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Team Building Carnival – February 2012

Posted in team building - 10 February 2012 - No comment

spacer Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Team Building Carnival. This is a collection of articles by team building experts who share insights and ideas to help leaders and organizations build kind, creative, supportive and productive workplace teams.

Thank you to the talented experts who have taken the time to share their team building knowledge. Here are their thoughtful articles.

Theresa Torres presents 7 Ways to Encourage Teamwork in Your Small Business posted at BusinessServiceReviews.com, saying, “Fostering a team culture or environment can do wonders for a business. Here are some strategies on how a business owner or leader can encourage teamwork among his team members.”

Sean Glaze presents Four Steps to Improve Negative Team Attitudes – Teambuilding and Leadership Blog to Lead Your Team posted at “Lead Your Team” Blog for Teambuilding and Leadership.

Angel Taylor presents Yellow and Green Prospects ? Color Personalities Part 2 posted at Angel Taylor Live.

John Hunter presents Rude Behavior Costs Companies » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog posted at Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, saying, “Managers need to build an environment where the culture includes respect for people (employees and customers).”

Alex Dail presents Learn To Do A Few Simple Things So Team Building Lasts | Leadership Success Now posted at Leadership Success Now, saying, “Helps managers and C-Level executives access current research proven best practices on building high performance teams.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of team building using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


Technorati tags:team building, blog carnival.
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Balance and Leadership

Posted in hr training, leadership training, soft skills training, training seminars - 9 February 2012 - 2 comments

spacer I was talking recently with a very accomplished leader who felt overwhelmed by everything going on in his workplace. Upon examination, he realized that he had been juggling a great deal of different projects and hadn’t taken time to think about the things that once had made him feel more balanced. The daily grind had reduced him to a reactive person he barely recognized. His employees were showing all the signs that they were not happy either.

We can become so engrossed in living life at a rapid pace that we forget that we can enjoy things better if we pause occasionally to relax, recharge and reflect. The only caveat is that you have to deliberately carve time out of your day to refocus and regroup. Take some time in your day to not do anything. Look at a sunset, sit by a stream, go for a walk with no particular goal. Life becomes more enjoyable when you take time to regain your balance. It also has the effect of making your employees happier and happy employees create more productive workplaces.

Balance helps you be a better leader. It helps you relate to others from a position of calm and understanding. It helps you do away with the constant putting out of fires and working in crisis mode. Balanced leaders tend to live better lives, create happier workplaces and produce more consistent results.

Balance helps you maintain a generally positive course that will help you connect with your employees in ways no amount of directive supervision can. It grounds you and helps you make decisions based on careful forethought. How does you achieve balanced leadership? By working on it starting today. What will you do to become a more balanced leader?

Take care,

Leadership Training

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If You Don’t Have Something Nice to Say…

Posted in effective communication, hr training, leadership training - 2 February 2012 - 6 comments

spacer Inspirational leadership is about the positive things you recognize in your employees and the way you make them feel. I talk with many leaders who seem to think that speaking nicely isn’t part of what makes a workplace function well. They believe discipline, directness, strength, order and firmness are the most effective ways to communicate rather than being kind or compassionate.

Saying nice things requires consciously deciding to behave kindly and positively. Leaders who are aware of their own behavior and how it impacts others are able to practice kind communication. Many workplaces toil under a different approach where you’ll hear statements like:

  • Great idea, but here’s how we’re going to do it.
  • It’s my way or the highway.
  • If you don’t like it, leave.
  • This isn’t a workplace for babies.
  • Did I stutter?
  • What part of _____ don’t you understand?

People don’t feel valued and energized when they hear things like these but leaders say them all the time and they’re a big part of why so many leaders and employees are miserable. Walk into any unhappy workplace and you’ll hear statements like these or worse. As a leader, you get to create any workplace environment you choose and you set the example. What if you said things like:

  • Great idea, let’s use it.
  • Your way and my way are both valid.
  • If you don’t like it, let’s find what makes sense to you.
  • It’s OK to show emotions in this workplace.
  • Did I explain myself well enough?
  • Let’s work together to make sure we both understand this the same way.

