Managing Up in the Workplace

This week the issue of “Managing Up” appeared with several of my leadership coaching clients and teams – some from the perspective of learning how to manage up, and some from the viewpoint of the Leader who wants to encourage participation from team and staff members. This is a great overview of a book on the subject through an interview with the author, and gives some tips on managing up as well as how to encourage more directness in workplace conversations. I hope you find it as enlightening as I did!

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Don’t Choose a Mentor – Build Your Network!

Hello! One of my beliefs about helping leaders develop is that everyone needs a mentor. Professional mentors can be incredibly helpful and can make a huge difference in one’s career trajectory. This article includes a new spin – that we all need “Advisory Boards.” I like this concept. Food for thought – enjoy!

Carolyn’s 7 C’s for Dealing with Difficult People

Hello! I have had several executive coaching clients lately who are struggling with negative people in their organizations. This, as you know, is not uncommon, unfortunately. Through the years, I have come up with a list of action steps, as we often feel so powerless when we are dealing with people whose behavior and attitude are toxic. I call it:

“Carolyn’s 7 C’s for Dealing with Difficult People” 

  1. Be Clear.  Have your facts ready and know what you want to say and ask for.  Stay objective and stick to the subject.. One of the ways negative people maintain their power is that they say things that surprise and sting. As with most human behavior, once we analyze the situation, we realize that there are patterns, and we can plan for them. When less surprised, we can keep our balance.
  1. Use the power of Conversation.  “The conversation IS the relationship.”  (Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations).- Sometimes it helps to have a “heart to heart”conversation with this type of person and let them know how much their behavior impacts us. We just need to remember that it may not change their behavior (in the long run) but we have drawn a line in the sand and articulated out loud how much it means to us. The truth is powerful.
  1. Count to 10 before responding when tension is high. (This includes email.) Don’t press “send” when you are upset! And keep emotions out of email. And walk away and breathe before responding when they say something particularly ridiculous.
  1. Conjure up your Courage to do the right things and say the truth. Speaking the truth about this type of situation sometimes means we need to take it higher –to our boss, the person’s boss, to HR. This type of person can cast a dark pall over a work group, and it is our responsibility as leaders to advocate for a healthy culture.
  1. Create an image in your mind of this person that increases your empathy.  Remember that they have a mother.  They were a kid once, too, etc. And remember that negativity is often rooted in pain, fear, and powerlessness.
  1. Cushion the relationship with diversions: food works well. So do stories, art, and laughter. Keeping it light is really important here, and showing others that there are way more important things than swimming in these negative waters. Bring in bagels, go for a walk, get people to tell jokes. It can be a great counter-weight.
  1. Know how to use your Charm.  When we walk in our own power and truth, and foster the great relationships we can build with our team and peers, our light outshines frustration and negativity. Remember to remind yourself of your strengths and gifts, and walk down the hall with them on display! Good luck!

Why Aren’t You Delegating?

Did you ever notice that periodically a topic will keep coming up in conversations, or you’ll read something about it and then at totally unrelated events people bring it up? Well, that has been happening with me lately regarding Delegation – several clients have asked for resources, a Management Training series which is being presented by one of my client organizations just focused on it, and several people have talked about how hard it is to delegate. So here is a good article that I give to clients that has great techniques and reminders. I tell my Leadership Clients that their compass should be that they delegate 90% of tasks (initially they look at me like I have 3 eyes when I tell them this but gradually they understand what I mean). Hope you find this helpful!

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Love Is All We Need

I have been thinking a lot about love lately. About “All We Need Is Love” in our country and the world right now, and also about how powerful love is in the workplace. About how much I love my work and yes, even how much I love my clients and colleagues. We don’t tend to think about “love” being at work, but look around you. Look at the people who you care about and who care about you. Look at how your team pours their heart and soul into their creative ideas and hard-won efforts. Look at how people make you laugh, and how they notice you and appreciate you. This article is a great one, that helps us remember that love is the most powerful motivator, even greater than fear. Enjoy!

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Find Your Passion, Find Your Purpose

Find Your Purpose
Find Your Purpose

This is a great graphic that is available on the Internet. I encourage leaders to use this themselves and with their team members. It helps tease out and clarify what we are passionate about, as well as how we can use this passion to get paid and create a career. Here are some questions to help you get started.

Passion = That which you love +That which you are good at

What do you love doing, that you do even when you are not getting paid? Think back to when you were 9 years old – what did you love doing the most? What do people compliment you on? What talents or skills come easily to you? When do you feel you are soaring in “fifth gear?” (Hint: one of my passions is helping people find their passions!)

Profession = That which you are good at + That for which you can get paid
? What jobs/roles/internships did you love the most? Write down the five factors that made you love that job. What jobs/roles have you had that would do even as a volunteer? Conversely, where have you volunteered where you thought, “Wow, I’d love to get paid for this?” Suggestion: scan Monster or the Sunday Want Ads for 20 minutes. What jobs do you see that jump out at you? What contributions have you made in your jobs/life that make you unique?

Vocation = That for which you can get paid + That which the world needs
? How has what you have done made a difference in the world? What is your unique contribution that changes things for the better? How could you take what you have done to a higher level, one where you have more influence? What is a cause of which you want to be a part? What skills could you contribute to that effort?

Mission = That which the world needs + That which you love
? Go back up there to your “Passion” and write in here that which you love to do, and when you feel like you are soaring along in 5th gear. Now write down here what you believe the world needs. How do these two connect? How can you bring what you love to change the world for the better? You may do this at work, or outside of work. What’s important is to live your mission.

There you go! Try these exercises and let me know your thoughts! Good luck!

Coaching in 5 Minutes – How to Have Meaningful Developmental Conversations on the Fly

An ongoing challenge of leaders that I see as an executive coach is that my clients seek opportunities to grow capacity in their team members for the ever-changing, ever-emerging challenges and opportunities ahead, often with very little time for in-depth conversations.

A technique I use with my executive coaching clients is to encourage them to take a week and pay attention to the times they can have a meaningful, albeit brief, exchange with one of their staff members – an encouraging email, a quick word as they walk past the cubicle.  I ask them to pay attention to what happens as they keep “development” at top of mind:  note the response of their team member, the progress they made, any noticeable changes.  Changes are often subtle but important.