Last week I received some feedback that really disturbed me. Someone had written on an evaluation form that my training program was “very average.” Admitting this in public feels awkward but I learned something that I feel compelled to share.
“I’m the front desk person for a child protection agency. Clients come to our office after their children have been taken from them. They are angry, confused, embarrassed, and want their kids back. They don’t see themselves as responsible for what happened. In their view, our agency did this to them.
“These clients often yell and swear at me. I still need to be professional and polite. I’ve been in my job for just a couple of months and already the stress is getting to me. What can I do to defuse these hostile interactions?
Do you ever feel like Miss Faversham or her boss? What would bring her up to speed in today’s world?
Rapid changes in business, technology and society demand greater flexibility and nimbleness. But the tried and true ways to stimulate behavior change can’t keep up.
Okay, I’m going out on a limb here and posting a reflection piece rather than something with specific takeaways. Although, in this case, my reflections did have concrete positive results.
We often take our dreams less seriously than we take a box of Cheerios in the grocery store. We timidly say, “I want to write a book,” Or “I hope to take a vacation in the Grand Canyon.”
Want to bring out the best in people? Create conditions for them to come alive? As with many elements of human interaction, it’s simple but not easy.
Here's a secret: Listen to them. Really listen.
I’m feeling deeply saddened by the state of the world. There seems to be a rapid acceleration of discord, a black hole threatening to devour all that is good.
The day after the San Bernardino tragedy, during my regular gratitude practice, I reflected on the question, “What do I want more of in my life today?”
What I’m about to share isn’t rocket science. However, it is neuroscience.
Happiness is a practice, not just a personality trait.
Have you ever done things that you wish other people would do just because it’s easier to do them yourself?
Of course, most people have. And do you then resent how much you have on your plate and wish the workload were distributed more evenly?
I had such an experience recently.
This week, we’re revisiting Naomi, a public sector leader facing a truly wicked problem.
She’s just lost half her team as the result of a big reduction in force in her agency. She’s working long hours, as are the remaining members of her team. She knows none of them can continue this pace but she hasn’t figured out a way forward. She’s afraid her standards of quality and timeliness are going to slip.
“I am so frustrated,” Shawna declared.
“What’s going on?” Roger asked.
“Three years ago I did some training for a company in Maryland. It was a one-time event that went very well. Eight months ago, they contacted me again and asked if I could do a similar event. I agreed and we scheduled it. The day of the training, I showed up at their site and nothing was set up. The room was a mess and no one knew anything about the training.
Have you been following the Volkswagen emissions scandal (also dubbed “Dieselgate”)? If so, you know that VW has gotten caught intentionally programming many of their diesel engines to meet emissions tests only during lab testing. Emissions during driving were up to 40 times higher.
VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned from his position and is also stepping down as head of the Porsche holding company that owns a majority of VW stock.
Noami sank into her chair at the head of the conference table and surveyed the room. She was minutes away from starting her weekly staff meeting and the table was half full. There would be no one else joining the team today.
Two weeks ago, there had been twelve people sitting around the table.
Leaders in every arena need a personal and coherent story that describes their views on what leadership is and what leaders do.
You might argue that you know it when you see it. Sure, that’s possible. But that kind of intuitive leadership leaves you without adequate tools to deepen your own practice or to communicate your approach to others.
No matter what industry you’re in, customer service is part of the job. Whether it’s human services, the airline industry or product sales, you have to interact with the people who use your services or products.
Customer service can be a tricky business.
I just finished a glorious two-week vacation. The weather was almost too perfect, if that’s possible. After a week of blue skies, with temps in the low 80s, I was ready to take a day off and putter around the house. But I’m not complaining. It was exactly the vacation I had envisioned. Plus I got a chance to read an interesting book that floated to the top of my stack just before heading to the Vineyard.
In spite of high hopes for vacation’s restorative effects, it doesn’t always turn out that way. Want to come back from vacation feeling renewed and ready to resume your everyday life?
No matter where you are in your career, you will probably attend meetings where you feel out of your element.
Have you ever hit a wall with a project that’s important to you? Just couldn’t will yourself to take that next step? Or maybe you couldn’t even remember what the next step was?
The Gift of Feedback
What if I were to tell you that getting feedback is a great way to achieve your goals? You’d probably tell me I’m full of it. Feedback is just something I have to get through so people will leave me alone.
Seriously, feedback can be a great gift. It’s a window into what you don’t know about yourself that’s impossible to learn any other way.