Emotional Intelligence Training – Trainers and Coaches Need It Too!

Emotional Intelligence Training and coaching is often reserved for managers and leaders. Why?

Largely because managers and leaders are responsible for, and expected to, enable and engage team members to perform at, or near, their best each and every day. As you may know, this can be quite a challenge, even when the Manager or leader is technically brilliant!

But one audience overlooked all too easily is Emotional Intelligence Training for in-house Trainers and Coaches. The very people who are charged and trusted with educating, equipping and enabling your employees to undertake their role effectively, and connect with your customers, internal and external, in a professional manner.


Have you ever participated in a training course, perhaps a management training course or team building course where the person at the front of the room, hoping for your attention and involvement, knew the process, systems or procedures inside-out, upside-down and back to front, but didn’t perhaps appear to enable your learning?

Instead, s/he was more ‘spouting information’ and getting through their course syllabus rather than stepping in to your world and beginning the learning journey from where you were, rather than expecting you to join them where they thought you were? How Frustrating is that? VERY!


An audience of teachers recently didn’t take too kindly to my comment that ‘Just because you are teaching, it doesn’t necessarily mean your students are learning‘. I doubt I’ll be invited back, but, my comment did strike a chord with the HR Manager at the school who told me that she had never thought about the quality of learning in this way before. After all, where do teachers, busy managers, under pressure HR and Training team members get the chance to plan ahead? Plan ahead to focus on ‘What does my audience need and value most?’ rather than ‘What do I think I should tell them?’ The latter approach lacks empathy, and people do tend to enjoy a healthy dose of empathy (bedside manner) when they’re not feeling comfortable, competent or confident about learning something new.


Emotional Intelligence Training can help you and your colleagues to learn some proven, easy to use ‘soft skills’ that can deliver ‘hard’ results, and it doesn’t matter whether you are a private, public or charitable organisation. These Emotional Intelligence skills and competencies are as relevant and effective in virtually any environment.

Some of the specific benefits of Emotional Intelligence Training for Trainers include:

  1. How to develop empathy to engage learners (including reluctant learners) in their self-development. Promoting more personal ownership of performance is rarely achieved by imposing – it’s achieved by collaborating.
  2. Developing emotional resilience and greater ability to bounce back from learning ‘failures’ more quickly and easily. Everybody will fail at some point and helping colleagues recover more quickly and get back on track is very powerful.
  3. Boosting collaboration in the learning environment through improved facilitation competence rather than the ‘Chalk and Talk‘ approach. Remember, just because you are presenting does not mean that your audience members are learning!
  4. Promoting the opportunity to ‘fail safely’ in a genuinely supportive learning environment can do wonders for self-confidence in a learner. This is rarely achieved if the learner believes that the Trainer or Coach has more focus on getting through their content, rather than supporting them.
  5. Think of it this way. You’re not well and you visit your local doctor’s surgery for an appointment. You have the choice of an appointment with one of two doctors. Both are technically proficient, suitably qualified and with lots of experience.Doctor 1’s focus is on ‘processing you‘. To obtain the relevant information and prescribe some form of treatment.

    Doctor 2’s focus is on ‘understanding you‘. To obtain the relevant information and prescribe some form of treatment having understood where you’re at and what your outcome is. The bedside manner is authentic and empathic. Their communication, collaborative.

Who would you choose to treat you? Now relate your decision to your in-house training, coaching and HR team. External partners too. The same principle applies. Are your employees really gaining the best possible benefit from your investment in their training, whether it be emotional intelligence training, management training, customer service training or technical training of some kind?

Decision Making – How To Make Good Decisions

Decision Making Questions You Can Use Today

If you haven’t already encountered this, you will do at some point in your management career. Indeed, you might be doing this already – not making a decision on an important matter.
Indecision Is A Decision

Decision making trainingAt work, there is likely to be an occasion or two when you want to get a decision from someone. It could be a commitment from a person who is performing below par and needs to raise their game, or your boss who has a hundred different decisions to make, and bosses to please, so the decision you require keeps getting delayed.

