Be Assertive Without Being A Dic…Tator

It is a commonly held thought that only strong assertive people get on in the workplace and that you won’t be successful if you are shy. This is not necessarily true and the good news is that assertiveness can be learned. Learn More

Helping Staff With Their Personal Problems

If you are an empathetic and thoughtful manager, chances are that at times your staff will approach you with their personal problems that might be affecting their work, or home life, or both.

Here are some ideas to help you in these sometimes awkward situations;

* Make sure your team member sees that you take such problems seriously. This means you may have to leave the office and go somewhere quiet. Constant interruptions from phone, emails, other employees, etc. show that you aren’t really concerned. If it’s really not a good time for you, say so, and immediately set aside a specific time to discuss it with them

* Encourage your team member to talk by listening actively. Be re-assuring by not judging, and by rephrasing and summarising. Ask questions to clarify, if necessary. Your behaviour is the key to a successful session. Try to be empathetic and supportive

* Note any hidden meanings, like blame or over-sensitivity. Listen to expressions and mannerisms and especially watch body-language

* Isolate the problem. Having got through the web of detail and emotions, identify the core problem and its probable cause. Analyse the true problem, not just the symptoms

* Work towards solutions. Remember that the aim is for your team member to solve the problem for themselves. Ask what options they see. If necessary, make tentative suggestions, like ‘how about this for an idea…’ or ‘one option might be….’. Decide what the pros and cons might be

* Encourage them in whatever decision they make. Naturally, there will be many areas where you simply aren’t able to offer advice, and you may have to suggest they see a professional to sort out some of the deeper problems they may be experiencing

* Finally, never betray a trust. Your team member will appreciate it if the discussions are kept private, unless they agree to having someone else help out. Remember your purpose in all of this…to help the team member through the situation.

Sometimes, all they want is a hearing ear, someone to bounce their problems around with. Resist the temptation to give advice in areas you are unfamiliar with. Just asking the right questions can sometimes help. When you’ve done the best you can, your team mate may be able to solve it themselves, or at least find a way forward. And you might gain yourself a high-performing employee again.

Thanks again

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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5 Tips for Improving Your Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills and communication skills go hand in hand but are not the same thing. Communication skills involve your ability to convey an idea, but your interpersonal skills convey your ability to do such in a manner that is appealing. Your interpersonal skills define they way you interact with your employees. People with bad interpersonal skills usually have bad communication skills by default.

As a manager, you shoud constantly be striving to improve your interpersonal skills. Here are 5 things you can do to become better at dealing with your fellow managers, coworkers, and team members.

  1. Pay attention to what others are saying and doing. Pay attention to your team members on both a professional and personal level. Is one of your team members having a difficult time – dealing with an illness or family tragedy? Is someone getting married or having a baby? Acknowledge both the ups and downs and show you appreciate them on all levels.
  2. Keep smiling, no matter what is going on in your life. I know that sounds hard, but if you never smile, your friends and coworkers won’t want to be around you. Try to stay as positive in attitude as possible. Everyone understands a bad day. Just don’t make it a habit.
  3. Adopt an active listening strategy. Repeat what was said in your response, look the person who is speaking to you in the eye, and offer positive responses. Make sure the people you are speaking with know you are paying attention and understand the actions you intend to take in response.
  4. Practice empathy, or the ability to see a situation from someone else’s perspective. Even if you don’t agree with a situation, an empathetic response will prove you at least understand it.
  5. Help to resolve any conflicts in your workplace as quickly as possible. If members of your team constantly bicker, bring them together and try to mediate the situation. The faster you diffuse tension the less likely it is to turn into a long-term situation.

Try your best to connect with the people you work with. Communicating is one thing – identifying with them as you communicate is another.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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Enhancing Your Interpersonal Skills

Something we don’t necessarily talk about enough is your level of interpersonal skills. Your interpersonal skills dictate your ability to communicate and deal with other individuals on a regular basis. If you lack interpersonal skills you may find yourself labeled as difficult to communicate with, stubborn, aloof, or any of a number of negative descriptions.

In order to develop great interpersonal skills you need to focus on four main qualities. These can be summarised easily by remembering the STAR acronym.

  • S = Sensitivity. You need to be aware of the different needs of each of the people on your team. No two people are alike, and each will need to be treated differently.
  • T = Tolerance. Not everyone you work with will have the same beliefs. You need, especially as a manager, to be able to set aside your own personal beliefs so that you can objectively work with and understand the beliefs of your employees. Tolerance applies not only to cultural and religious beliefs but to individual work ethic as well (within reason, of course).
  • A = Assertion. You’re the manager. You’re in charge. You have the final say. You don’t have to be arrogant or rude to get your point across but if you see something about to go wrong you do need to have the guts to stand up for yourself and your ideas.
  • R = Restraint. We all have times where we want to say or do something inappropriate. You need to have the presence of mind to stop and think before speaking or taking action. If you need help, go back and brush up on some of your anger management tactics.

Get all four of these factors under control and you’re bound to build beautiful relationships with your team members and fellow managers. Let one slip and you may just find you aren’t necessarily a favourite within your office.

Thanks again,

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

http://www.mtdtraining.com

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