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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘free activity’

Free Activity: Evidence to Support Your Direction Statement

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

If you ask employees about the direction of your organization, you will likely get lots of blank stares. It’s usually not their job to cast the vision for the organization.

That being said, it is critical that everyone understands exactly where your organization is headed. As you prepare to facilitate this session on organizational vision and direction, try one of these things: (more…)

Free Activity: Deep Breaths

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


Many of us hear advice that suggests something like this: “When you get angry at a co-worker, and before you fly off the handle, take a deep breath.”

Disagreement is not something to be avoided; a definite advantage in diverse workforces is, in fact, diversity of opinions and perspectives. Yet discussions that include disagreement require a bit of extra care. If not respectfully managed, these conversations can easily create tensions that become non-productive and have effects far past the initiating conversation.

In the space below, record a few words or phrases to actually say to yourself — and to the other person(s) involved — when you feel a conversation heating up and moving in an unpleasant and unproductive direction.

Share your results with a colleague.  See what questions or statements they use, and compare these to your own.

What trigger words and/or phrases might you use (to think or say to yourself, to remind you to pause, back up, take that deep breath) to help you manage this type of conversation with greater respect and better results?     





What are some phrases you could use with the other person to respectfully manage their frustration or stress?       




Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to The Respectful Communicator.

Recommended Training Resource: The Respectful Communicator. With the increased diversity present in today’s workplace, the potential for miscommunication has never been greater. This program shows how taking a few extra steps can keep misunderstandings to a minimum.  Onscreen hosts and dramatic vignettes demonstrate five respectful communication guidelines that participants can put into practice immediately.

Diversity Scavenger Hunt: Free Activity

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Instructions to the Trainer: Put the following questions on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. Make enough copies for everyone. Tell the group they have 10 minutes to complete this exercise.

Group Instructions: Attempt to fill in your sheet by finding a person who can say “yes” or can respond appropriately to each question. Write their first name in the space provided. You may use each person’s name only once. (more…)

Activity for Leaders: Planning & Failure

Thursday, May 19th, 2011


Planning for every eventuality is one of the leadership factors taught at West Point. While it might sound contradictory, the best planning allows the greatest flexibility. No plan survives contact with the “enemy”— whatever form the “enemy” takes — be it time, budgets, competitors, or changing conditions. Planning for all contingencies establishes the competitive edge.

Communication and planning go hand in hand. A plan is only as good as the leader’s ability to communicate it to the team, and to receive information from the team as to whether or not things are going according to plan.

Also, learning from Failure is a key skill that must be understood and mastered by the cadets at West Point. (more…)

Stress Management Training Session Discussion Starters

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Here are some discussion questions to use when facilitating a session on stress management:

1.  When you say “I’m stressed out” or “I’m under a great deal of stress”, what do you mean?  What is the difference between stress and a stressor? (more…)

Don’t Assume Your Managers Are Addressing Problem Behavior: Free Activity

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

For most supervisors and managers, having to discipline employees is the worst part of their jobs. It is an uncomfortable process they would rather avoid. And unfortunately, many do avoid it, to everyone’s disadvantage: theirs, the organization’s and the employee’s. Or, some managers act emotionally when disciplinary problems arise. But either reaction creates more problems than it solves. (more…)

How to Keep Things Going While You’re Away: Leadership Case Study

Monday, November 15th, 2010

When You’re Out, Is Your Team Able to Function Without You?

The best leaders train and empower their team so others can step up and move projects ahead without hesitation in the leader’s absence. Here is a case study that can help leaders and managers think through the preparation, training and delegation necessary to be away from the office, using a very realistic scenario. (more…)

Activity: From Conflict to Collaboration

Friday, September 17th, 2010

In solving conflicts, one of the best things you can do is to strive for collaboration. When collaborating, each person in the conflict works to uncover the other person’s underlying concerns so that everyone understands what is really behind the conflict and the resolution can address most (if not all) of both parties’ concerns.

Common communication tools used in collaboration are: active listening, questioning that reveals a willingness to understand (such as “What is it about this situation that bothers you the most?”), expressing your own concerns without being overly emotional, sticking to the issue at hand and taking responsibility for your role in the conflict.

Here is a quick role play activity you can use to help people practice using collaboration as a conflict resolution method.

Group Activity: Collaborating (35 minutes)

1) Before the exercise, prepare envelopes for each pair of participants. On the outside of the envelope, write a conflict situation that could conceivably occur within an organization (or within your organization, specifically). Inside the envelope, place two slips of paper. On Slip #1, list a job description for Employee #1, as well as an underlying concern for them in the conflict. On Slip #2, list a job description for Employee #2, as well as an underlying concern for them in the conflict.

2) Remind the participants that the skills of active listening and open communication play a key role in helping to uncover underlying concerns in a conflict.

3) State that the goal of the role playing exercise is to get the other party to move past his or her position, and into collaboration. To achieve that, they will need to discover the concerns that are fueling the conflict.

