Category Archives: Communication

Lost feedback

Did you ever miss a point someone tried to give you? Perhaps you thought it was a random suggestion and swatted it away with a quick rejection, or with justification of the excellence of your position. I wonder if that was lost feedback. >

Hacks for mentoring

I was asked to follow up from last week’s post with more hacks for mentoring. New supervisors are often uncomfortable giving direction to those who just recently were peers. Being a first-time supervisor is probably the most difficult step in a leaders journey. So, let’s start with your mental game. >

Receiving feedback

Is it easy for you to receive feedback? For most of my life, you could give me positive feedback all day long. I would tend to dismiss it, but I’d be emotionally happy. If i received negative feedback, my stomach clenched as my jaw froze into a slight tight smile, which may have looked like terror. >

Giving feedback

Do you give fair and accurate informal feedback to your direct reports? Teams that do outperform by 40%. Would getting better at giving feedback and receiving it help your company perform better?

Dr. Eve Meceda spoke to my Vistage groups about mindset and gave us a set of clues for how to give fair, accurate informal feedback. My favorite was “to say it how they can hear it”.

That reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago. A guy was telling me that he and his wife had a lot of hallway sex. As a middle aged married woman, I was unfamiliar with the concept and asked him to explain. He said, they would pass each other in the hallway and say Screw you! , “No, screw you!” Okay….Like any good joke, the outcome was totally different from what you might have imagined from the introduction.

This is the same thing that can happen when we give feedback, if we don’t give it with good intentions and in a way that the other person can hear it, the result will not be good.

So, if someone is an extravert, praise them in public. They probably want more enthusiastic acknowledgement, a plaque, etc. If you are an introvert, your style may not match theirs and they may leave because they don’t think they are appreciated. Speak up in a way that may be uncomfortable to you. If you have words of improvement, just call them into your office and tell them calmly what the issue is. Ask them how they see the situation. They can usually speak off the cuff.

If you are an extrovert, and they are an introvert, praise them in private. A simple note may be exactly what they want. Give them time to prepare if you have words of improvement. Perhaps, they can consider what you said and come back in 2 days to discuss how they want to address the situation.

Say it how they can hear it. In both cases, they  will see you as respectful, and you might begin to create a culture of higher performance. Who doesn’t want that? Pick one person this week that you have been meaning to either praise or suggest improvement and try this technique. Next week, we will discuss receiving feedback.



Relocated abroad

On the plane from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile I sat next to a young woman whose accent in English immediately caught my attention.  I had  offered in Spanish to switch seats with her as she had the middle seat between my husband by the window and my seat on the aisle, She smiled and agreed so I explained this to my husband in English. When we all got seated she spoke to me in fluent English with an Australian-Peruvian accent. I’d never heard that mix of accents before! And the vocabulary was SO Aussie, with that “ye-ah”, that long drawn out 2 syllable yay that Australians say.

My seat mate had lived in Australia for 2 years having met a guy there that didn’t want to move home to Peru with her.  Just married, she only goes home for 2 weeks to see her family each year.  She was sad and torn as she began the long travel back.

Next day at a winery outside of Santiago, we were on a minibus with a British accented woman who was visiting from the Chilean Coast. She explained that she came to Chile 27 years ago for a vacation and never went back. We met her husband Wolfgang who spoke no English.  It was a quick weekend get -away for them.  I asked her how she ended up staying in Chile? She said she really had no compelling reason to go back to England. And she loved Chile, so she stayed.  I heard her speaking perfect Spanish with her husband, with just the slightest British accent.

I was impressed with the courage of these 2 women of very different ages to pick up and go in opposite directions.   One from English to Spanish and the other from Spanish to English with all the cultural baggage that goes with it.  For the younger woman, she will always be the Peruvian to her husband’s family and friends. Maybe they think she married up or maybe they think she married down.  Same thing for the British woman. I wondered how their families back home felt.

I did not have long enough to ask all the questions that have come up for me since. But most of all, I admired their courage to take the risk. They both seemed happy with the choice they made.

This week I challenge you to ask someone who has relocated abroad to tell you their story.  You will probably find out how courageous that person is.

Communicating, really?

A random comment caught me off guard last week. A senior executive said that their executive team brought in a facilitator and set goals for 2019 and he had real clarity as to what his role would be going forward. Here is what surprised me: He said that in all the time he had worked for the organization it was the first time he had clear goals. Is this team communicating, really? >

Don’t take anything personally

The second of  The 4 Agreements in the book by Don Miguel Ruiz is “Don’t take anything personally”. When someone cuts you off on the freeway, or is rude in a store, we can usually see that it is about them, not about us. We can take a deep breathe and move on. >

Psychological Safety

Have you ever evaluated the level of psychological safety in your team?

Is it okay to challenge the status quo? Can people discuss behaviors that bother them? Is it acceptable to challenge a supervisor when they don’t show up on time or blame a subordinate when they forgot to do something? >

Rule changes

Watching the World Cup Final between Croatia and France, I was thinking about the rules. About offsides, how high was that kick, did it hit his arm? Was that guy really hurt or is he just dragging out the clock. >

Civil Discourse

I have not seen the United States of America, the land I love, so torn up since the late 60’s. The name-calling, the divisions, the neighbor pitted against neighbor….the lack of civil discourse. If this has been planted by the Russians, as they have been accused of doing, then they are winning and we, the people, are losing. >