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!

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!

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.

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.

How to Empower Your Team
08 Feb

How to Empower Your Team

How to Empower Your Team

Being a manager often means that your achievements depend largely on the achievements of your team. It stands to reason then that the more empowered they are, the bigger the benefits for you, them and the business.

 

What is ‘Empowerment’?

Not to be confused with delegating tasks or responsibilities, ‘empowerment’ involves giving the authority or power to do something, which can lead to people becoming stronger and more confident.

 

Why bother?

Just think back to a time when you have felt empowered – either in your personal or professional life. Motivation is high, ambition is a driving force and morale and mindset are focused. Now multiply this impact within a team, a department, an organisation and empowerment suddenly becomes a huge differentiator.

 

Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t.

Steve Maraboli

 

What are the Influencing factors?

You may be thinking ‘This all sounds great, but my organisation doesn’t allow me to empower my people!’, and you may be right; to a degree. Sure, the culture may not be perfect and the top-down influence of the leadership team may leave a lot to be desired, but don’t underestimate the individual impact that you can make as a people manager!

 

Identify the blockers and barriers, then work out which you can address and influence yourself. We see a lot of managers espousing the virtues of empowerment, however they refuse to relinquish control for various reasons such as fear of failure – a valid risk – but consider the benefits of a controlled risk, and if things do go wrong, what can be learned for next time?

 

Where to start?

Here are our top 5 tips to get you started!

1. Build Trust (over time)

Developing a sense of empowerment within your team will take time; there is no silver bullet and it won’t happen overnight. Spend time with people and support them both professionally and personally (where appropriate). Ask questions and really listen to what they have to say. Learn what makes each person tick and tune in to how they each communicate and adapt your style accordingly to build relationships with trust as the foundation.

2. Give Them Boundaries

We should all know where the boundaries and parameters are. What do you expect people to get on with, without permission or input from you and where should they check-in? Build up and extend the boundaries gradually and generously.

3. Believe In Them and Provide Challenge

As trust builds and boundaries are established, you must also demonstrate a belief in people and their abilities. This is an excellent time to highlight the importance of coaching and feedback to pinpoint all the strengths that can be leveraged and what can be built on and developed going forward. Create an open and constructive environment for progression and challenge, and encourage people to challenge you back.

4. Invest in People and Their Development

You need to speculate to accumulate! Invest both money and time in formal and informal development. Think about 70:20:10; how can people develop on-the-job, from others and formally? Yes, it may be easier for you to take charge and control in the short-term (“If you want something done right, do it yourself!”), however it doesn’t help you or the team in the long-term. We all know and appreciate this, but often don’t act upon it.

5. Remember the Interpersonal / Soft Skills

Following on from number four, it’s all too easy to focus on the technical training needs of your team and overlook the importance of interpersonal skills. When you’re deciding on where to invest in, consider a rounded approach and provide development in key areas such as communication, presentation skills and resilience (to name but a few!).

Good luck empowering your team!

 

Get in touch to find out how we can help to empower your people and your business. Learn more about our interpersonal skills workshops.

Why We Must Adapt and Change
11 Jan

Why We Must Adapt and Change

management training

‘Adapt or die.’ We hear it time and time again, directed at businesses in danger of extinction, but how often do we look at our own need to change in order to survive?

 

We can all reel off a list of organisations who did indeed ‘die’, as well as some who have brought it back from the brink or who are still clinging on to the edge, for now at least. What we hear less about is our individual and personal need to adapt. Sure, we may make the right noises about changing to become more effective and some of us will do it and enjoy it, but how many of us carry on blithely stuck in our comfortable ruts on autopilot?

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-11-17-19

 

The lessons from high profile examples of failing to adapt are important because each of these businesses employed many people who individually or collectively failed to do just that. Perhaps one of the most common examples being the video rental company Blockbuster. They successfully made the transition from VHS to DVD but failed to recognise how popular streaming services would be. The result: they got left behind and have long since been out of the race. In fact, Blockbuster was offered the chance to buy Netflix in 2000 for a snip at $50 million, considering the $41 billion it is worth at the time of writing. The reason? It was seen as a “very small niche business.”

 

Some seem to be taking notice and learning from the mistakes of others, with Kodak emerging from bankruptcy in 2013 to look at new technological ideas to survive and Sega, once a dominating gaming and software force to be reckoned with, admitting that they made the wrong decisions for 20 years.

 

dead

This link between organisations needing to adapt and our own need to change makes complete sense. As the demand for new ways of working, creative ideas and management training forces business to adapt to compete and stay ahead, so too must we develop our own skillset to stay not just current, but ahead of the curve.

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin, 1809

 

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to consider: how do you need to change and adapt? Switch off autopilot for a second, lift your head and re-evaluate the big questions that you may not have even asked yourself yet. There’s no doubt that 2016 was a shaky year for many of us, so do yourself a favour and get yourself ready for 2017 and beyond.

 

At Right Trax Training, we are passionate about helping your people to adapt and change. Find out more about the management training that we offer or get in touch to talk about how we can help.