre Ergebnisse offen. Dies wird dazu beitragen, die Bereitschaft anderer zu erhöhen, zuzuhören und sich auf einen gesunden Konflikt einzulassen.
  5. Gehen Sie auf andere Menschen ein und speisen Sie Positivität in Ihre Beziehungen ein: Führen Sie regelmäßig anerkennende Gespräche und versuchen Sie, Anerkennung zu zeigen.
  6. Und wenn Sie toxische Verhaltensweisen zwischen Teammitgliedern sehen, gehen Sie sie an.

Wenn Bullen aneinandergeraten – warum Senior Manager Einfluss nehmen sollten, anstatt Macht auszuüben.

Im vergangenen Jahr haben wir an 3 Führungsprojekten mit Werksleitern in ganz Europa und den USA gearbeitet. In diesen Projekten wurden talentierte operative Führungskräfte am Rande der Beförderung auf eine strategischere Ebene gecoacht. Für viele dieser Manager ist dies ein überraschend schwieriger Sprung. Sie sind nun nicht mehr der einzige „Go-to“-Entscheidungsträger für ihre Teams. Jetzt müssen sie den Input ihrer Vorgesetzten und Kollegen bekommen, um ihre Arbeit zu erledigen. …. sie müssen andere beeinflussen.New Call-to-actionFragen anstatt sagen: der richtige Ansatz beim Beeinflussen

Für Manager mit einem bestimmenden Führungsstil stellt dieser Übergang eine besondere Herausforderung dar, da sie von einem „sagenden“ zu einem „fragendem“ Ansatz übergehen müssen, um andere zu beeinflussen. Diejenigen, die es gewohnt sind, anderen zu sagen, was sie tun sollen, sind in der Regel mit schnellen Entscheidungen und Sofortmaßnahmen vertraut. Bislang haben sie sich auf ihre „Macht“ verlassen…. und waren in ihrer Karriere bisher relativ erfolgreich! Ihre Macht stammt von/aus:

  • Organisationsbefugnis („Ich bin der Betriebsleiter“)
  • Expertenstatus („Ich habe 15 Jahre Erfahrung in diesem Bereich“)
  • Informationskraft („Ich war von Anfang an dabei“)
  • Ausstrahlung („Ich weiß, dass du mir folgen wirst“)

Tatsächlich ist ein Manager oft so sehr an die Ausübung von Macht gewöhnt, dass er den Unterschied zwischen Macht und Beeinflussung nicht kennt. Ein Teil unserer Rolle im Training besteht darin, Ihnen zu helfen, die greifbaren Unterschiede zwischen „Ich möchte, dass du X machst und du tust es. Was du darüber denkst, ist zweitrangig.“ (Macht) und „Ich weiß, dass du tun wirst, was getan werden muss, weil du es tun willst und glaubst, dass es das Richtige ist.“ (Beeinflussen).

Wenn Bullen aneinander geraten und warum die Beeinflussung durch Macht aufhört, effektiv zu sein.

Stellen Sie sich zwei Stierbullen vor, die aneinander geraten und ihre Hörner wetzen. So ist es auch, wenn zwei Führungskräfte mit bestimmenden Stilen versuchen, den gleichen operativen Raum zu teilen – es können Probleme auftreten. Während Trainings und Coachings haben wir folgende Ausdrücke öfters gehört: „Er hört mir nicht zu“, „Sie untergräbt meine Expertise“ und „Es ist sein Weg oder kein Weg“. Nachdem wir tiefer gebohrt und nachgefragt haben, wie sie versucht haben, andere zu beeinflussen, stellten wir oft fest, dass sie sich nur auf einen bestimmenden oder einen überzeugenden Stil der Beeinflussung (push styles) verlassen – im Gegensatz zu einem kollaborativen oder visionären Stil (pull styles).

Warum verschiedene Beeinflussungsstile wichtig sind

Im Rahmen unseres Training „Beeinflussen und Überzeugen“ arbeiten wir mit Kunden zusammen, um ihnen zu helfen, verschiedene „Beeinfluss-Stile“ zu verstehen und anzuwenden. Kein Stil ist besser oder schlechter als ein anderer – jeder hat seine Stärken und Schwächen, und jeder findet seinen Platz.  Wie Dale Carnegie jedoch so visuell in How to win friends and influence people beschreibt, ein Stil für jede Situation zu verwenden, ist wie „mit Erdbeeren zu fischen“…. mit anderen Worten ineffektiv und letztlich sinnlos. Da Manager sich auf eine strategischere Rolle zubewegen und in Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Führungskräften Ergebnisse liefern müssen, müssen sie verschiedene Überzeugungs-Stile entwickeln. Sie müssen manchmal „fragen“ und nicht nur „sagen“ – pull not push. Sie müssen davon loslassen Dinge durch ihre „Macht“ allein erledigen zu wollen. Also, was soll man tun?

Hören Sie auf zu „sagen“, fangen Sie an zu „fragen“ – 5 praktische Schritte, um andere Führungskräfte zu beeinflussen

Wie Marshall Goldsmith sagte: „Was dich hierher gebracht hat, wird dich nicht dorthin bringen“. Sich nur auf Macht zu verlassen, wird nicht das Engagement liefern, das für den individuellen und organisatorischen Erfolg erforderlich ist. Führungskräfte müssen das Beeinflussen und Überzeugen auf Ihrem Weg nach oben beherrschen.

  • Zu erkennen, dass der Stil und die Methoden, die Sie gewohnt sind, nicht funktionieren, ist ein erster großer Schritt. Diese Erkenntnis kann sich unangenehm anfühlen und manchmal länger auf sich warten lassen!
  • Die Bereitschaft, etwas anderes auszuprobieren, ist der zweite Schritt. Ein einfacher Tipp ist es, immer mehr als eine gute Option zu präsentieren. Wenn Sie versuchen, jemanden zu beeinflussen, der ebenfalls ein bestimmender Typ ist, denken Sie daran, dass er (wie Sie) es nicht schätzt, mit nur einer Option eingekesselt zu werden. Eine einzige Option fühlt sich wie ein Befehl an. Wenn Sie sich selbst sagen hören „Wir müssen…“ oder „Unsere einzige wirkliche Option ist…„, bedeutet das, dass Sie sich wahrscheinlich immer noch auf Ihre Macht verlassen.
  • Versetzen Sie sich in die Lage des Anderen und versuchen Sie herauszufinden, was für Ihr Gegenüber wichtig ist, und beziehen Sie es in Ihre Überlegungen ein. Lassen Sie die andere Person wissen, dass Sie versuchen, deren Bezugsrahmen zu verwenden. Wenn Sie deren Interessen nicht kennen und nicht wissen, was sie schätzen, ist es wichtig, es herauszufinden. Lassen Sie ihr Gegenüber wissen, dass dessen Erfolg auch für Sie von Bedeutung ist.
  • Finden Sie heraus, was Sie kontrollieren, beeinflussen und akzeptieren können. Erweitern Sie Ihren Einfluss, indem Sie mehr Überzeugungs-Methoden entwickeln.
  • Und dann überlegen Sie, was Sie sagen und wie Sie es sagen.