Here are a few questions you can ask to help someone making a (good) decision.
What information do you require (from me or from elsewhere) to make a decision now/today?’
This question helps the person think about what they need, not what you are offering and helps them be more response-able for their thinking.If you had already made the most appropriate decision on this (subject) what information, data and other factors would you have considered to reach your decision?’
This question puts them in the position of having already made the decision and takes a different thinking position. Acting ‘AS IF‘ is a very effective thinking technique.Could you please help me understand what stops you from making a decision/approving my decision?’
This question helps to unblock thinking and may draw out sensitive information or even a blind spot.If your Manager was advising you of what decision to make that was good for all stakeholders, what would s/he recommend to you?’
This question gets the person to consider what their boss would appreciate and disapprove of. Bear in mind, people often comply with authority, so it’s essential the decision is not made purely on position in a structure chart.
What currently stops you from making a good decision now?’
how to make good decisionsYou may find that their indecision relates to an internal issue such as ‘I’m not feeling confident‘ or ‘If I get this decision wrong, my boss will go crazy‘, or it could be an external decision such as ‘The data I need to make a good decision isn’t yet available‘ or ‘The deadline is still two hours away so I’m going to wait’. When you have identified whether it’s an internal or external motivating factor, you can explore the reason/s in more detail.
What would your most trusted colleague advise you to do if s/he was aware of this situation and your indecision?
This question creates some head space for your colleague. Instead of asking ‘What are you doing to do?’, the question relates to a trusted third-party. When the trusted third-party becomes involved, your colleague will be able to view their situation or predicament more clearly, and with less emotion and fear.
Help People Think For Themselves
An unwillingness to make a decision is a decision in itself. If you are to help people make better quality decisions, and more quickly, you must provide them with the time and space to think for themselves.

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Communication Skills For Managers

Why To Stop Saying What You Don’t Want

David, a 43 year old, passionate Customer Service Manager led 8 Team Leaders and 94 advisors.

Hitting The Targets But Not Performing Well

And he led them really well. Operational targets were always met and occasionally exceeded, but something wasn’t quite right with his group of Team Leaders. David’s manager, Lisa, couldn’t figure out what it was, but she had a feeling that the Team Leaders weren’t happy, or willing to tell her what their problem was. The number of short-term sickness days within the group of Team Leaders was unusually high when compared to other departments within the organisation.

The Exploration

We were invited to facilitate a 1-2-1 management coaching session with David, and with his genuine approval. The goal was to identify potential sources using the *LAB Profile Questionnaire, and in just 2 hours.

David’s transparency was commendable. Fast-talking, eager to share as much information as he could with us so that he could resolve the ‘problem’, within the thought provoking 2 hour coaching session, David told us everything. Well, in reality, he told us everything within the first 20 minutes; he just didn’t realise it.

Aha..Now I Understand

David hadn’t realised that when he communicated with his Team Leaders, and especially during a busy or stressful period, his communication style and vocabulary changed. And the change was a command and control management style partnered with many ‘What I don’t want is…’ and ‘What can’t be allowed to happen is…’. There were many more examples of how David unwittingly undermined his direct reports, he just did’t have a clue about the impact he was creating with them.

David’s Outcome

Following the coaching session, David invited each of his direct reports to be kind enough to let him know when he was using the language patterns we had identified. This gentle reminder approach to him being coached by the people he led was a fantastic way to encourage his Team Leaders to speak their truth to power, and actually make the experience worthwhile for David, and a little easier for them too.

How About You?

Are you aware of how often you use ‘away from‘ motivator language with your colleagues? If not, you may benefit from listening in to the 5 minute audio below.

We are not saying ‘STOP‘ using away from motivation patterns. Indeed, when balanced with towards motivation patterns they can be extremely valuable in delivering first-class quality outputs and genuinely engaging for colleagues and team members. The skill is – achieving the balance and understanding your impact on others.




It’s under Emotional Intelligence Skills

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Promote Action With Strategic Questions

Does this ever happen to you?

You try to get a colleague, boss, peer or team member to commit to doing something, but they repeatedly avoid dialogue with you or simply won’t commit. You send emails, leave phone messages and maybe even visit them at their desk to pursue your cause, but nothing seems to be working – and nothing is getting done.

If you sometimes feel agitated, disappointed or frustrated by other people’s unwillingness to commit to making a decision or a specific course of action, take a deep breath…and relax. The audio below will quickly get you moving in the right direction and really change the way your colleague responds to you.

Creative Influencing With Impact

Thousands of managers have learned this approach during our in-person Masterclass sessions and, when combined with several of our other influencing tools and techniques, they have noticed a considerable and positive shift in their ability to get colleagues to make a commitment.

Why not listen in and reflect on how you can honestly apply this approach in your organisation, wherever possible, with a win-win outcome in mind.

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Questions that promote action (double binds) is the title

Would you like to explore this fascinating subject in more depth? Click through to the Store and take a look at ‘The Problem Solver Mindset‘ which you can start using today.

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Customers Service Training That Delivers a ‘WOW’

Forget customer service. In it’s most basic terms, it’s definition can be ‘What our organisation thinks our customers want‘. And throw aside the current buzz phrase of ‘customer satisfaction‘ too. Why? Well, because your customers WANT more and possibly DESERVE more than plain old ‘satisfaction‘. Shouldn’t ‘satisfaction‘ be an entry point for attracting and retaining customers, rather than somehow a final destination?

In this article, I’m going to share with you how you can ‘WOW’ your potential and existing customers. You can even WOW your peers, internal customers, stakeholders and other parties too by applying these straightforward approaches, tools and techniques. And, the bonus for you is…..THEY WON’T RUIN YOUR HARD EARNED BUDGET as they are all completely FREE! Worth reading on?

