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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management Team Development

Prepare to Give Critical Feedback with These Vital Questions

Preparing to give critical feedback helps ensure a potentially challenging discussion produces the result you are after.  Comedian and television personality Craig Ferguson suggests that preparation begin with three important questions: Does this need to be said? Sometimes reflection leads to the conclusion that the issue is not relevant nor important enough to address. Does this need to be said…

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Communication Leadership Performance Management Team Development

How to Harness the Power of Positive Feedback

Study after study tells us that people don’t feel they get enough praise and recognition at work. With more staff members working from home and feeling isolated, the need to be acknowledged is even more acute. It’s easy to feel disconnected and individually unnoticed, given the massive number of virtual meetings, often with cameras off, that many are experiencing. Yet,…

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Leadership

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Virtual Leadership Approach

As the pandemic of 2020 struck, many leaders were compelled to dramatically pivot as their workplace became entirely virtually. With no live meetings or individual conversations, the computer screen and microphone became the primary vehicle for communication. While not always as valuable, virtual interactions can be highly effective if leaders are intentional about how they engage with their staff. Here…

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Change Management Leadership

4 Things Leaders Misjudge During Change

With the rapid pace of complex change in most organizations, leaders often get drawn into activities that take them away from the staff members they are leading. Frequent meetings outside of the work unit tend to be a major culprit. Absence from meaningful contact can cause leaders to misread what staff members are experiencing, some of which may be emotional…

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Communication Leadership Team Development

Indicators Your Leadership Approach is Hurting Your Team’s Development

Team leadership requires keen self-awareness of the impact of behavior on a team’s performance. Often leaders inadvertently stunt the growth of their teams by exhibiting meeting conduct that is ineffective and even harmful. Here are some signs that your approach might be suboptimal. Communication is funneled to you. Think about the way communication flows around the team table. Who talks…

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Communication Leadership

How to Develop a Strong Leadership Presence

When admired, respected leaders walk into a room where others are gathered, their presence sends a message about who they are and what they represent. Those around them form judgments in a matter of seconds and the impressions are lasting. The intangible traits they emanate begin to create or reinforce their leadership presence, a critical factor separating high-performing leaders from…

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Leadership Performance Management Team Development

How to Know If You Are a Micromanager

Micromanagement is excessive oversight of an employee’s work. When a manager hovers, it causes the employee to feel mistrusted to competently do the work assigned. It can tear down motivation since having autonomy is highly valued by most employees. Below are listed the telltale signs of micromanagement. Identify those that you frequently display to determine if you are slipping into…

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Leadership Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management Team Development

Three Performance Management Blind Spots Leaders Should Avoid

Managing staff member performance is challenging at best. Individuals come to work with a variety of skills, attitudes, and experiences that require leaders to be adept at adapting to varying needs by using customized approaches. One size does not fit all. Because performance management is complex and time consuming, it is easy for leaders to be blindsided by engaging in…

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Uncategorized

5 Email Mistakes to Avoid Making

The average number of business-related emails employees send and receive each day is approximately 120. That number is projected to soar to 140 by 2018. That means you will likely be frequently communicating via email, now and in the future. While the use of email can be efficient and effective, its misuse can be irritating to others at best and…

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Communication Team Development

How to Know if Your Team is High Performing

Not all teams achieve the elite status of being called high performing. Most are adequate, accomplishing what they need to do in order to complete a collaborative task. Few, however, become a fine-tuned machine, capable of pushing their limits and achieving beyond expectations. Here are the characteristics of truly high performing teams. 1. A high level of focus on a…

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Team Development

5 Ways to Be a Better Leader This Year

A new year presents an opportunity to fine-tune your leadership skills with new ideas or to refresh what you already know that may have gone dormant. Think about what you did well in 2015 and how you could have been even more effective. Here are some ways you can significantly improve your approach, making for a happier you and a…

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Performance Management Team Development

4 Behaviors Leaders Often Reward, but Shouldn’t

Are you mindful of what you are reinforcing when you reward staff behavior? Are you sure it is really what you want to reinforce? Remember this important principle: People tend to do more of the behaviors for which they are rewarded. Don’t find yourself inadvertently incenting your staff to utilize the following problematic behaviors. 1. Busy Work It might look…

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Communication Performance Management Team Development

