Is there a difference between recognition and appreciation?

As leaders, we hear how recognition and appreciation are important for fostering workplaces where team members feel valued and supported.

By doing this, we not only build relationships, but we build the foundation of strong teams: we build team trust.

While recognition and appreciation might be similar in practice, they are distinctly different in an important way.

Recognition is earned by doing something; it’s related to performance or results. Consequently, by nature, recognition is past-focused and conditional.

Examples of recognition are things like awards, bonuses, or promotions or even an informal thank you.

Appreciation is celebrating team members for who they are. It’s more about being grateful and cognizant of who they are as people and what they bring to the team.

Think about how often you have opportunities for recognition with your team. There might be some really impressive moments to acknowledge and celebrate, but there are also many struggles of good effort (perhaps some failures). Aside from that, there are usually many peripheral contributors on your team who may not often end up in the spotlight. What about them?

I recently read a Harvard Business Review article by Mike Robbins about why employees need both recognition and appreciation. I really liked this quote he used from a commencement speech that Oprah gave that highlights why appreciation is as important as recognition:

I have to say that the single most important lesson I learned in 25 years talking every single day to people was that there’s a common denominator in our human experience…The common denominator that I found in every single interview is we want to be validated. We want to be understood. I’ve done over 35,000 interviews in my career. And as soon as that camera shuts off, everyone always turns to me and inevitably, in their own way, asks this question: “Was that OK?” I heard it from President Bush. I heard it from President Obama. I’ve heard it from heroes and from housewives. I’ve heard it from victims and perpetrators of crimes. I even heard it from Beyoncé in all of her Beyoncé-ness…[We] all want to know one thing: “Was that OK?” “Did you hear me?” “Do you see me?” “Did what I say mean anything to you?”

Seen, Heard and Understood

In coaching school, we learn that a key component of coaching is to ensure our client is, “seen, heard and understood” because everyone wants to be seen, heard and understood by at least one person.

We all need to feel appreciated. Everyone from our team members and colleagues to bosses and clients. They all want and need to be seen, heard and understood. (This also works for personal relationships!)

Here are ways to make sure that the people you work with feel that you appreciate them:

  • Make eye contact when you speak to them. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of work and answer while reading your phone or email, but actually stopping and looking someone in the eye says they matter.
  • Listen to understand. If you follow our blog, you know that we really encourage leaders to focus on listening to understand because too often we listen with the intent to respond. People want to be heard. When you stop and really listen, what they say might help you to respond better (or differently!).
  • Don’t wait for a reason to connect. While you may think you’re available and you talk with your team when necessary, it’s not the same to, say, ask for an update on a project as it is to just check in with them one-to-one. Chatting informally with the folks that you work with and asking how things are going with their work or a specific project (not in passing – but taking a minute to really listen!) will let them know you care about them as people and not just cogs in the wheel.
  • Tell people what you value about them. When you take time to acknowledge that someone on your team has a particular skill or talent, they feel seen. It could be as simple as a quick email to say, hey, I really like how you pitched in on this assignment and shared your knowledge of formatting the document. Feedback that is timely and authentic can really affect how people feel about working with you.
  • Give a handwritten thank you. In this day and age of texting and emails, a handwritten note really says that you’ve taken the time to stop and say something. It underscores that you’ve made an effort to highlight your gratitude for something that you’ve noticed about someone.
  • Acknowledge an absence. When folks are away from work, whether for something happy like a vacation or challenging like an illness, pick up the slack for them. Then, when they return, let them know how much they were missed.
  • Offer to help. If someone is having difficulty (personal or professional), show that you care about them by offering to help. They may or may not accept your offer, but they’ll know that you valued them enough to make an effort.
  • Give a do-over. We all make mistakes. Once in a while it’s nice if the folks around us give us a do-over. Show people you trust them to make things right.
  •  Celebrate milestones, both personal and professional. Finding reasons to celebrate together for everything from winning contracts to birthdays builds a company culture of growth and happiness.
  • Ask about their lives. Some people are more comfortable than others about sharing details about their lives outside of work but getting to know your team builds trust relationships. Pay attention when members of your team share bits and pieces of their lives and show an interest so they feel you value them as people.
  • If you’re not their boss, tell their boss how much you appreciate this person. There are so many things that can go unnoticed – and unappreciated – unless someone says something. Be that someone.

