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.

How Feedback Unfolds
03 May

How Feedback Unfolds

We provide lots of teams with development. One thing we hear over and over is that they don’t take the time to give each other feedback, so why not try this approach, whether you have an Insights Discovery® profile or not!
 

Insights Discovery Feedback

Courtesy of Insights®

 

Check out how we can support you with personality profiling and get in touch to find out how we can develop your people and your business!

[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.

Could Your LinkedIn Profile Use a Spring Clean?
12 Apr

Could Your LinkedIn Profile Use a Spring Clean?

We work with many people to provide outplacement support and career coaching, which leads to us reviewing a lot of LinkedIn profiles which are becoming just as viewed by employers as the traditional CV.
 

When was the last time you reviewed your LinkedIn profile to make sure it’s really working for you? Gone are the days when the sole need for this was to secure your next position; millions of us across the globe now use LinkedIn on a daily basis for to seek new ideas and opinions, network and help others.

 

That said, if you are looking for your next move, it pays to make sure your profile really sells you in the best way, and that doesn’t mean it simply existing to be a carbon copy of the content on your CV. You can significantly multiply your profile views, connection requests and messages by taking some simple steps, such as having a great profile picture, a good balance of interpersonal skills / technical expertise and optimised keywords.

 

We love this ‘cheat sheet’ from Leisure Jobs. Even though LinkedIn significantly updated their interface in January 2017, much of the cheat sheet still holds true. Click the image below and put some time aside to work your way through your LinkedIn profile to give it the spring clean that it deserves!

 

Ultimate LinkedIn Cheap Sheet

Get in touch to find out how we can support your people and your business!

[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.

Why We Need Creativity & Innovation in the Workplace
07 Mar

Why We Need Creativity & Innovation in the Workplace

creativity employee training and development

With workplaces needing to cut costs and often cut headcount, people need to think differently – and that means getting creative like never before.

 

With the majority of organisations needing to become more efficient and ultimately do more with less, many rush into this without revising old ways of working.  This in turn often leads to stressed employees, missed deadlines, unhappy customers (internal and external), and a wholly unhappy place to be.  We’ve seen many high profile cases of companies going into or almost going into liquidation (HMV, Jessops, Blockbusters, Republic), proving that now more than ever, businesses must keep up to date with changing trends and constantly challenge the way things are done to not only stay current, but profitable too.

 

So how often do we actually stop to think about how to challenge old ways of doing things?  We are all guilty of complaining about there not being enough hours in the day, never enough time to do what is required of us just to keep our heads above water, so the easiest option is of course to just do what we’ve always done.  Getting creative doesn’t have to take a lot of time, it’s simply about considering other ways of doing things.  Sure, it might be that once you have considered other options that the best solution is what you would have done anyway, but if you don’t go through the process you’d never know.

 

Many people consider themselves uncreative.  This can trace right back to childhood, when we were told we couldn’t draw, or our talents lay elsewhere.  Or perhaps as adulthood loomed we put away those childish things and grew up; considering a sensible job, paying the rent / mortgage and other such commitments as the final nails in our creative coffin.  If this sounds like you, consider two things:

 

  1. When was the last time you did something seriously creative?  Either at work or at home, it doesn’t matter.  If you struggle to think of something then it’s not surprising that you feel uncreative.  Creativity is like a muscle, it needs constant exercise or else it withers away.  Classical pianists don’t just become great at playing the piano overnight, it takes constant time and focus (but you’ll be glad to know you don’t need to flex your creative muscle for quite as many hours a day to be great at getting creative!).
  2. Don’t be tempted to think of creativity as blue sky and beanbags.  It’s easy for us to think about what creativity looks like outside of work (arts & crafts, dressmaking, cops & robbers, doctors & nurses!), however when it comes to work creativity can take many forms.  We each have our own unique preferences when it comes to getting the creative juices flowing.  Some people will prefer to think through options themselves whilst others will thrive on the energy of a group discussion.  You may also prefer structured and methodical ways of coming up with new ideas or more abstract methods.  Either way it’s important to identify your own preferred approach, so take some time to identify this.

 

There are a myriad of different tools and techniques out there that can help you to get creative.  Below we offer one for generating new ideas (it’s probably the best known of the lot but that doesn’t mean it’s always used the way it should be!), and one for whittling down your long list of creative options into your few possibles to proceed with.

 

Generating new ideas: Try ‘Brainstorming’

Whoa there!  Before you skip past this bit thinking you know about brainstorming, please read on!  This is arguably the granddaddy of creative thinking tools, but with fame comes mis-use and abuse.  A good brainstorm can be done with groups of people over short or longer time periods depending on what’s being ‘stormed’.  It works because people trigger each others thinking which leads onto constantly new and different or associated ideas and it allows people to think big rather than be restricted…but therein lies the problem with brainstorming.  How many of us have been sat in one of these when each and every suggestion has been subjected to analysis-paralysis or shot down because “that wouldn’t work” or “we’ve tried that before”?

 

So…here are some simple steps to help you to have a successful brainstorm:

  • Have some help – whether it’s a facilitator or a neutral party, try and have someone who can keep things on track and bring everyone back to that big thinking when the debate heats up.
  • What are you brainstorming – make sure everyone is clear on what it is you are trying to generate ideas for.
  • Collect all ideas – capture everything that is offered and spend no time filtering or analysing…that comes later.  This bit is all about quantity over quality.
  • “If you have nothing nice to say…” – by far the hardest part of most brainstorms: keeping a lid on critical evaluation.  Introducing critique at this stage will only stop people from contributing.
  • Brief the ‘rules’ – because brainstorming has been around for so long, most people think it’s easy (which of course it is!)…but you might need to walk through some or all of these steps with your group before you begin, so that everyone is on the same page.

 

Distilling your creative ideas:  Try ‘Negative Selection’

So you’ve gotten creative on how to market your new widget, and you have a list of ideas as long as the combined length of arms in your department.  Maybe a 100 foot plasma billboard suspended above The Thames won’t work, but perhaps it might…!  Essentially, what you are doing here is whittling your list into your no’s and maybe’s, just like you would do when you were considering which breed of dog to adopt or what kind of car to buy.  Be careful not to label the whacky and inventive ideas with a ‘no’ just because they’re whacky and inventive; you could always keep it in the ‘maybe’ pile and come back to it later, or consider if there is a simpler alternative of the idea.  You want to end with a shortlist that has a number of workable and unique ideas, not just a pile of logical, sensible and totally uninspiring ones.

 

So, challenge yourself and your business today.  Think big and think differently…the world is changing and we all need to change with it or get left behind.

 

At Right Trax Training we can help your managers, teams and business to be more creative. Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help.

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!

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