Handling Difficult Conversations: have you got an elephant in the room?
28 Jun

Handling Difficult Conversations: have you got an elephant in the room?

rtt difficult conversations

Difficult conversations can be extremely daunting and all too often we choose to avoid them or dilute the message that we really want to give.

 

According to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) 66% of people feel stressed knowing that there is a difficult conversation on the horizon, which would indicate that many of us have too many elephants roaming loose in our lives…so what can we do remove them? In fact, avoidance tactics are being used in abundance!

 

difficult conversations stats
 

At work, difficult conversations are often linked to poor performance, behaviours or managing personality clashes. In our personal lives it can be anything from someone leaving the lid off the toothpaste to the more serious dynamics of a relationship. Usually, these conversations need to be had on a one-to-one basis and no matter how serious the issue, they can really test our communication skills.

 

A lot of the reasons for avoidance often stem from a lack of confidence. It’s so normal for us to predict and expect a negative outcome and therefore we’re setting ourselves up to fail before we even begin. However it doesn’t have to be like that, if you are unhappy or upset about a situation or behaviour then why would you allow the pain to continue by putting up with it? We’re not suggesting that you start to go around shouting and being demanding with everyone that you’re unhappy with, in fact quite the opposite.

 

Here are five simple steps that can help you to have a meaningful and healthy discussion:

1. Don’t put it off

Stop thinking “it’s not worth it’ or ‘I’ll wait to see what happens’. Be brave, take a deep breath and start to take back control of the situation. The first step is to give you and them time to cool off and then plan a good time to meet, allowing plenty of time for reflection and consideration of each others points.

2. Prepare

Take some time to think about what you want to raise and how you’re going to articulate it. Don’t try to ‘plan’ the conversation as they rarely go the way you think they will, however preparing will help you to be confident in want you want to address and be really clear and confident in what you want to address.

3. Listen

A bad habit that many of us have is to focus on what WE want to say next rather than actually listening to what is being said to us. By hearing and acknowledging the other persons point of view you are actually showing how much you care.

4. Be respectful

Use direct and non-emotive language that focuses on the facts and describes a situation without being emotional. Natural language, facts and specific examples will stop this becoming a personal attack and help to focus on resolving the issue.

5. Expect a positive outcome

If you think it’s going to be disaster then it probably will be. Try thinking less about it being ‘difficult’ and more about having an open and honest conversation. The topic may be a little tricky or sensitive but by focusing on positive alternatives and solution’s means you’re more likely to get an outcome that is beneficial for everyone.

Watch our short Facebook Live video below for more help on having difficult conversations and join our free Facebook group to be a part of future Lives on a range of personal and professional development topics!

 

 

 

Good luck going forth and having your conversations! Find out more about our employee training and development and interpersonal skills workshops or get in touch for further support!

[FREE WEBINAR REPLAY] Build Your Bouncebackability in Ten Simple Steps!
02 Jun

[FREE WEBINAR REPLAY] Build Your Bouncebackability in Ten Simple Steps!

right trax resilience webinar

We’ve all heard and used the phrase ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ but why is it that some people can find their silver lining easier than others?

 

We’ve all been told by our well-intentioned families, friends and colleagues to ‘keep our chin up’ or “don’t worry it might never happen” and whilst there is rarely any harm meant, it’s often a clumsy way of trying to make someone feel better. However, there is an easier way to keep your proverbial chin up and the answer lies in resilience!

 

Part of being resilient is being able to successfully manage your interactions with other people – whether this is at home or in the workplace, making it one of the most important interpersonal skills we can develop.

 

‘Resilience’ means different things to different people although essentially it’s about how we face our challenges, disappointments and worries and most importantly it’s about how we bounce back from these events…hence the phrase ‘bouncebackability’! Part of being resilient is being able to successfully manage your interactions with other people – whether this is at home or in the workplace, making it one of the most important interpersonal skills we can develop.

 

I don’t measure a mans success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he reaches the bottom.

George S Patton Jnr

 

Resilience is not something that we’re all born with and just like a good bottle of wine it develops with age. Learning from our experience is actually what helps us to develop this most essential life skill. Increasing resilience focuses on developing a growth mindset and taking as much control of each situation as possible; after all, if you’re not in the driving seat how can you expect to get back on the right course?

 

 

 

Before you can start to build your resilience you need to understand your thresholds, triggers and warning signs. If you can understand these then you can start to raise your resilience levels and in turn increase your ability to bounce back quicker and stronger than before.