It’s right about now that many leaders I talk with begin getting uncomfortable because they perceive this kind of language as too friendly or they’ve never talked this way. That’s a normal reaction, much of our business language is focused on controlling, directing or reprimanding people rather than helping them grow and succeed. The next thing that comes up is usually something about how being nice makes people soft. That only happens if you praise things they do poorly or say nice things that aren’t authentic.

If you’re committed to creating a positive work environment, try the following exercise for the next month. Every time you feel like saying something negative, try phrasing it in a positive way. Do this for a month and see what it does for your employees’ morale, motivation and productivity. Communicating nicely creates happier workplaces where people are treated kindly and feel valued. What will you do to say nice things in your workplace?

Take care,

Leadership Training and Effective Communication

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Empathy and Effective Communication

Posted in effective communication, soft skills training, team building - 27 January 2012 - No comment

spacer Leaders often become so consumed with their own day-to-day experiences and perceptions of their environment that they forget that other people exist and have needs too. This behavior leads to a communication style based on a lack of meaningful connection and understanding between leadership and employees.

A frequently overlooked element of effective communication is empathy; the ability to understand what other people are going through from their perspective. When you master this skill, you communicate on a much deeper level because you’re connecting below the surface. It’s the difference between having civil but superficial conversations and genuinely understanding people.

Participants in my workshops often ask me why people behave the way they do and what they can do about it. That’s where empathy and effective communication come in. When you communicate on a deeper level you move from being surprised by what people do to understanding their behavior. That’s because you’ve made a shift from assuming you know what they’re thinking and feeling to finding out what they’re really going through. How can you develop this skill? Try the following ideas:

1. Stop talking and listen actively instead.

2. Put yourself in the other person’s situation and imagine you’re experiencing the same thing from their vantage point.

3. When the other person is done talking, ask open-ended questions to encourage him or her to tell you more.

4. Remind yourself that what they’re saying isn’t about you, it’s about how they experience the world.

5. Strive to accept anything the person says as their perception rather than something that threatens you or must be changed.

When you use empathy as part of effective communication you move beyond being in the room with someone and saying words. You connect with them in a more meaningful way. Think in terms of how you feel when someone really values and appreciates what you’re thinking and feeling.

Empathy is about demonstrating that you value other people’s perspectives. They may not think exactly as you do but their thoughts mean as much to them as yours mean to you. Once you can empathize with someone else’s experience, you’re communicating in a way that shows them you respect where they’re coming from. What will you do to practice empathy and effective communication?

Take care,


Effective Communication and Team Building

Have a workplace communication problem? Ask me a question directly at www.workplacecommunicationadvice.com.

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11 Ways to Be a Happier Leader

Posted in hr training, leadership training, team building - 20 January 2012 - No comment

spacer Leadership brings with it daunting responsibilities and challenges and many talented individuals end up developing ulcers because of how they choose to lead. Not everyone can design an ideal situation where they can do anything they want, but you may have options available to you that only require a small shift in perspective. Here are some examples of leadership behaviors that make people miserable:

  • Micromanaging.
  • Worrying about everything.
  • Lack of planning.
  • Running from one emergency to another.
  • Getting angry.
  • Feeling stressed.
  • Not building teams.
  • Not communicating effectively.
  • Pretending certain problems don’t exist.
  • Never taking a break.
  • Negative attitude.

