Five Tips When you Dread Having a Difficult Conversaton with an Employee

Recently I had a client tell me that when she opened a discussion with a direct report about a violation of the dress code the person erupted, quit on the spot and immediately left the workplace. We role played the discussion and how to frame such a discussion so as to depersonalize it.  

What I found most interesting is that the company rehired this person who abandoned the workplace the same day at another location in another leadership role. What???  

Now my client has to manage a team who knows the organization will tolerate unprofessional and insubordinate behavior. She has to gain respect from a team who knows they don’t have to listen or adhere to company policy to keep their job.  

We are now positioning her transferable skills for a company with a more solid culture. In the meantime here is a tip for when you need to have a difficult conversation with an employee.  

  1. Get out the company policy or company value they are violating. Seek...
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And They Said You Could Have It All

Dear {{first_name}},

Four years ago, I saw an opportunity to take on a dual role where I would be the CEO of two operations and expressed interest in doing so. I knew I could do both jobs but ultimately the organization wanted a CEO devoted only to them. Instead I developed with much more seriousness my executive coaching business and never looked back. 

Recently that same organization came to me and asked me if I would now run both organizations. I said no. 

My priorities are clear now. I like helping my clients far more than having more corporate power. And I love spending time with my family, friends and creating things. The one CEO role I have is enough. Imagine that - feeling like what you are doing is rewarding enough - high performing in an area you love. Not needing to do more to be happy. What a relief that is. 

If I take on more responsibility now I now evaluate it against whether or not it aligns with my values. If it does – it will ultimately be...

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How to Let Go When You’ve Tried Everything Else

By nature we home into a negative bias. It’s how we’ve evolved as a species and not become extinct - by keeping ourselves safe. We are very good at noticing danger - so good that our ‘danger antenna’ is primed more than our ‘happiness antenna.’  

So how do we break through this false-prison-comfort-zone we trap ourselves in? 

Certainly not by pressing down the gas peddle on more of the same - complaining, blaming, victimizing, playing it safe. These are the very thoughts we need to let go of to take the risks that bring growth.  

Deal with the things you run from. It is the only way to let them go. Yes, it’s hard. But if we don’t admit what feeling is at the root of our pain it will bubble up each time that feeling you haven’t accepted is triggered. You may have felt abandoned, rejected, dismissed, hurt. Whatever it is examine it. Don’t turn away. “I feel dismissed and it hurt.” Get...

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How to Keep Your Cool When Someone Threatens You at a Meeting

Dear {{first_name}},

Have you ever been in a high stakes meeting or in a conversation where someone challenges your position and you immediately start to feel the world closing in on you? Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl describes that moment this way ~ “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” 

It’s important to have actionable strategies when our thoughts take over and rule our actions. You are not your thoughts.   

The Pause Café 

When you feel anxious or aggravated practice what my clients and I call “The Pause Café.” It starts with a deep breath where you ask yourself, “What is going on with me?” Invite in the tension by being curious to it, not turning away. What we run from chases us down until we deal with it. Identify where the tension sits in your body. You may...

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Stop Putting Your Dreams on Sale: How to Eliminate Procrastination

You know you want a better job, relationship with loved ones, home, group of friends - the list goes on. Yet you are wise enough to realize that those are just trappings of fulfillment. “Getting” doesn’t bring joy. A peaceful perspective where you make room for curiosity and compassion and edge out judgment and perfectionism is where you want to be. You long for a state of mind where acceptance is king and expectations and resentment are banished from your kingdom to a place where forgiveness prevails and control has no value – a place where your career and personal goals are aligned with your authentic self and whoosh into your life like the sweet breeze of freshly cut grass. 

So why can’t you get there? 

Do you see your future pretty much like the present +/- 10%? Have you dummied down your goals? Do you lack the energy to organize your life and set new goals for fear of the next trying challenge that is just around the corner? 

...

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Don't Make This Mistake When They Call for the Interview

Recently a client told me of a firing squad interview experience that warrants a share and checklist. 