The postcard which accompanies this article was the nice surprise I received upon arrival at a hotel following a long and tiring journey from the UK to Bahrain in 2008. This trip was my fourth to the Radisson Diplomat Hotel and upon entering my room, Room 914, on my pillow in a Radisson BLU branded envelope.

This postcard was inside the envelope. What a wonderful, authentic welcome from the hotel’s Executive Assistant Manager, Mr Alex Willats. Alex has since gone on to run award winning hotels in Thailand and Singapore – and with his approach to communicating and serving customers, it’s easy to understand why! There’s a media article featuring Alex further down this article for you to enjoy.

Good Practice – Is It Really Good Enough These Days? 

OK, you may be thinking ‘Well a postcard welcoming you back is just ‘good practice’ if he knew you were returning.’ The key point here is…he didn’t know! I hadn’t been in contact with Alex for more than six months. My reservation was made through the hotel’s reservation team who, having spotted my previous visits asked ‘Mr Watson, you stay in room 914 a lot. Is that your favourite room, or would you like us to allocate you a different room with an even nicer view…also, without an adjoining door?’

Long story short. Someone in Reservations remembered my preferences (a pool view, ideally with a sunset, no adjoining door…as noisy neighbours can be really noisy when an adjoining door is involved) and then, thought to let the Executive Assistant Manager know of my visit. Good eh? It gets better.

Having taken a refreshing shower, I heard my room phone ringing. It’s the Restaurant Manager, a genuinely friendly Indian gentleman whose name I forget, who says excitedly, ‘Mr Watson, welcome back to your home in Bahrain. May I invite you to join us for dinner this evening, or if you are tired, I am very happy to arrange room service for you. Which would you prefer?’ Well, with an invitation so genuine, and refreshed from my shower, of course, why would I not wish to enjoy his hospitality and great food? But it didn’t stop there.

You Don’t Even Need To Speak The Same Language To WOW

The next morning, ahead of a busy day of business meetings, I decided to have a swim in the outdoor pool under the blistering sun. Within just a few seconds of my exiting the hotel building and heading towards the pool, a pool life guard named Ramu, from Kerala, quickly approached me with a big smile and in his heavy Indian accent and broken English said ‘Welcome back Mister Scott, I happy welcome you.’

Following a firm and friendly handshake, he then ushered me towards what he remembered (from 10 months previous) was my ‘favourite spot’ by the pool. And it was. Despite Ramu’s lack of English language skills, he asked me about my family, told me about his young daughter and how she was growing, and much more. Before I sat on the sun lounger, Ramu picked up the perfectly good towels which had already been placed on the lounger, jogged off to his little office, returning with what appeared to be even fluffier, bigger towels. Not at all expected or needed by me, BUT, RAMU WANTED to make my pool visit as special as he possibly could. He’s a life guard…NOT in Guest Relations…but he still ‘WOW’ed!

See, even when people don’t speak the same language, you can still have a ‘WOW’ experience.

But let’s move on from the Radisson in Bahrain and explore some other instances of ‘WOW’s’ and ‘Ouch’s’.


Have you ever visited a restaurant, store or hotel and been greeted with ‘Welcome‘ and you just knew the employee was saying the words, but not really feeling the love? Strangely, one supermarket has employees who officially hold a job title of ‘Greeter’. The sash worn over the shoulder may be positive in its intent, but perhaps doesn’t present the best brand image.

Have you ever visited a restaurant, ordered more than two meals for your party, and at least one meal (supposed to be a hot meal) turns up cold, or at best lukewarm? This happened to my family last weekend, and we were three of only five diners in the restaurant! At breakfast time.

When this happens, are you too polite to mention your situation to the waiter or waitress? Do you mention it and then the Manager politely offers to ‘Make another one for you, right away‘? Does the Manager offer to remove the cost of the cold meal from your bill as a ‘gesture of goodwill‘, even though goodwill disappeared as soon as your meal appeared cold, which then took the focus away from enjoying your time together, and on to the people in your group offering you some of their meal? Perhaps when this happens to you next time….and it will at some point, politely advise the Manager that ‘I’ve come here today/tonight to eat WITH my friends/family, not AFTER them‘. Then be silent. You may soon find a greater discount is soon offered.

When you call the ‘Helpline’ for your bank, does the automated voice mention to you that ‘Your call is important to us‘, but never lets you know an estimated time that you will actually speak to a human being, rather than listen to ‘the voice’ which lacks empathy, or caller focus? If MY call is so important to YOU, please pick up the phone!!

Enough of my ranting. Let’s explore how you can ensure your prospective and existing customers can experience a ‘WOW’ rather than an ‘OUCH’.

1. Do What You Say You Will Do….Consistently.

Don’t under promise and over deliver. That approach lacks integrity, is intentionally misleading, and perhaps even dishonest in some cases. Tell your customer what to expect, when to expect it, and if there’s some form of delay expected, give them a timeframe for the delivery of what they are trusting you to deliver. Customers are usually understanding and patient IF you keep them informed.

