Each day, I work with clients as they navigate their work lives. Preparing to write this post, I thought about all the effort they put into creating a career that fulfills them. They focus on: keeping their skills up, interacting and communicating with others, negotiating effectively when they need to, staying motivated, maintaining balance, staying organized, keeping their emotions steady, getting to and from wherever they have to be, maintaining their self confidence and creating space for themselves and their creativity. It takes a lot!
Honor yourself for what it takes for you to make it through a day. What would you say are your strong points – where you’ve got what it takes? What are your weak points and what can you do about them? This is not a challenge, just a reflection. Recognize yourself for how well you are already doing. Kudos to you!
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There’s a lot involved in work place communication. When you have something significant to communicate, you do well to consider what you will say, how you will say it and what the impact of your communication may be. Expressing yourself in an intelligent and considered manner serves you well.
Gushing forth, without giving thought to your communications, may provide temporary satisfaction, but is bound to trip you up at some time. Holding back on communicating is warranted at times; however holding something in is not. By doing so, those around you are not aware of your thoughts and ideas and you could experience stress from not communicating.
Expressing yourself is important to your performance and well being at work. How and when do you express yourself?
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Communication is a constant in your work as a manager. Are you aware of the style you use to communicate to your team and others? Do you even have time to be aware of your communication style? Perhaps not. However, it is a worthwhile endeavor, as communication is the lifeblood of organizations and deserves your attention.
There are many styles of communication: precise and to the point, well reasoned and thought out, emotionally intelligent or forceful, to name a few. There are also various methods of communication – speaking, writing, electronic, body language.
You want to find the style that is a fit and most effective for you. Start by giving thought to what outcomes you want from your communications. Are they to keep a project going, create clarity about goals or promote collaboration, for example? In a previous blog post I focused on how your communication is heard. Being aware of this will help in determining your communication style. Then, fit this all in with the culture of your organization, the realities of your work and the nature of your team and co workers. You may use varying styles in different situations. That’s fine. The key here is developing your self-awareness of how you communicate with others.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
1) Put yourself in the other person’s place and consider what it would be like to hear what you plan to say.
2) Identify your goals for the conversation, its purpose and what you want to achieve by having it.
3) Think about the person you will be talking with and craft an approach that fits their personality, without comprising what you want to communicate.
4) Identify where you are most vulnerable in the conversation (e.g. you have fear of having it; you do not have a strong justification for your position).
5) Anticipate the person’s possible reactions to what you have to say and what you will do about them.
6) Visualize yourself having the conversation with a positive outcome or practice having it.
7) Craft the conversation to assure that what you say and what you are asking are clear.
8) During the conversation, ask the person if what you are saying is clear to them and listen to their responses.
9) Develop an effective exit strategy, in case the conversation gets out of hand.
10) Release attachment to a specific outcome and keep yourself in the present moment.
photo: Salvatore Vuono, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As a manager, communicating is a mainstay of your work. Frequently, communications can go awry. But what do you do when communications totally break down?
I was coaching a client who worked in a political campaign. Pressure was high and internal competition was fierce. The campaign environment did not have space for discord or drama. He was working with another person, his peer, who insisted on berating him and criticizing what he did in e mails and copying them widely to other members of the campaign. It was a game and very irritating. At one point, he thought these communications could do him significant harm.
It was time to deal with it. First, he set some boundaries, calling the person on their inaccuracies and tactics. It didn’t work. So, he went to his manager and instead of complaining, he calmly told his manager that he was not going to work this way and set his boundaries. His manager responded, told the other person to lay off on the e mails and it was done. Sometimes things can be worked out and sometimes they can’t. In this case, the action taken by the manager allowed my client to get back to work and get the job done.
Efficiency and productivity are as important in coaching as they are in other areas of your work. How do you maintain an environment where members of your team feel free to communicate, but efficiency and productivity are also honored?
Clearing is a process by which you create a space for the person being coached to release intense emotions or lines of thought that can inhibit their moving forward. The principle here is that if strong emotions are pushed down, they will interfere with the success of the coaching. Clearing involves allowing the person being coached to release emotions or “get things off their chest” for a specified period of time, with the agreement that once done, the coaching will proceed. In my experience, clearing works very well. You are acknowledging that emotions are present and that they need to be expressed. Usually, I give the process five to ten minutes. In rare cases, someone wants to go on. Then, I suggest that they identify a specific way they can release the emotions and commit to doing so, after the coaching is completed. If they cannot move into the coaching, we reschedule for another time.
Creating space for clearing is a coaching skill that acknowledges both that emotions are present and that you have a desire to move forward towards your goals.