 

Find out some more detail of what we cover here or you can watch the webinar straight away by clicking ‘Watch Now!’ below.

Please note: the webinar room opens a couple of minutes before we begin, to allow everyone to enter and get settled. Please leave the webinar running in the background and you will see the chat stream progress, then you will hear our audio when the webinar begins.

[FREE WEBINAR REPLAY] Let’s Talk About Stress (and how to manage it)
19 May

[FREE WEBINAR REPLAY] Let’s Talk About Stress (and how to manage it)

right trax stress webinar

With around one in four of us in the UK experiencing a mental health issue each year, watch our webinar so that we can keep talking about stress and how to manage it.

 

Stress Awareness Month was in April and Mental Health Awareness Week has now been and gone. We’re lucky that we get the opportunity to help so many great people with managing stress at work through our interpersonal skills development, but we want to do our bit to keep the momentum and the debate going.

 

For those of you who don’t know me, I have a bit of a pet peeve when I’m in the steam room at my gym and people have the audacity to talk in there(!). I’m not talking about considerate hushed tones…I’m not totally unreasonable…but when it’s a loud conversation that we’re all forced to listen into.

 

I was in there recently, on my own at first which was bliss. Then two men came in and – you guessed it – they started their conversation.

 

‘Oh great’, I thought. Here we go, my bet is on football (which, each to their own but is probably at the end of the list of things I’d pick).

 

But no.

 

One of them began to talk about how low he had been feeling last year. So much so that he felt he had to cut himself off from his circle of friends until he had, as he put it, ‘sorted out what was going on in his head.’

 

The other man listened and showed concern and told him how he’d noticed things from his point of view and how he wished his friend had opened up sooner so that they could help him.

 

I left them to it at that point. It wasn’t that I felt awkward listening – after all, I have ears and they clearly didn’t have an issue with me hearing them, and why should they?

 

But I did come away thinking how great it was. I couldn’t remember the last time I heard such an open and honest conversation between two friends about something so important and life-changing.

 

Isn’t that a sorry state of affairs though? That I couldn’t remember the last time. We need to talk about this issue so much more than we do right now.

 

With the World Health Organisation labelling stress the health epidemic of the 21st century and a recent estimate of £6.5billion cost to the UK economy each year from work-related stress, it’s an issue that needs to be talked about.

 

There are lots of great resources and helplines out there to support, and another we recently became aware of is a guide to UK-based Free Mental Health Helplines by Cassiobury Court. The range of support available can be daunting, and so this great guide helps to demystify the helplines so that we can select the one most appropriate for our needs.

 

Find out some more detail of what we cover here or you can watch the webinar straight away by clicking ‘Watch Now!’ below.

Please note: the webinar room opens a couple of minutes before we begin, to allow everyone to enter and get settled. Please leave the webinar running in the background and you will see the chat stream progress, then you will hear our audio when the webinar begins.

[FREE WEBINAR REPLAY] How to Develop Your Personal Brand to Secure the Job You Want
02 May

[FREE WEBINAR REPLAY] How to Develop Your Personal Brand to Secure the Job You Want

right trax personal brand webinar

Personal branding is becoming an important practice for the modern day career and whilst as individuals we don’t always have huge amounts of money available, it’s vital that we take control and actively make an effort to build and develop our brand.

 

We’ve come a long way from the 19th century, when cattle was branded to show ownership, however Internet and online activity is still relatively new, with personal branding first discussed by the author and business management speaker Tom Peters in 1997:

 

“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

 

In reality you don’t create your personal brand as it already exists, therefore you need to manage and nurture it so that it can develop into being memorable and influential; something that you can be proud of and that others will recognise.

 

The benefits of developing your personal brand are huge and opens so many professional opportunities, such as:

  • A new job
  • A change of career
  • Turn redundancy into an opportunity
  • Achieve promotional aspirations
  • Build and improve your network
  • Grow your client base
  • Gain industry recognition

 

So many of us find it difficult to promote ourselves positively and whilst modesty and humility is a fine professional trait to have, its time to stop hiding the light of our personal brand under the proverbial bushel!

 

If you haven’t yet done much to develop your personal brand, the good news is that we can help to provide some free resources and simple tips and techniques to get you started.

 

Make a start now by watching our FREE webinar replay!

Click below to register for the webinar replay and you will be able to watch it straight away!

Please note: the webinar room opens a couple of minutes before we begin, to allow everyone to enter and get settled. Please leave the webinar running in the background and you will see the chat stream progress, then you will hear our audio when the webinar begins.

