Tag Archives: communication

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compelling leaders

Compelling Leaders Are Better Communicators

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What creates leaders? What creates followers? Do compelling leaders create better followers?

What does it mean to be a leader?

What is leadership?

Two questions that I often ask when helping teams build foundational skills for leadership.

We don’t always stop to think about it and people attempt to connect the dots of leadership with the concept of formal authority. The formal authority suggests that you’ve moved to the position of supervisor, manager, or director.

Formal authority matters. Yet, leadership is about so much more.

Formal authority is often granted to people with the highest credential, the person or persons who have been around the longest, or the ones that demonstrate great depth in technical skills.

Leadership is expected to ensue.

Does it?

Not always.

Are They Communicators?

There are terms often thrown around to indicate people who are compelling.

You can consider phrases like, “street smarts,” or “used car salesman.” Both of these are often quickly identified with someone who can navigate people situations with clever grace.

They create buy-in or can sell beach front property in South Dakota.

They are well skilled in persuasive communication. Most of their skill is developed informally, not through conventional education but through trial and error. They’re observers and they’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.

It is not so much natural as it is a learned skill.

They’ve developed communication skills that allow them to be convincing and compelling.

Compelling Leaders

Every once-in-a-while we encounter a compelling leader.

The compelling leader has a large tool box. He or she can stand toe-to-toe with the formal leaders, and can also create a strong following.

People rarely follow because they are told to do so. People follow because they are compelled to do so.

There is a phrase, a meme of sorts, “Great leaders don’t develop a belief in the leader, they develop a belief in the follower.”

The best news for any leader, formal or otherwise, is that the act of creating a compelling message is a learned skill. Being a great leader is an option. It’s not an appointed position.

Compelling leaders are great learners.

And great communicators.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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factual conversations

Factual Conversations, Opinions, and Leadership

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Do you have factual conversations? What about in the staff meeting, are facts being presented or more of just opinions?

Effective communication is a highly sought-after skill. One great thing about communication is that even just one person on the team learning to be more effective can help team performance.

Have you considered how you verbally communicate? What about your written word in things like email or text messaging?

Workplace Conversation

Imagine at the start of the staff meeting someone is late. Let’s assume that someone is named Susan.

Suddenly a meeting member blurts out, “Let’s just get started, Susan is always late.”

Always?

Nobody wonders whether is Susan is always late, or just late once in a while. Is always a fact or an opinion?

Multiply this concept to the daily narrative floating around your workplace. How much of the communication is factual?

There is an argument to factual communication. The argument is that it is often not as compelling.

Buy our new product, we recently sold 3 to the first customer.

As compared to:

Buy our new product, it’s selling fast.

Opinions are often disguised as facts when they are delivered in a compelling and impact-oriented manner. In addition, when you prey on the recipient’s emotions it often calls people to action.

Fear is a big seller.

Start using this product today. Act now before we’re sold out.

The fear of course, is that if you don’t buy now, there won’t be any left to purchase.

Factual Conversations

Leading in your workplace environment is always about communication. You are often selling. Whether it is selling your ideas, creating buy-in for a change effort, or selling motivation and inspiration.

One of the biggest underlying challenges of leadership is navigating balance. With everything there is a magical balance.

Are you having factual conversations? What is providing the most impact?

The most impact often exists somewhere in the middle. The exact facts matter and often spark action when communicated in a compelling manner.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace intentions

Workplace Intentions Forge Stronger Connections

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What are your workplace intentions? Are you striving to do good work, have effective communication, and foster stronger workplace relationships?

There is almost always some difference between what is said and what is heard.

It may be because we haven’t planned our words wisely, our emotions jumped in the way, or the receiver of the communication misunderstood.

Chances are good that both parties have some responsibility.

It’s true for working with peers, direct reports, and your boss. It is also true when communicating with the customer.

Much of what we hear is based on our expectations. You can recognize a difference in the flow and understanding when someone says, “I wasn’t expecting that.”

Workplace Intentions

Those differences between what one party says and the other party hears are enough to breakdown trust, sour the relationship, and cost the organization money.

An angry customer who feels insulted may leave forever. Their emotion of anger and insult is likely the result of their expectations not being met. Their expectations are often driven by their past experiences or clever advertising, marketing, or sales presentations.

What was the intent?

With co-workers, friends, or customers, your intent compared with their expectations will either forge stronger connections or tear them down.

It may be a good idea to express where you are coming from.

When everyone understands your intentions there is more empathy for communication that feels like a pinch.

Consider the value of recognizing when a salesperson is selling, the boss needs you to shift directions, or your co-worker is giving you some advice. It’s an opportunity to adjust your expectations.

Stronger connections are intentional.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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communication bombs

Communication Bombs Are a Short-Run Game

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Do you drop the bad news and run? What about showing the graph in a PowerPoint and creating fear, confusion, or anxiety? Are communication bombs part of your strategy?

It may not always be intentional. In fact, it may be an attempt to increase motivation. The question is, does it work?

What Kind of Motivation?

