Self-Awareness Workshops

Team Building: Expectations and Workplace Relationships

The leaders and employees I train frequently talk to me about not feeling like they connect with certain people in the workplace.  It’s almost as if they expect the other person to behave a certain way or read their mind.  This is a very common experience in workplace relationships: One person expects a certain kind of interaction while the other seems oblivious.  This dynamic leads to a lot of frustrated people and poorly functioning teams.

The difficulty arises when people hold on to their expectations even when they see repeated evidence that they will never get what  they want.  They hang on to their hopes for a long time waiting for something to magically change.  Expectations can easily become an obstacle to building positive workplace relationships because they expect things to go a certain way rather than working with what’s in front of them.

No amount of hope can change the course of your work relationships and you can’t wish your way out of a negative situation.  The only way you can introduce positive energy into your relationships is by taking action and doing things that change the patterns you’ve established.

Changing the way you do things is the only way to affect your situation.  No amount of hope or expectations can take the place of applying effective behaviors such as excellent communication, team building or problem solving skills.  The great news is that you can do things to change the course of your work relationships, it just takes some courage and taking action to move in a different direction.

Take care,


How to Start a Dialogue on Diversity

Many organizations find themselves struggling with diversity not because they don’t care about the subject but, rather, because they haven’t really talked about what it means to their company.  For anyone looking for a way to start a frank dialogue I frequently recommend simply doing it.  The following questions will help you start a conversation.

What does diversity mean to us?

How can diversity help our company?

In what ways do we already celebrate diversity?

How does diversity fit in with our company values?

What can we do to bring everyone to the table?

Is our company ready to include everyone at the table?

How can we use diverse points of view to succeed?

Organizations sometimes hesitate about starting diversity initiatives because they haven’t yet noticed what a gold mine they are sitting on.  When we harness the power of all our staff our organizations become stronger and we can draw on a much larger pool of talents and ideas.   The more we talk about how diversity can benefit our company the less we worry about it.

Focusing on using diversity as an asset is a fundamental shift that many companies use to their advantage.  They likely all started by asking themselves questions about what diversity means to their company and how they can use it to become stronger.

Now it’s your turn, what will you do to start a dialogue?

Take care,


Political Correctness in the Workplace

A lot of people ask me about political correctness and how it affects the workplace.   I tend to think in terms of what behaviors will get us the best results instead of getting stuck in the who-can-say-what-and-when approach.  What seems to work best for highly effective people and workplaces is to practice behaviors that build people up and encourage them to succeed.

Think of the results a leader gets from her people if she says certain things that bring them down versus how they will perform if she encourages them.  Imagine yourself in a situation where someone is constantly “joking” at your expense and then tells you to get over it.  How motivated would you be to do your best work?

If you think about it, people simply see things in different ways and come from different backgrounds.  There’s not a right or wrong to this concept, people just aren’t all the same.  This diversity of ideas, values and skills can help us build stronger workplaces or destabilize them, it’s up to us which path we take.

So ask yourself the following questions to see where you stand on political correctness.  Remember that the questions are not about being right or wrong, they just lead in different directions in the workplace.

  • Do you say things that seem hurt other people?
  • Do you find yourself in conflict with others frequently?
  • Do you have to stop yourself from saying certain things?
  • Do you see all people as equal?
  • Do you treat yourself well?
  • Do you consistently walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?
  • Do you say certain things only around certain people?
  • Do you consistently look for people’s strengths?
  • Do you believe someone always needs to be on top?
  • Do you wish others were more like you?

Your answers to these questions generate predictable results in the workplace.  For example, if you frequently say things that seem to hurt others you will achieve a certain type of result on morale, motivation, productivity, cohesiveness, collaboration and any number of other factors.  If you do the opposite you will have another set of outcomes.  Notice that it’s not about good and evil, it’s just that certain behaviors will make you more effective in the workplace.

Ultimately, political correctness isn’t about other people, it’s about you.  You get to decide how effectively you interact with others and what kind of results you get.  This gives you a lot of power to go out there and create a successful workplace.

Take care,


Leadership Training: The Secret to a Successful Organization

My training clients frequently ask me how to achieve meaningful success in their workplaces.  There’s really no secret to it, you can actually create success by taking small actions and building toward your goals.  Try using the following practical approach to achieve success as you define it.  Follow each of the steps in order and you’ll be on your way to creating your ideal situation.

  • Name one specific thing you would like to improve in your organization.  Give it a specific and clear name and write it down. This is your goal.
  • Decide on a concrete and achievable date by when you will achieve this goal.
  • Brainstorm ideas that will help you reach this goal.  Write your ideas down and dont’ worry about whether they are perfect or not.
  • Prioritize your ideas from most vital to least; from most critical to least urgent.
  • Pick one idea to work on.  Work on it to completion.
  • Evaluate whether you need to do more to achieve your original goal. If so, begin the process again, if not, you have completed your goal.
  • Repeat the process as many times as necessary.

This approach is a practical way for leaders to systematically identify their goals and do specific things to achieve them.  Follow these steps repeatedly and, over time, and you will be building a positive way of creating success in your organization.  How will you get the process started?

Take care,


Team Building: Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict in the workplace can be painful and sap your energy.  My clients often ask me what to do about a employee who they can’t get along with or people who are in constant conflict.  It can be tricky to deal with workplace conflict because most organizations don’t have strategies beyond reprimands and other punishments.

Our workplaces sometimes seem like we give people a free pass to hurt each other.  We would like to think we know how to deal with conflict but we end up enduring feuds that last years.

So how can you reduce conflict in your workplace?  Here’s a couple of ideas to think about:

1. Develop a strategy to deal with conflict.  Set up clear goals, expectations and parameters and ask for input from leadership and staff.

2. Inform everyone that this is the new way of doing things and train them to make sure everyone is on the same page.

3. Inform your workplace that you have resources in place to help people work things out.

4. Work with your leaders and employees to give them the skills to resolve their own conflicts.

5. Set the example and consistently behave in a way that reduces conflict.

6. Develop an ongoing conflict resolution training program and participate actively in it.

7. Expect resistance to your new ideas about conflict.  Things will settle in once you train people and they get a chance to practice the new skills.

Healthy workplaces help their leaders and employees resolve their own conflicts in peaceful and lasting ways.  As a leader, you set the example for how conflict is viewed and dealt with in your organization.  You can start designing a conflict resolution program today that will help you create a workplace where people get along and aren’t at each other’s throats all the time.  Where will you start?

Take care,