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!

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.

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.

Are You Developing Your Soft Skills?
15 Jul

Are You Developing Your Soft Skills?

Interpersonal soft skills

Exhibiting attributes such as excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, and the ability to work well as part of a team, are rapidly overtaking the usual suspects such as language skills or computer programming.

 

It seems that the most sought after qualities for today’s top employers are those loosely referred to as the ‘soft skills’, or ‘emotional intelligence’.

Recent reports indicate that many employers do not recruit candidates only for what they may have learned at university, but for qualities like strength of character, determination and resolve. The thought process being that ‘business-specific’ technical knowledge can be acquired if the soft skills and emotional intelligence already exist.

The right stuff…

Do you have what it takes to claim emotional intelligence? Here are some indicators:

  • Trustworthy, loyal, dependable. Businesses value employees they can trust to get the job done. Demonstrate your work ethic by being on time, and reliable. It’s imperative to meet deadlines, show you’re a team player, and prove that you can stay focused whilst at work.
  • Creative, inventive, resourceful. Irrespective of your position, many employers will – on occasion – expect you to make a presentation of some sort. Being able to engage your audience, convey information succinctly, and gain their understanding may be the deal-breaker.
  • Problem solving, critical thinking. Your ability to overcome a challenge in the workplace will serve you well. Demonstrate your capacity to solve problems, and face obstacles at work, in a resourceful fashion.
  • Coaching, leadership, mentoring. You will always be judged a strong candidate if you show willing to help your fellow team members and co-workers. Volunteering to take the lead on a project shows courage and ambition.
  • Cultural fit, compatibility, ethics. It’s important that you reflect the company’s culture.  Prospective employers will be searching for candidates who share their corporate outlook.
  • Flexible, adaptable, focused. Have a ‘can do’ attitude, and understand that targets and tasks may need to be changed at very short notice. If you are able to quickly adapt whilst still remaining focused on the objectives then you are indeed any company’s dream employee!
  • Have an opinion, accept feedback, be open to change. Team members who are confident in their ideas, but also happily give and receive feedback, are key influencers in many workplaces. Be sure that you not only share ideas but give considered answers to any questions, and challenge others’ thoughts respectfully.

 

At Right Trax Training, we specialise in developing your business through your key asset; your people. View our range of interpersonal skills workshops and get in touch to find out how we can help you and your people to develop these important attributes!

 

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