[FREE WEBINAR REPLAY] How to Communicate the Way You REALLY Want To!
22 Mar

[FREE WEBINAR REPLAY] How to Communicate the Way You REALLY Want To!

right trax communication webinar

If you’ve ever wanted to communicate in a different, more effective way, find out why you need to watch our free webinar replay now to develop this vital interpersonal skill!

 

We communicate all the time, whether fighting our way onto the train in the morning, presenting monthly results to your boss or simply asking a team member to arrange time to catch up it’s an action and a skill that never sleeps. We are constantly in the process of trying to get others to understand us or understand them, so for a process that has no let-up we absolutely need to get to grips with it.

 

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

 

How true is this quote?! Think about how often you’ve had a conversation with someone who swears blind that it didn’t happen, or they misunderstand what you’ve asked that you wish you hadn’t bothered asking in the first place!

 

Our personal style heavily influences how successful or unsuccessful our communication is, and our free webinar replay:

 

  • Looks at why communication goes wrong so easily and identifies your preferred communication style.
  • Gives practical tips on how to build your assertiveness and resilience.
  • Focuses on how to better manage conflict by being assertive.
  • Offers free resources to help you to develop your communication style!

 

Click below to register for the webinar replay and you will be able to watch it straight away! Find out how we can help you to develop communication and a range of other important interpersonal skills.

Please note: the webinar room opens a five minutes before we begin, to allow everyone to enter and get settled. Please leave the webinar running in the background and you will see the chat stream progress, then you will hear our audio when the webinar begins.

Complete Our Webinar Survey and Win a FREE Coaching Session!
06 Mar

Complete Our Webinar Survey and Win a FREE Coaching Session!

We promise to keep it brief with just a few questions and then give you a chance to tell us any other webinar-thoughts at the end!

 

Be sure to tell us your name and email address if you’d like to be in with the chance of winning a free developmental coaching session

We need your response by Friday 17th March to be entered into the draw and the lucky winner will be contacted by email.

 

Click below to take the survey!

Take the survey

Do You Lead with Emotional Intelligence? (PART TWO)
01 Mar

Do You Lead with Emotional Intelligence? (PART TWO)

Emotional intelligence interpersonal skill 2

Employee’s want their managers to be mindful of their needs and are less accepting of insensitive behaviour and actions. With social awareness of Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, on the increase, leaders must recognise this, respond appropriately and develop this important interpersonal skill.

 

In part one, we introduced the importance of Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, highlighting the need for managers and leaders to become more aware of their own emotions and how to manage these. Now, let’s continue focusing on the range of ‘domains’ identified by Daniel Goleman:

Motivating yourself

Channelling emotions towards a goal or objective helps to keep focused. This mind-set helps you stay motivated, encourages self-discipline and avoids distractions that can get in the way of you achieving your goals. Self-motivated leaders are able to keep positive and focused on where they want to get to, often demonstrating discipline and high standards of achievement.

Re-evaluate – remind yourself of your goals, your achievements, the important things in life for you and what makes you most passionate.

Be optimistic – whilst this may not come naturally, motivated leaders are usually very positive no matter what happens. Look for at least one positive, it may only be small but you will be surprised at how this keeps you focused.

Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions

 

Leaders that employ empathy earn them the respect and loyalty of their teams, which is invaluable. Having the ability to put yourself in someone else’s situation is a must have if you want to manage a successful team or organisation.

Body Language – remember, not all communication is verbal so pay attention to what is not said just as much as you do on what is said.

Really Listen – most of us only retain 25% of what we hear. Eliminate barriers that stop you from listening and learn different techniques to enhance your listening skills.

Acknowledge feelings – don’t ignore other people’s feelings, acknowledge the situation and how they may be feeling, then see what you can do to rectify or improve things.

Managing relationships

This is a true test of leadership and interpersonal effectiveness and in simple terms refers to having great social skills. Those that are able to communicate effectively under any circumstances are often good at managing change and resolving conflict and will set examples with their own behaviour.

Communication skills – don’t think that these can’t be improved. There are lots of techniques and methods that can dramatically improve these skills and help you to become a master of communication.

Praise others – don’t be shy in recognising your team’s efforts and achievements. Be quick with praise and show your team how much they are appreciated.

The Goleman Model of Emotional Intelligence

Over the years it has been shown that leaders with a high EQ are more productive and successful at what they do. However, the good news is that your EQ is not a fixed trait; and whilst it can be challenging to acknowledge your weaknesses, it can be very enlightening to understand your strengths. Luckily our brains are capable of learning new information and skills at any age and time, so take the first step to improve your emotional skills and become a truly successful manager and leader.