Wenn Sie mehr darüber erfahren möchten, wie wir erfolgreich Präsenztrainings und Trainings in virtuellen Vortragsformaten in ganz Europa und darüber hinaus durchgeführt haben, dann zögern Sie nicht, uns zu kontaktieren.

Nobody likes giving negative feedback – but many of us want to hear it

If someone is unhappy with your performance at work, wouldn’t you want to know? At the very least, you’d like an opportunity to clear the air, or address the problem, or explain…or something. Yet when it comes to giving negative or difficult feedback, most of us feel reluctant to give it. We don’t want to hurt the other person or we are afraid of a conflict, so we end up avoiding it. No, giving negative feedback is not one of the enjoyable aspects of managing people. Doing it constructively is a challenge for the best of us, and even when we do it well – who’s to say that your feedback is taken on board and improvements are made?

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Here are 7 tips to get you started, and they are explained in more detail below:

  1. Be clear about what you want at the end before you begin
  2. Use language that focuses on the situation, not on the person
  3. Turn up to the conversation, stay there and speak out
  4. Be open, try to be objective, don’t judge
  5. Demonstrate understanding
  6. Give examples and share patterns – and the impact on you/others
  7. Believe in change

Be clear about what you want at the end before you begin

What is obvious to you is not always obvious to others. People cannot look into your head (or heart) and guess how you’d like things. You need to be able to explain, in simple and safe language, what you want from the conversation and why you are starting it. Think about it, picture it. Simply saying that you want something to improve is not enough, it means different things to different people. Be specific and focus on the future. A useful approach is to know if this is an A, B or C discussion.  Are you focusing on a specific Action, an ongoing Behaviour or possible Consequences ? Try not to mix them. Another approach my colleagues use in training is “feed forward not back”.

And finally, think about this: if you’re giving negative feedback because you want to ‘make a point’ – there really is no point.

Use language that focuses on the situation, not on the person

Giving negative feedback is always a very personal thing, for both parties. Keep this is in mind when the other person takes your feedback personal. There are no magic phrases to use when giving negative feedback but avoid language like “you did” and “you shouldn’t have”. Owning your sentence with “I” is a better place than judging or blaming with “you”. Try sentences that start with “I noticed” or “I saw”. Avoid using „I think“ or “I heard” as this implies a personal feeling, gossip, and/or judgement. Do keep in mind though that the “I” isn’t magic. If you are blaming somebody, the “I” doesn’t change how they react. And if you are managing people consider sometimes using “our” or “we” as a replacement for “I”.

Given time to absorb and reflect, most of us are grown-up enough to move past the personal impact of what is being said. More often than not, once we look back on the situation, we’re glad that someone gave us the feedback and brought it to our attention so that we can try to change our behaviour, or take appropriate action.

Turn up to the conversation, stay there and speak out

If you are going to give difficult or negative feedback you need to be present in the moment. You are committed to the conversation because you believe both parties will benefit. Shut out unhelpful self-talk like “well it won’t make any difference” or “ I knew he would say that when I said this“.  You both need to focus on this conversation and the outcome. You owe it to both of you to say what you think and feel, taking responsibility for your words and the outcome.

Be open, try to be objective, don’t judge

Don’t be vague, don’t be ambiguous. If the situation is a big deal, don’t call it a minor issue. Be open to receiving feedback on your feedback. Listening is as important as talking. Effective feedback is always a two-way street. And remember, what is obvious to others is not always obvious to you.

It’s almost never a good idea to judge others by your standards. You would do this or that, if you were him or her in this situation? You’re not him or her, you’re you. Or, he or she should do this or that in this situation? Better yet, if you were him or her, you wouldn’t even be in this situation… None of that means anything, beyond that you are different people.

Demonstrate understanding

For feedback to lead to a positive outcome for both sides you need to demonstrate understanding.  You can do this by …

  • Actively looking to find truth and agreement in what they are saying and validating this.  If you disagree with everything they say, how likely is it that they will accept and embrace everything you are saying?
  • Keep calm, centred and actively side-step confrontation and escalation.
  • Summarize your understanding of the other persons feelings (and be open to them correcting you).
  • Summarize your understanding of what they have said (and again, they can correct you)
  •  Asking a straight question to build bridges

Give examples and share patterns – and the impact on you/others

Your vested interest and understanding of the situation are important and this should be clear early in the conversation. Models such as DESC build this in. If you are not clear about something, ask and listen. Stick to what was observed. And as mentioned earlier, know whether you want to focus on an action, a pattern of behaviours  or consequences.

Trainer tip

“When we talk about patterns of behaviour, people will typically ask for an example. You are obliged to give examples- but if somebody is behaving defensively be prepared for them to then pull the example apart (challenge facts, bring in new information that may or may not be relevant, argue it was a unique situation). Your task is to listen, learn AND keep the conversation focussed on the pattern, not on single events or actions.“

Believe in change, support change

The words you say, your thoughts, your body language – if you don’t believe this change can happen, it probably won’t. You are a part of this change. You are, in fact, one of the initiators. More often than not, you can do more than give negative feedback. For change to work, it can’t come at a cost of something else and it often isn’t the responsibility of only one person to make the change. Look to create a “safe” environment where change is made easier.

And finally, not every moment needs to be a feedback moment

Sometimes people are having a rough time, sometimes problems do correct themselves. Not everything needs to be addressed, not every situation is a feedback or learning moment. Sometimes choosing not to give negative feedback is okay too – unless avoiding it comes at a cost (e.g. your frustration, team spirit, the problem escalates). Not giving difficult or negative feedback doesn’t mean saying nothing and doing nothing. Try a different approach – the feed forward method focuses the discussion on common goals and what you need to see done differently going forward. Use the  CIA model (Control, Influence, Accept) to determine which parts apply to this situation – and finding techniques that will help you move past it, without giving negative feedback.

