3 Tips for Collaboration to Resolve Conflict

Sam recently facilitated a team meeting to discuss implementing a new LEAN initiative.  The team discusses the potential benefits and pitfalls of the change.  There is a lively conversation by 4 of the 6 team members.  The other 2 team members sit quietly with their arms folded and listen to the discussion.  The team agrees on an implementation plan and leaves excited to launch the new process.  The 2 quiet team members are overheard stating “this is a stupid process, it will never work” as they leave. Sam can use a Collaborative approach to resolve the conflict on his team.  A Collaborative approach involves the following 3 steps: Look for a way to satisfy both your concern and the other person’s concern. Collaborate or resolve the problem by valuing both your goals and the relationship View the conflict as a problem to be solved by brainstorming solutions which are agreeable to everyone involved Look for new alternative solutions Offer suggestions to continue the problem solving conversation, “How does this sound…” Sam called a meeting with the 2 quiet employees that afternoon.  He summarized his perspective from the meeting, which was they were quiet and seemed to have unvoiced concerns about the change.  Sam asked them to share their concerns about the new process with him.  Sam listened intently with a desire to understand and asked clarifying questions.  Once he had heard their concerns, they brainstormed solutions that addressed their concerns and strengthened the new process.  They left the meeting receptive to implementing the new process and Sam shared their brainstorming ideas with other departments who were also implementing the...

BEER Coaching Model

Stephen called to share that every time he gave performance feedback to one of his employees, she started crying.   He had tried to keep a box of tissues in the room, stepped out to let her compose herself, and started the conversation with praise.  Nothing seemed to work. Here are the tips I shared with Stephen for giving constructive feedback: Give feedback in private Open conversation by indicating this is a coaching conversation, to prepare the employee We need to discuss . . . . Recently I’ve noticed you struggle with . . . It’s come to my attention that . . . . Deal with one issue at a time, be specific, truthful and offer credible feedback Give feedback immediately, use I statements – I observed. . . . Make sure the employee is ready to receive the feedback Motivate the employee to want to change their behavior to get different results – how does the change benefit them? Treat them professionally with dignity and respect Explain  your performance expectations Give suggestions to improve performance Don’t communicate in anger Confirm understanding and allow time for the employee to ask questions In honor of the craft breweries in Colorado, I developed the BEER Coaching Model which managers can use to successfully deliver performance feedback: B = Behavior you observed, briefly describe it and be specific Hear their story and allow them to explain their positive intentions E = Explore Options for Improvement Share how the change in behavior or performance benefits them E = Engage employee in solution What can we do so this doesn’t happen again? How can...

5 Things Every Employee Wants to Know

When I survey groups of managers and employees about their perception of the performance evaluation process, most of them either love the process and feel it is one of the most productive conversations they have all year, or they dread the process and feel that it is almost painful and leaves them demotivated. There are very few who shrug their shoulders and think it is “ok”. No matter which end of the Performance Appraisal Spectrum you fall, here are tips to make your performance appraisal more productive and motivational for you and your employees! A Fortune 500 company surveyed 30,000 employees to identify what information was most important to their development and what information would help retain them at the company. While the feedback was diverse, there were 5 themes that became readily apparent. What level of performance is expected of me? What is my current level of performance relative to the company’s expectations? In what areas do I need to improve and what steps do I need to take to upgrade my current level of performance? What are my career opportunities with this company? What is the payoff for my contribution? These 5 questions are applicable to all organizations and universal to most employees. Consider including them in your performance appraisal conversation to ensure a more meaningful discussion with your employees. As you prepare for your performance appraisal conversation, you may feel like you have an abundance of data about your employees’ performance, or you don’t have enough. Here are some tips to assist you in preparing for your performance appraisal conversation. 3 Bonus Tips for effective Performance...

What I Learned About Diversity by Clowning Around

You would not expect a middle-age, middle-class, executive to be a clown. It doesn’t seem like an “executive” or “middle” thing to do. Yet I have relished the experience several times in community parades. For one evening a year, I have the opportunity to be someone else and interact with my community in a completely different way. As a Human Resource Executive, my passion has been to hire and develop a diverse workforce. I’ve redesigned recruitment and promotion strategies to attract a more diverse candidate pool and won Business Diversity Awards from The Urban League of Wichita and the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). Yet I have the stigma of being a professional white woman. I have read the studies that professional white women tend to hold their purses tighter or move them to the other side of their bodies when a minority man approaches. I am ashamed to admit that I have modeled this behavior. So I tried an experiment, instead of moving my purse, I look teenage boys or gentlemen in the eye, smile, and say “hi”. Not everyone responds, some look away and pretend not to hear me; however many smile and say “hi” back. My experience has been positive or neutral; it is never negative. So with this perspective, I transform into a clown. Our parade audience includes all races, genders, ages, disabilities, socio-economic status, and experience. We “high-5” the kids in the crowd and people smile, wave and laugh. A 4 year old girl holds her arms out and announces “I want a hug!” I knelt down to her level and held...

Daring to Delegate

You are usually promoted to a manager because you have outstanding technical skills and delivered accurate results in a timely manner. One of the most challenging management skills to learn is delegation. Why would you give away the job duties you excel at? Typical agreements for not delegating include efficiency and concern for others: Efficiency –  it will take 30-45 minutes to explain the job  I will have to answer questions during the project  Then proof the work, explain the mistakes, double check to ensure the mistakes are corrected  I could do the work in less than half the time it takes to delegate  Tough to remember the trade-off between short term inefficiency and long-term efficiency by delegating the work and getting it off your desk. Concern for Others –  Your team has so much on their plate already, you don’t want to overly stress them  You would rather work late yourself than inconvenience your team.  You can complete it in less time, so doing the work is less inconvenient for you I agree your arguments are logical and rational. Now let’s focus on you. As a manager, you have assumed new responsibilities for getting work done through others, developing your team to perform at their best, managing projects to meet deadlines and ensure your team delivers a quality product. Here is your reality check – you had a full time job and now you have been given another one. If you don’t delegate, you will have 2 jobs, so it is a necessary skill in order for you to lead...

Get Results from your Training Investment!

When you invest in training, do you wonder if your employees just had a fun day and will return to their same routine once they come back to work?  Most companies make a significant investment in training their workforce, only to be disappointed by the results. Here are some tips you can use to get results from your training dollars! Discover what your employees are learning.  Once you understand the new behaviors they have learned, you can recognize when they are practicing these skills at work and reward their new behavior.  If you haven’t attended the training personally, ask to see the agenda or review the training materials with the employee when they return to the office. Ask the employee what they plan to implement from the training they attended and how you can support them.  Listen to their ideas for implementing the new skills or behaviors they learned at training and offer suggestions that have worked well for you. Catch them doing things Right!  When you see the new behaviors, praise them!  Even if it isn’t perfect, praise the attempt and offer suggestions to enhance the implementation of their new skills.  What gets rewarded, gets repeated.  What gets ignored, gets forgotten. Practice the new behaviors yourself!  If your employee is trying to show more appreciation to dependable, long-term employees; make sure you show appreciation to your employees too.  Be a great role model for the behavior you want to see on your team. Be consistent.  Follow up every 2 weeks until the new behavior becomes a habit, which usually takes 90 days.  Then follow up monthly to reinforce...