Advice on Handling Difficult Conversations

It’s another start of the work week, and you think things are going great….until… things aren’t.

You get a voice mail or face to face encounter from a customer, vendor, or co-worker that is most unpleasant. This unhappy camper is frustrated and rather than focusing on the problem or situation at hand, it feels like an attack on you.

In the moment, it can be very difficult not to take the conversation personally. It can also be challenging to turn the conversation around to something more productive, but if you are able to, it will be well worth it.

So when you are in the heat of the moment, try these three tips to help you constructively and productively move the conversation forward.

Tip 1 - View the concern as a way to improve

Tip 2 - Consider the person said something because they care

Tip 3 - Apply the Three Cs

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How Full is Your Cup?

I wanted to take some time to talk about self-care and remind you to take time….

Oh wait, I mean make time to do things that fill your cup.

When you’re just going, going, going, and feel like your to-do list keeps getting bigger, you can start feeling like you need to do more. To push even harder.

I know I can certainly feel this way.

And that’s the exact time when you need to take a step back, chill, and do something for you.

It seems so counterintuitive to slow down to go fast, but if you’re running on empty, feeling stressed out or anxious, then whatever you're working on or whomever your working with will not get your best efforts. They are getting what’s left, especially those closest to you.

And you feel frustrated, tired, and just exhausted.

It’s hard to give what you don’t have.

You deserve better for yourself, and those around you (family – pets included, friends, team, clients, customers) do. Your business does too.

So if...

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Overcoming Overwhelm

As you lead your business or organization, it can get noisy and overwhelm can start to creep in.

Lots of information come in from different sources, and you must decipher which ones require your attention to move your vision forward.

Sometimes it can feel like there’s so much happening.

So much information you’re receiving that it’s hard to hear that still small voice inside that’s ultimately guiding you.

Sometimes the information is more noise and not helpful or necessary.

Other times, it’s needed for your business to succeed, but even in those cases, too much data can cause overwhelm.

This doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself or at that very moment, but it does mean that you must decide if it’s important to do or not do and take action accordingly.

So how do you ignore the noise and focus on what matters?

Simply stop, get quiet and get back to basics.

By stopping and taking a moment to calm your mind and block out all the...

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Fully leverage your gifts

What your gifts are – those things that really make you YOU – the more positive impact you can make for your team, organization or business.

And you may not be really clear what they are, but you look at your experiences, why people come to you and for what reason, what lights you up and what feels effortless and time goes so quickly, you’ll see breadcrumbs to help you identify them.

I remember being in the corporate world and working with my VP for a new recognition program. It needed to have a different approach and feel than anything done before. She gave me her vision in a few words, and I took that back and developed the concept, branding, process, and budget for it. When we regrouped, she said – you see the vision, and with a few parameters, create a viable product and deployment plan. That was one of my breadcrumbs.

As you are clear on your gifts and working from them, determine how you can take it a step further and enable your team or clients to do...

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Are you DILUTING your vision?

How do you know if you're diluting your vision?

he first step is to get clear on what your vision for yourself, your business or organization, your life is.

Whatever that is.

What do you want to feel, do, achieve, or be?

Where do you want your organization or business to be at the end of the year? In a year from now? In 5 years from now?

Whatever your vision is, you must stay true to it for your vision to happen

Not watering it down because it feels overwhelming.

Not downsizing or downplaying it because it’s so big it’s uncomfortable.

Not playing small because it’s easier than digging deeper to do the work necessary to move you forward to a new level of leadership and closer to your vision for your organization or business.

With that being said, here are four statements to ask yourself, and if you answer “Yes” to any of them, then you are diluting your vision.

  1. If you’re figuring out a way – intentionally or unintentionally - to water down...
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The ONE Activity to do Everyday

Whether you are new to your position or have been there for some time, there’s one activity you can do each day to make sure you are ready for the next opportunity.

This activity is applicable if you are an individual contributor or in some level of management.

It's one that may seem easy to do.

In fact, it may seem logical, yet it can be difficult to do on a daily, genuine, consistent basis.

Do you know what that is?

It's doing the best you can with the job you currently have.

This means putting your best foot forward to the assignment at hand or making sure you are prepared for the meetings you need to attend.

It means you aren't asking your boss every chance you get when you will move to the next level, but you are open to taking on new projects and opportunities if they present themselves.

It means you’re learning all you can for the responsibilities you currently have, so that you are able to do your job to the best of your ability.

It means you’re supporting...

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Learning and Leading

So let's talk about continual learning, and specifically when you've invested money or time or both to advance or strengthen your skills as a leader. 

Perhaps it's a small investment relatively speaking like reading or listening to a book. Maybe it's a course or seminar you attended, or training your company has sent you to for the day.  Or perhaps it's working with a coach or consultant. And even it didn't cost you money, it was your time spent there, including the time spent creating the space to go and getting caught up again (or close to it) once you returned.

When you first went through the course, the seminar, or even worked with your coach, you probably took some notes as a way to help you process what you're learning. Once the course, seminar or coaching sessions are finished, you have every intention of fully implementing what you've learned.

Then more time passes, and although you know you learned a lot, you might feel like you should have learned more or that...

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The Power of One

There is power in one.

One word may brighten someone else's day or tear it down.

One shift in attitude or perspective can completely change how a challenging situation is handled.

Focusing on the one person in front of you during a face to face or that one person on the other end of the phone for that one conversation and ignoring the distractions will communicate volumes of respect, appreciation, and engagement.

Focusing on the one step that needs to be done now versus the next 20 will minimize overwhelm and increase productivity.

There's power in one - take some time today to leverage that power to its fullest and feel the shifts that it will make in you as you lead.

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Why CONFIDENCE is so Important to Leadership

To show up as the confident business leader you're meant to be, you need to share your strengths and stay true to your vision and values and that's where confidence kicks in.

The more confidence you have, the more you will:

    • Know what your strengths are and be willing to put yourself out there and share them over and over again
    • Push yourself to desire a big vision and realize you're fully capable of making it happen and with confidence you declare it as yours
    • Trust you can turn that vision into reality by creating an actionable and achievable plan to get there
    • Make decisions that need to be made and execute them, especially difficult ones, without second guessing
    • Know and trust what to say yes to and what to intentionally say no to
    • Communicate effectively what the vision is and work with others to help them know what it is, why it's important and how they fit, so that they are able to buy into the vision because they're buying into you
    • Develop and grow your group from high...
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Are You Asking?

As leaders, we need to get clear on what we want and why.

Then we need to speak up.

As a leader, it's your responsibility to set the vision and direction for your project, organization, or business. And although it may seem repetitive, asking and communicating often is necessary and so important. Sometimes you'll need to repeat yourself multiple times, in different styles to get things started and moving.

For some individuals, they only need a nudge to understand what's needed and support. For others, you may need to be a bit more direct.

If you have a question that will impact a decision you're making, be willing to ask and patiently listen for the answer. If you'd like periodic updates on a project, communicate your expectations and remind your teammates only as needed.

Once you're clear on your vision and your why, be willing to enthusiastically communicate it clearly, succinctly, and frequently. Your enthusiasm coupled with your ability to ensure your team, colleagues, and...

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