 

3 Fragen, die Sie stellen sollten, wenn Sie sich in einer Konfliktsituation befinden.

Es ist Montagmorgen 11 Uhr und du bist auf halbem Weg durch dein wöchentliches Team-Meeting…. und du bist gefangen. Zwei deiner wichtigsten Teamleiter haben gerade begonnen, sich über die gleichen alten Probleme zu streiten. Immer und immer wieder. Du wirst gereizt! Was machst du jetzt? Was sind deine persönlichen Konflikteskalations- oder De-eskalationsmuster? Explodierst du? z.B. „Könnt ihr beide verdammt nochmal endlich die Klappe halten!!!!!!!!!„.  Das ist eine, wenn auch nicht sehr konstruktive Art, damit umzugehen. Würdest du Friedensstifter spielen, z.B. „Wir sind alle im selben Boot und sollten uns gegenseitig unterstützen, oder nicht?“ So attraktiv es auch klingt, dieser Ansatz wird den Konflikt tatsächlich eskalieren, indem er versucht, ihn zu verbergen. Oder schiebst du es einfach weg, z.B. „Kümmert Euch draußen darum, nachdem wir fertig sind, ich werde das hier drin nicht tolerieren„. Das ist auch keine „Lösung“, denn sie wird zurückkommen und dich wie einen Bumerang treffen… wahrscheinlich in deinen Rücken. Du bist Teil des Konflikts, ob es dir gefällt oder nicht, und das bedeutet, dass du Teil der Lösung sein musst. Hier sind 3 grundlegende Fragen, die du dir stellen musst…

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Was ist eigentlich genau in diesem Moment los?

Wenn du dich in einer Konfliktsituation befindest, ist es wichtig, dich zu fragen, was tatsächlich passiert? Was ist das „Phänomen“? Die Suche nach dem Phänomen ist enorm wichtig und nicht immer leicht zu finden. Was genau passiert in diesem Moment?

  • Hat es mit mir zu tun, mit meinen Handlungen?
  • Hat das etwas mit den Haushaltsberatungen zu tun, die wir führen?
  • Hat es etwas mit alter Vendetta oder einem Machtkampf zwischen den beiden zu tun?

Das bringt uns zur zweiten Frage…

Wie fühlst du dich in diesem Moment?

Diese Frage klingt einfach genug, kann aber unerwartet schwer zu beantworten sein, wenn wir uns im Konflikt selbst befinden.  Arbeite daran, die Emotionen der Oberfläche zu überwinden und gehe tiefer. Wie fühlst du dich WIRKLICH über das, was passiert? Die Beantwortung dieser 2 Fragen allein erhöht die Chancen, Teil der Lösung zu sein, erheblich. Sie werden dir helfen, den Konflikt konstruktiv zu lösen (die Situation zu de-eskalieren), indem sie dich zwingen, den reflektierenden Teil deines Gehirns (den präfrontalen Kortex) zu benutzen.

So sehr mein Ego auch gerne sagen würde, dass der reflektierende Gehirnteil immer dominant ist, ER IST ES NICHT. Für niemanden von uns. Es ist der neueste Teil des Gehirns, und der am wenigsten dominante. Normalerweise gibt es einen „Highway“ von Verbindungen zwischen den drei Gehirnteilen/Schichten, aber in dem Moment, in dem wir uns im Konflikt befinden, verengt sich dieser „Highway“ auf eine Einbahnspur, was unsere Konfliktbearbeitungsfähigkeiten ernsthaft beeinträchtigt.

Um nun auf unsere Situation zurückzukommen, die Besprechungssituation mit den Teamleitern: Du stehst jetzt da, und hast den primitiven Teil des Gehirns beruhigt und darüber reflektiert. Es ist an der Zeit, die dritte Frage zu stellen.

Was willst du tun?

Nehmen wir an, du weißt, dass es eigentlich darum geht, dass ein Teamleiter durch einen Mangel an Ressourcen frustriert ist. Er ist enttäuscht von der Situation (und nicht wütend, auch wenn es so aussehen mag). Denke daran, dass seine Wahrnehmung für ihn WIRKLICH ist. Er glaubt, dass die andere Abteilung über alle Ressourcen und die gesamte Anerkennung verfügt. Er hat eine Geschichte in seinem Kopf konstruiert und ist nun in Emotionen gefangen, die nicht unbedingt mit der Situation zusammenhängen.

OK, also was willst du dagegen tun? Das ist die dritte Frage. Die dritte Option. Eine Möglichkeit, zu entscheiden, was zu tun ist, wäre, sich auf die „Wahl der Konfliktstrategie“ zu konzentrieren (problem-solving, forcing, avoiding, accommodation). Eine andere könnte die Frage sein, welche „Verhandlungsstrategie“ du verwenden wirst?

Die 3 Fragen helfen dir und deinem Gehirn, sein volles Potenzial auszuschöpfen

Durch die Lösung der ersten beiden Fragen wird die Wahl für die dritte Frage, die rationalere sein, egal was du tun willst. Was auch immer du tust, denk daran, dass, wenn du diese beiden Individuen erreichen willst, mit welcher Botschaft auch immer, du den Teilen ihres Gehirns helfen musst, wieder zu kommunizieren (ihren „Highway“ wieder zu öffnen). Du musst in kurzen Sätzen sprechen und ihnen helfen zu sehen, was tatsächlich vor sich geht (F1) und wie sie sich im Moment wirklich fühlen (F2). Wie auch immer du dich der Lösung des Konflikts näherst, du kannst jetzt klarer sehen und aktiv entscheiden, hast den Konflikt schnell analysiert und die Kontrolle über deinen Geist bewahrt.

Vielleicht siehst du jetzt einen Bedarf für die laufende Diskussion. Vielleicht ist es mit der Unternehmensstrategie verbunden und dieser Konflikt daher wertvoll. Du könntest dich dafür entscheiden, dem Mitarbeiter die Anerkennung zu geben, nach der er sich sehnt („Ich bin mir bewusst, dass deine Abteilung sehr unter Druck stand. Ich bin mir auch bewusst, dass dies nichts mit der anderen Abteilung zu tun hat. Lass‘ uns eine separate Besprechung abhalten und darüber reden“).

AUFRICHTIG angegangen, hast du das Problem für den Moment gelöst. Du musst, wie versprochen, darauf zurückkommen und es ansprechen, aber zumindest können dich die Manager jetzt hören und an dem bevorstehenden Meeting teilnehmen.

Für weitere Informationen

Target Training bietet seit 15 Jahren eine Reihe von konfliktbezogenen Trainingslösungen an. Dazu gehören „Umgang mit kritischen Konfliktsituationen“ und „Konfliktmanagement in virtuellen Teams„. Wir bieten auch Einzel- und Teamcoaching-Lösungen an.

 


Über den Autor

Preben ist ein professioneller Mediator und Konfliktmanager. Sein Schwerpunkt liegt auf menschlichen Interaktionen, wie Management und Führung, interkulturelle Beziehungen und zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation. Bis vor kurzem war er ein willkommener Teil von Target Training und arbeitet heute für eine große europäische Institution. In seinem Privatleben liebt er Karate, Wandern und Klettern.

Virtuell Feedback geben

Müssen Sie manchmal Ihr Feedback virtuell geben?

Geben Sie Ihren Lieferanten, Kunden und Mitarbeitern effektives Feedback – sowohl positiv als auch konstruktiv (negativ)? Gutes, rechtzeitiges, konstruktives und umsetzbares Feedback zu geben, ist etwas, wofür die meisten von uns viel Arbeit investieren müssen. Loben wir die richtigen Dinge? Wenn wir konstruktives Feedback geben, machen wir dann positive Vorschläge? Denken wir immer daran, das Thema anzusprechen, nicht die Person?VTchecklists

Feedback zu geben allein ist schon nicht einfach. Aber in einer immer virtueller werdenden Geschäftswelt gutes Feedback zu geben, kann eine echte Herausforderung sein. Wenn wir ein paar der Komplexitäten hinzufügen, die sich aus der virtuellen Interaktion ergeben, müssen wir eine noch schwierigere Aufgabe bewältigen. Einige dieser Herausforderungen sind Timing, Lesereaktionen, Spezifität und Ton. Wenn Sie virtuell, z.B. per E-Mail, Feedback geben, finden Sie hier einige Vorschläge und Tipps, die Ihnen helfen sollen, Ihre Arbeit besser zu machen.

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5 Tipps für das virtuelle Feedback

 1.  Stellen Sie sicher, dass das Timing stimmt – vor allem, wenn Ihr Feedback negativ ist. Denken Sie daran, wie ein Kind oder ein Haustier aufgezogen wird: Ihnen drei Tage später zu sagen, dass sie etwas falsch gemacht haben, ist kontraproduktiv!

2.  Sorgen Sie dafür, dass der Leser sofort versteht, worum es in der E-Mail geht:

  • Verwenden Sie eine Betreffzeile wie: „Feedback zu Ihrem Vorschlag“
  • Sagen Sie im ersten Satz, warum Sie eine E-Mail schreiben: „Ich schreibe Ihnen ein Feedback zu dem Vorschlag, den Sie mir am 4. Januar geschickt haben.“
  • Sagen Sie, welches Feedback enthalten ist: „Ich habe einige Rückmeldungen bezüglich der Preisgestaltung und des Zahlungsprozesses.“

3.  Brechen Sie Ihr Feedback auf. Wenn Sie gesagt haben, dass Sie eine Rückmeldung über den Preis und den Zahlungsprozess haben, sollten dies zwei völlig getrennte Absätze sein. Geben Sie ihnen Überschriften, wenn Sie wollen.

4.  Versuchen Sie konkret zu sein und begründen Sie Ihre Aussagen. Zum Beispiel:

  • „Wir mochten Ihren Vorschlag.“ Vor allem die zweite Seite, auf der Sie erwähnt haben, dass sich das Training auf unsere Unternehmenswerte konzentrieren würde. Das passt wirklich zu unserer Firmenphilosophie.“
  • „Leider können wir dem Punkt 3 in Abschnitt 2, der sich auf die Zahlungsmöglichkeiten bezieht, nicht zustimmen. Das steht nicht im Einklang mit unseren Compliance-Richtlinien.“

5.  Wenn Sie einen Vorschlag ablehnen, versuchen Sie, einen Gegenvorschlag zu machen. Zum Beispiel:

  • „Wir können Punkt 3 in Abschnitt 2 nicht zustimmen. Aber wir könnten uns einigen, wenn die Zahlungsfrist auf 60 Tage verlängert würde.“
  • „Mir gefällt es nicht, wie Sie den Bericht formatiert haben. Könnten Sie es nächstes Mal anhand des beigefügten Beispiels versuchen oder kommen Sie einfach zu mir, um meine Anforderungen genauer zu besprechen.“

Natürlich gibt es noch viele andere Dinge, die helfen können, das virtuelles Feedback effektiver zu gestalten. Bitte zögern Sie nicht, Ihre zusätzlichen Ideen in den Kommentaren unten einzutragen. Besuchen Sie auch unser Seminar „Effektiv in virtuellen Teams arbeiten„, um die Leistung Ihres virtuellen Teams zu verbessern.

 

 

Watch, listen and learn: 3 great TEDx talks on listening

Many of our communication skills seminars involve practical listening activities, and occasionally we get requests solely for listening skills. But it’s arguably wrong to see listening as one of many “communication skills” – listening is so much more fundamental than that. Listening builds trust, strengthens relationships, and resolves conflicts. It’s fundamental in everything we do. In a HBR article „the discipline of listening“, Ram Charan shared what many of us already know: Not every manager is a great listener. Charan’s own “knowledge of corporate leaders’ 360-degree feedback indicates that one out of four leaders has a listening deficit, “the effects of which can paralyze cross-unit collaboration, sink careers, and if it’s the CEO with the deficit, derail the company.” Good managers need to know how to listen – and great managers know how to listen well. And because we know you’re busy we’ve taken the time to find 3 TEDx talks for you listen to.

New Call-to-actionThe power of listening with William Ury

William Ury is the co-author of “Getting to Yes”, the bestselling negotiation book in the world. This is a great video exploring what genuine listening really is, why it’s so important and how to take our first steps to improving our listening.  He explains why he feels that listening is “the golden key to opening doors to human relationships” and why the skill of listening needs to be actively practiced every day. Ury uses stories of conversations with presidents and business leaders to show the simple power of listening: how it helps us understand the other person, how it helps us connect and build rapport and trust, and how it makes it more likely that you’ll be listened to too.

 

The Power of Deliberate Listening with Ronnie Polaneczky

Grabbing our attention with the shocking story of an angry reader, journalist Ronnie Polaneczky expands on why we need to consciously and actively practice our “listening muscle”. By practicing deliberate listening and putting aside our own judgements we can discover things we don’t know that we don’t know.  She moves beyond the obvious “techniques” (e.g. look them in the eye, nod your head and repeat back what you’ve heard) and challenges us to think about letting go of positions (e.g. “I want to be right”) and embracing learning – letting go of our need to judge. She closes with the personal impact listening has – it doesn’t just change the person being listened to – it changes the listener.

A Case for Active Listening with Jason Chare

You may find this talk far removed from a business environment, but active listening skills are essential for those managers wanting to build a coaching approach. Jason Chare, a professional counselor, shares his experiences with an audience of teachers.  The second half (around the ninth minute) begins to look at specific strategies and attitudes – especially the importance of unconditional positive regard and listening with empathy.  Check out this article on “Three ways leaders can listen with more empathy” too!

More listening resources for you …

And if you’d like to know more about how you can further develop your or your team’s listening skills then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to listen to you.

