Prepare for difficult conversations

conversation

Bring a high-touch approach to high stakes encounters. You’re about to have a difficult conversation with your boss, colleague or loved one. Are you ready? Succeeding at high-stakes communication takes skill and savvy, but it also requires a plan of action — an intentional effort to understand what others need and how to meet and manage their expectations. With the right amount of planning and preparation, it’s possible to engage others with greater calm and control. Using some behavioral science and a bit of common sense, you can take charge of these… Read More

Feedforward: Look forward, not back

Good feedback look forward, not back. Getting others to accept our feedback can prove challenging, especially when it’s critical. Worried that their feedback may lead to hurt feelings or diminished productivity, managers resort to face-saving techniques like the “praise sandwich” that end up doing more harm than good. The result is a wobbly feedback culture built largely upon evasion, confusion, and self-delusion. This dynamic can change with a better message — and a bolder mindset. Based on my research and work with leadership teams, I’ve found that when performance conversations are powered by partnership, the landscape shifts…. Read More

Dealing with Negative Feedback

Negative feedback is inevitable, but how we deal with it is up to us. Getting negative feedback, especially from those we respect and trust, can quickly become an emotional train wreck that leaves us feeling hurt, helpless, and even a little bit hopeless. And when critical feedback is repeated over time, researchers have found that it can diminish our productivity, motivation and even our prospects for employment. The good news? We can flip the script on negative feedback by changing the story. While we can’t control what happens to us, we can… Read More

How to “AIM” for better goals

black and white dartboard

Setting goals is good. Supporting and delivering on them is better. Here’s how. The only thing more cliché than setting New Year’s resolutions? Breaking them. According to a recent study, less than 20% of us actually manage to follow through. More than one-third of our resolutions are abandoned by February. And after falling off the wagon a few times, we tend to further weaken our willpower with self-limiting thoughts. It’s no wonder why so many people have decided to quit making resolutions altogether and set goals instead. But even then, we need… Read More

Humbler Ways To Make A Bold First Impression

Landing a new job, especially a promotion, can be an exciting career move — but not without its share of complications. This can be particularly true for leaders whose zeal for racking up early wins can be perceived as threatening to those who don’t know them or their intentions, setting up these leaders and their teams for potential conflict and friction.  Instead of waiting for acclimation, new leaders can take control of their own image with deliberate and proactive actions that demonstrate humility and earnestness — qualities that go a long way… Read More

Turn Performance Into a Partnership

partnership

Instead of associating performance with power, try a partnership approach for positive and lasting change. You may not like getting feedback, but you can’t deny its importance. Receiving robust feedback is a key driver of performance and leadership effectiveness. And when people ask for feedback, they are generally seen as more effective by their superiors and peers. There’s just one problem: Most of the time, feedback is hierarchical. One person (e.g. the manager) holds the power and directs the process while the other (e.g. the employee) takes cues from the top. When… Read More

Build a Culture of Respect: An Interview with Stan Richards

The legendary ad man talks teams, leadership and how great work starts with a culture of respect. Stan Richards is an advertising legend. He’s the founder and principal of the Richards Group, the largest privately-held ad agency in the country whose memorable campaigns have ranged from the folksy (Motel 6’s “We’ll leave the light on for you”) to the renegade (Chic-fil-A’s irreverent cows). But Richards’ proudest achievement is the company culture he’s fiercely built and protected over more than four decades – a no-barriers, no bull “peaceable kingdom” where information is shared… Read More