2. Stop Using Lazy Language

‘Just one minute’, ‘I’ll be with you in a moment’ or the ever popular ‘ASAP’ are lazy language and can cause conflict – and lose your organisation customers. If you want something from me ‘ASAP’, you might want it in five minutes, and not a second later. ‘ASAP’ for me in my brain may mean up to thirty minutes, or even by the end of the day, because I have other priorities to focus on…for more important people than you.

Clarify ‘What do you actually mean by ASAP? Is it five minutes, ten minutes or something else?’. Easy to do and can help avoid a big headache.

3. Be Empathic

Forget the supermarket ‘Greeter’. Just encourage your colleagues to listen first, understand second, then, and only then, provide the guidance, information or service the customer actually WANTS rather than guessing based on your own experience and personal bias. My recent experience at a supermarket checkout raised a giggle when the female checkout assistant asked the customer in front of my in the queue “May I help you with your packing?” which is of course helpful. Then when it was my turn to be served she innocently asked “Do you need some help with your packing?” Notice the difference? Is she implying I am not capable of packing bags? That I NEED help rather than, might just appreciate help?

People warm to people who, as well as being technically competent, are genuinely friendly. Try it with your team and you’ll soon notice the positive difference.

4. Give Them A Free Upgrade

OK, this isn’t giving away freebies at will. If you’re a restaurant and there’s a young child in the guests party, is a colouring picture, jigsaw or other extremely low cost offering available?

If you’re a hotel and the guest’s room isn’t yet available, even though it should be, is it too much to ask for you to offer an upgraded room and/or facilities, just on this occasion? Not as a ‘Gesture of Goodwill’, but just because you want to WOW your guests, and perhaps they’ll love you for it, return again, even write a very positive online Tripadvisor review?

5. Ask The Question ‘What more can I do for you today to help you enjoy……?

This simple question has proved powerful in helping client organisations step in to their customer’s world, rather than expecting the customer to step in to the organisation’s. It’s empathic, it’s genuine, it’s respectful and, it provides you with more opportunities to serve the very person or people who are responsible for your organisation existing. And, it leaves nothing to chance and removed potentially dangerous, guesswork.

6. Do More Than Your Bit – Collaborate

So many issues and OUCH’s appear because one person believe s/he has done their bit, and they automatically, perhaps wrongly, expect other team members to do their bit too. If only it was that easy. Effective collaboration is such a powerful skill to possess within any organisation, that the absence of it creates, and maintains silo thinking, silo working, disjointed communication and – PROBLEMS!

Your organisation is packed full of what should be healthy, inter-dependent relationships. If it isn’t? You have some work to do. Perhaps take a leaf out of Alex’s book and Go Back To The Floor? http://bit.ly/1rl0Ynp


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Performance Management (Done Very Badly)

Kathy, an under pressure contact centre manager with extremely high standards for herself and expectations of her team to match, was growing increasingly frustrated with one member of her team, Julie.

Kathy believed Julie wasn’t committed to her job, not interested in achieving targets and was taking far too long to complete incoming customer calls. Kathy’s call duration was twice that of the ‘average’ team member.

performance management trainingHaving sought guidance from her Human Resources Manager on how to deal with and resolve her colleague’s performance issue, at 4pm one Friday afternoon, Kathy approached Julie as she signed off her phone for a coffee break and called Julie to an unscheduled one to one meeting. Julie, immediately concerned as to why this meeting had been sprung on her without prior notice or warning, sat nervously and listened to her manager assertively communicate the company’s performance management policy….from the staff manual. Indeed, Kathy presented Julie with her very own personal copy so she could review the contents of the document for herself over the weekend.

Data, Data (and more) Data

Next came the presentation of Julie’s performance statistics on a very colourful A3 size bar chart. Amongst the green and amber, can you guess which colour Kathy used to demonstrate the seriousness of the Julie’s performance issue to her? RED! BIG BOLD, DEEP RED! To strengthen her argument, Kathy took the opportunity to circle performance statistics on the charts which fell below minimum company expectations.

A full fifteen minutes in to this unscheduled, unplanned and perhaps even, unfair meeting, the communication was purely one way traffic. Kathy wasn’t communicating with Julie, she was talking at her. As Kathy quoted company policy, performance management procedures and openly shared her frustration and anger, Julie sat quietly, motionless, with a quiet, calm stare through barely blinking eyes. It appeared Julie had resigned herself to this kind of meeting taking place at some point, even though she had dreaded this moment occurring.

The Loaded Question…Fail!