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help your people to develop their Emotional Intelligence. Find out more about our interpersonal skills workshops.

Are Managers to Blame for Disengaged Employees?
22 Feb

Are Managers to Blame for Disengaged Employees?

disengaged employees

Managers who don’t know how to meet the engagement needs of their team become a barrier to employee, team and company performance’, suggests a recent Gallup poll.

 

The global poll found that disengaged employees outnumber engaged employees by almost 2:1 (24% vs. 13% respectively), so can we then presume that on a worldwide scale, more people find their working lives dissatisfying rather than delightful?

 

An engaged team is naturally the more preferable option, delivering better results across the board in terms of higher employee retention, customer satisfaction ratings and of course profitability to name but a few benefits.

 

Are managers to blame?

 

In a way. But it’s a tricky one.

 

We can’t levy all of the blame at the manager’s doorstep. Whilst it is undeniable that they have a huge amount of collective influence, we must also consider the impact of organisational culture and the infrastructure in place to support them to be able to effectively manage and lead their teams.

 

After all, if a manager is brought into a company that has little or no concern for their people, should we then be surprised if the manager adopts a similar style? This lack of concern can be seen in many ways such as ignoring suggestions, telling not asking or the mis-match between corporate values and behaviour demonstrated, particularly from senior leaders.

 

Let’s be clear: there is a big difference between a manager who actively chooses not to engage their team and one who is not supported to work in such a way. The former must always be performance managed, but we mustn’t paint all managers with the same brush.

 

‘Appropriately trained and aligned managers are vital to the execution of the company’s mission and to the development and engagement of employees.’

Brian Fielkow

 

disengaged employee
The way forward?

 

There are a huge number of factors that can impact employee engagement levels, but to see a significant increase a few of the top areas to focus on include:

  • As mentioned, organisational culture, including strategy, mission, purpose and values must be aligned to provide a unified direction, and this must be driven from the top.
  • People (not just managers) must feel empowered rather than micromanaged.
  • People (particularly managers) must be invested in and supported, both on-the-job and in the long-term through management and leadership development and training.

 

Coming next week: Part two of our look at the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence as an interpersonal skill.

 

Get in touch to find out how we can help to develop your people and your business. Learn more about our management training.

Do You Lead with Emotional Intelligence? (PART ONE)
15 Feb

Do You Lead with Emotional Intelligence? (PART ONE)

Emotional intelligence interpersonal skill

With more and more of us becoming aware of the principles of Emotional Intelligence, it is more important than ever for leaders to challenge their own levels to develop this important interpersonal skill.

 

We’ve all worked with that colleague who is brilliant in their specialised subject but who is also socially and emotionally clumsy. Traditionally, IQ (Intelligence Quotient) has been the accepted measure of intelligence, however this narrow view ignores the core elements of measuring our actions and behaviours.

 

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”

Theodore Roosevelt

 

Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, was originally developed in the 1970’s and 80’s by encompassing two aspects of intelligence:

 

  • Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses and behaviours
  • Understanding others and their feelings

 

However it wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that it became a significant behavioural model that focused on essential behavioural and character elements, and has progressed to become one of the most important interpersonal skills to develop. Daniel Goleman identified a range of ‘domains’ of Emotional Intelligence:

Knowing your emotions

The key here is self-awareness, which means you know how your emotions and actions impact you and others around you, and as a leader understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Take Time – when you feel a strong emotion, like anger for example, stop and examine why. Reflect on the situation and what actions triggered your feelings. Remember you are in control of your own actions no matter what the situation.

Managing your own emotions

 

Once we know our emotions the next step is to take control and manage them so they are appropriate. This means keeping calm, and implement strategies that help to control our anxiety or anger. Becoming masters of our own emotions encourages us to become more resilient and allows us to recover from setbacks and failures.

Take accountability – admit your mistakes, don’t try to blame others or make excuses. Take responsibility for your actions or behaviours; you’ll find others will respect you much more in the future.

Employ calming techniques – having a high EQ means that you are not reactive and that you control your feeling and thoughts before taking action. Therefore explore different techniques that can help you to do this:

  • Take a breath and count to 10
  • Take a break – go for a walk or grab a drink
  • Write down what you would like to say, then rip it up and throw it away

The Goleman Model of Emotional Intelligence

Part two has now been released, where we focus on the importance of being able to motivate yourself, recognise emotions in others and manage relationships.

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help your people to develop their Emotional Intelligence. Find out more about our interpersonal skills workshops.