Thirteen candidates were interviewed in a large room, 20 feet apart, by 12 people who scored them on three questions. Their names were drawn from a hat as to who would go first for all three questions. Candidates could hear other candidate’s responses. There would be a second round of these interviews to reduce a pool of 26 candidates to 4. 

Question Checklist for When They Call to Schedule the Interview. Ask:

  1. Who will conduct the interview and their title. Who else will be present/title? 
  1. Where will the actual interview occur? Not just where do you meet the HR professional. 
  1. How much time is allocated for the interview? 
  1. What do you see as the biggest challenge of the position and what should I focus on in my preparation?  
  1. Please send me the complete job description? It may have not been posted online in its entirety.  
  2. ...
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The Tool to Narrow the Gap in the Equation of Career Happiness

Throughout my years as an executive coach I have seen people triumph over immense hardship while others falter over minutiae. I’ve seen a sense of urgency spearhead achievement while chronic victimization hamstring progress. I’ve been party to personal transformations because people risk vulnerability with great courage and I’ve seen stagnation be the end-product of complaining about unmet expectations. Most often the underachievers carry self-doubt that they don’t know how to convert to confidence. 

It’s pretty clear to me what makes people happy and empowered to create the life they want and what does not. It’s a simple equation. 

The Golden Rule of Happiness

The shorter the distance between what you want and where you are the happier you will be and the more risks you will take. 

You Want a Better Job

Let’s say you want to move up in your career, possibly changing companies. And right now you are in a miserable role. There...

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How to Deal with that Difficult Employee Who is Poisoning Your Culture

Here is advice I recently gave to a client who just had two staff members explode at a meeting. Managing bad behavior starts with drawing healthy boundaries.

Boundaries: The invisible line between what you will and will not allow.

Difficult Employees: People who don’t take ownership of their own behavior and spew their dissatisfaction with their perceived powerlessness, victimization and lack of self-worth on others.

Dealing with Difficult Employees: Affirm their unhappiness. Affirm how they must be feeling. Ask them what they want. Then every time they act insubordinately ask them how that is getting them closer to what they want. 

When Difficult Employees are Out of Control: Get the values of the company in hand, show them how their behavior is insubordinate of the values, put them on a Performance Improvement Plan, establish the specific measurable threshold they need to meet, tell them your goal is to help them meet it and revisit in 30 days. That’s a boundary.

...
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Breaking the Cycle of the Treadmill to Nowhere

As an executive coach I see three main challenges repeatedly surface for leaders seeking to better their careers, teams and relationships. 

  1. The Treadmill to Nowhere 

When things aren’t going well people get stressed and think that if they just try harder the situation will get better. They focus on one size-fits-all strategies such as – work more hours, hold more meetings, take a course, call a recruiter, network more, get another degree, put in for another promotion, change for the sake of change, read more self-help or business books. They think things will improve because of their fierce dedication when in fact doing more of the same just brings more disappointment, let down from unmet expectations, stress, lack of confidence and makes them feel exhausted on the treadmill to nowhere. They seek “more” instead of less. They can’t slow down enough to be vulnerable – to risk searching inside themselves where the answers always lie. So...

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Holding a Hand for the First Time

Last summer my father passed away. It was a difficult time for me as I know it is for any of you who have a dying parent or who have lost a loved one. I did a lot of journaling during that time and I share the passage below with you in hope that it inspires you to embrace the difficult feelings of grief. My wish is that you may process and won the feelings you turn away from - that you allow them to flow through you - not get struck inside you and fester. That is how we have freedom. Namaste.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Last night I held a hand for the first time. Indeed throughout my life I have held many hands - extending myself to help, reaching for comfort, joining in an act of love. But last night I held the hand of a man who knows he is dying and it felt like we were the only two people in the world. 

My father is the epitome of grace, leadership, and strength. At the end of his life all of these qualities still stand in spite of a failing body. I coach and train on mindfulness, the...

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