4) Ask the participants to pair up for the role playing exercise. Then pass out the envelopes that you have prepared ahead of the session. Before they begin, ask them to reflect on their positions. They should think about the level of assertiveness they need to bring in defending their position and how willing they will be to cooperate when it comes to meeting the other person’s needs.

5) Have the group begin the role playing exercise. Set a time limit of 15 minutes.

6) After the role playing is completed, ask the group to discuss their experiences. Were they able to identify the position of the other party? Were they able to reveal the underlying concerns? How? Were they successful in moving toward a collaboration? Why or why not?

Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for the CRM Learning video, Dealing With Conflict.

Training Resource: Dealing with Conflict shows why “collaboration” – which includes getting to the heart of what’s most important to the other party — is typically your best conflict resolution strategy.

Might You (or Someone You Know) Need an Attitude Adjustment?

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Organizations have been through a lot these past few years.  A certain amount of fatigue/disenchantment/frustration is normal. BUT, left unaddressed, these things can multiply and create a widespread epidemic of negativity.  The Negativity Self-Evaluation tool below can help assess where attitudes might be slipping towards the negative.  The debriefing information that follows provides steps for formulating an Attitude Adjustment Action Plan.

Negativity Self-Evaluation

Where do you rate on the negativity scale? Score yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 for each question, and try to be honest with your answers.

1                     2                        3                           4                          5
Never             Seldom             Sometimes                 Often                    Always
1. Do you come into your workplace feeling enthusiastic and confident?                 _____
2. Do you focus on your goals even when you’re having a bad day?                        _____
3. Do you look for positive solutions when things don’t go your way at work?          _____
4. Do you set a good example for co-workers?                                                     _____
5. Do you communicate well with your colleagues?                                               _____
6. Do co-workers feel they can come to you for help?                                            _____
7. Are you satisfied with the quality of work you do?                                              _____
8. Do you find healthy ways to relieve stress?                                                       _____
9. Do you collaborate with others to meet the team’s and your goals?                     _____
10. Are you open to changes in your routine or environment?                                  _____
Total  _____

If your total is under 25, you are highly susceptible to negativity and may be affecting others with your attitude.  Continue to evaluate your performance on the job.  If you can’t break the pattern of negativity, ask for outside help from a supervisor, a friend or Human Resources.

If your total is between 25-35, you’re on the borderline; you can fall victim to negativity, particularly during stressful times.  When feeling pressured, give yourself a negativity “spot check”.  Ask yourself if your work is up to par, if you are snapping easily, or whether your co-workers are acting differently towards you.  These could all be signs that you need to take a deep breath and re-evaluate your attitude.

If your total is over 35, you probably don’t succumb to negativity often.  But, you may not be completely immune to it.  Think about how you interact with colleagues, especially when you’re stressed. People probably look to you as a model for positive behavior, so make sure stress doesn’t get the best of you.  And, if you see others inciting a climate of negativity, try to help the person(s) find a positive solution or encourage them to seek assistance.

Debrief – The Attitude Adjustment Plan
Here are several good steps to take whenever you feel yourself becoming negative. (If you’re a manager or co-worker who needs to point out negativity in another person, see the special Note at the bottom.)

Take responsibility for your attitude and acknowledge the difficulties your negativity is causing.
Without an honest acceptance of the responsibility for and impact of your attitude, there is no motivation to change.

Practice “responding” rather than “reacting” to situations.
A reaction is often an instinctive, unproductive way of dealing with difficulties (negative people often “react” by blaming others for problems without seeing the part they’ve played in creating the problem).  On the other hand, a response requires thoughtful consideration of:
– how can I take control of the situation vs. being a victim of the situation?
– what productive strategies and actions can I take?

Attempt to identify underlying causes for the negative attitude.
Try to uncover some of the reasons behind what you’re feeling. Is there a higher amount of stress than usual in the workplace?  Are there unresolved issues with co-workers?  Have you been feeling undervalued or overworked? Could family problems, debt, or illness be a factor?

Address the situations that cause stress.
Once you see what is causing the problem, try to find a workable solution and look for ways to prevent similar situations in the future. If need be, talk it over with another person.  It’s amazing how an outside perspective can shed light on things.  If there are conflicts you don’t feel comfortable handling on your own, ask a supervisor or HR person for assistance.

Note:  If you are in a position of pointing out another person’s attitude problem, make sure you do these things in addition to suggesting the actions listed above:
– discuss the problem in private
– begin by giving positive feedback
– handle emotionally charged subjects with sensitivity
– focus on performance, not personality

Based on material in the Leader’s Guide for The Attitude Virus: Curing Negativity in the Workplace.
© CRM Learning.

Need help in this area? Bad attitudes in the workplace can spread like a virus and infect everyone in the whole organization. With CRM’s The Attitude Virus program, help employees learn to spot unproductive attitudes in themselves and others, and counteract them with positive behavior.


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