Then, after taking a deep breath and exhaling deeply and loudly, Kathy asked the question. “What stops you from performing as you’re expected to and as the company pays you to?” A heavily loaded question to which Julie politely, yet assertively responded, “Kathy, when you recruited me you said I would complete a comprehensive induction course to ensure I understood the processes, systems and standards of the job. Have I completed this comprehensive induction course Kathy?” Fear instantly darted across Kathy’s face as the realisation that she had promised a lot, but delivered very little in terms of support for Julie.

Continuing without a response from Kathy, at least a vocal response, Julie, growing in confidence said “You told me I would have a mentor to help me solve problems and become more confident with dealing with customers. Has this mentor been appointed, because I have never met him or her?

The Excuse Survival Technique

Kathy, now being swallowed up in a deep reservoir of panic responded with an attack. “If I have overlooked anything or not supported you as YOU wanted…it’s because my schedule is so busy and that….” Julie, not willing to be diverted from her point interjected “And the one to one coaching sessions YOU PROMISED ME, and that I keep asking you for, where are they Kathy?”

The Storm Clouds Begin To Part

performance management trainingThe somewhat eventful, but rather unproductive ‘performance management’ meeting was concluded shortly after this final question from Julie as Kathy burst in to tears and shuttled off to the toilet to compose herself. The fact that Kathy was the enabler of poor performance had never crossed her mind. But now it had – it changed everything!

The following week, Kathy and Julie met once again, but this time it was a scheduled and well organised meeting. Over the weekend, Kathy had reflected on how she had contributed to Julie’s level of performance. She realised that she hadn’t been an ‘enabler’ of good performance; her preferred ways of thinking, communicating and managing had resulted in her becoming a ‘disabler’. Thankfully, Julie did begin to receive structured support, as did every other member of Kathy’s team.

Wouldn’t It Be Wonderful If…

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could share with you that Kathy went on to be a super fantastic manager? Well, she kind of did! She explored how to develop emotional intelligence competencies including self awareness and self management and authentic empathy.

online management training courseAlongside her technical competence, she regularly invited her team members to speak their truth to her. ‘Sugar coating’ bad news and withholding truth is a problem which continues to strangle the life out of organisations, but, Kathy realised how much valuable feedback she just wasn’t receiving simply because her team members thought she would either not listen, completely ignore, or simply reject their comments.

Performance during the next 90 days soared to new heights. Kathy was awarded a more senior management role (taking on a supposedly ‘disengaged group’), whilst Julie was offered a team leader role, but chose to decline the offer as it would take her away from what she loved doing – helping customers.

The Lessons?

  • Performance management is beneficial when done up the management ladder rather than solely downwards. Invite authentic feedback on how you are doing and what you could do even better, from people you trust to be candid with you.
  • When commitments of support are made to employees, but then not delivered, don’t be shocked if they don’t perform at or near their best for you. You are part of the problem; become part of the solution.
  • Appointing people to management roles purely or largely because they were good technicians in a non management role is as ridiculous and delusional as trying to win the National Lottery without buying a ticket. Commit to learning the ‘softer’ side of people management and you’ll soon notice a positive difference.

Does your organisation promote a performance management approach that engages, equips and enables employees at all levels to achieve such a positive outcome as Kathy and Julie did? Or do you prefer to simply send managers on a meaningless performance management training course which simply doesn’t address the key underlying issues?

*The details above are factual however, names of parties involved have been changed. Permission to publish this article was obtained from the parties involved and the employer.

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Korean Airlines – What Can You Learn From This?

Korean Air executive Ms Heather Cho reportedly delayed the departure of a flight she was on due to the fact that she didn’t like or approve of the way a cabin crew member served her peanuts.

Apparently, the company’s standard (for First Class passengers at least) was that nuts should be presented to the passenger on a plate, rather than simply in a bag. Being served a bag of nuts appears to have cause so much aggravation for Ms Cho that she ordered the pilot in charge to return the aircraft to the gate so that the offending and ‘incapable‘ junior cabin crew member could be removed.

Alongside Ms Cho’s behaviour, her claim that the pilot supported her decision and subsequent action do draw out some interesting learning points in terms of leadership and impact. Those key points being:-

  • Ms Cho’s behaviour may have been well intended in terms of communicating a company standard to an employee, but the manner in which she communicated her point was both divisive and destructive.
  • The apparently junior cabin crew member perhaps shouldn’t have been exposed to First Class, high ticket price passengers so soon in to their career as, alongside the many kind, generous and understanding First Class passengers, there is often one or two who find any opportunity to kick up a fuss, or find an easy target victim to remind staff who pays their wages.
  • Ms Cho now faces legal action due to her decision and behaviour breaching international air safety standards and legislation. Ouch!

Automatic Compliance Is To Be Expected

The pilot’s apparent support for Ms Cho’s decision to return to the departure gate is to be expected, isn’t it? The company owners daughter gives you (the professional in command of the aircraft and passenger safety) an instruction, and even though she holds no jurisdiction or seniority in terms of the aircraft itself, refusing to follow her order could be a very creative way of losing your job.

