Do you silently yell to be heard?

Many executives, managers, bosses and employees have been known to loudly yell from time to time. However, when yelling or shouting is the norm it can damage customer (internal and external) relationships irrevocably. This usually happens when the person has found yelling to work in the past and has no other objective model of how to effectively communicate. Most workers have experienced loud yelling. However, silent yelling can be more damaging.

Vanity is not a virtue. Frequent excuses about your inability to hear will inevitably curtail people from sharing critical news with you. If you have trouble physically hearing others, stop blaming them and set your ego aside. Get a hearing aid. Headsets can help too.

The silent impact. Cyber-space communication is becoming the norm. Unfortunately, email and other forms of electronic chatter can be easily misunderstood. They do not have the benefit of facial expression or voice inflection. Falsely believing it saves time, people have developed a bad habit of sending emails or text messages instead of talking it out with their employees, bosses or co-workers. Wait 24 hours to respond to any upsetting internet communiqué, thus allowing any misperceptions to de-escalate. Better yet! Talk it out face-to-face. Remember, most people only have a sixth grade reading (and writing) level.

Take responsibility. Some busy professionals can easily become upset, while others have too long a patience cycle. Both can be very detrimental when patience is lost! If this is the norm, talk with a therapist for emotional support. Seek objective support from your coach, or business advisor. Limit any venting to a selective couple of people. Please, be sure to ask permission to be candid; limit the time you spend venting. Disregard your ego’s need to exert undue pressure on others to support your view of the facts. Steamrolling only causes explosions, now and in the future. Formulate a win-win plan. When talking it out face-to-face, focus on shared goals and truly hearing their perceptions. If it’s a heated debate, include your boss in the discussions. All together, develop a new plan of action. Keep talking until it is resolved. Only rely upon conference calls as a second best alternative.

Don’t kill the messenger. When you react negatively to upsetting news, it can create defensiveness. You stop receiving critical business or office information from others. Making emotionally charged decisions in retaliation can backfire, making the situation worse (Think, “You’re fired!”). Employees will simply look the other way, or acquiesce, even when they know your mandated resolution won’t work. Or, hire an employment attorney. If you need to vent, ask permission first. It’s a great time to call your coach or business advisor. Learn to take time to collect your thoughts. Ask questions calmly. Listen to others’ replies objectively. Incorporate their ideas whenever possible.

Disagreements. In situations where there appears to be no agreement, it’s far more effective to say:  “It seems like we disagree about that.” Why? It’s a fact. Trying to out-talk them OR browbeat them into your point of view isn’t going to work. Raising your voice will be even less effective. The silent treatment can be deadly to ongoing relationships because they know you have refused to listen to their points of view. Often this behavior speaks loudly, and can be interpreted to mean you are less than professional in how your handle yourself and your business. Listen, learn and look for areas of agreement. Build upon these for a win-win solution.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

Fight the Good Fight with Leverage

Leverage is required in many situations to win a good business fight. In some cases, you may automatically have leverage due to your position, title or power to make the ultimate decision. However, you need to be responsible about how and when you use this leverage; future repercussions are inevitable. As an employee, customer or vendor, you need others to help you leverage a win-win outcome. There are cost vs. benefit ratios that need to be considered for the company, others and your own career. Playing the ostrich and hoping the issue will go away rarely works well for everyone involved.

You may win this fight. But lose the war. Even though we don’t have crystal balls to look into the future, talk with a trusted colleague to weigh the pro and con of possible outcomes, now and for the future. If this is a policy or legal issue, talk with human resources director or vice president. If it relates to a customer or vendor, set up a meeting with your boss and the person in charge of these relationships. Be clear as to the purpose and desired outcome. Be more committed to resolving the issue than forcing your own ideas as the only solutions.

It’s not about you. It’s often hard to set aside your own ego in these situations. Particularly, if the issue is you vs. your boss. This will require you to think beyond the current upset or violation of your trust. When the issue involves your client, employee or vendor, ask them what they believe is the needed resolution to keep a positive business relationship. Steamrolling everyone to agree with your decisions or opinions will only create a backlash for you in the near future, particularly, if you are wrong or lied about the facts.

Share the challenge selectively. Share your challenge confidentially only with someone who can help you and is in a position to do so. Follow their advice, even if it doesn’t seem like it will work and stay in communication during and after the resolution. The lone-ranger approach and reliance upon your own mental monologue will limit your future in the company. The worst practice for a business professional to engage in is to talk with everyone else! That creates liability for you professionally and financially. Create a learning opportunity from the situation and look with your coach (or business mentor) to see what you need to do in the future to prevent these types of issues from occurring.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

Does your company honor its core values?