The power of putting yourself in their shoes when influencing people

 

When we run seminars on influencing skills we typically start off by exploring a couple of fundamental questions – one of them being how do people feel about the idea of influencing others and being influenced?  Over the years we’ve had a surprising range of responses including “If I’m the manager why must I influence -people should just do what I say” to “influencing is manipulating” to “I’m open to new ideas and approaches – but our colleagues in the order management department aren’t!”. As a trainer these are always great places to start – opinions are on the table and we can openly discuss them. When we dig deeper these opinions often link into personal experiences of how people have influenced (or not). So how do people influence each other?

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The two influencing styles – pushing and pulling

Broadly speaking there are two approaches to influencing people – to push and to pull. When we “push” we are directive. We know what we want to see happen, where we want to go, what needs to be different etc. And when we “pull” we are looking for a joint agreement, for collaboration, discussion, commitment.  There are different pushing styles and pulling styles, plus strategies, tactics and skills to learn BUT neither approach is inherently wrong. Influencing and manipulating draw on the same skills but with different intents.  They both have pros and cons– and neither approach work without considering other key factors too.

Factors to consider when seeking to influence somebody

When we try to influence somebody it helps to take a step back and reflect on what we know.  What is the environment, the situation, the relationship and most importantly – what do you know about who you are trying to influence? How successful you’ll be always depends upon what you know about the other person. Examples of practical questions to ask yourself when trying to influence somebody include:

  • how do they see things?
  • what is their context?
  • how they communicate?
  • how do they like to be communicated with?
  • how do they take in information and make decisions?
  • what are their experiences – with me, with change, with the theme I’m talking about
  • what turns then on? What turns them off??
  • what do they want to happen, not want to happen and why?
  • what are their hopes and fears?
  • Who else has an influence upon them? and does this influence help or hinder?
  • What is in it for them? their colleagues? Their organization?

First seek to understand the other person – a transcultural truth

The more you understand the person you are seeking to influence the more effectively you can influence them. As dale Carnegie said in How to win friends and influence people “I love strawberries. But whenever I go fishing I bait my hook with worms. This is because fish like worms – not strawberries.”

In English we have expression like put yourself in their shoes, put yourself in their place, see the world through their eyes and walk a mile in their shoes.  And of course the idea of putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes is transcultural!  Germans say eine Meile in seinen Schuhen gehen, Italians mettersi nei miei panni, French se mettre à la place de quelqu’un … All cultures- whether it be Europe, the Americas, Africa or Asia and the Pacific have similar expressions.

Put simply, if you want to influence somebody then seek to understand where they are and who they are.  Start by understanding their situation, use your emotional and social intelligence and then adapt.

And if, like me, you’ve got the song “Walk a mile in my shoes” going around in your head now .. here it is.

 

Stepping into management: the learning and development journey

One of the drawbacks of being a trainer is that now and again you fail to realise that what is obvious for you is new to others. In a recent young managers program the “eureka” moment came when, following a young manager’s “Maybe I’m not cut out for this job”  statement, I shared the Conscious Competence model”.  The model, developed by Noel Burch, has been around since the 1970s – and it’s a great way to prepare for and reflect on your development as a manager (or development in any other role).  I assumed my participants knew the model already but they had never heard of it. This is a quick recap.




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Stage 1 – Unconscious Incompetence

Ignorance is bliss, and you don’t even realize that you are performing poorly. As a new, young manager perhaps you don’t even realize you are making elementary mistakes. Instead of delegating you are dumping tasks on people and walk away convinced you are empowering them to find their own solutions. Perhaps your tasking is incomplete, or maybe you don’t have clear goals because you didn’t consider this your role.  Are you delaying giving feedback because you don’t want to upset anybody and it will sort itself out anyway – or perhaps the way you give feedback is so clumsy you demotivate somebody.  The list goes on and on. You assume you know what y0u’re doing –  it’s more or less the same as before but with the better desk and more benefits. You’re not aware that you don’t have the necessary skill. Perhaps you don’t even realize that the skill is relevant.  In the first stage, your confidence exceeds your management skills. Before you can move to the next step you need to know and accept that certain skills are relevant to the role of manager, and that mastering this skill will make you more effective.

Stage 2 – Conscious Incompetence

Someone helped you understand that you need to develop a new skill. Or, you have been sent on a management training programme and your eyes have been opened. Or perhaps confronted by poor results you’ve actually  taken a step back and reflected on what’s been going on and the role you’ve played. You are aware of your lack of skills. You are consciously incompetent. This is a difficult phase as you are now aware of your weaknesses, or in today’s insipid jargon your “developmental areas”.

Nobody is born a manager, although some people may well have innate skills, making the transition to manager easier. Learning by feedback, learning by suffering, learning by doing and learning by failing – these things brought you to the second stage. Training can play a role as can learning from your peers and exposing yourself to opportunities to learn. By staying positive and embracing the small successes your confidence in your own management abilities grows.

 

Stage 3 – Conscious Competence

At this stage you have learnt some reliable management techniques and processes, but they have to be consciously implemented.  It’s a bit like painting by numbers. You know how to facilitate a meeting well, but you still want to take time to reflect on the steps beforehand.  You can make a great presentation and get your message across … and you know what you need to do in advance to get the success you need. You can provide feedback in an appropriate manner – but not without thinking it through beforehand. At this stage, your ability to be flexible and proactive in unexpected situations is limited – but you can do it. The task-oriented aspects of managing are becoming fine-tuned but it is still learning by doing, trial and error, or copying managerial role models. You are testing your limits.

Stage 4 – Unconscious Competence

Quite simply you have become what you wanted to be –  a skilled manager. The task and relationship aspects of managing are now „part of you“.  You know how to achieve the task, develop individuals and build a team – and can do it without too much thinking. Non-routine situations are challenging, yet do not faze you. You are like Beckenbauer in football, or Federer in tennis. You always appear to have enough time and space to make good decisions. But even masters can lose matches and need to learn and practise.

To summarize

The model can be universally applied as a model for learning. It suggests that you are initially unaware of how little you know – you simply don’t know what you don’t know. As you recognize your incompetence, you acquire a skill consciously, then learn to use that skill. Over time, the skill becomes a part of you. You can utilize it consciously thought through. When that happens you have acquired unconscious competence.

  • It will help you understand that stepping into a management role is a learning journey -and not an instant enlightenment.
  • It reinforces that rank does not automatically give you authority.
  • It reassures you that you can succeed as a manager. You just need space and time to find your feet.
  • Understanding this dynamic and learning basic management techniques will quickly help you overcome the early frustrations.

And finally you can manage your emotion as you develop.  You are going through a well-known learning process.  Nobody is born a manager!

