April and the long-awaited start of spring are here --
an ideal time for reflection and renewal. Why not take
a few moments and look at where you are with your
team's productivity and where you are with your work
relationships -- with those who report to you, with
your peers, and with your boss. The dynamics of the
relationships we have at work are always changing and
sometimes fragile. For success, we need to manage
our own emotions and individualize our communication
with others on a continuing basis. In this issue, we
focus on a few ways to communicate with others and
build stronger relationships in our professional lives.
This often means venturing into less familiar territory,
experimenting, and learning as much about ourselves
as we learn about others. Best wishes, Working
P.S. If you like our newsletter, please use the "Forward
Newsletter" link at the bottom of this page to send it
to your colleagues.
|In this issue...
Love Your Work? What Could Be Better!
Keeping Your Meetings on Track
Managing Anger in a Business Situation
Reaching Out: The Personal and Professional Payoff
Leading within a Context of Difference
|Keeping Your Meetings on Track
Are you accomplishing what you want in the meetings
you lead? Are your meetings productive and do they
use everyone's time well? If you answer "no," your
frustration level may be high and those who attend
your meetings may be even more discouraged. First,
identify the causes. Do you have a goal for each
meeting you hold? Do you lead meetings in a way that
involves attendees as true contributors? Are you
getting sidetracked by disruptive behaviors of others?
The dynamics of a group are important factors in the
success of meetings. Keeping everyone involved is
your respsonsibility. Allowing others to derail your
meeting costs you in productivity and raises
everyone's frustration level. You also lose the respect
of those who come to your meeting with energy and
willingness to contribute. Meetings can be an
important communication tool when used properly.
When misused, they waste time and put you at risk of
being viewed as ineffective.
How to not get sidetracked ... »
|Managing Anger in a Business Situation
Anger is an intense emotion that naturally follows a
triggering action or event. Anger comes when we
sense our needs are not being recognized and met,
when we think we are being treated disrespectfully,
and when we feel we've been betrayed by someone
we trusted. These, as well as other examples, are
legitimate and understandable reasons for anger.
Behaviors trigger our anger. Our responsibility is to
understand the reasons that give rise to our intense
emotions and let them become a source of learning
and growth. We can't say we'll never get angry (and
be realistic). However, we can attempt to understand
what actions and events trigger our anger.
Ten ways ... »
|Reaching Out: The Personal and Professional Payoff
Since conflict is an inevitable part of our work and
personal lives, we are faced often with opportunities
to reach out and rebuild after an emotional
situation. Perhaps the situation calls for calming
someone down, soothing hurt feelings, or making
amends. Experts have determined that the ability to
reach out to break down barriers and build bridges is
one of the most effective behavioral responses a
manager can exhibit in a conflict situaiton. Reaching
out has the effect of de-escalating the conflict,
reducing tension, and keeping the conflict focused on
ideas rather than personalities. Doing so not only builds
and retains relationships worth saving, but it is a key
indicator of successful leadership.
How to begin ... »
|Leading within a Context of Difference
Whether the difference is being a woman in a
male-centered culture, an African-American in a
white-dominated environment, or a white male from
New York working in Japan, the experience of being an
outsider has a powerful effect on one's leadership
development experience. The thoughts below are
excerpted from "What's Different about Different?" by
Ruderman and Livers, February 2004 CCL e-newsletter,
with the permission of the Center for Creative
Leadership. Suggestions are from "Get Going:
Ways to Deal With Difference."
VALUE DIFFERENCE. Understand that differences really
do matter in the workplace.... GET EDUCATED. Learn
as much as you can about difference in terms of race,
gender and culture. But be sure not to limit your view
to generalizations or make broad assumptions. Educate
yourself about individuals as well as groups.... GO OUT
ON A LIMB. Be willing to be uncomfortable. Seek
feedback about your own behaviors in dealing with
difference.... GET TALKING AND WALKING. Engage
racial, gender and cultural issues through discussion
Do you have other ideas? Tell us. »
|Love Your Work? What Could Be Better!
Knowing the employees who report to you also love
their jobs is another great satisfaction.
Research says that employees are willing to give their
best, including their discretionary effort, when they
feel their manager cares about them and when
they are given challenging work. Also important is a
sense of fairness, availability of training, opportunity
for advancement, and a sharing of responsibility for
decisions and outcomes. Pay, benefits, and other
perks have roles in employee satisfaction, but they
have less impact on productivity than previously
thought. In reality, the front-line manager is the key
to attracting and retaining talented employees. The
impact managers have is felt in productivity, profit,
customer satisfaction, and the rate of turnover.
When you think about what motivates you, don't you
want to feel your workplace is one where your
special talents will be put to good use? Isn't feeling
appreciated imperative to your motivation to
The Gallup Organization in a massive research study
found that the quality of the employee's relationship
with the manager determines how long a talented
employee stays with an organization and the
employee's productivity. As a manager, what can you
do to be sure that conditions are optimal for
attracting, motivating, and retaining talented
employees? And for your own career, what
conversation should you be having with your boss so
that you'll be inclined to give your best and not choose
to leave because you feel unappreciated?
Let us know what you think ...