Coach’s Questions: 

How have you shown your team members recognition lately? How have you shown appreciation? Are there ways you can improve? What are ways you can start this week?

For effective employee recognition, consider the individual

If I ask managers and directors if they celebrate achievements with their teams, most will say they definitely have some employee recognition strategies.

And yet, if we’re doing a team workshop, I’ll hear murmurs of discontent from team members who aren’t feeling they get the recognition they deserve orand this is importantthey don’t feel good about the way their hard work is recognized. 

A recurring theme is that many leaders take a one-size-fits-all approach to employee recognition: 

  • Yup, thanked the team because we finished the quarter/project. 
  • Gave them all lunch. Or dinner. Or took them all out to celebrate.
  • Presented gift cards or bonuses to key people. 
  • Said thank you to XX and XX in front of everyone for their extra effort.

While it seems fair and intentional, too often this kind of cookie-cutter approach misses the mark. 

To be effective, employee recognition needs to be meaningful to the employee.

When you are leading a variety of personalities, you build strong teams by developing relationships so that you knowreally knowyour team members. 

For recognition to be most effective, it helps to know what people value and what makes them feel valued. 

Everyone is different and what makes one person feel appreciated might make someone else uncomfortable and another team member feel undervalued.

Here are four tips for effective employee recognition:

  1. Keep employee recognition on your radar.
    First and foremost, remembering to recognize employees for good work, even more than correcting errors and poor work, is essential. This is more than just showing gratitude periodically or at prescribed times, but actually making meaningful and merit-based recognition part of your corporate culture. 
    If you routinely thank team members in the same way it loses meaning, the same way everyone running a race and getting a ribbon doesn’t feel like much of an achievement.

    Additionally, recognition must seem fair and balancedand earned or deservedand not as though you have certain favorites. Some leaders keep notes to remind themselves of when, why and how they praise each employee (which, by the way, can be helpful when it comes time to figure out bonuses, promotions or assigning special projects).

    Start by building a company culture of gratitude and happiness and watching for moments to celebrate together. You’ll find that demonstrating gratitude for milestones can help motivate team members to keep working toward a goal.

    While you can and should celebrate as a team, you need to single out the MVPs, little victories and extraordinary moments.
  2. Remember that simple gestures and genuine thanks can mean more than money or things.
    Sometimes we get so trapped into monetized values for rewarding team members that we forget there are myriad ways to show and express gratitude (and many of them don’t require an additional budget!).

    A simple and effective way for leaders to recognize effort is to give credit to people who contribute big, bold ideas and conscientious effort that goes above and beyond the norm.

    Can you think of a time you contributed something to a team project that someone else took credit for or didn’t acknowledge? It stings.

    When someone on your team is behind an important part of a deal or project, acknowledge it. There are various ways that this could happen, ranging from a toast at a celebratory dinner to a handwritten thank you note or copying them on a memo to the board and acknowledging their important contribution.
  3. Consider that bigger achievements warrant bigger recognition.
    One size does not fit all. Perhaps you have a team member who catches an error on an invoice from a supplier one that would have saved your company money, but dishonestly (and at the expense of the relationship with your supplier if discovered). You can thank them for their diligence, maybe at a team meeting, and also use it as an opportunity to reinforce that this is a wonderful example of living out the corporate value of conducting business with integrity. (Tying behaviors to corporate values is a great way to reinforce organizational goals for your team.)

    If another team member hears that a client’s shipment has been bungled and pulls out all the stops on a holiday weekend to get the client’s delivery through on time, this warrants more than a simple thank you. The way you recognize this team member’s dedication and ingenuity has to recognize the scope of the save they made for your company.

    While both actions deserve acknowledgement, a “way to go” and a gift card to each person doesn’t seem equitable or fair, does it?

    It’s all about figuring out what gets applause and what gets a standing ovation – or what deserves a rave review for others to see.
  4. Personalize the recognition to each person.
    When leaders really know their team members, and by that I mean their individual personality styles, they recognize that different people appreciate being recognized in very different ways.

    Some folks do NOT want to be recognized in front of others. They genuinely don’t like to be singled out in front of a group. They would much rather be thanked privately or given credit as a contributor on a report than have a shout out or a toast in front of the group (for some people, having to go out to a group dinner is actually tiring or stressful and not fun!).