Core values are a company’s internal compass of integrity, work ethic and reliability. They guide them in their pursuit of clients, financial rewards and attracting the right employees. These values are reflected in their interactions with customers (internal and external), process of arriving at decisions, following financial standards and honoring sales and marketing promises.

Have you ever had an employee or boss make a situation worse by lying about it? Then, perpetuate the lie to keep themselves out of trouble? This is an example of not honoring the policies, code of ethics and spirit of many companies. When we tell ourselves and bosses that lies don’t matter, it diminishes the reputation of our company. The truth comes out, eventually! 

In a survey recently conducted with people about telling lies in the workplace, we found that most did not have a problem telling their boss about lies if they felt it was the right thing to do or the untruth was negatively impacting their team’s effectiveness. However, when it came to retelling a lie, most felt it was expected to keep their job, client and continue moving up the career ladder, or they were afraid of the repercussions of telling the truth and exposing the lie.

How do you handle and prevent core value violations?

Keep talking. Lies can include the little ones people excuse as unimportant, or omission of the exact facts from your perspective. Unfortunately, being silent causes little lies to build up into big ones, which ultimately hurt the reputation of the company and individuals involved. It can also negatively impact financial solvency. The truth will swing back around to bite the people involved. Stop the perpetuation of a lie. Tell the truth about a situation or issue factually. To create a resolution, talk directly to the person(s) involved with a win-win mindset. Hear their version of the facts. If a mutual agreement cannot be reached, get upper management involved. While they may not recognize the core value being thwarted, be a parrot (aka keep talking). Eventually they will hear you; the same or similar issues are bound to come up again!

Respond with Urgency. A simple lie or unethical act can turn a situation from a molehill into a mountain of upset, grief and even legal action! When someone has done the wrong thing or done the right thing in the wrong manner, it needs to be handled quickly and diplomatically. Most importantly, create a win-win outcome. Remember, there are no absolutes methods for doing the right thing the right way. However, the key to whether your decisions work and make sense will depend upon the perceptions of your customers (internal and external), communities and your particular industry.

Apologize. Simply apologize for your role in the matter. It doesn’t mean you were wrong, or right. Simply acknowledge your role in the issue. Then, start the process of cleaning up the mistake or situation. It is critical that you are open to understanding the issue from their point of view. Be sure to ask the question, “What can we do that will resolve this for you?”  Remember, this is the starting question; truly listen to their response. (Hint, if you’re overly worried about litigation, do not be obtuse and defensive about the situation. That kind of attitude will do more to create the need for a lawsuit than the issue itself!)

Use mistakes as a come-down-to-reality opportunity. Many companies ignore their employees’ and bosses’ negative attitudes toward following the company’s systems, policies and practices until an issue arises that causes a key client to leave. Objectively review what worked and didn’t work in the situation. Stay away from blaming others for a lack of perceived integrity due to not following the systems; it’s a no-win hot button. Instead, describe the impact of the situation on customer, co-workers, management and the bottom line. If your employees are unable to understand the significance of their behaviors and make appropriate changes, it will require ongoing training or reassignment of job responsibilities.

Create a prevention mindset. We all live in a reactive workplace. Being proactive is not rewarded until the preventative measure averts a disaster or something serious. Thinking ahead is what will give your company (and people’s careers) the needed boost to achieve a competitive edge. Questions to get you started in this inquiry: What issue do we contend with often? How do we prevent these issues without reducing our customer effectiveness (internal and external)? What training is required to get everyone on the same page? How do we attract and hire the right people with core values that support our company? How do we hire the right top performers using job fit technology? [Find out more about core value assessments and job fit technology by contacting Jeannette @ OR visit]

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

Unemployed Spouse (or friend) Driving You Nuts?

Many business owners and executives have spouses and friends who are presently unemployed. They attempt to be the good friend or spouse and help them. Yet, it turns out to be the worst thing they can do!

Have a straight conversation. Have a frank discussion about the changes in finances due to not working.. With a spouse, make changes together as equal partners.  As a friend, be a supportive  and have them over to dinner once a week. Have an agreement about how much time they will expend in finding their next job, or what they will do to find other part-time or temporary work. Be supportive of their endeavors. It is difficult being unemployed, or having to retire too early in their career.

If you hire them. If you choose to hire them on a part-time or temporary basis, be clear and up front. They must do the job as it is currently designed. Many may attempt to show off their job skills, which will only upset your current employees and co-workers. Have them follow the systems. Make no changes. If there are no systems, have them write up the job as you or your employees direct them to do so. Remember, no special favors should be given that are not given to your other employees!