How to Effectively Delegate to Get the Outcomes You Really Want

To do it right, delegating should be done intentionally and thoughtfully. Randomly handing out assignments does not make for good results or happy staff members! Good delegation is at the heart of empowerment and requires giving away, not only work assignments, but also authority to make decisions. Poor delegation practice is at the core of micromanagement. Use these guidelines to…

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Change Management Communication Team Development

Tips for Making the Transition to a New Leadership Role

Whether you move to a new organization or transit within your current place of work, the approach you use to begin a new leadership role can help or hinder your success. To staff members, a new leader is the source of hope as well as fear. Will you bring new insight and needed change? Or, will valued practices and relationships…

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Performance Management Team Development

Succession Planning: Do’s and Don’ts

What happens if you or other key players in your organization leave? Better job offers, retirements, extended illness, or unanticipated death can cause undue chaos if succession plans are not in place. Yet, many organizations fail to create them, at great expense to their business outcomes and the staff who struggle to fill the gaps. Consider, when developing succession plans,…

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Leadership Performance Management

3 Ways to Capture Coaching Opportunities to Boost Staff Performance

Most leaders say that coaching is an important part of their role in developing staff. Few, however, find the time to do it well. Yet, employees of all ages and performance levels say they want more coaching from leaders they respect. Through feedback and advice giving they hope to learn how to become better at their work and advance their…

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Change Management Communication Team Development

4 Things Guaranteed to Make Staff Resist Change

Change is continual in most of today’s organizations. Some change may be met with applause, especially when bringing desired benefits. But, often the upshot is significant resistance. Most staff resist when they perceive they are losing something to which they are attached: i.e., relationships, status, physical surroundings, work processes, technology. But the blow is worsened when those initiating the change…

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Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management Team Development

5 Overlooked Ways to Motivate Your Staff

Motivation is a complex topic. Because each employee has differing needs and drives, one size doesn’t fit all. Yet, everyone has a handful of basic desires: to make a contribution, to feel part of something meaningful, and to be acknowledged. Sometimes leaders forget to utilize those fundamental principles to create a motivating work environment. Here are some things you can…

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Communication Managing Difficult Situations

How to Effectively Recover from a Significant Mistake

No leader does everything correctly all of the time. Mistakes most typically involve misinterpretation of information leading to poor decision-making, not including the right people at the right time in important initiatives, intervening too late in a situation, demonstrating poor interpersonal behaviors that create defensiveness and a climate of disrespect, or not using resources wisely. A poorly executed recovery can…

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Managing Difficult Situations Team Development

5 Leadership Behaviors that Destroy Trust

Trust is essential to a productive relationship between leaders and their staff members. Without it, the work environment becomes filled with fear and uncertainty. Trust is built through a pattern of trustworthy behavior that occurs consistently over a period of time. It can, however, be destroyed in a matter of minutes. Be aware of and avoid these trust-busting behaviors. Not…

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Leadership

How to Focus on the Present and Become More Mindful in 2015

While the New Year is a time to set goals and plan ahead, what about staying in the present, focused on the here and now? Mindfulness is a conscious effort to be completely present, setting aside worries, expectations, judgment, and other thoughts and emotions to be fully aware of the current moment. It’s the opposite of automatic functioning, going through…

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Change Management Communication Managing Difficult Situations

How to Repair a Damaged Work Relationship

We’ve all had encounters with co-workers that didn’t go well, yielding lasting negative consequences. The resulting tension in the air makes communication awkward and productivity often wanes. Realistically, some relationships are easier to repair than others, since you can’t force reconciliation. Making a sincere attempt to restore a damaged relationship, however, has a good chance of success if you follow…

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Managing Difficult Situations Team Development

Meaningful Ways to Give Thanks to Your Staff

With Thanksgiving around the corner, now is a good time to think carefully about how you show gratitude to your staff for their contributions to the work environment. Research tells us time and time again that many don’t feel they are appreciated for their efforts, particularly as the pace of change accelerates in many organizations, causing long hours and extra…

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Uncategorized

How Good is Your Business Etiquette?

