Listening… Even When You’re Busy!

No body hates a listener

You can see your colleague’s mouth moving, but the words are starting to drift off…

*ding, ding*

Your phone busses with an email from a client

No… focus, what was he saying again?

*Knock, knock* at your door… it’s your boss –

“Hey, quick reminder, we’ve got that business development meeting in 10 minutes, don’t be late”.

“I’ll be there!” you say quickly.

Ok – refocus… You look at your colleague and say, “I’m sorry, so in wrapping up….”

Ultimately, we want to listen – but in the busyness of life, it is so easy to get distracted.

And, for some of us, really listening can be challenging.

Over the next few weeks, we will be hearing from some of our great Coaches on tips on how to listen well, even when it’s hard!

Need help right now? If you’re finding it difficult to really focus on what the person you are talking to is saying, here are a couple of tips to start with:

  1. Put your phone on silent (this is such an easy distractor when it’s buzzing!)
  1. Prepare yourself to listen (relax and get comfortable)
  1. Try to really understand the other person’s point of view (ask “how” or “what” questions to gather even greater understanding)
  1. Listen to both words AND tone to gauge a deeper understanding of what they are thinking or feeling
  1. Watch for non-verbal communication cues for other feelings or reactions (these can be facial expressions, eye movements, or gestures).

Try these out and let us know how they go!

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Stories to Remember

Army_Memorial_Day_Flags_IN

If you live in the United States, then on Monday you will probably walk outside to smell the fantastic aroma of burgers or brats cooking on a grill, with a dog barking and the buzz of bees trying to land on your watermelon.

Most of us have traditions of eating BBQ and spending time with family on Memorial Day.

It can be easy to forget why we celebrate this holiday.

This Memorial Day, share (or read, or listen to!) a story with your loved ones about someone you know who has served in the military.

Their stories, no matter how big or small, truly are ones to remember.

And, please share your stories with us too!

Your Team is Great… How Do You Let Them Know?

I Appreciate you!

Pressure. Deadlines. Meetings. More meetings. New ideas. Client calls. The list goes on.

Your team works so hard, pushes through all of it with a smile (well, most of the time!), and continues to perform fabulously.

In the craziness of the business, it’s hard to find the time to tell your team more than “great work!”. We have Coach Kathryn Haber with us this week, giving some tips on how to show your team you appreciate them.

Here what Kathryn has to say:

Kathryn HaberI show appreciation for my team by getting to know each person on my team as people. I know their styles – perhaps their Myers Briggs (tag site) and their Top 5 Strengths from the StrengthFinder (tag site) – and leverage this information in working with them.  

 

I know how they prefer to communicate and try to adjust my style accordingly. I celebrate our [my team’s] successes and am understanding of mistakes – we are all human.

 

We will learn from our mistakes and do better next time. 

 

I make sure we have frequent team meetings and 1:1 meetings and set clear expectations. I ask about their aspirations and provide them with opportunities to be successful. I remove roadblocks for them. 

 

We get together quarterly for team building and work session meetings. We get together out of the office quarterly, too. 

 

I give my team members the benefit of the doubt because I know them as people and know their intentions. I advocate for my team in other parts of the organization. 

 

Lastly, I tell them frequently that I appreciate them, individually and as a team.  I give them specific, concrete examples of their success and the impact they have had on the team and the business.  In addition, I ensure that our team members have the opportunity to share feedback with one another.  We all have development plans in place to help us be better professionals and team members.  As a result, we all improve our effectiveness and this ultimately betters the business.

Wow, Kathryn! I feel inspired just by hearing what you do! Don’t you?

We’d suggest you choose one of these things to start with!

So, what are you going to do this week to inspire your team?

Social Media, Switching Jobs, and Your Team?

MillimilasAs your company continues to grow and hire new staff, you recognize a trend: your company is getting younger. More and more of the staff you walk by in the hallways (of course sending a slight smile their way because you don’t want to be that guy) seem to be millennials, and a lot of them are now on your team.

And they give you a run for your money! Calling online conversations being “social”, shopping more online than in stores, feeling like they should always be considered for the next promotion, and if they aren’t moving up the ladder quickly enough – switching jobs to get to the job title/pay they are looking for (all before age 30!).

Millennials are the future of your organization, but sometimes it feels like you’re at a loss on how to connect with them at a base level.

If this is you, listen up! We have Coach Mary Murphy joining us to bring a little more insight into how to connect with (and motivate!) a younger generation.

Take it away Mary!

Mary jpeg“One key tip that millennial team members tell me that motivates them is – ‘Ask us what we need to perform at our best and then engage us in making this happen.’  What they say frustrates and de-motivates them is when they are asked for their input by the team leader or their manager and then there is no follow-up!

 From an article in the Globe and Mail (Canada’s national newspaper) entitled “Five Things I Learned from Millennials, the author Nicole Gallucci shares and expands upon top recommendations:

  1. When in doubt, Google it
  2. Seize the moment 
  3. There’s no excuse for not connecting
  4. Call it as you see it
  5. Do what you love or don’t complain

I love tip number #1 and often recommend it to the individuals I coach.  For example, when I hear, “I want to increase my executive presence”, I ask the individual what skills they would need to develop in order to achieve this goal.  Often the coachee is unsure of what executive presence really means or looks like for them.  So, we check Google to learn more about the behaviors and skills which help to successfully demonstrate executive presence.”

Thanks for the tip, Mary!

Try out some of these tips for connecting with millennials and let us know how it goes!

PS. We’ve got some millennials too, so we’ll let you know how these tips work for us!  🙂

Connecting with Your Team

Tired Team Image

Patience is wearing thin in meetings, pod-mates are starting to bicker, and a lot more coffee has been flowing from the office coffeepot than you’d like to acknowledge.

We’ve all had those days/weeks/quarters – you can tell your team is tired.

There have been pressing deadlines and long days and exciting things happening in the business, but you can tell that something more is needed than just thanking your team for all their hard work.

This week we have Coach Bonnie Davis with us to share a tip on how to help motivate a tired team.

Take it away Bonnie!

Bonnie Davis“One tool that I have found works well to motivate a team that has a high degree of trust with each other and their manager is an exercise called “Hard Truths.”   This can be led by the manager or a neutral facilitator.

 

I would open the exercise by first acknowledging the current work environment, share how it’s been impacting me personally, also share what I see as the positive aspects, and then ask them to share their “hard truths” about why they are tired.  

 

Hard truths are facts that are difficult that we deal with. and though we often can’t control them, we can do our best to lessen their negative impacts. 

 

The goal?

 

To give the team the time and space to explore what is difficult at work so they feel someone is listening and cares, and then they can figure out how to move past it and support each other.   

 

Each person should share something that is difficult in the current environment, such as customer demands, organizational change, new leadership, too many projects, and so on. There are no “wrong answers” — everyone’s perspective is valid. 

 

Then, the group should select 2-3 of these “hard truths” as focus areas that they feel could make the greatest impact once solved. 

 

Finally, they should do a brainstorm on 1-2 solutions for each focus area. 

 

The manager should close the meeting by once again acknowledging everyone’s hard work and where it’s paying off, reiterate his or her support, encourage each team member to follow up directly if they’d like to talk about it some more, and then set a follow up meeting for about thirty days later when the group can hold themselves accountable for the actions and see how they’ve progressed.”

 

Thanks, Bonnie!

What a great suggestion on how to encourage you team to talk about what has been tiring and brainstorm solutions on how to move past it together.

Try this with your team and let us know how it goes!