    You’ll also find that while affirmative words are an effective way to thank some of your team members, others really do appreciate gifts or tokens of appreciation. They’re the ones who really relish having a plaque to commemorate their contribution to a project or who get very motivated by incentives like prizes or trips.

    Then there are others who really value time either at a celebration or time off in lieu to do something with their families or friends.

    Being able to tailor your leadership to various personality styles takes more than just getting to know people on a personal level. Our DiSC Management profile helps you figure out how to recognize the needs of your team members and how to adapt and work better with each personality style.

Coach’s Questions: 

Can you think of a time when the way you celebrated someone’s achievements and it didn’t seem to go over the way you thought it would? Are there ways you could tailor employee recognition to different personalities on your team? What’s something you can do differently this week to individualize employee recognition?

How personality styles affect conflict on your team

Think about a few times when you’ve been angry. It could be a situation where you were just furious about a situation, locked in a debate or angry to have learned something unsettling. 

What did you do? How did you handle the conflict? 

Most of us have a sort of default way that we handle being upset. Here are four common reactions:

  • You say, “bring it on!” and head right into conflict, ready to be honest and direct
  • While you’re fine discussing anything with anyone, you’re uneasy being directly confronted or if you feel the conflict is a rejection of your ideas or values
  • You don’t like upset and do your best to be a peacemaker and mediator (and sometimes even try to change the topic or agree with things you don’t really support just to keep others placated)
  • You dislike being pulled into conflict (especially if it feels like a personal attack) and you want time to research and evaluate a position, response or options

Now, this isn’t a case where the way we react is BETTER or WORSE, or WRONG or RIGHT. 

The way we deal with conflict is related to our personality style (there are different tools for understanding yourself and others and at Padraig, we use the Everything DiSC Assessments with our clients). 

The reason that we react so differently to conflict is because our personality style influences:

  • How we approach situations 
  • What we tell ourselves about things happening around us
  • How we prioritize tasks we need to accomplish 
  • How we interact with others at work and in our personal lives.

Common causes of conflict

Conflict in any environment frequently arises when there are competing goals or pressures. It might be that there is some competition over resources or perhaps confusion over policies, rules or regulations – or friction between different positions of authority or responsibility.

Then consider that the people disagreeing over these issues may also have very different personality styles; suddenly perceptions, values and character traits are adding to the potential for conflict. 

Sometimes the conflict arises when you both share the same personality styles (consider two take-charge dominant personalities who enjoy a good fight, erm, discussion or, alternately, two people-pleasing steady personalities who avoid conflict and don’t want to upset each other). 

Being able to identify your own personality style and the personality styles of your team members and colleagues can be very helpful. If you can understand what motivates them and what is irritating for them, you can tailor your approach. Think of it as learning to speak their language. 

It’s obviously easier to figure out with the folks you work with on a daily or weekly basis and a little trickier if you’re having conflict with someone in a branch office somewhere else in the world. 

Ways to assess personality styles

There are a few ways you can try to figure out where you and others fall in terms of personality style – and ultimately conflict style. Here are some ideas:

Make observations: Watch how your team members react to various situations: 

  • What’s their usual default reaction to conflict? (NB: we highlighted four common reactions at the start of this blog)
  • Are they considered abrasive, outgoing, calm or organized? 
  • Do they like to make decisions quickly, consider others’ reactions when making decisions, wait to see what the group thinks before they vote or are they all about numbers and research? 
  • How do they communicate? 

People can learn to adjust their behavior but most of us have a default way of reacting when we’re under stress. When you see patterns, you can make an educated guess about personality style.

Listen to what others say: If you routinely hear that so-and-so always needs to comb through every financial detail and consider every possibility or that this person makes snap decisions and can’t stand long explanations, you can glean some insights that might confirm your own suspicions. If you trust someone not to gossip or create office drama, you could ask their opinion about how a colleague approaches certain things (but be careful – you want to solve conflict, not create more of it!).

Go straight to the horse’s mouth: Rather than trying to guess, you could go right to the person you’re in conflict with and broach the topic in a non-confrontational way. For example, you could say, “I feel like I am always very direct, but that might not be comfortable for you. Do you agree?” or, “I know that my need for detail can grate on your nerves. Is that a fair statement?” And then, based on their response, you can talk about ways to work through the conflict together. 

