Posts tagged communication
8 Tips to Handle Workplace Absenteeism

Simply put, absenteeism is a big deal for business leaders. It costs a lot in terms of lost productivity and temporary labor costs. Add in weakened morale and the price of absenteeism grows even more substantial.

So, what can leaders do to address it? Here are some strategies to consider.

  1. Be proactive – Don’t let the problem go on for so long that you eventually react in anger or, in the interim, come across to others as unresponsive.

  2. Keep records – While you don’t want to be breathing down people’s necks, it is important to have accurate attendance data at your disposal. This will give you the information that you need to have corrective conversations.

  3. Demonstrate concern – When you notice a trend, approach the employee and demonstrate concern. Ask her what’s going on and what can be done to rectify matters. Approach the conversation with the assumption that the employee wants to be on time and reliable. See what you can do to be helpful.

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Learn to Tell a Great Story

In my work as a professional speaker, I seek to weave in stories whenever possible. The reason is simple. Unlike dry, technical information, stories deliver messages direct to the heart. They deliver immediate understanding and are remembered much longer than other information.

When I use words like, “Let me tell you a story,” the audience always becomes more alert and attentive. It’s like they’re thinking, “Okay, here comes the really good stuff.”

Good stories have a power all their own. They can make complex issues understandable. They can give people a sense of community. They can call people to action in ways they never imagined.

Storytelling is not just an important skill for speakers. Now more than ever, great leaders are great storytellers. Storytelling helps executives weave rich narratives that inspire their organizations, set a vision, teach important lessons, and define the culture and values. Perhaps most importantly, stories explain who you are, how you got here, and what you believe most deeply about your work and about each other.

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How to Receive Feedback Like a Boss, Part II

The next time that someone approaches you with some unwanted feedback consider the following:

  1. Listen to understand – Hear them out without interruption. Mirror back what you heard and ask questions for clarification. Also ask for examples so you know more clearly when and in what way this is happening. If there is something that you disagree with, hold it until the end. This way you validate them and open further lines of communication. It’s always best for the concern to come directly to you rather than to others. 

  2. Respond carefully – Try to avoid sounding defensive. Leave your ego to the side and accept warranted concerns as well as viable advice. If you are unsure about the validity of feedback or what to do with it, ask for time to respond. Make sure to get back to the other party in a timely fashion and with a real game plan (see below). And then ask for feedback about the plan.

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How to Receive Feedback Like a Boss, Part I

We all need feedback if we are to grow and perform at our very best. And if our people don’t have a way to express their fears and concerns, what will that do to their morale, engagement, and desire to remain at your company?

So, before discussing strategies for receiving feedback, we must first tackle the challenge (and it’s a big one!) of getting our people to open up to us in the first place.

Part of the challenge here could be our mindset. In her bestselling book Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck talks about people’s mindsets with regards to their ability to perform new tasks.  She talks about people who stay squarely in their comfort zones and others that venture well beyond them. Dweck labeled these mindsets as “fixed” and “growth,” respectively.

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How to Give Feedback Like a Boss, Part II

Following are more tips to help keep feedback conversations constructive.

  1. Be growth oriented – The primary purpose of feedback should not be assessment. Rather, it should be on coaching employees to grow and set new goals. Once goals are set, use them as a baseline for future conversations with a focus on how the employee is progressing towards his/her goals. If insufficient progress is being made, use the conversation to figure out why and what can be done to help get things on track.

  2. Be reasonable – Even if there are many correctable items that you’d like to discuss, avoid overloading. Too much information will only dilute the conversation and reduce its effectiveness. Choose the 2-3 most important elements that require attention and leave all others alone. Less is more.

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How to Give Feedback Like a Boss

In a previous post we talked about using the “EARN” approach to giving constructive feedback that focuses on a person’s actions rather than on their person or character.

Below are some other tips to help you deliver more effective feedback.

  1. Be positive – If your intention is genuine, and you can convey this to the employee, there’s a good chance your feedback will be effective.

  2. Be immediate – Give the feedback while the individual can act on it. Waiting until the end of the week, or worst yet, the annual performance review doesn’t help the person make mid-course corrections.

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Describe the Action, Not the Person

What does “good feedback” mean to you?

As leaders, we give feedback constantly. We do it formally, such as in scheduled review meetings. But we also do so informally, such as when we notice something that we like (which should be the norm) or something that we don’t appreciate (a necessary but hopefully less frequent form.) It could be expressed directly in words, or communicated indirectly, as with facial gestures, tone of voice or even changes in behavior patterns.  

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5 Tips to Increase Workplace Engagement

The statistics about worker disengagement are staggering. We read all the time about how workplace engagement levels are low here in the U.S. and even lower around the world. Loss of productivity is estimated to cost employers hundreds of millions of dollars annually, if not billions. And it all stems from how disconnected folks feel from the people working around them, the work that they do each day, and the purpose that it serves to them and to others.

Workplace connection results in many benefits, including stronger communication, greater synergy, enhanced anticipation of others’ needs and worries / concerns, and, last but certainly not least, increased worker engagement. When we feel connected, we operate with a sense of purpose and utilize our many talents and abilities to advance that purpose, consciously as well as subconsciously.  

The need for connection at work is perhaps stronger today than ever before. It has become an expectation, especially amongst younger workers, that the workplace be a source of meaning and intention, not just a place at which to collect a paycheck.

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How NOT to show appreciation

Do your people feel valued and appreciated at work?

If you're a leader, one of the most important things you need to be doing is thinking about how can you demonstrate appreciation – that's right – appreciation for your people and what they are doing for you.

We cannot assume that just because we pay people – and often pay them really well – that that alone constitutes appreciation.

Nor can we assume that just because we don't need appreciation, which may or may not be the case, but even if we don't, that others don't as well.

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