Throughout my daily life, I try to illustrate connections between great customer service and coaching. It's apparent when a company truly embraces what it means to have a great culture when you experience it consistently across an organization. I welcome the millennial stereotype of brand loyalty when it comes to working with or spending money with companies that move beyond simply "talking the talk" and wholeheartedly take on the "walking the walk" piece. It's easy today to fall into a trap of simply believing a company's promise, whether it's a proclamation that their green initiatives go above and beyond their competition, or that their attention to detail and lack of frivolity is why you should purchase their product. The way I sort through this over-saturation of abundant promises is through speaking with a customer service representative.
The phrase "role-playing" universally tends to conjure up sighs, eye-rolls, and groans. Even though this is the typical case, can we all agree that we don't get better without practice? One of the reasons role-playing get such a negative connotation really has nothing to do with role-playing itself, rather it’s based upon how we give one another feedback.
Leaving little notes on your employees’ desks, taking 30 seconds out of your day to let someone know something specific that they have done that you appreciate, or calling a meeting just to let your team know that what they do is appreciated are all ways that positivity can drive a positive and productive workplace atmosphere. So what happens when positivity is missing?
When we have to do something associated with conflict and confrontation, people tend to get very squeamish and hesitant to even do so. But, in the meantime, they'll go off and tell others of their frustrations, resulting in "Water Cooler Talk"!
People in my industry, including myself, talk an awful lot about “Feedback.” To a degree that makes it seem like it’s this huge, daunting thing. It has gotten to the point where we talk so much about feedback and emphasize the importance of feedback to such a level that we forget one important truth. Rather than being a huge deal, or something to be afraid of, remember that feedback is a conscious conversation that most often takes less than one minute.
We spend billions on leadership development, but what about the other side, the people receiving leadership and in this case coaching? What if we taught people how to receive feedback? What if we taught them skills to improve their "coaching reception" skills. This could include how to:
According to most of us in the field of coaching and consulting, we'd say pretty dang important. Feedback is a conversation, and just like a conversation, there's a give and take, a back and forth. Not only is delivery of feedback important, but one could argue how you respond to feedback is equally, if not more, important. Think of a moment where you have given someone feedback and they respond in a negative, or even neutral way. How did that make you feel right after that delivery? How did your opinion change regarding the person you gave the feedback to? This doesn't even have to be a business relation. The fact is that feedback has the ability to shape our opinions and future interactions based on a single moment. Therefore, it's vital to have every interaction, or give and take, be executed in a manner that incorporates emotional intelligence, understanding, and appropriate timing.
What is emotional intelligence, exactly?
This is key! Having an operational definition is important to being on the same page. So is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously What does this mean for you in your workplace? LISTEN to people, reflect back what they're feeling. If they're emotional, sympathize where they are coming from. If they're confused, answer their confusion. Emotional intelligence means understanding yourself and others- we can only be fully competent with others when we do this.
OK, but they understand me, right?
You know the phrase, "You know what happens when you assume things?" This definitely applies in the workplace. Never assume that by sending a simple email that your message will be conveyed. Same goes for a meeting- ask for feedback to really get at the heart of whether your message was heard. We have to consider that people have multiple intelligence's. While some may excel at visual learning, some people need auditory supplements. Get to know your people, it will help with this process.
Sometimes I like to delay my feedback to give myself/the recipient time to think.
A police officer understands the concept of this. When you get caught speeding, you receive a speeding ticket. You should employ the same tactic at your workplace. If you see behavior that you don't like, why give people the impression that they can get away with it? Everyone has the dreaded email, "Let's meet in my office" and knows how they react. They immediately shut down and are not open to feedback. If you confront someone right away, they don't have time to put up walls and come up with a defense. It should be noted that the same should go for positive behavior. IMMEDIATELY praise good behavior, publicly, and watch results skyrocket.
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We all know that conflict can be divisive, but do we all know that it can, in fact, be constructive? Conflict is seen in every human experience, and it's honestly inevitable. It is how we choose to deal with and ultimately use conflict that defines our interactions and growth in the workplace. Check out this article published in the Harvard Business Review that outlines some of the important steps when it comes to preempting team conflict.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Disagreement isn't always a bad thing! One could argue that it is one of the most valuable traits to have in a successful business. There is one caveat: It has to be done professionally. In her TED talk, Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counter intuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships, and businesses allow people to deeply disagree. Take a look at this TED talk, and use it as a challenge to your current processes at work. Then, ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I foster an environment that encourages or discourages discussion?
2. Will I respond well to disagreement, if not, what can I do to change that relationship?
3. What makes me uncomfortable with disagreement, specifically?
Leave your feedback below, if you agree or disagree with the concept, or just want to share your opinion!
Feedback- It’s that word we dread hearing at work, right? Why do we feel this way about feedback, this immediate negative connotation with the word? Throughout our lives, we have received feedback, whether it was requested or simply bestowed upon us. So, with that logic, we should be used to it by now, even professionals at receiving it and giving it in the right way! The truth is, we still have a lot of baggage when it comes to the word “feedback”. We view it as mean spirited, useless, overwhelming, or some combination of those feelings. The important thing to remember is that feedback is ESSENTIAL to understanding our successes and areas of improvement, but it is all about how it is delivered and received.
What if customers could define your training that would provide you an opportunity to differentiate your company right? WOW what an advantage that would be. How should a company do that void of simply doing the annual client feedback survey that is rarely put into actionable development?
One of the services we provide clients is a coach the coach service. We ask managers to tell us what they're doing in regards to coaching and developing their talent and we provide one to one personalized feedback. One of the most common things we hear when we provide the service is the perspectives from both ends as it relates to this thing called feedback. This involves providing as well as an employee's ability to receive feedback.
All too often when an employee is called into a managers office, they immediately think to themselves, "What did I do wrong?" and a panic sets in about what's to follow. It is an uncomfortable situation for the employee to be in, which then makes it an uncomfortable situation for the manager. Do you think that any feedback given in this type of situation and environment will be received and utilized? Employees will dread being called into their managers office and instead of thinking about the feedback they were given and how they can apply it to their work, they will be thinking about how to not get called back to the managers office.
The phrase "Communication is key" can be applied to almost any situation. Communication is how tasks get done efficiently and correctly. Giving feedback is one of the most important types of communication, without feedback, people wouldn't know if what they are doing is correct or if they could improve. As a coach, giving your employees feedback is one of the most important things you can do to improve performance, teamwork, and attitude.