An important aspect of professionalism is developing good business etiquette that casts you in the best of lights, no matter what situation you encounter. Etiquette means being appropriate, gracious, and polite. It requires knowing the rules that dictate good manners. Test your awareness in these situations: 1. T or F The following is a proper introduction: _ Mr. Boss, I…

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Leadership

5 Fatal Flaws that Cause New Leader Failure

It’s estimated that nearly half of new leaders fail within the first eighteen months on the job. The costs of recruitment, training, and orientation of the leader, as well as the negative impact on employee morale, makes this situation highly destructive. Organizations that are guilty of selection blunders often overlook behaviors known to contribute to a leader’s demise. Here are…

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Communication Leadership

3 Steps to Gaining More Influence in Your Organization

Influence is critical to the success of any leader. It means garnering enough power within your organization to gain support from others and achieve the results you are working toward. Effective leaders develop a strong base of influence. They know how to use high impact influence skills, causing others to want to follow their lead, rather than being coerced. Their…

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Communication

5 Presentation Blunders Guaranteed to Turn Off Your Audience

We’ve all sat through presentations while struggling to stay awake. Maintaining the attention of busy staff members who attend countless meetings can be challenging. Facing an audience of professional colleagues at a conference where expectations are high is daunting. By avoiding the following common presentation snafus, you can capture your audience and deliver your message with impact. 1. Too Many…

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Communication Leadership

Warning Signs that Your Communication Style is Working Against You

Every leader has a preferred mode of communication that works well in many situations, while missing the mark in others. Both sending and receiving messages can be inhibited if the communicator is unaware of blind spots that create interference. Use the guidelines below to identify your communication style and be attuned to the warning signs when it’s working against you.…

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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management

How to Give Constructive Criticism with 5 Essential Steps

Sometimes leaders have to be critical in an attempt to improve a situation created by staff, colleagues, or upper level leaders. How the message is delivered can make the difference between a productive conversation and a damaged relationship. Use this template to guide your thinking as you craft what you want to say when constructive criticism is necessary. 1. Describe…

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Leadership Team Development

How to Tune-up Your Team: A Checklist for Essential Maintenance

Teams don’t work very well without periodic check-ups to make sure everything is working as it should. Use the following set of questions as a) a guide for your own reflective thinking about a team you lead, b) as a discussion tool for an upcoming team meeting, or c) as a survey for each team member to complete. What you…

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Leadership Performance Management

3 Outmoded Leadership Practices You Should Reconsider Now

It’s easy to cling to old, comfortable ways of leading that no longer make sense, once you pause to reflect. Ongoing research and current best practices teach us that it is time to discard the old and bring in the new. Consider these out-of-date practices and update your approach. 1. Using Old School Language Leaders give confusing, inconsistent messages when…

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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations

5 Productive Ways to Deal with Conflict Every Leader Should Know How to Use

Conflict is inevitable when people work together in an organization. In fact, it’s a good thing because it most often means that those involved care enough about the situation to express their differences or discontent. If mismanaged, however, it can lead to undesirable outcomes. By using the right approach in the right situation, leaders can effectively deal with conflict, increasing…

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Leadership

12 Intriguing Quotes about Leadership

Quotes give us a new way to think about something. They promote awareness and insight. They inspire. Sometimes they trigger that “aha” moment. Here are some that will cause you to pause, reflecting on what leadership means to you. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John…

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Communication Managing Difficult Situations

How to Receive and Respond to Critical Feedback

Being open to what others have to say is one of the marks of a good leader. When the message is critical feedback, how leaders respond can either create on open communication environment or shut down interaction. While it may not always be easy to listen to criticism, it is essential to hone the skill of non-defensive listening and replying.…

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Communication Managing Difficult Situations

Managing Difficult People: Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Passive-aggressive people, rather than communicate openly about their negative feelings, operate subtlety in mean-spirited, maddening ways. This might include not acknowledging others, taking pot shots in meetings, or spreading rumors. The behavior can escalate to attempts to sabotage leaders or co-workers by deliberately missing deadlines, coming late to meetings, going over the boss’s head to complain, or opposing requests made…

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Leadership Performance Management Team Development

5 Things Guaranteed to Destroy Teamwork

Every organization emphasizes the need for teamwork. But few really achieve a high performing team environment. Setting the stage for collaboration requires that leaders play close attention to several common traps that, when present in the work environment, make true teamwork nearly impossible to achieve. Team Members Who Don’t Pull Their Weight When studies are done regarding what employees like…

