Simple Practices That Work Wonders to Improve Teamwork

What keeps you up at night?

If you have teammates, it's most likely one of them. Maybe it’s more than one person. You lie awake thinking about Jennie. How did you avoid addressing her tardiness yet again? And what are you going to say when you do? Why does Warren regular undermine you at staff meetings? And what can you do about it?

Many of my coaching conversations are about working in teams. But it doesn't have to be that difficult. Sure, you've got to address serious team issues head-on. But fostering a positive team culture can help reduce negative team interactions in the first place.

3 (Almost) Magical Tricks to Zap Stress, Solve Conflicts, and Ease Through Life

Remember this scary experience from childhood?

You hear a sound. It’s not loud but it’s unfamiliar. Your heart starts to beat faster. You think you should go investigate but you’re scared. What if it’s something really bad?

As grown-ups, we experience the magic trick, too. 

Perhaps you get yourself worked up about a conversation with a colleague that you fear will turn into a conflict. You even put off having the conversation to avoid the conflict. Then you think, “How ridiculous, just do it!” And all at once the tension is gone, the conversation goes smoothly and you even have a laugh together. 

How does that happen? 

Suddenly, the sound is gone, and the air feels familiar again. You feel calm and safe.

It’s like a magician appeared and waved a wand. “How did that happen?” you may wonder. The magician eyes you slyly and says, “Sleight of hand, my dear. Anyone can do it. Do you want me to teach you?”

Stop Telling Your Friends How Busy You Are!

Sound Familiar?

Imagine this…

You’re at the airport, heading on a last minute business trip. You’re distracted, mulling over the meeting agenda. Another part of your brain is angsting over what you’ve forgotten in your haste.

Waiting in the security line, you notice an acquaintance standing nearby.  It’s someone you’ve had a couple of intriguing conversations with, and you’re curious about getting to know him better.

He makes eye contact, then asks, warmly, “What’s up?”

Without even thinking, you blurt, “I’m soooo busy!”


The 4 Best Ways to Get Your People Excited About Doing Their Job

Charlotte’s Conundrum

Charlotte dreads her upcoming meeting. She has to give performance feedback to James, one of her longtime employees. He’s frequently late on project deadlines; each time he has a different—and plausible—explanation. But there’s a pattern affecting his relationships with his co-workers and she has to deal with his behavior.

Quick Fixes and Cat Treats

Are you guilty of taking a “ready, fire, aim” approach to the problems you face? It’s not uncommon, especially when you experience strong pressure to find solutions quickly.  Being solution-oriented is a good thing but that’s often equated with taking action without really understanding the nature of the problem.

The thing is­—and you’ve probably experienced this—when we jump to solutions too quickly, we might make the problem go away in the short run. Unfortunately, it often comes back again, along with a whole host of unintended consequences that make matters even worse.

Jumpstarting Goal Achievement

It’s that time of year when we often review our accomplishments and set goals for the coming year.  It’s a natural time to wind down, take stock and do some reflection. Maybe you have a challenging new fitness goal in mind, or want to up your game as a leader. Or it could be that you’re determined to start saving for the anniversary trip you’ve thought about for quite some time.

Whatever your goals, it’s easy to get derailed midway between aspiration and achievement.  To be honest, it’s easy to get derailed before even getting started.

3 Keys to Coaching Up

“I love everything we’ve been doing together but I wish somebody was coaching my boss. She could certainly learn some of these skills!” exclaimed Diana.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“She’s just impossible. She never listens to me when I go to her with a problem, she just tells me what to do and then goes back to checking email.”

“That sounds frustrating. What have you tried?”

“Tried? Are you kidding? I’ve had to come up with major workarounds so I can get things accomplished without dealing with her. It’s hopeless!”

The Twitter Feedback Challenge

First, a confession: I have no idea how to use Twitter. Actually, it scares me. What will happen if I put a hashtag before a phrase? What’s this about “retweeting”? What the purpose of retweeting and where does it go? 

Prompted by a news story in which the commentator stated that Twitter is the best way to propagate a message across all social media, I decided to figure out how to use it.  

The other morning after breakfast, I logged onto my account (yes, I do have an account!). To my surprise and consternation, I discovered there are 20 people following me. Who knew? And what is my obligation to them? That doesn’t seem like a lot, but I have no idea how it happened!

But I digress, slightly. My theme for this post is actually how to give good feedback in 19 words or less.

Avoid Falling Back on Old Patterns

Does this sound familiar?

You’re part of a team, family or group that works well together, for the most part. But you’ve got some relationship dynamics that could be improved.

Maybe you avoid conflict but then let unsaid thoughts and feelings fester. Or habitually find yourselves in a blame-defend dynamic.

Whatever the dynamics, if you could successfully address them, you’d all be getting along great, and you’d accomplish wonderful results together.

But, there’s a catch.

The Secret to Successful Delegation

Everybody in a leadership role knows the importance of delegation. If you’re doing everyone else’s work, you’re not doing your own. Plus, well thought out delegation is a surefire way to develop your people. You need to give them a chance to try new things and grow professionally.

From a purely self interested perspective, effective delegation gives you a chance to recover, work reasonable hours and get to your kids’ sports games.

If the benefits of delegation are so well understood, why is this the topic of a lot of my coaching? Why do leaders report that delegation is such a challenge for them?

Plays Well with Others

Many of my clients are interested in simple fixes that can enhance their interactions at home and at work.

They’re looking for small behavioral changes with a big pay off:

  • Warmer, more appreciative interactions with family
  • Teams that work productively without a lot of drama
  • Staff who are engaged and motivated to do their best work

What if I told you there’s a simple fix that not only improves the quality of relationships but has also been proven to enhance the bottom line? It’s not a magic bullet, but there might be a ripple effect of positive results if you pay attention to this one thing.

How to Enhance Workplace Engagement and Results

Leaders often feel like they’re between a rock and a hard place. They want to create a workplace culture where people are motivated and engaged. They also must produce solid business results. They know engagement contributes to achieving business results over the long run. But they’re often too busy putting out fires to slow down and focus on the “soft skills.”

Does this sound familiar?

The Smile Experiment

These days, conversations with friends and colleagues have a tone of concern, even anxiety.  The presidential election is over. No matter which candidate you favored, it was eye opening to uncover the deep divisions in this country. Confronted with this, it’s tempting to wring one’s hands, get angry or disengage. But I recently learned something encouraging and highly actionable: Happiness spreads.