Kindlings: How to Deliver Bad News

A common issue I have encountered working with hundreds of speaking and training clients all over the US is failure to deliver bad news in a timely manner.

Most people don't deliver bad news because they are afraid of the reaction.  They know the co-worker, employer or customer will be unhappy, maybe even angry. And yet all of those reactions are so much worse the longer you delay.  There are keys to delivering bad news quickly in a way that's designed to minimize fallout and prevent big reactions.

What to Do:

• Prepare  Do your homework. Get as much information as you can. Get all the facts and have solutions to the issue already in mind.

• In person and timely  If at all possible, go and deliver the news in person and do it immediately.  Never deliver bad news in snail mail or email. It's cowardly.

• Be direct, clear and honest  Tell them exactly what's happening, why and what you can do about it.

Demonstrate Empathy and Compassion  Acknowledge that this is upsetting to them.  Truly listen and say things like, "I understand."

Show them a way out- a positive solution. Spend most of the conversation on the solution and how this will help them.  If you don't have one, brainstorm with them about possible ways to resolve the issue.

• Key words to avoid and to say instead (from Kristin Robertson, KR Consulting)

AVOID THESE                                 SAY INSTEAD

“ You should”                         “We can do this together- let me show you”

“ You can’t”                            “One alternative for you would be”

“ I can’t”                                 “Here’s what I CAN do for you”

“ No”                                      “I’m sorry- that’s not possible because”

Always reference what’s in it for them.

Listen fully and correct any misunderstandings.  Get your information and promises correct and keep them to the letter.

Ask for their continued support and willingness to work with you. Express your sincere desire to have an ongoing positive relationship and ask them to give you the chance to make it right.

All of us face challenges and problems in our businesses, and we all have bad news to give at some time.  The way you do it makes all the difference in the outcome.

 

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2 Ways to Increase Your Influence

Burchard bookYou Can Have Greater Influence on Others

Brendon Burchard, in his excellent new book, High Performance Habits, shares some excellent tips on how to increase your influence.

  1. Teach people how to think. When you are working with others, whether in a team, on a committee, or your employees, ask compelling questions which make others think.  Some might include:
    "What do you think about...?"
    "What would happen if we tried...?"
    "How should we approach?"
    "What ideas do you have about..?"
    Get others thinking and contributing. Listen to their feedback and don't shut them down. You influence them by thanking them and considering what they have said.  Do this more and more often at every meeting.  Let them know you expect new ideas and creative thinking from them.

2.  Challenge others to grow. Let them know you hold them to a higher standard.  Whether it's your employees, family members or friends, ask them what their next steps are, how they can get better at what they're doing, how they can treat others better, how they can improve.  Let them know you believe in them and that their excellence inspires them.

You have an impact on others.  You have the opportunity to influence others more than you know  By encouraging their thinking, their growth and their ideas, you influence and empower others.

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©2017, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

How’s Your EQ?

The Key to More Effective Relationships at Home and Work

Listening handshakeOracle Vice President Meg Bear says empathy is the critical 21st century skill. In an article in Fortune Magazine, business experts cite emotional intelligence as one of the most needed business skillsets for the coming decades.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

It's the ability to be aware of and manage the emotions of yourself and others, and constructively communicate as a good team member.

Those will poor self-awareness tend to be brusque, rude, narcissistic, critical and rigid . Those with poor self-management react strongly, yell, interrupt and disrespect others. Those with poor self-motivation procrastinate, blame others.

 Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

• Become an excellent listener. Don't interrupt, have open body language and
don't check your cellphone while listening.  Give full eye contact and attention. Summarize what they said and ask questions.

• Develop greater empathy.  Show caring, even if you haven't have the same experience.  You can say things like "That sounds hard for you." "I understand this is difficult."

• Get to know yourself more.  There are great books out like Strengths-Finder
and plenty of free personality tests on line.  Discover your strengths and areas for improvement.  Often work conflicts are the result of personality differences.

Workplace problems• Pay attention to the body language of others.  What is not being verbally said?

• Be a source of positive encouragement to others. Find the good.

Those are just a quick start on how to improve.  Put them into practice and watch your life get better.

 

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©2015 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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Stress-Free Relationships at Work

In today’s dog eat dog world, you will go farther faster by cultivating positive relationships at work. Use these tips to build rapport and create a better work environment.

Fired Up presenterThe Golden Rule
as a Way to Reduce Stress

I hear all too often about backstabbing, selfishness, and silhos at work.
And the truth is, none of us can get our jobs done alone. We all need others to help and life is so much more pleasant, effective and profitable when we place nicely with others. People will go the extra mile for those they feel care about them. They will work late and do overtime and jump through hoops if they believe you truly care.

How to Build Better Working Relationships

• Be kind. You have no idea what others are going through in their personal lives.

• Smile and sincerely ask others how they are.

• Share news which will impact others quickly. Come up with solutions to a mutual problem before you even tell them. Be empathetic.

Praise others specifically 92% of American workers say that when they finish a project, their boss says NOTHING! Don't be one of those managers. Thank your people and acknowledge what they have done.

• Do it in writing- thanking others with a written note card goes a long way.

• Share openly with others and invite them to do the same. You don't have to parade your personal problems, but show your vulnerability and authenticity. Be a real person and others will respond.

• Encourage laughter, not at anyone's expense. People are more effective in a safe, fun work environment. Part of how you create that is to make the job enjoyable. Good will goes a long way.

 

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©2015 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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The Worst Boss You Ever Had

 

Could Teach You A Few Things

Over 30 years ago, I had a boss who regularly came in and yelled at the staff.  For no reason.  He just vented his anger at the world onto his staff.  And yet he was brilliant, creative,  andvery effective at sales.  But he was not so good at managing and retaining employees.  No matter how terrific the rest of the job is, if you're being screamed at for no reason, that verbal abuse will drive you away. Few people can tolerate constant demeaning.
 