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Read more about the model (this article suggests a fifth stage and has a matrix to clarify the four stages). And finally, a few blog posts you might be interested in:

 

Managing high performers – the Miles Davis way

What does Miles Davis have to do with managing high performers in business? Good question. Miles Davis is rightfully acclaimed as an icon of jazz, but he didn’t make music alone.  Throughout his career as a bandleader, Miles worked with other iconic figures of jazz to create music that stands even today as among the highest forms of the genre. John Coltrane, Herbbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, “Philly” Joe Jones, Keith Jarrett, Ron Carter, Tony Williams and many others among the giants of jazz graduated from “Miles University”. Miles Davis, time and time again, brought together some of the most talented musicians in their own right to work with him in his musical exploration. How did he do it? This article will explore the lessons of Miles Davis in the art of leading the best to be their best. eBook: The definitive checklist for qualifying training providers

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Lesson 1: Be excellent, publicly

Miles Davis was able, on many occasions, to put together bands of some of the most talented musicians of their time throughout his career. Miles‘ reputation clearly preceded him. Receiving a call from Miles was seen as having achieved a high level of musicianship. But that wasn’t the only reason so many musicians with promising solo careers agreed to support Miles. They believed they would learn something based on Miles‘ excellence as a musician and band leader. Miles greatness was easy to see through his performances, compositions and recordings.

How easy is it for high performers to recognize your excellence? There is a tendency among many leaders not to “toot their own horns” about their own performance and accomplishments. While a leader may not need to sing his own praises, it is important that someone does it for him. A leader’s excellence will attract others who want to achieve the same level of competence, while increasing the leader’s  credibility and ability to guide, mentor and teach.

Lesson 2: Don’t hire a trumpet player

Miles‘ great combos included players with different styles and tendencies. He hired players who would complement his playing and each other’s. He didn’t need anyone who sounded like him because he had that covered.

In business, it can be difficult to avoid the temptation to hire people who mirror our backgrounds, experiences, styles and tendencies. After all those competencies served us well in our careers. It is important to remember as a leader that our success is a reflection of the past while we are hiring for the future.  The pace of change doesn’t only require different technological skills it also requires new communication and leadership skills from those current leaders needed at earlier stages of their careers. Hiring teams with complementary but different skills and areas of expertise broadens the set of problems they can solve and increases their impact on the organization.

„It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”
Miles Davis

Lesson 3: Play together and produce excellence

Miles‘ bands grew into cohesive units through performances, not rehearsals. Each performance created a wealth of learning opportunities for Miles and his band mates. The urgency of the moment created a focus and intensity that would be very difficult if not impossible to reproduce in a rehearsal. By focusing on playing together and learning from the experience, Miles could correct on the spot, encourage and support his band to take risks, push themselves and reach new heights of excellence.

How often do you perform with your high performers? Finding opportunities to produce excellence together will give you more chances to learn from each other.

Lesson 4: Don’t tell them what to do, tell them what not to do

Related to lesson three, play together and produce excellence, is the style of debriefing and guidance Miles offered to his band mates following their performances.  Miles didn’t put a group together hearing the music he hoped they would produce in his mind, then correcting them to come as close as possible to his vision. Miles believed in an experimental approach to developing new music. When reflecting about what took place in performances, Miles would say what his band mates shouldn’t do but he wouldn’t tell them what to do. He hired them for their expertise on their individual instruments. He wanted them to bring their ideas to the table so they could take ownership of their performances and the product of the group.

The high performers in your organization reached a level of success before becoming members of your team. When managing high performers, take advantage of their creativity and input by channelling, not directing their contributions to the organization.

“If you don’t know what to play, play nothing.”
Miles Davis

Lesson 5: Listen to save the day

Deep listening is the art of hearing not only what is said but also what isn’t said. On stage, Miles had the opportunity to lay out and listen to what his band mates were playing.  There were times when while reaching for new forms of expression, the band lost its way. By listening to what wasn’t there, Miles could enter the fray at the right moment with the phrase that would bring the other players back together again, finding a groove that was satisfying to the musicians and the audience.

Look for your opportunities, especially in conflict, to find what isn’t being said and remind the participants in the argument that they are on the same team. Listen for agreement that the parties may be missing, summarize, and encourage them to listen deeply to each other when emotions run high. “What I am hearing is…” is a great way to interject.

“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning… Every day I find something creative to do with my life.”
Miles Davis

Lesson 6: Talk about life, not music

With our busy lives it may be tempting to leave work at work and leave life at home.  We can get through our workdays without sharing with others the experiences that shaped us outside of the work environment. Miles believed knowing the personal histories of his band mates was crucial to being able to know them musically. He invested time in learning about the backgrounds of his band mates and he shared his own. This sharing created an environment of trust that helped his musicians to work with each other more closely.

Be willing to be more open when you are managing high performers as it can lead to more effective, trusting relationships. A deeper bond of respect can increase loyalty to you, and commitment to your organization and its goals.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

On leadership: Here are a  few blog posts on the topic.  If you are interested to learn more about our leadership skills seminars, please contact us, or take a look at the very popular seminar „A practical toolbox for managers“.

 

Dealing with change

Change management is an integral, complex and necessary part of business. Companies most likely to be successful in making changes are the ones that see change as a constant opportunity to evolve. But the word ‚change‘ means and implies a lot of things to the people involved: uncertainty, different, unknown, uncomfortable, etc. The truth is that (most) people don’t like change. We are, after all, creatures of habit. Sure, we have the ability to change and adapt to new situations – we wouldn’t have come so far as a species without change – but our brains naturally resist.

 

„Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad – not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life – to keep us moving … to keep us growing … to keep us interested … Imagine life without change. It would be static … boring … dull.“

Dr. Dennis O’Grady

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The Satir Change Model

The Satir Change Model is a five-stage model (see below) that describes the effects each stage of the change has on feelings, thinking, performance, and physiology. It was developed by Virginia Satir. Although the model was initially developed for families, it is equally relevant for organisations.

changemodel2

Stage 1: Late Status Quo

We are at a familiar place. Our performance pattern is consistent. We’re comfortable here because we know know what to expect, how to react, and how to behave.

Stage 2: Resistance

A foreign element threatens the stability of our familiar structures. We’re not sure that this is where we want to be. Most of us resist it by denying its validity, avoiding the issue, or placing blame.

Stage 3: Chaos

We have entered the unknown. Our former actions and knowledge are no longer valid/effective. We don’t want to be here. Losing the Late Status Quo triggers our anxiousness and vulnerability. We have no idea what to expect, how to react, or how to behave.

Stage 4: Integration

Through a transforming idea, we’ve discovered how the foreign element can benefit us. We’re excited. With practice, our performance has improved rapidly. We’ve made new relationships and learned new behaviours.

Stage 5: New Status Quo

Our performance has stabilized at a higher level than in the Late Status Quo. We feel safe and excited. We encourage each other. We don’t feel threatened by foreign elements any more.

„Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.“

James Belasco and Ralph Stayer

Psychologist and author Daniel Kahneman writes in his book „Thinking, fast and slow“ that most of us would rather be wrong than uncertain. Just consider, how many individual uncertainties could arise in any of the above stages for each of the people involved? Right, and that’s only for one change.

Communicating change

Communicating change successfully doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll achieve change successfully, because ultimately, the organizational capacity for change relies heavily on the individual’s capacity for change. In other words, some people will reach the New Status Quo much faster than others, others not at all. Some will have few problems, others a lot. But there’s no doubt about it, you need a communication plan/strategy to accompany the change.


A ‘one size fits all’ approach is not recommended because it’s quite possible that not everyone needs to know the same things about the change. Managers need to get buy-in from different stakeholders, engineers need to know this, procurement needs to know that. When communicating change, we have the opportunity to amplify certain messages. On top of that, a well thought through communication plan will enable people to better deal with the emotions of each of the 5 stages – It can invoke positive emotions/reactions and gives you the chance to help employees imagine a post-change future.

„There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.“

Niccolo Machiavelli

Randy Pennington, author of „Make change work“ says that there are 5 questions that employees are most interested in getting answers to when faced with change.

From what to what?

Explain the specifics of the change. What will be different in how we must think, act, and perform?

What does this change mean for what I do and how I operate?

A personal extension of the first question. Everyone involved in the change will ask themselves: What’s the impact of the change for me?

Will this make a difference?

How will the change help the business or the team, or is this change for compliance reasons?

How will success be measured?

How will you know that there has been a return on our effort and investment?

What is the support level for this change?

Is this change a mandate or do you truly believe in this change?

Repeat and reinforce

Use multiple message formats and repeat important concepts to drive and reinforce the change. At the beginning of the change process, it’s necessary to communicate to answer initial fears and concerns. As the change advances, people will have new questions, and new understandings of the intermediate and final stages will be developed. Throughout the stages of change, people have to be kept up-to-date with actual and future states, and answers given to their questions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

„Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.“ Dan Gilbert shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls the „end of history illusion,“ where we somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we’ll be for the rest of time. Hint: that’s not the case.

 

Giving feedback using the DESC model

Everybody understands that performance feedback should be constructive, focused and to the point. Effective feedback can resolve conflicts, overcome problems and improve individual and team morale. It doesn’t really need mentioning that ineffective feedback often accomplishes the opposite. Or that if you are skilled at giving effective feedback, your team will be more motivated, which leads to better performance.




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„While feedback should focus on behaviour, performance feedback is still a personal conversation between people about people. Emotions always play a part in interpersonal communication. Effective feedback is as much about bringing the right message(s) across as it is about how your message is interpreted.“

Scott Levey

Some feedback facts*

  • 98% of employees will fail to be engaged when managers give little or no feedback
  • 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized
  • 78% of employees said being recognized motivates them in their job

*(source)

Giving positive feedback is easy

No matter how skilled the feedback giver is, if the receiver isn’t interested in hearing or taking the feedback, nothing will get through. The more difficult the feedback, the more the giver needs to consider the the emotional impact of the feedback. Giving positive feedback is easy.

What is and isn’t feedback?

In an interpersonal environment, feedback is communication about a person’s performance and how their efforts contribute to reaching goals. Feedback is not criticism. Criticism is evaluative; feedback is descriptive. Effective feedback is goal-referenced and tangible, actionable, personalized, timely, ongoing and consistent. As a leader, giving feedback is a task you perform again and again, to let people know where they are and where to go next in terms of individual, team, and company goals.

Giving feedback is a touchy thing. Think back over feedback you have received in the past. Chances are you’ve been given feedback that helped you develop. And, unfortunately, chances are somewhere in your career you’ve been given feedback that made you feel defensive, resistant or unmotivated. By putting yourself back in your old shoes, and thinking about how they actually gave you the feedback, you can improve your own feedback skills.

Common mistakes people make when giving feedback

  1. Avoiding giving feedback
  2. Focusing on the person and not the performance
  3. Giving feedback on what is going wrong, and never on what is going right
  4. Coming  across as judgmental
  5. Doing all the talking, and none of the listening
  6. Giving the feedback without any context
  7. Making generalized, vague statements
  8. Avoiding responsibility for what they are saying by referring to others
  9. Getting defensive if they don’t understand you, or you don’t understand them

„We can’t let our own success, education and advancement ride on whether the person giving us feedback happens to be talented or caring. We have to learn to learn from everyone around us, including people who are lousy at giving feedback, or who don’t have the time to do it thoughtfully. Our individual success depends on it, and so does the collective success of the organization.

The DESC model

In our skills-based Leadership training, we use the simple 4-step model DESC for structuring feedback. Participants in our “Practical Toolbox for Managers” seminars often highlight DESC as one of the most valuable tools they take away. This model is designed to help you to get your message clear and it can even take the stress out of the feedback conversation for those of us that weren’t born with effective feedback-giving skills.

DESCRIPTION

Give an objective and concrete description of what you have observed using „I“ statements.

EFFECT

Explain the effect or impact it had on your business, the team or its members. If the effect was an emotion, name it. Your body language and tone of voice will already be showing your elation or frustration – putting them out in the open can help you move things forward.

SOLUTION

Build the solution through a directive (“What I would like you to do next time is …”) or a participative approach (“What do you think we can do to avoid this next time?”).

CONCLUSION

Build a “contract of commitment”. Check your understanding of what has been agreed, and get commitment for the future.

Further Leadership resources:

When is praise an insult?

During a recent presentation skills seminar for a French organization, I observed participants as they presented. I offered only feedback on the positive behaviors I saw. As we went through the round, the managing director of the group of participants couldn’t wait any longer and interrupted the feedback session by asking where was the criticism? It was obvious that the presenters were doing things that would get in the way of their presentation goals, (from audible pauses to nervous movement), and I was doing them a disservice by not pointing out the negatives. He did give me the cultural excuse of being a positive, American trainer. Yet his message was clear, the group needed correction more than praise to develop. For the record, I think both praise and correction are appropriate (and it’s true that unspecific praise can feel condescending and counterproductive, as if the recipient is too immature to take correction as a way to improve).

Praise is a complex concept that crosses many cross cultural communication styles and its effectiveness is personal as well. For example: The German culture offers the view of a foundation of trust in the working relationship. You have a job because the company feels you can do it. This general level of trust is positive enough to not require reinforcement through praise. In fact, praising someone for just “doing his job” can be insulting as if the expectations of performance are low.

How praise gets delivered is also of importance to judgements of its sincerity. In some work cultures, being singled out for enthusiastic praise if front of a group would be gratifying to the person receiving it while cultures that use more restrained emotional styles might find expressive, public praise embarrassing and impersonal. Groups using collectivist approaches would recognize team accomplishments over individual ones. Groups using individualist approaches would do the opposite.