Think about whether you do any of these things and how they impact your leadership style and general well-being. These behaviors not only affect you, they also affect the functioning of your employees and the overall success of the organization. What if you could change direction and make your life easier? You might do it by behaving like this:

  • Encouraging people to use their talents and abilities, think autonomously and take action on their own.
  • Don’t worry about everything, look at challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Develop short, medium and long term plans. They don’t have to be complicated, just a road map for what you want to do.
  • Plan a little to avoid being in emergency mode all the time.
  • Instead of getting angry take a break or smile.
  • Do things that reduce stress like breathing or taking a walk.
  • Encourage team building in your workplace.
  • Practice effective communication.
  • Prioritize and deal with problems you might normally ignore. Ask for help if you need it.
  • Take breaks.
  • Decide to have a positive attitude.

It’s usually around this point that I hear someone say, “Guy, this is all fine and good but who’s going to do all this stuff in the real world?” The answer is always you either do or you don’t because you get to decide how you behave in your workplace. Each day is an opportunity to move in a positive direction or stay stuck in misery. It’s your choice. What will you do to be a happier leader?

Take care,


Leadership Training and Team Building

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The Difference Between Team Building and Team Bonding

Posted in hr training, leadership training, soft skills training, team building - 11 January 2012 - 2 comments

spacer I facilitate many team building workshops and the participants sometimes get confused when they realize they aren’t going to be climbing a tree or catching each other as they fall backward. It’s a natural reaction because a lot of what is presented as team building might actually be team bonding. Here’s the difference:

Team Building

  • Focuses on behaviors and their effect on workplace functioning.
  • Helps people learn how to work with each other and get along well.
  • Builds skills like communication, planning, problem-solving and conflict resolution.
  • Builds empathy and compassion.
  • Encourages long-term behavior change.
  • Helps people build genuine connections.
  • Is practiced over time.
  • Encourages deeper discussion and processing.

Team Bonding

  • Focus on fun activities.
  • Brings people together by encouraging collaboration and teamwork.
  • Helps people see each other in a different light.
  • Allows people to connect in a different setting.
  • Usually a one-time activity.
  • Helps people get out of the workplace and relax.
  • Encourages people to have fun together.
  • Sometimes asks people to think about the implications of the activities on their workplace.

Both approaches are valid and have their strengths. The major difference is that team building is a long-term process that creates behavioral change while team bonding tends to be a short-term, fun experience. If you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up then team bonding is your thing. If you’re looking at foundation building and long-term change then team building will help you get there.

As a leader, you get to choose what kind of workplace you create. I’ve found that highly successful (and happy) organizations commit to a long-term team building approach that helps people think and behave in ways that benefit them and their work environment. Learning effective team building takes time and effort but it creates lasting success and a company culture that encourages positive behaviors. What will you do to practice effective team building in your organization?

Take care


Team Building and Leadership Training


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Where Will You Lead Your Organization this Year?

Posted in leadership training, soft skills training - 4 January 2012 - No comment

spacer My training clients frequently ask for ideas on how to plan the future of their organization. With the new year comes new opportunities to move your organization forward and your leadership can make all the difference.

A practical place to start mapping out the coming year is to determine what your areas of priority are and do a little planning. This process includes:

  • Creating a list of the various areas you want to look at this year.
  • Creating names for the categories (marketing, staffing, revenue generating, organizational development) or whatever you want to call them.
  • Prioritizing these categories in order of urgency.
  • Putting the item that you need to do most urgently at the top of your list.
  • Being honest about what needs attention.
  • Committing to planning methodically rather than putting out fires.

Once you have your most important general category identified you can:

  • Write down a list of tasks that you need to do address the category.
  • Prioritize the tasks on the list from most to least critical.
  • Complete the first task and continue to the next only when you have completed the one of higher importance.
  • Evaluate your progress and make necessary adjustments.

This type of process will help you clarify what you want to do and how you can achieve it. As you work through these steps you will find that you’ll begin thinking about your organization  in new ways and possibly even develop new ideas. It’s OK to modify the list as you go, leaders and organizations benefit from being flexible. Just make sure to always prioritize so that you are not wasting your valuable time. Where will you take your organization this year?

Take care,


Leadership Training

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