Having misunderstandings or interpersonal issues in the workplace isn’t bad or unusual. In fact, how misunderstandings are managed can actually create a stronger, healthier culture. But, we know that not everyone is comfortable holding necessary conversations. If that’s you, then use these simple tips and techniques to take holding necessary conversations to the next level. Feel free to share this resource with others in your organization and ask them to identify the tips that would be most helpful to adopt moving forward.
12 TIPS ON HOW TO HOLD NECESSARY CONVERSATIONS
1. Keep it focused. Find five to ten minutes with the employee that will be uninterrupted.
2. Make it private. Your feedback will be better received when others aren’t watching.
3. Keep it short. The entire conversation should take less than 10 minutes. Remember that this is about delivering feedback to someone’s whose actions are not aligned with the company experience. It is not the time for them to defend or justify their behavior.
4. Get ready. Script the conversation ahead of time using the Necessary Conversations tool. Rehearse your talking points so you aren’t reading from the tool during the conversation.
5. Be cool. Deliver your message calmly and objectively. Avoid letting personal emotion influence your body language or tone of voice. If you are angry, wait to have the conversation until you have calmed down.
6. Be timely. Have the conversation within a couple of days of witnessing the event.
7. Examine your motives. Will it benefit the team/customers? Great. Just make you feel better? Stop.
8. Keep it casual. Instead of scheduling a meeting, ask the employee for five minutes of their time. Start with something such as:
• “There is something that has been bothering me and I want to be able to talk it through. Is now a good time?” Or, “Can I talk with you about a recent conversation we had?”
• If the employee says no, ask, “Do you mind if I ask another time?”
• If the employee says no to that, fine, they probably already got the message.
9. Give the employee the benefit of the doubt. Add a statement such as one of the following:
• “I appreciate that you are overwhelmed [Or: you have a lot going on], and I don’t know if you are aware of how you have been coming across. Can we talk about what I’ve [seen/heard] and my concerns about the impact it might be having on you and others?”
• “There is a lot that we are doing really well, but we want to take our team to the next level in being more [efficient/effective]. Based on that, there is something I’d like to address with you.”
• “I don’t think you meant to come across this way, and I wanted you to be aware of how you are being perceived.”
10. Regularly recognize great work so the relationship is already in place to make coaching more natural.
11. Think of the conversation as about coaching, rather than correction.
12. Schedule regular one-on-ones with your team to allow you opportunities for coaching before trends have escalated.
In the years ahead, an unprecedented four distinct generations will be working together at the same time: baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z.
Similar to millennials, Gen X, and boomers, Gen Z will want and expect growth opportunities, good managers who care about them, and jobs that are well-suited for their talents and interests. In addition, what’s been highlighted over the years that seems to matter most and differentiate millennials will also be of utmost importance to Gen Z-ers: meaningful work, frequent communication, and technology that fosters collaboration. But, there are a few nuances in terms of what Gen Z members will want and expect from a work environment, including:
1. Want safety and stability: These young people grew up through the Great Recession which means they may have witnessed the stress, worry, and financial setback their parents faced. They may end up being even more motivated by job security and money.
2. Desire independence: Some researchers speculate that these young folks prefer to have office space to themselves, rather than an open, collaborative workspace. This surprised me at first. But then I began to think about how much time kids today spend “being social” while alone, as they communicate via a variety of social sites that bring individuals and groups together. In my opinion, this is the most fascinating prediction to watch out for.
3. Expect to have to work hard: While millennials are known for collaboration, we may find this up and coming generation may be less focused on teamwork. They are accustomed to working on their own and even desire doing so. We may find they want to be judged on their own merits, rather than those of their team. According to a study by Enactus, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world, 77 percent of Gen Z feel they will need to work harder than previous generations. All generations are told they need to work hard. But this one might hear it a little bit more.