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Leadership Performance Management Team Development

Motivating Staff to Top Performance: What They Really Want from Their Work

Much has been written about rewarding and recognizing staff members for a job well done. While money, trinkets, and prizes – extrinsic motivators – have temporary “feel good” effects, real motivation occurs in a much different way. More powerful is the satisfaction inherent in doing the work itself ¬¬ – intrinsic motivation. Here is how this translates into leadership strategies…

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Leadership

3 Surprising Research Findings Every Leader Should Consider

Research engines are quickly producing numerous studies that challenge some of the commonly held beliefs about organizations, leaders, and employees. Here are some current findings, along with suggestions for how to put the research into practice. Organizations fail to choose management candidates who have the right talent. Gallup’s study found that 82% of the time, staff members are promoted, not…

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Performance Management Team Development

3 Things Sure to Derail 360-degree Feedback

Research and experience has shown that leaders can benefit from receiving feedback from their staff, other leaders, and their own manager, i.e. 360-degree feedback. However, if the process is not appropriately employed, the results can be unreliable, making the feedback inaccurate and even damaging. Avoid undesirable outcomes by becoming alert for these significant trouble spots. A biased sample Be careful…

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Change Management Communication Leadership

How to Effectively Communicate about Change

Most organizations are in the throes of multiple changes, requiring leaders at all levels to be masterful in how they communicate. Staff resistance can be exasperated by faulty change messages that do a poor job of explaining why something different is needed. With so much change in the works, everyone is touchy about adding one more thing to their overflowing…

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Communication Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management Team Development

How to Mediate Conflict Between Staff Members

In a perfect work world, employees would manage their own conflict, maturely talking through issues in a professional, respectful manner. In reality, however, they often lack the necessary communication skills as well as the initiative to discuss their differences. Managers need to intervene, helping them clear the air so they can work together more effectively. Here’s a model you can…

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Communication Leadership

The Top 5 Things to Know About Successful Negotiation

Negotiation comes in many varieties. A competitive approach is aimed at you getting more than the other side gets – a win-lose outcome. A compromise means lose-lose, with both sides giving up something to get an acceptable solution. An integrative process creates a win-win, whereby both parties get the majority of what they want. Successful negotiators, as a backdrop to…

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Leadership Performance Management Team Development

Development Planning: 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid and What to Do Instead

One main reason top talent leaves an organization is lack of training, coaching, or mentoring, all critical components of development planning. Ambitious employees want to work in an organization that invests in them, paving the way for advancement in both skills and position. A development plan should provide a road map to strengthen an employee’s ability to perform the current…

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Communication Managing Difficult Situations Team Development

How Much Conflict are You Likely to Have?

Many conditions, which can promote or inhibit effective conflict management, exist in every organization. The best leaders employ a carefully thought-out set of practices to ensure the work units they lead are successful when managing differences. By answering the following questions with yes, somewhat, or no, you can determine how likely your work unit is to effectively manage conflict. 1. In your work…

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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations Performance Management

What to Do When a Top Performer Slips Up

Top performers, by definition, tend to consistently do work that exceeds established standards. Holding themselves to high standards, they are driven to get outstanding results in all dimensions of the work they do. When top performers face the rare misstep, they typically self-regulate by moving quickly to own and repair the problem. Common wisdom about performance problems dictates that giving…

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Communication Leadership Managing Difficult Situations

How to Deliver Bad News

Sometimes a leader has to carry out the dreaded task of conveying information no one wants to hear. Layoffs, budget cut backs, and undesirable change can produce the need to deliver bad news to both individuals and groups. By employing sensitivity and tact, however, leaders can cushion the blow and avoid unnecessary damage. Consider these communication guidelines. Don’t delay. Once…

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Communication

How to Ask Better Questions

By asking questions you potentially learn more about the people with whom you interact. You have the opportunity to change your own perspective when you allow others to influence your point of view. Asking questions demonstrates your interest in others. Sometimes you might test what another knows by queries that help you make an assessment. When a staff member has…

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Leadership

How Good Are You at Office Politics?

