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Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

Hostile Emails at Work

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Emailing in Business CommunicationIt’s a common, maddening occurrence: You innocently open an email from a colleague, customer or boss only to suddenly feel ambushed by its contents. The sender blames you for a problem you didn’t create, unfairly accuses you of sabotaging a project, or negatively interprets something you said. Even worse, he or she cc’s the email to your superiors.

As you stare at the offensive message, your vision blurs. You feel blood rushing to your face. Your heart beats faster. Your stomach drops. Your strongest impulse is to render justice by striking back.

Though it’s hard to remember, you do have a choice in that moment. You can either react out of anger, and fire back a harsh retort, or you can close the infuriating email, and calm down.

Which do you do? Our survey reveals that the usual response is to get ticked off, and retaliate. You then get into a battle with that person that can last for weeks at a time.

Opportunities to take offense in the world of email are high. Email is a form of communication without buffers, interpreters or pauses. The cc mechanism lends itself to either “tattling” on your co-workers or being told on to your supervisors.

But if your goal is to resolve workplace conflicts without hurting your reputation, reacting in anger doesn’t work. Why? Because you’re likely to send your first (and worst) thoughts to the recipient. Angry email responses injure the relationship, and damage your credibility.

The first thing to do when an email makes your blood boil is to calm yourself down. Draft files were created to hold (and filter) our angry e-bursts. Why is it that so few people are able to answer hostile emails in a cool and professional way? Because the temptation to immediately “fire back” an email when you think you’ve been attacked is very strong.

The next time someone sends an e-missle your way, take whatever steps you can to cool down before responding. We recommend: closing the email, getting up from your desk, stretching, taking a few deep breaths, splashing water on your face, or walking around your office floor to collect your thoughts. If you can cool off, you’ll have a much better chance of responding in a calmer, more professional, more effective way.

By Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley. Used with permission. Visit their website: http://www.ksquaredenterprises.com/

Need help in this area? Working With You is Killing Me, hosted by Kathi Elster and Katherine Crowley, provides the antidote to becoming “hooked” by a toxic co-worker, showing exactly how to take responsibility for addressing the problem and put a stop to it all.

Training Success Story: 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Training Success in BusinessThe Problem:
A financial services company with 260 employees needed leaders who knew how to get the most from their teams, especially when so many were asked to do more with fewer people.

The Solution:
Managers, supervisors and the company’s process improvement committee took to heart the mindset-shifting message in CRM’s compelling video, 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask. The core concept? Managers don’t have all the answers, but they do need to ask the right questions to draw out peak performance from every member on their teams.

The Success Story:
Anyone who has ever managed a diverse team knows that it takes hard work to get every member to contribute, even when the chemistry is good. Many leaders at this company found 5 Questions Every Leader Must Ask to be a valuable new way to approach the philosophy of leadership, especially when so many were feeling the heavy weight of added responsibility resting on their shoulders. (more…)

Free Training Activity: There’s a Time and Place

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

To the training group, say: Let’s think about some of the more frequent and important interactions we have with others on our team.

The There’s a Time and Place worksheet lists seven common communication situations. Enter short tips or good practices for that task in the Best When, Best Where, and Best How columns.

Leader’s Note: Add your own list of situations to column one if you want to expand the activity. Be sure to add situations that involve both supervisors and employees, as well as peer-to-peer interactions. (more…)

An Easy Step for Improving Communication Immediately

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

commcounts_trailerThe way in which a message is delivered is just as important as the words we choose. In fact, the way we deliver a message is a significant component of the message’s overall impact.

Imagine this:
•    You receive an invitation to a formal wedding by text message.
•    A friend sends a ceremonial notice, complete with embossed text and heavy, lined envelope, about a kitten she’s adopted.
•    Your boss emails you to inform you that you’ve been laid off and your team is being reassigned to other departments.

It’s obvious that these are examples of a mismatch between the means of conveying the message and the content of the message.

It’s probably also obvious that this mismatch will cause confusion and, in the case of the third example, significant distress.  Of course, these are extremes. (more…)

Listening Activity: Who’s Listening?

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Active ListeningActivity Directions

Hand out Worksheet: Who’s Listening?
(See worksheet design suggestions at the very bottom.)

Point out the two labels: Worst Listener on the left end of the line and Best Listener on the right. Read the directions on the Worksheet aloud.  Allow participants 5-10 minutes to complete the Worksheet.

ASK:
• What influence does your Best Listener co-worker have over the quantity or quality of your work?
• How do you feel having conversations with the person you are thinking of as Best Listener? Does it affect your job performance?
• How does this person’s ability to listen to you and others affect the work group and environment as a whole?
• How does the behavior of the Worst Listener affect both the quality and quantity of work that you do?

Participants can add brief notes on these points on their worksheet. Then facilitate a discussion where participants share with the group some of the behaviors noted on their worksheets. Remember: No names! (more…)

How Good Workplace Communication Improves Employee Morale

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Many of us have experienced the negative effects of poor communication in the workplace. When information is Morale & Engagement Trainingtransferred insufficiently or inaccurately, workplace productivity goes down. In the worst cases, crucial tasks do not get done and goals are not met.

The good news is that the opposite is also true. Good workplace communication can have positive effects on performance including increased productivity, higher employee morale, repeat business,  improved employee retention, and a healthier work environment overall.

There are many factors that  impact communication—both positively and negatively. But before we explore them, let’s first take a look at what good communication is. (more…)

How Good Intentions Become Bad Decisions

Friday, June 14th, 2013

The reasons listed below are excuses we all use for not speaking out when we have concerns about a decision— concerns that can range from slight uncertainty to strong objection. Failing to speak out, however, prevents the group from hearing our true beliefs. Bad decisions are often made because of the “inaccurate data” groups receive from individuals who withhold their honest feedback. (more…)

Moving From Past to Future…and Then to the Present

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Employee Communication TrainingWould you be surprised to hear that instead of focusing on what we’re doing and where we’re headed… 80% of our workplace conversations rehash what’s already happened (what worked, what didn’t and why). It’s true! And it keeps a lot of organizations from moving forward.

Here’s a quick way to help your teams catch themselves when they’re mired in the past. (more…)

What Do We Do Now? Multi-application Case Study

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Team Building TrainingInstruct participants to read the case study on the Handout, then to work with a partner for 2-3 minutes to generate ideas related to the questions. After giving them a period of time complete the questions, ask for brief suggestions for a course of action, allowing at least one response to be offered by each partner-pair.

Customize the handout below with the various questions provided, according to your training topic (communication, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, etc.). (more…)


 

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