Here's what I learned from him:
 
• NEVER be a yeller.  That doesn't mean that there aren't days when you're stressed and frustrated, but don't take it out on the people you work with.  If you're that upset, go for a walk, go workout, get in your car with the windows up and yell there.  Just not at people.  Ever.  Really. It's abusive.
 
• Positive specific praise and reinforcement goes a long way. Most people like public recognition and like being told specifically what they did well.  If you really want to thank someone, give them a written note as well; these are rare and amazingly effective. Sticky notes work, too.

• Financial reward only works so far
.  Continual humiliation, denigration, verbal abuse and difficult work environment will drive out even the most dedicated achievers away.  If you want to retain good people, treat them well.
Find out what is important to them and reward accordingly.

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©2014 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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Expect the Best of Others at Work and at Home

Are Looking for the Good or the Bad?

Remember the astonishing statistic that 88% of American workers NEVER receive thanks for the work they have done?  Some managers expect the worst of their employees.  They are constantly micromanaging them, looking for errors, hoping to catch them in a mistake.  This is one of the most destructive ways to lead.  Daniel Pink's book Drive cites studies that show employees want autonomy, competence (the ability to improve) and a sense of purpose to their work.  State very clearly in writing what you expect of your people, review it with them so they understand. Show them the purpose and meaning behind their work. Support and empower them to do their jobs and expect them to succeed.

The same is true at home.  Expect the best of your children; don't be suspicious and fearful. Let them know you believe in them, and their abilities.  Become their cheerleader in all areas.  You'll be astonished at the results.

 

 ©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
or reprinting without permission and author reference

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Track Your Success on Any Goal

The Key to Discipline is Tracking

Cheering womenMost of us in business know we have to track our hours, track our sales efforts and measure our achievements for superiors, clients, etc. But in your personal life, tracking can be equally effective.  Successful weight loss companies know this well.  They have their people track calories, food portions, food weight, etc.  And you can do the same thing with any goal or target by measuring your results.

I do this myself to see how many push-ups I've done, how long I meditated, which exercise I did, certain readings I do, and any other specific goals I have. It works so well- the kid in me loves seeing the checkmarks, stars or stickers I use to measure the behavior. If you'd like a blank chart (30day grid) to add your goals, email me at orders@firedupnow.com and I will send you one.  Keep me posted on your progress-
I'd love to hear from you.

 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
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Look for the Best in Others


What You Think About Does Make a Big Difference

In his new book, Social Intelligence, Daniel  Goleman writes about recent brain research: "One person's inner state affects and drives the other person....We actually catch each other's emotions like a cold." The moresignificant the relationship is, the greater the impact on the other person.   Our thoughts have tremendous power.  The ramifications of  this are interesting.

If you have annoying co-workers or employees, and you continue to think that they are obnoxious or rude, or whatever your belief system is about them, you will unconsciously be creating more of what you don't want in them.  If, on the other hand, you start focusing on their good qualities, both inside yourself and verbally to them, you will help strengthen their positive characteristics and your relationship.

This has great implications for employer-employee relationships, wherea perceptive boss who becomes aware of her/his thoughts, can actually contribute to an employee's greater success... just by the way they think about that employee.

Thoughts are incredibly powerful, so monitor yours carefully and think about what you truly want to create in your life.

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No  duplication 
or reprinting without permission and author reference.

 

Don’t Assume- ASK

Get Clear Information from Someone in the Know

One of the hardest parts of any job is feeling like you are missing critical data you need. Sometimes that data is product and service-related and other times, it is personnel-related. Lately, it might be economy-related and you might not be sure you will have a job next week.

Man overwhelmed with photosIf you are in a situation where you don't know the guidelines, you don't understand the ramifications of a decision, or you're not sure of the politics, ask someone wise whom you trust (preferably someone higher up.)  Explain that you sense there might be something more to a given issue, and that you would like the history of it.  Ask if they could please share their perspective.

Then, make your decision from a more informed viewpoint. There are politics in every job, in every workplace.  Some are minor and insignificant, others are insidious and unfortunately, critical to your success. Diplomacy and tact are key in every workplace, and thinking rather than reacting will serve you well. When in doubt, ask. It is far better than assuming, which can frequently get you in trouble.

 

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
or reprinting without permission and author reference.

A Toxic Employee Can Destroy Your Workplace

Fired Up! Employees Make A Huge Difference

In his book, Social Intelligence, Daniel  Goleman writes about recent brain research:

"One person's inner state affects and drives the other person....We. actually catch each other's emotions like a cold."

The more significant the relationship is, the greater the impact on the other person.  This is why toxic relationships with people who yell or demean us truly make us ill, and why loving, nurturing people make us feel better.

The implications of this research on the workplace are staggering.  You can no longer afford to let that bad apple with the lousy attitude stay on board. He or she is literally poisoning your business.  Angry, hostile managers actually demotivate their employees.

When I first opened my business over 28 years ago, negativity and badmouthing were grounds for firing in my policy manual. I encourage my people to come to each other or to me work things out.  But a bad attitude just does not work for anyone.  You can always train people skills but negativity is a poison that can do great damage to your workplace.

Social intelligence means giving undivided, caring attention to others, demonstrating interest and empathy.  This is what builds relationships and what generates employee enthusiasm and loyalty. So give careful attention to the relationships you are building and the corporate culture you are promoting. Reward others and praise others specifically and publicly. Have a success board of company victories. Celebrate small successes along the way.  Keep Fired Up! people around and your organization will ignite with growth and goodwill.

 

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 ©2012 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No 
duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference.