Tag Archive for Cooperation

Workplace Communication – When Good Intentions Go Bad How to Correct a Blunder

Workplace misunderstandings are costly, stressful and potentially damaging to your career–especially if you created the communication snafu. Knowing how to handle communication blunders while keeping your composure can save a job, a reputation or a business relationship.

Sometimes even good intentions go bad. Early in my career I created a bad situation just because I was trying to do the right thing—serve a customer. If you’ve ever worked in commission sales perhaps you can relate.

While we were expected to help all customers, it apparently was not correct to be too helpful. (Yes, you’re reading a bit of disbelief on my part in that sentence. More years of experience tells me otherwise…but that’s another post.)

At the time, my helpfulness caused the customer to want to switch horses in mid-stream and work with me. That, of course, was not going to sit well Read more

Communicating at Work – When Management Makes a Big Change But Fails to Consult those Involved

Alas, miscommunication by management teams is alive and well.

I was reminded of this when meeting with a friend this week. He  shared with me his frustration at a significant change his company made without consulting those it affected.

How does this happen?!

This particular change will spread beyond a mere inconvenience for associates, it promises to challenge family members of these associates in perhaps devastating ways.

Management decided that this particular team was now going to alternate night and day shifts forcing associates to work two weeks on the day shift followed by two weeks on the night shift.

Brilliant.

Forget the fact that the detrimental effects of this kind of schedule have been well documented including loss of productivity and higher incidences of mistakes and accidents.

What shocks me most Read more

Assertive Communication at Work – How to Manage an Aggressive Colleague in 8 Steps

Assertive communication means you have the right to stand up for yourself while still respecting the rights of others. Aggressive behavior is when you believe you have rights but no one else does. Passive behavior is the opposite. You believe you have no rights but others do.

Assertive behavior is finding the balance between the extremes. Obtaining that balance isn’t always easy especially with aggressive or abusive co-workers.  Here are a few tips to help when a colleague slips into aggressive communication.

1. Recognize that your co-worker may be suffering from stress that isn’t visible to you. Problems in personal relationships, money woes, challenges with children, health issues or even the morning’s miserable traffic are examples of stressful events that can trigger abusive behavior.

2. Do nothing. Let your colleague vent as long as you are not in physical danger. If you sense an altercation is about to  escalate  remove yourself from situation–immediately. If you feel the need to say something try, “Bill, this is getting out of hand. I’m leaving now. I’ll check back in a short time and we can continue once we cool down. Avoid saying, “calm down.” Only a 911 operator should use that phrase.

3. Remember that the first wave of anger is probably not the last.  Use the pause  to clarify what you heard and understood. Calmly state, “If I understood you correctly…”  Your co-worker’s rage is usually associated Read more

Communicating at Work – 5 Steps for Managing Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is  a common workplace challenge. Poor communication contributes to the push-back that comes with rolling out new procedures,  a change in status,  a physical move or launching a new project.

The dissension can come from a single voice or the collective whole.

Try these 5 steps for gaining cooperation:

1. Spell out and communicate both orally and in writing, exactly what the changes are and how they will affect individual positions.

2. If you choose to entertain objections set a time frame and stick to it.  A never ending gripe session serves no one.

3. Listen to the emotions and the underlying fears that are often couched in vague complaints such as “this will take too much time.”  The fear may be that the employee will have to stay later and miss picking up their child on time.

4. Check your interpretation of the complaints by reflecting back what you have heard.

5. Consider suggestions and set a follow-up date for the outcome. Not all changes have that kind of flexibility but you might be surprised at what can be adjusted for better buy-in.

Employees simply want to be a part of something bigger. Use this opportunity to communicate honestly and create a deeper  connection and the odds for cooperation will increase.

Find more tips for communicating effectively at work in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work – What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.  Buy it at Amazon.com


Communicating with the Characters in Your Workplace

Communicating at work often resembles a sitcom where coworkers are characters and the story is driven by misunderstandings. Every sitcom from I Love Lucy to Seinfeld to Modern Family are great examples of misunderstandings resulting in humor and a tidy ending.