Make no mistake that fear motivates many people to action. There are a lot of employees going to jobs every day because they fear for the welfare of their family.

In other words, they need a paycheck.

Yet many people wish for something more than just that check.

Certainly, the check matters and means a lot. However, contributing to something, creating something, serving someone, or working as a team has many benefits beyond the paycheck.

In the workplace, motivation through fear is a short-run game. Long term it tends to divide teams. Often it creates an “us versus them” situation. Organizational leaders are on one side, and front-line employees are on the other.

Communication bombs may confuse, frustrate, or simply be a bad tactic for attempting to achieve a result.

Get this finished before the end of the day.

If you disagree, there is the door.

This chart shows last quarter results, another quarter like this and we’ll all be looking for jobs.

Communication bombs. Drop them and run.

Is this effective?

Deploying Communication Bombs

There may be truth in the intent. It may even spark action and accomplish something.

Is it what you desire?

You have a reputation. Your department and team have a reputation. The business or organization you work for also has a reputation.

Reputations are shared. They’re publicized in conversations everyday.

Drop and run is a good way to hide from facing the real issues at hand.

The executive sometimes only wants results. The employee often wants respect and to be part of something more than just their paycheck.

Leadership and culture live or die through communication.

Long-term everyone has choice.

Short-run games end sooner than you think.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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measuring information quality

Measuring Information Quality and Outcomes

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Are you a good communicator? Are you or the people around you measuring information quality, and if so, how?

There is a tendency to measure information quality by its likability factor.

In other words, if you like what you hear or read, it is good information. If you don’t agree or dislike the information it is bad.

Information should not be judged by its likability.

Quality Judgement

In the workplace people tend to lack comfort in the meeting that puts them on the spot. The meeting that makes them more responsible and accountable, or the one that examines performance.

The information exchange in these cases may be considered good or bad, yet it is often judged by the likability factor. If you like it, it was good, otherwise it was bad.

If your doctor suggests losing some weight, or the dentist has to recommend a root canal. Was this bad information?

Quality should not be a measurement of its content.

Measuring Information Quality

Workplace leaders can and should take special care when delivering information. Especially information that may be unpopular or performance improvement oriented.

Telling people what they want to hear may create a happier moment, yet it is not sustainable.

The best communicators are able to deliver all information, good or bad, with professionalism.

They often do this with honesty, integrity, and with high levels of transparency. Trust becomes a long-term factor for information quality.

If you’re judging the quality of information by the likability factor, you’re going to face a lot of disappointment or the consequences of misleading those around you.

What is worse? Trust will diminish or be non-existent.

Measure information quality by its honesty and integrity. Consider the professionalism involved in both the passion and compassion of the message.

Care about the quality.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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louder voices

Louder Voices Aren’t Always Smarter Voices

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Do you believe everything you hear? Are the people with louder voices saying the right things?

Everyone has a choice for what they choose to believe. It is true for politics, religion, and even our actions and behaviors in public or in your workplace.

Most people are familiar with the concept of the squeaky wheel. The notion that the person who makes the most noise gets the attention.

Is it true?

The best answer is, sometimes.

Louder Voices

Workplace leaders should always self-reflect on what sparks their ideas and directions for making business decisions. We all process information, it may be information we seek or it may be information we stumble upon.

Louder is a metaphorical expression, not necessarily connected to volume. It’s true, some people are just louder than others.

In modern circles louder often comes from the network. The community of people who come together with similar ideas, values, or beliefs. They tend to shout, sometimes loudly, and they are often heard.

When evidence seems to appear that corroborates the noise they recently received, it becomes an apparent truth.

While it is important for everyone to consider the information they give. It is just as important to consider the information you receive.

In workforce circles there is often a discussion of workplace politics. It has to do with how people navigate the boss, the circles of gossip, rumors, and the content of the secret meeting.

Louder voices seem to often get the stage and the microphone.

Just because they are louder it doesn’t mean it is smarter.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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remote team connections

Remote Team Connections Still Matter

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Are you staying connected? Remote team connections will matter because not only do they keep everyone up-to-date, they create camaraderie that is irreplaceable.

Human interaction has mattered long before we had sophisticated systems that enable commerce opportunities. Long before quality was measured and before customer service became a thing.

As modern people we rely on the people that serve us.

It may be friendly help at the hardware store to make sure we get the right kind of screws. It may be the pet food supplier who gives us comfort that we’re giving our pet the best. Perhaps it is our medical doctor who pauses long enough to really listen and make us feel that someone understands.

In your workplace, there is often more happening than just the art of the actual work performed. There is the fulfillment of other human needs that may not be what the CEO is directly paying people to accomplish.

Remote Team Connections

People working together accomplish more than what a single standalone person may achieve.

There are different talents and abilities, backgrounds and education, and even motivation and team enthusiasm styles.

This is the root why connections still matter. Sure, there are many other aspects of your connections. However, when things split apart and more and more people are working remotely for the greater good of the organization, those relationships are still going to matter.