4. Prefer face-to-face communications: The previously mentioned study by Enactus found that 53 percent of Gen Z say they prefer in-person discussions over instant messaging or email. This might be due to the negative attention they’ve seen millennials receive for their reliance on technology, or because the technology they’ve grown up with (Skype, Snapchat) has allowed people to communicate with a full range of sound and motion, instead of just text. Regardless, be prepared for regular in-person meetings with your Gen Z employees to discuss their projects as well as their professional development.
The next decade will prove to be an interesting one as the four generations begin to coexist together at work. It’s important to keep in mind, these generations are still more alike than unalike with respect to what they CRAVE: they want leaders to show them respect, help them see how their work has purpose and meaning, desire strong, healthy relationships, especially with direct supervisors and managers.
About Gregg Lederman:
Gregg Lederman is a New York Times best selling author and expert on employee engagement. His newest book, CRAVE: You Can Enhance Employee Motivation in 10 Minutes or Less by Friday, is due out in September of 2018.
Fall of 2017 had just begun. Changes were coming — I could feel it in the air. And I don’t mean just the change in seasons from summer morphing into fall, of green leaves turning brilliant shades of orange and red, and warm days transitioning to cooler temperatures.
Having asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, I find it easier to breathe in the fall. I was looking forward to breathing a little easier after the long, hot summer that featured lots of rain.
At work, I was gearing up for another open enrollment period. This is the time of year when companies choose the health insurance they are offering their employees. It always brings many new changes, challenges, and exhilaration for me and my colleagues in the Sales and Marketing department at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
As I sat home doing what I usually do on Sundays — watching football — I suddenly noticed that I was having difficulty breathing. Grabbing my inhaler, I took a few puffs, only to realize that my fast-acting Inhaler wasn’t acting fast. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t acting at all.
For a while, I kept telling myself that if I just relax on the couch, I would soon feel better. As time went on, though, I wasn’t feeling better — I was feeling worse. Pretty soon, I could barely breathe. It wasn’t long before I was sweating and hyperventilating.
Finally, I had to admit to myself that a trip to the emergency room was in my very near future. To do that, I needed to get dressed. I was NOT going in my skivvies.
When my wife noticed the challenge I was having getting dressed, she offered to call the ambulance. “Nooooo, don’t call the ambulance,” I wailed. “I can make it to the car.”
It was pride, or foolish pride and stubbornness, getting the best of me. I didn’t want the neighbors to see me being hauled off in the ambulance.
Ignoring my protest, my wife did call an ambulance, which prompted cries along the lines of, “Oh dear God! They’re coming to take me away.”
Thoroughly embarrassed, I arrived at the emergency room of my local hospital, where my diagnosis was so bad that it prompted a transfer to Crouse Hospital. I had a pneumothorax. In layman’s terms, I had suffered a collapsed lung due to an abnormal collection of air between the lung and the chest wall.
The treatment sounded simple enough. The medical practitioner informed me they would insert a chest tube to inflate the lung and remove fluid and air.
“Oh goodie,” I thought. “I’ll be home in no time and be able to catch the Sunday night game.” Well, I did catch the game, but it was from my bed at Crouse Hospital.
Patience is a quality which shows that a man or woman is tolerant and has the capacity to endure pain or suffering. Patient is a word that is used for sick people.
Being a good patient requires patience. Neither one describes me. I am a horrible patient with little or no patience. After spending four days in the hospital, I was so ready to go home. My condition had improved, my lung was inflated again, and I was anxious to be discharged.
The day of my expected return home, I tried hard to be forbearing. But by 3 p.m., I still had not received my promised discharge papers. As I said, I am not a good patient and have little to no patience.
I ended up yanking out the intravenous cord attached to my arm and storming out of the hospital. I told the nurse to mail me my discharge papers. My wife was not amused.
I did manage to recover enough of my strength to return to work a week later. A few days in, on Friday the thirteenth (which meant nothing to me, as I am not superstitious), I had scheduled a one-on-one with my manager.
Suddenly, I was not feeling right. Again I was having shortness of breath and starting to sweat. My fast-acting inhaler once again was not acting fast. I had seen this movie before.
I asked my manager if we could reschedule our meeting because I was not feeling well. I just wanted to get in my car, go home and lay down.
Thankfully for me, she would not let me go, insisted I did not look well and thought to call the Emergency Response Team. Again I howled, “Nooooo! Not that,” to no avail.
Dismissing my protests, the Emergency Response Team and my co-workers convinced me to stop being stubborn and get to the hospital. “Here we go again! I get to have another ambulance ride. Yeah me,” I thought wryly.
Lying on the gurney in the ambulance, I had no choice but to accept my fate. Deep down, I knew that the trained and experienced people at Crouse could help me in spite of my stubbornness.
What I did not expect was my manager, Vaia Spasevski, to join me in the ambulance for the ride to the hospital. I was vaguely aware that she was standing outside the ambulance when I was getting loaded in. I thought I saw Todd Muscatello, our Corporate VP of Sales and Marketing, outside as well.
Pulling up to the hospital as if through in a fog, I finally arrived in the emergency room. The diagnosis was a collapsed lung again. I was not surprised.
What was surprising was seeing Todd and Vaia standing outside my examining room. I am still not sure how Todd got there so fast. I’m beginning to wonder if he was driving the ambulance. The two of them waited there until I went in for surgery and my wife arrived.
The successful thoracic surgery I then underwent included a procedure to prevent air from getting between my lung and chest cavity. At this point, I no longer felt any sense of embarrassment, as it was only my wife there seeing me at my worst.
At least that feeling of relief lasted until Mark Muthumbi, Regional VP of Sales and Marketing at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, showed up. Could it be possible that the people I work with day in and day out are so concerned with my well-being?
It took some time, but I did come to realize that many of my co-workers cared about me and were concerned about me. That convinced me to be a better patient and have more patience. This time around, I allowed myself more time to convalesce and heeded the advice to take my time returning to work.
When a minor setback occurred a couple of weeks into my recovery, I didn’t stubbornly try to ride it out by convincing myself to just rest and give it some time. I used the opportunity to call our telemedicine provider, MDLive, which saved me the trouble of making a separate doctor’s office visit.
Today, I’m thankful to be back at work. I realize that the outcome could have been a lot worse if not for the actions of my wife and my co-workers. I thank them all for their concern and well wishes. They didn’t just do it any way; they did it the “Lifetime Way,” the cultural mantra that we live by at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Here are some things I’ve learned from my experience:
Click here to view the complete article on A Healthier Upstate’s website.
The recognitions shared by your employees in the Brand Integrity Platform® are powerful. They reinforce good work, spread best practices, showcase your organization’s values in action, and help employees understand how the work they do makes a difference for their peers, the business, and your customers. These recognition stories are meant to be shared and can be incorporated into your marketing messages to current and prospective customers, future employees, and the community.
Here are five ways to harness the power of these recognitions beyond the walls of your organization:
(As always, be sure to follow your company’s social media and confidentiality policies.)
We all know the adage, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” And, as a manager, you may feel you work hard to eliminate squeaks by coaching and mentoring your weaker performing team members. That would seem to make sense, knowing that high performing employees can be depended on to stay engaged and keep things moving along smoothly. Or can they?
According to an article from Gallup, you can’t tell how engaged a team member is by performance alone. Engagement raises performance, but your best people may be high performers even if they are miserable. Managers make a fatal mistake if they assume that their top performers can be safely left alone.
The opposite is actually true, as described by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in their classic management guide, “First, Break All the Rules.” The authors write that when a manager spends time with an employee, “if you pay the most attention to your strugglers and ignore your stars, you can inadvertently alter the behaviors of your stars. Guided by your apparent indifference, your stars may start to do less of what made them stars in the first place and more of other kinds of behaviors that might net them some kind of reaction from you, good or bad.”
In summary, not engaging top talent is a serious risk. However, the good news is that it’s very fixable: when managers reinforce how high performing team members are critical to the organizations’ purpose, and give them the recognition and respect they crave, then both engagement and performance remain high.