In reality, misunderstanding with the characters (I mean co-workers) you work with often doesn’t end with a happy conclusion. The good news is that your coworkers may be identifiable as the characters in a good story. Once you get to know them, you’ll be able to anticipate a certain amount of predictable behavior.  Think Seinfeld’s Kramer–you always expect his cockamamie logic to some mundane situation.

So how does this help you? Well, learning how to talk these character types (or communication styles) will help you get your point across more effectively so that cooperation and collaboration becomes the norm rather than the exception.

Ask these questions and notice these distinctions and shift your approach, and your chances of getting cooperation increases.

1. What motivates them?

2. What do they seek?

3. What do they fear?

4. What is important to them?

5. How do they behave under stress?

Create a game for yourself and see if you can created a profile of each of the people you work with and for–and then decide how you need to shift your behavior to connect with them.

What’s your experience?

This post is an excerpt from Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.  Order your copy today and learn more about behavior styles.

Communicating with Powerful Questions

Asking questions can be one of the best ways to enhance a conversation, but the wrong questions can actually hinder conversation. Not all questions are created equal! Open-ended questions are friendlier and more effective than closed-ended questions. They usually start with “What” or “How”.

Here are some examples of how to change closed-ended questions into open-ended questions:

Instead of “Did you like it?” you could ask, “What did you like about it?” or “How did you like it?”

Ever try to get information from a team member or co-worker and received one or two word answers? Get more specific with the questions above.

Instead of “Are you upset?” you could ask “What’s bothering you?” or “Tell me more about how you are feeling?”

This works at home as well as at work.

Instead of “Would you like to do something else?” or you could ask “What would you like to do?” or “What would just make your day?”

Truly an invitation to share!

Instead of “Any questions?” you could ask “What questions do you have?” or “Who has the first question?”

Commit this one to memory!

Using open-ended questions requires effort. However, the effort is well worth it, especially in a tense situation. The next time you are in a tense conversation, make your questions open-ended, and watch the dynamic change. You will have a much better conversation, and the other person will appreciate your communication skills.


Get your copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up – The bonus downloads are chock full of the critical communication answers you’ve been asking about. Get your book here!

Communication Tip – Turning Resistance into Cooperation

More Quick Tips from Misunderstood!: The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up (Volume 1)

Communication Skills – Keep Cool Under Pressure

Communication– The “Keep Your Cool” Formula – 3 Easy Steps

Sometimes it helps to have a quick formula that’s easy to remember, easy to post where you can see it and easy to implement. In touchy communication situations when emotions might thwart clear thinking try these 3 steps:

1. Observation – Observe the pace, voice, eye-contact and posture of your listener. Pay attention to emotions, intentions, and any mental or physical distractions. Match and step it down if emotions are high.

2. Adaptation – Shift your style to communicate in the way your listener likes to communicate. A small adjustment now saves time, money and effort later.

3. Confirmation – Verify that the translation and comprehension of your message matches your intention. (and be honest about your intention-is it aligned to your highest self?)

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Conflict Resolution Tip – Listen with Your Eyes, Ears & Energy

The next time you communicate with someone, especially when you are trying to resolve a conflict, practice giving them 100% of your attention. It means using direct eye contact. And, it means listening to what they’re saying and to what they’re not saying. Pay attention to body language and listen to the tone, pitch and volume of their voice to catch their true meaning.

Richard Moss says, “The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.”

Giving 100% attention also means doing the difficult internal work of keeping your mind totally focused on them–not allowing yourself to focus on what you are going to say when they stop talking or wondering what you are going to have for lunch.

When you communicate, make the other person feel that, while they’re with you, they are what matters most.

For more 29 more tips and techniques get your FREE Instant Access 6-Part Audio – The Power of Effective Communication by entering your name and email in the box on your right.