How to Develop Stronger Relationships Without Causing Conflict!
10 Aug

How to Develop Stronger Relationships Without Causing Conflict!

Interpersonal Skills

Do you need to develop stronger relationships at work, adapt and connect with others easily and manage conflict more confidently?

 

Who amongst us doesn’t have to try and get along with others at work, a bit like the pen pot you have on your desk, all stuck together in a confined space!

 

When we work together, conflict is inevitable; perhaps with other members of your team, with your manager or even your stakeholders. This can lead to feelings of stress and disengagement, so much so that often it’s not the organisation we leave, it’s the environment.

 

The one thing you can control and influence is the quality of how you communicate and interact well with other people.

 

Catch-up with our free online training session below, delivered from our Facebook Group, to find out how you can develop these vital skills and learn how to change your life for the better!

 

Let us know if you would like any more details on the programme mentioned from 45 minutes in!

 

 

…and as if that’s not enough, download our cheat sheet to help you start making a difference TODAY!

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The Pain of Conflict in Communication
28 Jul

The Pain of Conflict in Communication

Communication at work can often feel like a tug of war where one person must win and the other must lose…but how do we work together with our different styles to successfully work through our conflict?

 

Watch our Facebook Live to find out!

 

Catch-up with our free online training for support on how to develop stronger relationships without causing conflict at work here.

 

Join our private and FREE Facebook group for support with your personal and professional development. With regular posts and Facebook Lives on a variety of topics, there’s always something to get involved with!

Click the image below and request to join now…

Conflict: don’t avoid it – manage it
19 Jul

Conflict: don’t avoid it – manage it

Conflict and disagreement are an inevitable part of working life, so do you have a plan on how to manage it?

 

It is possible to actually benefit from conflict, resolving it in an effective way whilst avoiding damage to relationships. This is a key interpersonal skill – at all levels. Move in the right direction by following three basic principles: respect, negotiate and compromise.

 

Respect yourself, and others

We talk a lot about how we all perceive the world in different ways, and this is what makes us unique. Be honest with yourself and take time to understand the events, behaviours, or topics of conversation that might ‘trigger’ anger or conflict in you. Recognising these triggers is the first step towards helping to control your emotions when these issues arise.

Resist the urge to dismiss opinions and thoughts. Ask people to explain more about their thinking, and if you disagree, suggest they explain what the advantages are. Understanding their motives makes it all the more easy to find a common viewpoint and resolution.

Preventing conflict from escalating can often be done by just acknowledging that there is a disagreement. Stating a simple fact out loud – “We obviously don’t agree on this” – makes everyone stop and think.

It’s important to know when to walk away from a dispute – particularly if you feel like you’re losing control of your emotions. Separating yourself from the conflict gives you time to clear your head, and some space in order to think of a constructive way to respond.

 

Negotiating to work through the conflict

Keep yourself calm by controlling your breathing. In times of anger or stress we often respond by breathing rapidly, which depletes our oxygen and raises our blood pressure, which in turn can cloud our judgement.

It can be difficult, but try to use the “shut up and listen” technique as you breathe slowly. Stay quiet and really aim to listen to what the other person is saying. This will mean you may be able to find something in the other person’s argument that you can actually agree with.

The Path Of Conflict
This is a good time to tell them that you agree with them on that particular point, and shows them that you are trying to understand their point of view. Hopefully, in turn, they may be more willing to listen to you. Think of the conflict in terms of the issue – not the person – and try to keep the focus on one issue at a time.

If you can – try to forget about the concept of winning, or losing. Working together to find a resolution means you stop trying to “defeat” the other person and are receptive to each other’s good ideas!

 

Compromise and move on

Remember, you can’t force others to agree with you. You must have an open mind, and (if necessary) be willing to admit that you are wrong. This helps to prevent any possibility of lingering hostility; and may mean that others will feel more comfortable admitting their own mistakes in future.

After having a disagreement with someone, it can be helpful to acknowledge that you’ve both been part the resolution to the conflict by thanking them for their willingness to reach a solution.

If appropriate, arrange a time to catch-up again in the future. Some time to reflect on the conflict and the resolution can be useful and meeting up again helps to preserve and develop the relationship. You don’t need to specifically talk about the conflict, but move on to learn more about each other to help you work together going forward.

 

Watch our two minute tips video for more support – it was inspired by and published around the time of the EU referendum…which was a time of some ‘interesting’ conflict!

 

 

At Right Trax Training, we specialise in developing your business through your key asset; your people. Find out more about our interpersonal skills workshops and get in touch to find out how we can help you and your people to effectively resolve conflict.

Managing Conflict…is this the biggest key?
14 Jul

Managing Conflict…is this the biggest key?

Wherever there are people working together, conflict in inevitable, and it’s no wonder when we all have differences in personal styles and objectives to achieve.

 

Watch our short Facebook Live to find out our top tip for managing conflict!

 

Join our private and FREE Facebook group for support with your personal and professional development. With regular posts and Facebook Lives on a variety of topics, there’s always something to get involved with!

Click the image below and request to join now…

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!

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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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.

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