Gift of coaching. Preserve your relationship. Hire them their own coach. A coach can have them do what they don’t want to do – and enable them to find a great job! If you attempt to do the same, they will resent you! Many, who have not had to work to find a job in the past, rely upon blasting out poorly designed resumes to find their next position. Or, they conduct poor networking campaigns. Your attempt to coach them will end up with them being resentful since they don’t believe you understand the challenges they are facing. In many cases, it is true – you don’t know! Remember, they will expect you to be there as a friend or spouse, not as their coach.

Need Career Direction or Advice?   Under Links, Click on Rewire Your Career

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2011

Do you provide unwanted advice?

First, realize this: people don’t really want advice. There is a false perception that if you don’t already know the answer, it’s not important! 

Many people – bosses and leaders, men and women -love to give advice. They love to fix things. Too often they do this without investigating the core issue. If the advice offered is based upon a misperception, the resolution or good feeling doesn’t last very long! When your employees disguise their requests as asking for advice, it’s simply a device to get themselves or their team off the hook. If you do not recognize these requests as ploys, it will hurt the same people in the near future when yet another similar – but bigger – issue arises. 

What Worked/Didn’t? Train yourself – and your employees – to look objectively at any issue. Describe what worked or benefitted the customer or project. It’s a great place to start. Follow up with objectivity looking at the specifics of what didn’t work. From this vantage point it’s easier to ascertain learning opportunities and/or changes required to move forward and resolve issues. 

Ain’t It Awful Trap. It’s a vicious cycle we fall into too many times. No one wants advice when operating in this modality. Most human beings love others’ drama since it takes their minds off their own job concerns. While it may the PC thing to do (e.g., blame game and finger-pointing), it rarely fosters opportunities to grow the project, resolve the client issue effectively, or help someone learn for future challenges. Remember, as their boss or coach, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.

Listen Empathetically. Often it’s hard to listen to people’s upsets when logically they don’t make any sense. Remember, they are reliving past upsets that have not yet been resolved. When an employee, co-worker or customer needs to talk, listen without providing advice. Most times they simply need to vent. Without the venting process any offered resolution will be unheard. Limit the venting process. Ask permission to provide advice. Limit the ideas you provide to two.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

Ah-ha’s can be used successfully

Many of us experience ah-ha’s. As a result, we may develop a more positive attitude towards our jobs or clients. We might undertake an uncharacteristic, proactive role in resolving an issue or we may simply see a former blind spot that was getting in our way of being an effective leader. Too often, we realize we sincerely want to change and utilize our new insights. We say we’re going to do something. But unfortunately, we never do.

What’s an ah-ha or insight? Usually it’s an intuitive moment that has no real objective basis. It can be fleeting if we’re unaware. For example: You attend a seminar and suddenly realize you have poor listening skills. The challenge is follow-through. Even though you might write it down, it is forgotten come next week. Or you might remember it but don’t take any actions in a timely way to reinforce it (Think: maybe on Monday I’ll start to use my new listening skills. But by Monday nothing is farther from your mind.). These insights can disappear quickly if we don’t take concerted action. Paradoxically, it does no good to take action too quickly, without the reality of a focused action plan (e.g., decide your boss is the wrong one and quit).

It’s a three-step process. Too often we believe our ah-ha’s are the event! The end of all our current problems. We become “navel gazers” and simply wish to revel in the good feelings. Then, we get upset when that ah-ha disappears, or stops providing the difference it did when we first recognized it. First, understand an ah-ha is simply the start of a new journey. We don’t know where it will eventually lead. Second, put together a focused action plan. It’s not recommended that you submit a letter of resignation without having planned for the reality of being unemployed. Don’t restructure your department at work believing it will end all of your problems without taking into account all the ramifications a restructuring brings. Third, take action on your plan, step-by-step, after talking with your coach or boss to assess the details.

Share appropriately. We’re so excited by our new revelations. We tell everyone and insist they do the same! Unfortunately, it’s a great way to lose credibility at work, particularly if you’re the boss. Respect the fact that others may have a different view of your ah-ha, and it might not necessarily be a positive one. When sharing, share what actions you’ve taken and the difference it made for you. Do not insist others should have the same experience or perspective. They rarely do.

Balance human insights along with the more objective factual ones. The secret is to ‘try on’ your ah-ha immediately. When you buy a new coat or hat, you ‘try it on’ first. For example: ‘Try on’ the idea of being self-employed or living somewhere else. Talk with others first. Find out the realities (e.g., no steady paychecks, must be able to sell your product or service via human interaction, no friends or family close by, subtle cultural differences, etc.). There is no magic bullet in any new venture. It will take work. For more personal attributes, realize your old habits can be difficult to break, no matter how destructive they may have been. Consciously work with your new insight for 21 days. If that seems too confronting, take 20 minutes per day. Be open to fine-tuning with your coach or boss. Together, develop plans to build for future successes (e.g., join a community Board, be a team lead on a project, learn a new skill in accounting or human relations, etc.).