It’s All Feedback

The manner in which a boss, however senior or junior, provides feedback to employees below their position in a structure chart massively impacts whether your people will work with you, or against you. Ms Cho, and possibly many other leaders and managers don’t seriously consider the impact they have on employees. The facial expressions, gestures, words and voice tone you use, all have an impact on the people around you, whether positively or negatively. In this case, the impact was anything but positive!

Bad Decisions Cost Money

Causing an 11 minute delay to the aircraft, will no doubt cost Korean Air thousands of dollars in airport fines and fuel costs. The likelihood of these costs and other day to day waste through inefficient working and toxic leadership being covered by increased passenger fares? Very likely. Plus, with the threat of legal action pending, the decision made by this executive could cost the airline millions.

Toxic Behaviour Poisons The Workforce

This very real situation just goes to show that when an ‘Executive’ demonstrates toxic behaviour towards, and in front of employees, it creates an environment where news travels fast. And in this case it did…globally. It hasn’t, and probably won’t, become clear as to whether Ms Cho, who has now resigned from her executive post, was appointed because she had demonstrated technical competence, commercial awareness and true leadership qualities, or whether she was appointed to her executive role because daddy owns the airline!

How About You?

Are you aware of the impact you have on your team members, collectively and individually? Might there be one or two that you don’t invest time in supporting as they just don’t fit with your view of the world? If there are one or two, perhaps they are deserving of your attention and support? Virtually anybody can manage ‘good’ people, but the real investment is often required in the relationships that aren’t going too well.

Are you acutely aware of how you impact your team members? The words you use, your voice tone, your facial expressions and gestures? If you think you absolutely are….I invite you to ask a few trusted colleagues who will give you some candid feedback, to give you some candid feedback. Albeit unwittingly, as you spend 24 hours each day behind your face, you don’t get to see what others see. Such feedback can really help you grow as a Manager, and move you towards achieving the elusive top 1% bracket.

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Do Your Words Cause Damage?

Have you ever considered the impact that your language has on yourself and also on other people?

OK, you have probably had one or two occasions when you have said something in the heat of the moment that you’ve later regretted. Ouch! But what about everyday language, phrases that don’t sound like they are harmful, but really can be.

Think about these little nuggets:

I’ve spoken to him til I’m blue in the face‘…No you haven’t. A blue face usually means you’re either choking or your body is freezing. Nothing more. Have you ever seen someone’s face go blue just because they’re a little peeved at someone?

He’s too long in the tooth to learn anything new‘. What have long teeth got to do with someone’s ability and/or willingness to learn?

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks‘. Well, unless you work in a zoo or for the RSPCA, there’s unlikely to be any dogs or tricks. Yet again, a few carefully selected words can cause problems.

There aren’t enough hours in the day‘.  Yes there are, there’s always 24.  The challenge is how you choose to use them.

During my very early years in executive and management development, some one to one coaching sessions could become rather heated. The key reason was the client had something on his or her mind and this forum was the only or safest place to be really open and genuine – which is always a humbling expression of trust.

One such instance which I do have permission to share with you is when a very demanding boss who felt he was CONSTANTLY being LET DOWN by his 4 direct reports had reached THE END OF THE LINE (what line?) and was intent on taking these individuals OFF LINE (nice way of saying a real rollocking) and a PIECE OF MY MIND. He had been KICKED IN THE TEETH and STABBED IN THE BACK so many times that enough was enough, and he was going to put an end to it!

This client was usually very assertive in his communication, but by no means aggressive. Thankfully, our brief relationship had developed in to a high level trust relationship and we had permission to question, challenge and disagree with each other, but only on the condition that such behaviour would help him develop and grow. So here’s what happened.

After listening to a full 7 minutes of profanities from him, mixed in with a table leg being kicked, by him, profuse perspiring, again, from him, and my ears losing their feeling, I politely asked ‘May I see your teeth?’. ‘What?’ he replied, somewhat shocked by my unusual request. ‘May I see your teeth, just for a moment. I’d really like to see your gnashers‘, posturing with a big smile and clattering my teeth for full effect.

His anger turned to shock, his shock quickly morphed to confusion, all in a matter of seconds. I continued, ‘OK, you won’t show me your teeth, I understand….so please take off your shirt.’ This was a risky step. What reaction would I receive? Well, it was one of extreme anger. But not directed at me. I just happened to be a trustworthy vehicle on which to transport his learning. ‘PROFANITY, no way pal’, was followed a second or two later with a relieved smile on his face and a raucous belly laugh as he pointed to me and said ‘I know what you’re up to Scott. You want to see all of the knife scars on my back don’t you?’. ‘Absolutely, and I’m sure there are many, aren’t there?’ I replied.

Bingo, The Light At The End of The Tunnel Has Been Switched On!

From this moment on, the coaching session became a calm, thinking environment where the few things that mattered most to him and his company were thought through, talked through and solutions to each of the problems generated. And all in less than 2 hours.

