Electronic Dialogue

Communication can be challenging, to say the least! When you speak face-to-face, you can see body language, gestures, and hear intonation. If that same conversation is on the phone, you essentially miss the body language and gestures. If that message is conveyed by email, you lose the intonation as well; and if text, it can be even more obscure.

Many people shoot off an email without regard to how the recipient is going to receive or interpret the message. For example, one person I work with reads whatever is visible on the screen of her phone. Her staff knows that everything important needs to be in the first few lines.

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Tune into Your Co-Workers

You never know what baggage people bring to work every day. No matter how well things seem to be going, you can bet that something is lurking in the background. You just don’t know what it is.

Some people are great at compartmentalizing and can have productive days even if something personally challenging is happening concurrently. Others will sit at their desks and stare into space, completely unaware of anything going on around them.

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“We’ve Always Done It This Way”

Change is almost always received with at least a little resistance. When someone says “we’ve always done it this way” it’s a signal that you’ll need to do more work than just the change itself. You’ll need to “sell” your people on why this specific change.

When planning for change, then, you should plan for the change itself in addition to internal persuasion time. Yes, this takes more time, and yes, you need to do this.

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Emotion vs. Passion

We love seeing examples of people expressing their passion, especially when it reinforces their desire to do well for their clients or colleagues. Passion is contagious and can even lift others out of lethargy.

There is a distinction, however, between expressing passion and being subjectively emotional, or “overly emotional” as some people describe it. When this happens, people lose their objectivity and they are less effective influencers. I’ve seen many examples of this, with both positive and negative emotions.

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Make Communication a No-Brainer

One of my clients has a very simple rule, which is to include the account executive on any communication relating to his or her accounts. Team members know that this means to copy them on emails and update them on any verbal discussions.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, many of the client management hiccups that occur in this company relate to breaching this simple guideline. How and why does this happen?

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The Attention Conundrum

Attention is possibly our most important currency today. You need to pay attention to both the big and little things. Even if you are not detail oriented, when you pay attention to details it can make a difference between an average job and an outstanding one. The expression, “it’s all in the details” takes on fresh meaning in these situations. Consider these examples:

The executive who isn’t clear in his instructions but expects his assistant to know precisely what he has in mind. The assistant books his travel and then he reprimands her because it wasn’t the exact schedule that he wanted (which he, of course, never mentioned).

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Have You Asked for Feedback Recently?

As a leader, you may find yourself giving feedback as frequently as every day. Letting members of your team know about areas of their work that they could improve on is integral to your role.

How often, however, do you find yourself receiving feedback? The likely answer to that is very rarely outside of any performance review that you may receive. When you are in a leadership position, people might find it uncomfortable or out of place for them to give you feedback.

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Put on Your Game Face

You’re sailing along and things are going well, and out of nowhere – POW! – something happens that knocks you over. As you pick yourself up and regain composure, though, it’s important to manage your emotions. As a leader, you’re subject to scrutiny.

The courage you demonstrate at times of distress can even define you as a leader. Think about times you have observed this in others. An angry executive makes it uncomfortable for everyone else. People start to tiptoe around this leader, not wanting to trigger an explosion.

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When Delegating Backfires

Last week’s topic was on the importance and value of delegating. I received a comment from a client who raised the issue of what to do when the person to whom you delegated messes up.

Great question, but tricky answers.

Managers don’t want to get burned, so of course they avoid getting too close to fire. But if you’re in a management or leadership role, you are responsible for overseeing work assigned to others. Here are some thoughts on why delegating can backfire and some solutions to minimize future episodes.

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