Putting your ah-ha’s into action can make a long-term difference!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2011

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Creating Excuses vs. Creating Results

Have you ever noticed? People are a lot better at creating excuses than they are at creating results!

They know if they don’t create a great story or rationale for not achieving results, they’ll look bad. Unfortunately, they fail to understand that failing to achieve required results hinders their company’s success in the marketplace. It hinders their own ability to transform their company, customer relationships and projects. Worse yet, this type of failure can derail their career irretrievably. 

It’s contagious. The biggest issue with allowing excuses to plague the board room is that excuses are merely rationalized reasons for failure. Some are very well rehearsed and we automatically buy into them, at the expense of ourselves and/or the company. We buy into them for various reasons (e.g., we like the person, we’re glad it’s them and not us on the hot seat, we have no idea how to get the results, we have no interest in the project or fear getting involved, etc.). Even the best of us can fall into using the “it’s not my responsibility” defense. Sadly, when this mindset spreads and permeates the company – as often happens – everyone has an excuse to give up. Set aside failure as fate accompli. Ask business questions that are on point and not just talking to talk. The answer is there! Brainstorm and listen for the gold.

Check all the boxes. Simply checking all the boxes isn’t going to move you ahead if you don’t include the human element in your checklist. Too often we focus solely on the material side of a project and forget the people involved. Or, we get so focused on the “feel good” of the project, we neglect making the hard decisions required (e.g., positive ROI). When we bypass setting up a tracking system to hold everyone accountable and manage poor attitudes, we derail progress. Use a business mentor to ensure that the milestones and focused action plans support the declared goal (think, impact on bottom line). Many times it may only require a slight change to get back on track. Other times an entire re-design may be necessary. Either way, do what you must to ensure forward progress.

Close the loop. As a boss or team leader, we fail to follow-up on the progress needed to achieve the results required. Our excuses: We’re too busy! We allow limited thinking or territorial issues to get in the way of doing the right thing the right way. Many times we make the process harder than it needs to be and buy into false accomplishment. Learn to truly listen to others. This is particularly important when you don’t want to listen or if they don’t seem to be making sense right away. There is an answer. To move progress forward during a meeting, write-up an agenda and follow it! Create a sense of immediacy and encourage engagement by distributing minutes (with assignments determined during the meeting!) within 48 hours.

How do you design a plan that works? How do you create unprecedented results? Learn how. 5D ResultsTM to be released soon!

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2011

Leadership Maturity

Honestly ask yourself:

Are you able to discuss others’ opinions without being defensive?

Do you know how to take an idea or concept and make it profitable?

Do you laugh at appropriate jokes without taking it personally, even if it’s about you?

Do you have the ability to see the bigger picture and patience to rephrase it into bite-size pieces so that others can get on the same page?

Can you make decisions that balance both the facts and the human interests?

If you answered yes to these questions, good for you! You are on the right track as a leader. The higher up the corporate ladder we climb the more our effective leadership relies upon interpersonal skills such as these and less about technical expertise.

But often as leaders, we take ourselves too seriously. We are unable to build upon ideas or create a consensus that works. We openly disparage others when they disagree with us. We exclude people with broader experience instead of learning from them, and defend our limited experience in an attempt to feel better about ourselves. This is career limiting behavior for any leader!

Persuasive Listening. To truly listen, we must silence our internal chatterbox and refrain from thinking about our response when others are talking. We will hear similarity in arguments even when it appears we are on a different side of the issue. Good leadership skills – like active listening – provide new solutions that might not be readily apparent.

Be open to differing opinions. We can make better decisions for our companies and organizations when we openly hear what others have to say. But if we become defensive or belittle differing perspectives, we make less than adequate decisions, fail to address the bigger picture or miss details for implementation entirely.  We create a negative reputation for ourselves and our organizations. Disparaging others reflects more negatively upon the speaker than the person being belittled!

Be a team player. Many leaders don’t make good team players. They may play at being part of the group; however, they are more interested in how it applies or affects them personally.  Team has evolved into a broader definition this decade: It’s getting everyone on the same page and moving forward together. It’s not about everyone thinking the same thing or using the same signals or jargon!  It’s about learning to appreciate others and elicit the best in them, as they are. Learn this masterful skill and be seen as a leader to follow!

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2011