During the following 3 months, 3 of his managers began to perform better than they had ever done, while 1 other left the organisation by mutual agreement. The executive came to realise that if his team were failing, he was playing an active role in this happening. And, if his team were to perform optimally, he had an important role to play in achieving this too.

Just think what the possible outcome could have been if this really decent, technically brilliant, hard-working and caring man had handled the situation in the manner he initially had intended. Managers could have been the walking wounded(oh, there I go, I’m doing it now), and their brains would have counted this latest verbal assault as the norm.

So remember, be very careful about the language you use and also, check understanding of what other people actually mean when they use old cliches to express how they are feeling at any given moment. It could save you many headaches and a few heartaches too.

Are your managers really aware of the impact, both positive and negative, they are having on their team members, peers and your stakeholders? If not, it may be a good thing for you to invest some time with them to boost their self awareness and self management skills. It won’t take long and could pay significant dividends for your organisation.

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Become A Power Influencer

Ten Top Tips To Become A Power Influencer

When I ask groups, ‘How often do you negotiate?’, they generally respond with answers like ‘occasionally‘ or ‘not very often‘. But the accurate answer is we are always negotiating. We can’t not negotiate. Whether it is asking for additional resources, revised deadlines or even whose turn it is to make the team coffees – life is one big negotiation.

I expect you know of someone who is a ‘good’ influencer but leaves a trail of destruction and broken relationships in their wake. That isn’t what this article or our approach is about. Our approach is strictly honest and absolutely win-win or no deal.  It’s also one which can, when used consistently, put your management career on fast-forward.

So, here are some tips for you to consider and apply in your workplace. Remember, high trust relationships have a massive influence on whether another human being is both open and willing to be influenced by you.

1. If/Then can be effectively used to agree a reciprocal trade-off.

In plain English this means that when someone is seeking to impose an instruction or deadline on you, your immediate attention should be to obtain something back in return, and quickly.

For example ‘I understand that you want this report completing by Monday 12pm and you realise how packed my schedule is with other high priority commitments. So, IF I were to agree to complete the report and achieve this very challenging deadline THEN would you be prepared to (x,y or z) for me in return?

In a salary and benefits negotiation, how could you use the IF/Then technique to maximise your result?

2. Help your boss realise the implications of their/your action or inaction.

For example, your boss demands that yet another report or project needs to be got underway, and it’s you who will be doing it.  It is dangerous and perhaps a little foolish for someone to take on yet another commitment they really deep down know just can’t be hit without sacrificing quality or other project outputs.

For example, you confidently say to your manager, ‘I am committed to doing my best to achieve all of the outputs you have set me and require of me. As you are aware, there are three other tight timescales on many projects to achieve. Just so I can understand which takes top priority, please will you share with me which of the other projects you wish to set aside until this new project is completed?’

Bear in mind that bosses are perhaps not open to ‘setting something aside’ – they just want it doing! This is rarely because they are not nice people, they just have pressures at a higher level to deal with, so this is where your integrity and assertiveness need to shine through. ‘If I do spend the time required on completing this new project, THE IMPLICATIONS for (a) project is….THE KNOCK ON EFFECT for (b) project will be ……and THE IMPLICATIONS FOR (c) project will likely be……  I just want to ensure you understand the consequences and implications.’

3. Help them understand what it means

All too often the willingness to comply with a request or demand kicks in. In some situations it is a very good thing to comply, while in others, all it does is cause stress, anxiety and frustration.  You can’t perform anywhere near your best when you are experiencing these kinds of emotions.

Help the other party/parties truly understand the impact and potential consequences of their decision/s, actions/inactions so that the dialogue can progress positively. When people genuinely understand, they are far more likely to be open to your honest and professional dialogue.

Think of the medical doctor example to his heavy smoking patient. ‘You need to stop smoking‘ versus ‘You need to stop smoking because if you choose to continue this means you will not be around to walk your beautiful daughter down the aisle when she marries.’ Notice the very different understanding?

4. Use softeners to help higher value dialogue

In a spirited discussion, or even a stand-off, the question ‘AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?’ has a very different impact to ‘Please will you help me understand exactly what is meant by that?’ The very tone associated with the first question can put your colleague/client on the back foot in a heartbeat. It can also make influencing and negotiating so much harder as they can feel bullied or stone-walled.

Good softeners include ‘Just so I can be clear….May I just ask you a question about…If you could help me understand (a,b or c) in more detail, I would be grateful/I’d really appreciate it…Bearing in mind/remembering our agreement about (a), what are your thoughts on how it can be achieved?…Do we all agree that…..? Softeners are like a medical doctor having a wonderful bedside manner. Consider your bedside manner carefully – or there could be severe implications!

