Effective Communication Skills

Who’s Paying the Price for Your Emotions?

Have you ever considered who’s paying the price for your emotional state?  If you’re in a bad mood in one meeting, do you find that you’ve taken that mood into the next meeting?  And then, those people in the second meeting are paying the price for what’s happened previously, and ...

A Change To The Small Words

When trying to achieve success for goals and targets, changing a couple of tiny words can help you move your focus from negative to positive. Not only is this very useful for your personal goals, but it's will make a difference when communicating and motivating others.

Communication That Isn’t Perfect

Are you ever worried that your communication isn’t perfect?  Before your conversation (i.e. in your head), you know what you want to say and how you want to say it.  You may have also considered what the other person’s thoughts or objections may be.  You may even have learnt some ...

Walk, Talk and Think?

How often do you think you should be “seen” by your team?   When should you be available to your team if they want to talk to you?  Those keeping to the confines of their office may appear unapproachable or intimidating.  And although sometimes that can feel like the better option, ...

My Coat Went To The Theatre Without Me

Not a sentence I would expect to say very often: my coat went to the theatre without me.  But that’s exactly what happened the other day Having had a very nice meal at a lovely restaurant, my friend and I went with our hanger tickets to collect our coats from the ...

Can A Team Work Too Well Together?

Having a team that works well together is something that leaders obviously strive for.  We want respect, encouragement, engagement and team creativity.  Many leaders will try to avoid any form of conflict from happening, worrying that this can only cause them issues.  However, what we need to be aware of ...

My Mind-Reading Skills Keep Failing!

As a manager, I would often take on new teams and one of the first things I would discuss with them is the need for them to talk to me.  Of course I needed to know what was being achieved, expectations against targets, when mistakes have happened etc.  But importantly, ...

Have You Got The Face For Leadership?

Whenever someone came up to my desk to ask me something, I automatically put a smile on my face to greet them.  I had learnt over the years that apparently I look miserable if I’m not smiling!  And it came as a shock to people when I wasn’t smiling!  More ...

360 Degree Leadership

Most people have heard of 360 feedback: getting feedback from your manager, peers and direct reports in order to get a good overview of your strengths and development areas.  However, have you thought of how your leadership should be skilled outwardly in all directions, communicating effectively with all those around ...

I Know What You’re Thinking!

Whenever I’m discussing communication skills with managers, I often find myself challenging them on their assumptions about what other people (peers, manager, team members) might be thinking in specific situations. “How do you know?”  How do you know what they are thinking, if you haven’t asked them?  If you’ve not asked ...

A Cocktail for Every Occasion

In a previous article I talked about Motivational Needs and how leaders can motivate or de-motivate their colleagues and teams using psychological rewards or threats against fundamental values such as fairness, significance, variation, certainty, autonomy and connection.  Now I wanted to move away from the leadership skills and review ...

Negotiation: A Checklist For Lasting Results

  A major conflict between departments can cause considerable delay to organisational success and stress for those involved.  A recent discussion I had was regarding a stand-off between a client’s Sales and Operations departments.  Sales were concerned that the Operations department were hampering their ability to win new clients with strict processing rules, ...

Spotting Those Who Manage Up Too Well

As a leader, can you spot those around you who are just telling you want you want to hear?  Those who may be “spinning” you one line, but causing havoc and conflict with other team members or departments around you? Many of us will have experienced seeing someone manage up very ...

Do You Mean What You Say?

How often have you tried to talk to someone, doing your best to explain to them as clearly as possible your ideas or thoughts, only to find that at the end their understanding of what you said was very different from yours?  Or, in other words, they just didn’t get ...

The Professional Leader

How would you describe being unprofessional?  Perhaps a boss, colleague or client didn’t control their emotions under stress, disrespected others, gossiped, or failed to do what they said they would do when they said they would do it? As a leader, how would you handle someone asking for flexible working hours, ...

Deleting, Distorting and Generalising That Affect Communication

Have you ever experienced going to an event with someone and when discussing it afterwards, it was as if you were at two different events?  It’s worth understanding why that is in order to help improve communication. We receive an external event through our sensory input channels (visual, auditory, kineasthetic, olfactory ...

17 Tips for Successfully Managing Your Manager

Have you ever heard “my boss just doesn’t understand me”, or “why does my boss think their way is the only way, rather than focussing on the results I can achieve”?  One of my previous boss’ perceptions of my management style was summed up in his description “you’re too protective ...

If Not Gold, Do Your Team Want Silver or Bronze?

Following the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, researchers studied those who had won gold, silver and bronze medals.  Those who won gold seemed the happiest, but surprisingly those who received bronze seemed happier than those who got silver. According to a recent Inc.com article, this is down to what psychologists call ...

One Word That Can Ruin Your Feedback

Giving feedback is a very important communication skill needed to ensure that the team members understand their contribution to success and learn from any mistakes.  But there’s one word that is very important to use well if you’re going to get the desired affect (and you’ll see what I ...

How Not to Damage Self-Esteem With Your Feedback

If you don’t give feedback, or only rarely (eg. only during Annual appraisals), then your employees get very little encouragement to provide exceptional performance, as the assumption could be that all is fine.  No news is good news?  Although not great for building confidence levels. Studies have shown that people who ...

Are You Learning From Your Successes Successfully?

Have you been in a situation where a major success has been achieved, but when asked what was the driving force, every person, leader and/or department involved has taken some kind of credit?  It was the customer research, the new processes, the systems enhancements, the marketing, the leadership skills.  Although ...

How Your Hobbies Help Leadership Skills

I love to dance!  That’s my passion and it would take a lot to stop me from getting to my lesson.  Not only do I enjoy the process of learning, but it’s also a good way of reducing stress and having fun.  But there are also benefits that can be ...

Amplifying Stress Down to Your Team

During one of my Financial Services Senior Exec interviews on Leadership (see video), a great observation about inappropriate leadership was raised.  And that was about amplifying the stresses and pressure from above down to your team, and the consequences of doing that to those who receive it. One of my personal ...

Future Success from Past Mistakes

Nobody likes making mistakes (I know, obvious Karen!), but there's a big difference to your approach when you're scared of making them.  There's the personal fear, but it could also be that your organisation has a “blame culture” where mistakes are frowned upon and people are always on the lookout ...

Who Do You Trust?

As far as I’m concerned, self-awareness is one of the keys to great leadership.  If you know what motivates you, stresses you, triggers certain behaviours in you, you can then start to truly appreciate the differences in others and find it much easier to adapt your style to your team's ...

What Causes Conflict in the Workplace?

You’re working on a project that has very tight deadlines.  You like to organise your time, with a step by step approach, complete the tasks early so that you have time to deal with any unforeseen circumstances and still hit the deadline.  However, your colleague seems to be working on ...

How Do You Prefer To Manage Conflict?

Although research has shown that 18-26% of managers’ time is spent on dealing with conflict, there is more than just time that can be gained from effective handling and conflict management.  Whenever there are disagreements between colleagues (be that regarding tasks, projects, handling specific situations) where different perspectives, information and ...

Manners Maketh Leadership?

During a conversation I was having with a group of managers recently, an interesting discussion stood out to me as an easy win to improve relationships with teams.  The managers were saying that their Senior Executive walked into their small department every day and sat down at their desk having ...

Is A Bad Boss Good For You?

I was writing a blog about the successful ways of destroying morale, and it crossed my mind that many of the attributes I included I had experienced first-hand from managers.  But then it got me thinking about the kind of manager I had become directly because of those experiences. You ...

Successful Ways of Destroying Morale

The impact on the company when morale is low can be obvious in terms of productivity, client service and top employee retention, but often managers are at a loss as to how to improve it, and some can be unaware of the impact they themselves are having in its decline.  ...