Author Archives: Silver
Author Archives: Silver
It doesn’t matter what you do for your team or for yourself. If you’re determined to be unhappy, then circumstances don’t matter.
I can just hear the hue and cry. “You just don’t get it. I WANT to be happy. I WANT to be engaged at work but the behavior of (fill in the blank: coworker, boss, subordinates) is standing in my way.”
Poppycock. (Did she say, “Poppycock? Who says that these days?”)
You can get frustrated without getting discouraged. You can be disappointed without giving up. And you can be happy even in the face of incredible challenges. In fact, some of the unhappiest people I know seem to have no challenges at all! They’re rich, they’re healthy and successful beyond all measures. And they are completely miserable.
Conversely, we all know those who are struggling financially, have family members who are ill, and cannot seem to get ahead. And yet they are happy. Probably because they’re focused on helping others instead of whining about their own lives.
Happiness has everything to do with focus. Where’s your focus? Are you focused on what works in your job or on all the things that you believe to be wrong? Are you focused on the value of your teammates or are you continually searching for ways they don’t measure up? Are you doing the same to yourself?
The title of this blog came from a story I heard once. A young man finally decided he was an addict and he needed to stop drinking and taking drugs. After he was clean and sober for six months, he was complaining to his counselor, “Nothing’s really changed. I’m still miserable. All I want is to be happy.” The counselor looked at him thoughtfully and then responded, “Go ahead! Who’s trying to stop you?”
To schedule a FREE 20-minute phone consultation about how to create a more positive work culture, call 480-560-9452 or email Silver@SilverSpeaks.com
What if the most common workplace relationship issues could be cleared up by taking the following proactive step: treat others the way THEY want to be treated?
In my program How to Get Along with Difficult People I often hear participants express astonishment at how others behave or communicate. And what always makes me laugh (on the inside) is the certain knowledge that someone they work with is equally astonished by their style.
We are all different. We each have filters through which we process the behavior and words of others. To improve our relationships, either at work or in our personal lives, it is necessary for us to treat others they way they want to be treated, not the way we would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.
For example, I can be very direct. Over the years I’ve had to learn to identify those I can be direct with without causing ruffled feathers and those I cannot. I’m also a hugger. Same thing. Although it surprises me, I know there are people who just don’t care to be hugged –at least by me. (Smile.)
A quick and effective way to find out how to interact with team members, your boss or your family is to observe how they do it. If you have someone in your life, for example, who always apologizes for interrupting, it’s a good guess that, when it’s time for you to interact with him/her, apologizing for it would go a long way toward creating rapport.
Maybe there’s someone who routinely approaches you and announces how long the interaction is going to take. He might say, “Do you have 10 minutes to go over this with me?” Clearly he values time so letting him know how long an interaction is going to take will help establish rapport.
There are people who begin every interaction by asking about your family or your lunch or a TV show you like. These are people who want some personal connection before jumping to the point. Even if it drives you crazy to do it, when you ask about something in their lives, you will establish rapport.
Successful salespeople do this as a matter of course. Many make notes in their clients’ files outlining the best approach. They will tell you that, in the end, it saves a lot of time. Once rapport is established, the rest of the interaction goes much more quickly.
Change Your Focus; Change Your Life!
To schedule a FREE 20-minute phone consultation about how you can make your work communication more effective, call 480-560-9452 or email Silver@SilverSpeaks.com
One of the easier communication problems to solve revolves around our tendency to think that others understand what we mean when we use a term. Let’s take “customer service,” as an example.
If you have been tasked with improving customer service, what exactly does that mean? How is customer service being defined?
If you’re in leadership and have young people on your team, where might they have even experienced good customer service? They may be thinking “the Apple store” with its controlled chaos while you’re thinking “Nordstrom’s” with its classical piano playing in the background. Not only do different generations differ in their understanding of terms, individuals within each generation do, as well. So when you are delegating or being delegated to, find out whether the definitions of the terms being used match. This saves a lot of wasted effort and frustration.
The Golden Phrase: “As Evidenced By”
Years ago a nurse manager told me a story that has always stuck with me:
When I work with my employees on performance improvement, I make sure they understand exactly what is required. I cannot simply tell them to increase the quality of patient care; I must say, “Increase the quality of patient care as evidenced by an increase in positive patient survey scores and a reduction in the number of formal complaints.” (For example)
Giving people edicts to improve something without telling them what it should look like is unfair and sets up a “no win” situation.
Always answer the unspoken question, “How will we measure success?” and make sure everyone is on the same page by defining terms.
Change Your Focus; Engage Your Team!
|To schedule a FREE 20-minute phone consultation about how you can make your work communication more effective, call 480-560-9452 or email Silver@SilverSpeaks.com|
When I was 36, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and told by my doctor that I had been living with it for over 30 years.
Being a stoic and hardy New Englander, I was determined to figure out how to move out of depression as quickly as possible. Many of the lessons I learned along that path are applicable to quickly getting out of stress:
1. Ask yourself, “Is everything okay right this minute?” If the answer is yes, then you are likely engaged in forecasting the future or, as it’s more commonly known, worrying.
a. ACTION ITEM: Turn your focus from hat could go wrong to what’s going right and your shoulders will
2. Your brain does not know the difference between pretend and reality.
a. ACTION ITEM: Spend the rest of your day (even when alone) smiling. Your brain will get the message that you’re in a good mood and flood your system with some yummy chemicals.
3. I’m certain that, if asked, you could quickly come up with a list of 10 things you dislike about the current situation that’s causing you stress. Let’s reverse that.
a. ACTION ITEM: Make a list of 10 things that are (or could be) good about the situation.
What I learned from battling depression is that I have a mind that, left to its own devices, will harm me. Therefore, I have to be proactive about feeding it thoughts that help instead of hurt. I learned that I have a choice about what I can focus on but IT TAKES PRACTICE.
Using the tool of focus, I have turned around my natural tendency to look at what’s wrong and have re-trained myself to look at what’s right. Am I perfect at it? I wish! But think about this: what if you could shift the percentage of time you’re focused on things that make you feel bad? Instead of, say 85% of the time you reduced it to 75%? Then 70%? Then 65%? That’s what I did and I can honestly say that today (after over two decades of practice), I focus on the negative only 5-10% of the time. Would that be worth it?
You have a choice. Start today to focus on what makes you smile versus what makes you stressed and you will be blown away by the difference in your life—both at work and at home.
Change Your Focus; Change Your Life!
To schedule a FREE 20-minute phone consultation about how you can make your work environment less stressful, call 480-560-9452 or email Silver@SilverSpeaks.com
Imagine going to work every day, doing the best you know how and not knowing whether your boss agrees that what you’re doing is what s/he wants and needs.
Imagine being surprised at your annual performance review (which is usually at least a month or two late) to hear for the first time that you’ve been doing it wrong.
Imagine your leadership team’s surprise that their employees are profoundly disengaged.
This is an all too familiar scenario at work places across the globe. Lack of useful feedback negatively impacts productivity and profitability, not to mention the over-use of employee health benefits due to stress.
Most importantly, it is impacting the quality of people’s lives.
When you spend the majority of your week in uncertainty and fear, life becomes burdensome very quickly. And the sad part is, it is neither expensive nor difficult to fix. Keep reading for how.
Humans inherently want feedback. It’s why children want us to watch as they perform feats on the playground, why we look for clues in the faces of others when we talk, and why we want our immediate supervisors to let us know how we’re doing.
Unfortunately, too many managers believe that a simple, “Good work,” will suffice. Or worse, in the absence of “good work,” a torturous silence. I use the word “torturous” deliberately – it feels that way when you’re on the receiving end of silence instead of feedback. (Silence is a form of negative feedback whether you mean it that way or not.)
Whether it’s “good work” or silence, what your employees crave are details. What did you like, what could I do better, how can I improve? Even those employees you think don’t care want detailed feedback. If for no other reason, they want to know how to keep you “off their backs.” (Smile)
The LB/NT Process is a simple, yet incredibly effective way to provide feedback.
First, you use two questions to inspire your team member to evaluate their own performance: (1) What did you like best (LB) about what you did? and (2) What would you do differently next time? (NT) LB/NT
Once you’ve gotten their self-feedback, take it into consideration as you tell them the answers to the same two questions: (1) What did you like best about their performance, and (2) what, if anything, would you like them to do differently next time?
Not only does this process satisfy their strong need for feedback, it teaches them important skills like ownership of results. It is also a quick and easy way for you to develop them in areas where they need it.