5. Keep your commitments

If you say you will do something, ensure that you do it. If you say you won’t do something, don’t do it. Simple as a standard and it has the added benefit of building trust. People trust people who make good things happen. And as well as keeping commitments to other people, remember that self-trust is where it all starts from. Trust your self to speak up when you need to. Trust your self to allow other people the space to think and the right to have their own ideas and opinions.

How powerful a differentiator do you think it might be in a job interview when your interviewer knows that you consistently deliver on your commitments?  It’s powerful!

6. The power of WE

Often, but not always, two or more heads are better than one.

If you have a colleague who is refusing to change their idea, first of all work on understanding how and why they have reached their decision. Then you can smoothly move on to understanding why they are not open to changing their decision. Often it is either because they don’t particularly care for the person/people inviting them to change their mind (as it can be perceived as one-upmanship), they have a very personal, personal value on a subject that has driven their decision, they may not have access to the data that you have access to – and that’s why sharing is a good thing. It may also be that they have advised their boss of their decision, and the boss agreed with them, or their boss has indeed instructed them on what decision to make.

Remember that people generally comply with an authority figure, whether or not they agree with them. If you have a colleague or two who have challenged your thinking and they genuinely agree with your research and facts, you can return to your manager and state something like ‘Name, name and name have reviewed my data independently and they all believe that the decision/recommendation is the most appropriate for this matter.’

Remember to stay away from ‘They all agreed with me so I’m right and you’re clearly wrong‘. This isn’t helpful to anyone, and it could land you in your boss’s bad books. Honestly applying the power of WE may help your colleague to be a little more open to a different way of thinking.  At the very least, positioned with integrity, your polite persistence may reflect that you are a committed and helpful worker.

7. Separate Facts from Opinions

Dialogue can become fraught with anger, frustration and disappointment when we have what seems to be a great idea or recommendation, only for it to be rejected by a boss or a peer group.

Be aware that opinions are just that. They are simply beliefs that an individual or a group believe about something. A fact though has indisputable evidence to support it. Always, always, always ask a question to clarify whether a statement is a fact or opinion.  This will then enable you to explore which avenue to take your discussion and/or decision.  It could also save you embarrassment if you base your decision on an opinion which later is proved to be wrong or inappropriate.

When a recruiter is offering you a job and says “We can only offer you £35,000, that’s our limit.”  Take a moment and respond politely with “May I just ask you to clarify, is the point you mentioned an opinion, or a fact?’  If they state it is a fact, ask for written evidence that this is indeed the case. As it may not be!  Remember, the recruiter is acting in the company’s interest…not yours!

8. Use effective tag questions

A tag question is a bundle of words at the end of a sentence that is leading the other party to respond.

Tag questions can be highly effective when used sparingly in a negotiation or meeting. Examples of tag questions are…

*Do we both agree?

*I have understood correctly, haven’t I?

*If I can add £10,000 worth of additional value in the first three months of my employment, this is worth an additional £3,000 on my salary, is it not?

*We agree, do we not?

*I’m correct in remember we did agree the deadline, aren’t I?

*That is your understanding too, is it not?

*This is my understanding of the problem, is this correct?

Don’t use too many in quick succession as the other party may feel like they are being interrogated. Remember that tag questions along with every other technique we share with you must be applied with a genuine win-win outcome in mind.

9. Say NO and stick to it

This may at first sound like a tough position to stick with, especially when you are negotiating or having a dialogue with your boss or a high income value client. But, my position here is to stick to your NO position UNTIL both parties agree to collaborate openly and honestly to explore and hopefully reach an agreement that works for both parties, plus, as a bonus, for any third party too.

Saying NO is not digging your heels in, being obstructive or childish. It is a starting point from which to commence negotiating. After all, would you like me to make a commitment to you and then not keep my commitment? What about if I knew all along I either couldn’t or wouldn’t keep it, and I never told you?

With this approach you can move forward to ‘Because of the negative implications (for both you and I) we spoke about earlier, I do need to say NO to your request as a whole. BUT, perhaps what we can agree to work on is a,b and c as they are most important to you and your stakeholder. Perhaps we can get these pieces completed fully and to the required standard before starting on d,e,f,….z. Do we agree this is a good step forward?

10. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify

When your schedule is packed full with meetings and telephone calls it is easy to forget some things. Your brain is the most powerful on-board computer known to humankind – but sometimes the programming gets a little messed up.

Your memory is not the most reliable tool to depend upon to remember important facts, figures and commitments…(especially the boring ones).  Always clarify your understanding, always clarify your perceived agreements on the spot when any misunderstandings can be resolved, not later when your head is elsewhere. When you have clarified all that is required, only then should you move forward. Only when you have complete agreement on understanding should you then move on to the next steps.

Free 2 Week Email Course

If you haven’t already, why not sign up for our FREE 2 week Introduction To The Secrets of Top Performers email course?  You’ll learn how to boost your personal effectiveness, enhance team engagement, motivation and productivity and significantly improve your personal credibility.

Just enter your details to secure your spot: