You probably have first-hand experience of conflict and issues with communication, and you have likely struggled with whether you should speak up, or not.
As an executive and leadership coach, I regularly hear of the problems people face in getting heard, the ‘right way’ and I even teach a class on conflict and communication at Singapore Management University, but if you think this means I don’t mess up, you would be mistaken. In this post I will share a framework and my own experience because I have come to realize:
“We teach best what we most need to learn.”
Culture, gender, age, and personality are just some of the factors that complicate communication and lead to conflict. I am a nearly 60-year-old, university-educated, white male, whose personality is high on directness and only moderate on diplomacy. I work with both Asian and North American clients and yet the challenge to speak up without causing conflict is a common problem.
Remember back in 2013, when an employee (Bob) outsourced his job and was fired?
Before being fired, Bob was considered a ‘model employee’, his work was above par, his code was clean, well-written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, Bob’s performance review noted him as the best developer in the building.
In many ways, Bob was a 'man before his time'. He chose to spend one-fifth of his salary to free up his life, reduce his stress, and ensure he hit his targets. Companies in 2013 had different criteria, they liked to ‘keep an eye’ on who was doing the work, for both productivity and security reasons.
With the pandemic hitting in 2020, and most people working from home, ‘keeping an eye’ on people seems less important, and keeping employees healthy, well-balanced with manageable stress is much more so. Security will remain a concern, but solutions have been found for that.
The future is...
Nigel is sitting in his manager’s office for his annual performance review. It had been a tough year, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic had decimated his plans for Q1 and Q2, but Nigel had put in a superhuman effort and hit targets in Q3. Nigel was expecting nothing but praise for his efforts, so imagine his surprise when he heard the following,
“You have met your Q3 quota, Nigel, but I have some concerns about how you got there”.
All Nigel heard was, “But we have some concerns.”
The word, ‘but’ has the effect of negating everything that proceeds it.
Imagine you and I met, and I said, “I really like you but…”
You would be on the defensive for criticism, even though I prefaced with, “I really like you.”
‘But’; is judgmental and is generally perceived as negative. For example, “I want to do this, but I can’t.”
‘But’ often creates the frame of limited choice. For...
Virtual Teams or virtual team members have been a business reality for many years, however during the current crisis, with stay-at-home orders, the need to lead has increased. As I coach senior leaders to navigate this current storm, I’m often asked for strategies to effectively lead a virtual team and so here are Seven of my best.
With each member of a team remotely located and no opportunity for a face-to-face meeting, there are both challenges and opportunities for the new or established team leader. We have a new ‘level playing field’ where everyone is working and communicating virtually. Gone is the proximity bias, where those in the same location could network face-to-face and build collaboration. Finally, those that have been working in remote hubs have an advantage, in that they are already acclimated to remote technology and communication.
With the crisis creating a ‘reset’, there is an opportunity for leadership to harness the ‘power of...