Take a workshop: Learning how to correctly identify your own personality style and that of your team members can be the first step to a better work relationship. Learning together at a workshop gives everyone on the team a common language to use and problem-solving skills geared to communicate better with diverse personality styles.   

Conflict is a matter of perspective

There is a very important thing to remember when conflict arises. Brené Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston, has written five New York Times bestsellers. The most recent was published in 2018 after she spent seven years studying the future of leadership.

One of the many interesting results of Brown’s decades of research is that she found that people need to explain the cause of the conflict. But to do that, we often make up an explanation – and our brains feel good about filling in the blanks (accurate or not) and reward us with the feel-good hormone serotonin.

She emphasizes that what we assume to have caused the conflict may not be the truth, but we get that rush of serotonin to reinforce the ideas. Now, consider that if we’re making assumptions about conflict, the invented story might actually make the conflict worse. 

It’s really hard not to get drawn into conflict. Instead of deciding to win an argument or prove your perspective, take a step back. 

One of our favorite ideas to share with clients is to “listen to understand” (rather than listening to respond). It’s human nature to listen to RESPOND, but if you listen to understand the other person’s perspective it’s much easier to determine what that person thinks is causing the conflict. 

Cause and effect

Ideally, you’re going to determine what is the source of strife and determine the conflict style of the person (or people) involved. Then you can anticipate how your style and theirs are similar and different – with a goal of finding out how to help your styles work together and how to make conflict productive.. 

For example, using the language of the DiSC profiles that we use with our clients:

  • If you’re both take-charge Dominant-D personalities, you could clash (and take no prisoners) if you disagree. You may not resolve things in one conversation and may need to take breaks so you can stay respectful and productive. 
  • If you’re both people-pleasing Steady-S personalities, neither of you likes conflict (you usually try to avoid it!). The problem is that ignoring issues doesn’t resolve things – it usually makes them fester until tempers blow. You’ll need to initiate working through the conflict.
  • If the conflict is between a Dominant and a Steady personality, the stakes are very different. In this case, you’re going to have to try to ensure the Dominant-D doesn’t railroad the quiet and patient Steady-S (and the Steady-S has to resolve to be honest and forthcoming, remembering that a Dominant-D personality likes concise information given quickly and is sensitive to being disrespected). The Steady-S may think they have avoided uncomfortable conflict by staying silent but keeping feelings bottled up wears you down over time; the Dominant-D will be surprised, dismayed and possibly disgruntled if it comes out later that silence didn’t signal agreement.
  • The other personalities handle conflict differently so the interplay among personalities is always variable. For example, an Influential-i is sensitive to disapproval from the team, loves new ideas and happily works in broad strokes; it may be harder for an Influential-i to admit there is a problem and be honest about their position. The Conscientious-C personality is very analytical and may seem to other personalities to get overly mired in detail. It’s easy to see where an “i” might find a “C” very irritating and slow when making decisions (and conversely the “C” might think the “i” is flighty and not grounded in fact). 

The beauty of realizing that different people have different conflict styles (because we’re not all the same personality style!) is that we can use that knowledge to help to see things from another perspective.

Instead of judging someone as domineering, flighty, sensitive or slow, we can instead appreciate that we all have different characteristics. The bonus? Sometimes it’s very helpful to rely on colleagues who see the world completely different than you do. 

To make the most of the diversity around you, and still manage conflict, there are six simple shifts you can make to tackle the bad kind of team conflict

Being able to communicate in a way that others who see things differently than you can understand and appreciate will help to resolve conflict and build a better working relationship. 

Coach’s Questions

What conflict styles are making your work challenging? What would you like to see change, in your relationships with these folks? Given our ideas above, how can we help?

7 ways to build an abundant mindset

I had a recent experience where the owner of a small company explained on Facebook that it was time to cull the old Facebook friend list because while that friend list had expanded to 1,000+ names, it was obvious that no one could have that many true friends. 

As part of the explanation, the business owner noted: “Facebook has given me the false impression that I know you all. And, yes, I might see it’s your birthday, that you’re doing home renovations or that you have a great garden, or that you’re traveling somewhere exciting (yet you aren’t one of my clients, so frankly I don’t care).”