It takes more than hard work to build a successful career. While the words office politics often conjure up negative images of ruthless people who will do anything to get ahead, effective leaders don’t shy away from engaging. They carefully analyze how power is accessed and utilized in their organizations. They cultivate influence so they are better able to achieve…

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Communication Leadership Team Development

How to Make Your Next Meeting the Best You’ve Ever Led

Meetings have a bad reputation. They are perceived as pointless, boring, uncontrolled, and a waste of time. When participants aren’t engaged, texting and emailing while “listening” becomes more attractive, making a troubled dynamic even worse. A good meeting leader knows how to facilitate interaction by skillfully drawing each attendee into a meaningful dialogue that accomplishes real work. By capturing the…

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Leadership

New Year’s Resolutions Every Leader Should Consider

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to set new goals for yourself. Dedication to continual learning and improvement is the mark of a good leader who understands that remaining stagnant is not an option. Think about how best to maximize your strengths and overcome barriers to your effectiveness. Contemplate what your staff members and colleagues need…

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Leadership

5 Questions To Ask About Your Leadership Self-Awareness

The best leaders are highly self-aware. Capitalizing on their strengths, while remediating or supplementing their weaknesses, they have learned to work effectively with the whole package they bring to their roles. Style profiles (i.e. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DISC Profile) are a great beginning, but they can be skewed by faulty self-perceptions. Here are some questions you can ask yourself, to discover even…

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Communication Leadership Team Development

5 Things Your Staff Might Not Tell You

I’ve conducted hundreds of staff interviews, ahead of team building or planning sessions, gathering perceptions about what’s going well and what’s not. When employees identify areas related to their managers, I ask if they have directly communicated their point of view. Sometimes they have. But, when it comes to five specific topics, the answer is often “no.” Why? Some staff…

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Leadership Team Development

How to Do Team Building the Right Way

Countless staff members have been exposed to team building sessions gone awry. Some describe outdoor challenges designed to build trust that only served to embarrass those on the team who were not physically agile. Others have recounted incidents of poorly designed critical feedback activities resulting in hurt feelings and damaged relationships. Many have concluded that the activities had nothing to…

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Communication Leadership

How Well Do You Know Your Boss?

A key to your success, as a manager, is developing a good working relationship with your own boss. No matter how effective you might be with your own staff, your image may be tainted if you have a less than desirable rapport with your boss. Becoming more aware of how your boss likes to work requires paying careful attention to…

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Performance Management

How to Engage Employees in Performance Discussions

Have you ever been disappointed by the lack of employee participation in performance discussions? More often than you’d like, have you received minimal input and dialogue, even when asking probing questions? Studies tell us employees are quiet, in part, because they don’t really believe performance discussions are valuable. They describe them as unrelated to their job duties, condescending, meaningless, and…

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Managing Difficult Situations

Managing Difficult People: The Wet Blanket Negativist

Difficult people can make your work life miserable. Unless you have mastered a set of strategies to disarm them and gain some control, you may find yourself constantly stressed by the disruption a difficult person can cause. Most trouble makers have learned that their behaviors trigger a predictable set of responses in other people. Those reactions allow them to get…

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Change Management

Three Ways to Manage Resistance to Change

It goes without saying that not everyone responds well to change. In fact, studies say that in any given group of staff, three to seven percent will be hardcore resisters, while about 60 percent are in the “wait and see” category. The rest just go with the flow. To manage this dynamic, you have to prevent the strong resisters from…

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Change Management

Strategic Planning: A Primer

Often short-staffed and under-funded, leaders are driven to focus on operational concerns – getting through each day, meeting short-term objectives and staying afloat. While it may appear this is the only way to survive, the opposite may actually be true. If an organization doesn’t take time to plan for the long term, it may get blindsided by becoming irrelevant or…

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Leadership

Office Politics: Play Fair and Win

Beware: If you are a leader who hesitates to engage in politics at work, your base of influence may be at risk. In these challenging times, your job may even be in danger, as organizations are contemplating more layoffs. Politics is not always nasty business. Think of it as a way of building a network of relationships and an understanding…

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Managing Difficult Situations

Mistake Recovery: The Art of the Apology

Are you a leader who is open about your mistakes, willing to admit your infallibility? Or, are you more apt to pretend mistakes didn’t happen, ignoring or dancing around them? While all leaders fail at times, what distinguishes the successful from the unsuccessful ones is their ability to recover. And, those that effectively recover are often liked more, because the…

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