People are disrupted, disconnected, and many are afraid.

It is during times like this when reaching out, doing the hard and exhausting work, listening, caring, and demonstrating empathy make a difference.

During a disaster or major disruption connections take center stage.

-DEG

Two important webinars are happening soon. Managing Remote Work Teams and Mastering Work From Home.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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purposeful remote communication

Purposeful Remote Communication Is Responsible

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Are you providing purposeful remote communication or are you really just adding to the clutter? Communication can be tricky and easily misunderstood. Now is your opportunity to get it right.

Would you communicate differently in the workplace with ten, thirty, or five hundred colleagues than you would on a social media thread?

Most people realize that using all caps in written text implies yelling. Many people are also familiar with LOL and a smiley face. Is this different from live, face-to-face interactions?

Of course it is.

Now more than ever people are working remotely, working from home, and the way they traditionally communicate has been disrupted.

In a traditional office meeting, a workplace huddle, or strategy session people gather together to communicate. Sometimes there is an agenda, sometimes they are free-wheeling.

Traditional environments don’t really have a time delay, there isn’t any video problems or degradation. People can sense you want to speak by a change in body position, a raised hand, or a clearing of your throat.

Most people remain polite. One person speaks at a time. The conversation happens at an appropriate pace. Not too slow, and not too fast. Questions and two-way communication are usually offered even though it isn’t always embraced.

Purposeful Remote Communication

Remote communication is different. Whether it is written, provided over the telephone, or happening via a video-based chat. It is different because the physical environment is different. People expect similar etiquette, yet sometimes there are additional challenges.

Consider this, every time you add, remove, or change the methods and means of communicating the risk of miscommunication increases.

Written is different from verbal. When we receive the contract, we ask for an explanation.

In writing lasts longer too.

A video recording may provide additional clues and even come with a transcript.

Work related communication should be intentional. It should be purposeful and carefully constructed. Reading, writing, listening, and professional etiquette also matter.

All communication is not the same. Working remotely makes the challenges different, the perceptions more subjective, and the outcomes more nebulous.

Errors and misunderstandings have high costs.

Everyone has a responsibility for effective communication. Communicate concisely, on purpose and with purpose. Make it a two-way street.

-DEG

Interested to learn more about working and communicating remotely? Join in upcoming working remote webinars.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace conspiracy plan

Workplace Conspiracy Plan and Your Involvement

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Do you have harmful conflict in your workplace? Is someone throwing you into their workplace conspiracy plan?

What is the drama floating around the office, in the breakroom, or on the plant floor?

People are often consciously or subconsciously trying to get you involved. Should you?

They ask you a question, target your emotions, and hope that you’ll provide a response and spread the word.  

You are expected to offer an opinion, pay closer attention to the drama, and get others interested.

Do you put it on your agenda? Consciously or subconsciously? When someone tells you some juicy gossip do you start working for their cause?

Workplace Conspiracy Plan

People often wonder how the rumors start and why others choose to engage? Unknowingly, many participate.

One way to stop the conspiracy is to choose not to participate.

Stay focused on results. Focus on the metrics, the comparison to the goal, and stay focused. When you drift into giving the gossip traction, by giving it attention, you are a contributor.

Things often don’t seem to get better when we give gossip and harmful conflict more attention.

Certainly, managing conflict requires more than one approach. It requires a big toolbox of skills that allow graceful and resilient navigation.

The last thing you want to do is be a contributor. A carrier, the mule who totes around the conspiracy to derail real workplace performance.

When you choose to do things that matter rather than do things that are harmfully juicy you’ve made the right choice.

Choose what you get involved in carefully.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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marketing perspective

Marketing Perspective and the Change You Seek

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Change is always happening. It is happening in front of you, of me, and your neighbors and friends. Is change somehow based on a marketing perspective?

You’ve heard before that we all sell. Guess what? We all market too. We advertise what’s happening, what the direction is, and which path to follow.

Not everyone agrees, and sometimes that is the beauty of it all.

Throw something on the wall and what sticks may be what matters the most or at least is the hardest to remove.

Change and Pivot

The change, pivot, or transformation that you are in right now is conditioned by marketing. Yes, of course, it may be some form of push marketing, but it may also be compelling. Pulling others along.

Marketers, all of us, are responsible for what happens next. The narrative we tell, the examples we give, and the expectations of future outcomes that we set. We’re all involved.

Marketing is a powerful tool and with great power comes great responsibility.

You have a responsibility to do the right thing.

Is the change you’re involved with right now, the right thing? Is the jury still out?

Marketing Perspective

Sometimes the best change takes more time. It isn’t a light switch with a full on or full off. Things aren’t always black and white. In some cases, step A and B need to materialize before the end result of C reveals itself.

You don’t want to get a bad rap for being a bad marketer. The perspective that you create, the one wrapped around your presence and wisdom is the one choice you will always have.

Be sure you are doing the work that matters. The work that creates the kind of change that makes you and others proud.

Sometimes all we need is a little more marketing perspective.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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