Our brand will come from what we are very good at doing, not from correcting mistakes to an acceptable level.

James Culver

How to get it right? Praise helps us know the right way to do things so we can recognize and track behaviors we want to develop. Praise lets others know your priorities, the organization’s focus and their path forward. Done well, praise is an important tool in developing focus and innovation. Observational praise also enhances the credibility of the observer, as praise is specifically tied to authentic, recognizable behaviors the recipient and observer can agree happened.

Observe. How do people in your organization know they are on the right track? Mirror the praise behaviors in your organization and expand that style with your own approach. Note how the recipient is meeting your high standards. Let that stand for a while so it is credible.

 

  1. State why you are complimenting the employee

Sentences:

* We have thoroughly enjoyed our relationship with your company, especially because your customer service representative, John Doe, has been so helpful.
* Your representative, Jane Doe, is to be commended for her outstanding work on your last project.
* We want you to know how impressed we were with the way Jane Doe handled the delinquent accounts.
* During a recent internal audit, John Doe found a rather large discrepancy in our financial records. Had he not found that error, our corporation could have faced heavy legal fees.
* I want to tell you how pleased I am with the landscaping plan your new intern prepared for me.

Phrases:

* a very helpful attitude
* among the finest I’ve seen
* by your co-workers
* commendations and congratulations
* convey my appreciation to
* exceptional work done by
* express my appreciation for
* has been extremely helpful
* have thoroughly enjoyed
* have been deeply impressed
* have come to admire
* how pleased we have been
* how impressed we were
* how highly we think of his efforts
* how much we appreciate
* how pleased I am
* is to be commended for
* please accept
* received exceptional service
* want to let you know
* with the services of

 

  1. Acknowledge the employee’s qualities that made the contribution worthwhile

Sentences:

* His attention to detail helped our work move smoothly, without a single legal snag.
* His broad knowledge of the machinery has helped our trouble shooters keep the assembly line moving during the periods of heaviest demand.
* Her public relations skills helped us collect on most of the accounts that others had given up on. We hope she will be available for future cooperation.
* We commend his attention to detail. He is the most thorough accountant we have had work on our books.
* She has a good sense for balance, with the right mix of colors and textures.

Phrases:

* a pleasure to work with
* an excellent sense of
* attention to detail
* broad knowledge of
* consistently gone out of her way to
* courteous, well-trained staff
* dependable and thoughtful
* diligence and skill
* efficiently and with good humor
* going the extra mile
* has helped us to
* intelligent and cooperative
* made sure everything ran smoothly
* never-failing professionalism
* one of your company’s greatest assets
* particularly astute in
* professional and courteous
* public relations skills
* stays calm under pressure
* the time and thought he put into
* took care of all the details
* took the trouble to
* went out of his way to
* willingness to help

 

  1. Express appreciation and wishes for continued success

Sentences:

* Thanks again for assigning him to work with us. Best wishes for the future.
* We send our warm regards and wish you continued success.
* We wish you similar successes with your other clients.
* Please convey our appreciation to Jane for a job well done. We hope we can work together again.
* May your future endeavors be as successful as this one has been.
* You are fortunate to have Jane as an employee. Best wishes to her and the rest of you at Doe Corporation.

Phrases:

* are looking forward to
* best wishes for
* congratulations on your
* continue your tradition of
* convey my compliments to
* how much we appreciate
* keep up the good work
* one of your greatest assets
* our sincere thanks and appreciation
* our warmest regards
* please let everyone involved know
* please pass my appreciation on to
* please thank him for us
* thank you for
* thanks to the efficiency of
* want you to know
* will assure the continued success of
* wish you continued success
* working together again
* would like to thank her for

 

Don’t sweat it – everybody’s wrong sometimes, even your boss

In this video, Kathryn Schultz tells us that by the time we’re nine years old, we have already learned that the best way to succeed in life is to never be wrong. You should watch the video if you want to know how she came to that conclusion and a few others – when you have ten minutes.

Everybody’s wrong sometimes

Some of Kathryn’s words (if you don’t have time to watch it right now), and main points are:

  • Realizing you’re wrong can make you feel embarrassed or stupid, but being wrong itself doesn’t feel like anything.
  • The first thing we usually do when someone disagrees with us is we just assume they’re ignorant.
  • The second is that they’re idiots.
  • Then we move on to a third assumption: they know the truth, and they are deliberately distorting it for their own malevolent purposes.

There’s nothing wrong with being wrong

Assuming that Kathryn’s assumptions are correct, you can see why telling someone that they’re wrong could prove to be the biggest mistake you’ve ever made – all depending on who is on the receiving end of course. Now, let’s say that person is your boss, your teamleader, or anyone in your company with more authority. Speaking for myself and my conflict avoiding personality – Difficult conversations always have a moment or two where I say completely the wrong thing. To others, determining to even speak to the boss about being wrong is enough to bring on sleepless nights.

Before you do decide to confront the person who was wrong, consider this:

Don’t pick the wrong battles

To speak up or not to speak up about it? I don’t know, is it worth it and/or important?

Don’t talk about the wrong thing at the wrong time

Stick to the topic, make the time to have a proper conversation (in private) and give your boss time to prepare.

Don’t say the wrong things

It’s just not the right time to say things like “I told you so” or “I knew this would happen” and to place blame. It’s already done, who cares? How can we fix it?

The DESC model

Once you’re ready to have the conversation, you can use the DESC model to structure your message – positively. This assertiveness model is perfect for giving negative feedback or criticism. It’s simple and it works. It’s for this reason that participants in our “Practical Toolbox for Managers” seminars often highlight DESC as one of the most valuable tools they take away.

Description – In a private setting, start by describing what you have observed. It’s important to be objective and concrete at this stage. Take responsibility for the feedback by using “I” statements.

Effect / emotion – Once you have described what you observed, move on to the effect or impact this has had. If the effect was an emotion, share this openly. Feedback is always personal in the sense that it is between people about people. Emotions play a part in interpersonal relationships and by naming them and getting them out into the open, you can deal with them in an professional manner.

Solution – Now move on to what you like to see happen. This could be directive e.g. “What I would like you to do next time is …”. Even better, build the solution together using a participative approach e.g. “What do you think we can do to avoid this next time?”.

Conclusion (commitments and contract) – End your feedback conversation by building a “contract of commitment”. Check you have a mutually common understanding of what has been agreed, and get commitment for the future. Then conclude looking forward.

The 6 most horrific bosses of all time

I did some Googling on this topic. With any luck, your boss is nothing like these bosses were...so go ahead and have your conversation – you have nothing to loose. And finally, here are 10 things a good boss would never say. Enjoy.