In other words, “if you’re not giving me your business for X, I don’t care about your X”. 

Ouch. What struck me when I read this post is that this was written by someone who does not have an abundant mindset. This is someone who sees a limit to friendships, interactions, business, and possibilities.

Even though this was on Facebook and not LinkedIn (therefore a friend forum and not a business forum), it reflects the effect a non-abundant mindset can have on us professionally.

Would you feel like doing business with someone who cuts you from a list because you haven’t done business YET?

Would you wonder how much is ENOUGH business to make the cut?

Would you trust if the person interacted with your posts that this person genuinely wanted to connect or would you feel that it was really an attempt to hook you as a business opportunity?

As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, limiting beliefs can hold you back personally and professionally – and perhaps even in ways we don’t realize. But, don’t despair! We can re-train our brains to think differently and rewrite the script.

 

 

abundant mindset

Here are seven tips to help you build an abundant mindset:

  1. Think without borders. Don’t set parameters when you dream about possibilities and set big goals. Be audacious! If you set limits at the outset you’re not going to be reaching very far.
  2. Push fear away and be curious and excited. Yes, change can be scary – but so is never taking a risk and stagnating. Change allows us the potential to grow and experience positives we otherwise would never encounter. Practice embracing change and being open to new opportunities!
  3. Don’t rest on your laurels! Never stop learning. If you have an abundant mindset, you understand that no matter how brilliant or accomplished any of us are there is still more to learn and experience. There are always areas in which we can develop and grow because it’s impossible to learn everything. See where being insatiably curious and trying new things takes you.
  4. Get off the sidelines and hustle. You can sit back and wait for things to happen in life (and perhaps react to them), or you can actively seek possibilities in life. If you have an abundant mindset, you will be pro-active.  (You can use our ultimate goal setting worksheet to explore possibilities wisely and do a little strategic planning.)
  5. Fill that glass. Folks love to say optimists see a glass as half full while pessimists see it as half empty. When we move into abundant thinking, we’re focusing on finding reasons for gratitude and recognizing what we have. If you have an abundant mindset, you see possibilities instead of limitations and so you’re going to see you can work at filling the glass until it’s as full as you want it to be!
  6. Healthy competition only (no green-eyed monsters). If you have an abundant mindset then the success of someone else isn’t going to make you feel threatened. There’s room for lots of us to achieve good things, right? Celebrate when others are successful and learn from what they do well. Jealous competition and resentment can only limit relationships and waste your energy.
  7. Keep your focus on what you can do differently or better. Some folks get bogged down in negative self-talk when things don’t go as planned. Do not get stuck in that victim mindset! When you focus on the negative, you limit your thinking. Not only that, but steeping yourself in anxiety, fear, anger, or any of the myriad negative emotions is stressful and stress wreaks havoc on our physical health, too. Don’t be afraid to fail! With an abundant mindset, you can find the emotional courage to learn from your mistakes and pursue limitless possibilities.

If you try these seven tips to reframe your thoughts and rewrite your inner dialogue, you can stop limiting your thinking by changing from a scarcity mindset (I can’t, it’s not possible, there isn’t any way, etc.) to an abundant mindset (I can try, it might work if I explore the possibilities, I can find a way, etc.).

Building an abundant mindset is life-changing. Leave the “what if I don’t?” and “what if I can’t” behind for a big “what’s next?!” so that you embrace life and all its possibilities.

Coach’s Questions: 

When you think about dreams and goals, what is your current mindset? How have you limited your dreams or hopes? What can you do this week to start building an abundant mindset or making it stronger? What big, audacious ideas do you have for the new year?

Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Leadership?

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes jobs redundant by the millions, how can you ensure you have a place in the workplace?

Before you think, ah, but I’m in a leadership role in X industry and this won’t affect me at all: This is about much more than just manufacturing jobs. 

Earlier this year, AI expert Kai-Fu Lee told 60 Minutes that he predicts AI will eliminate employment for 40 percent of jobs in the next 15 years. 

In his book, AI Super Powers, Lee outlines how AI can replace not just repetitive tasks, but also traditionally white-collar careers in many diverse fields, including accounting, marketing, law, hospitality, and even healthcare.

The current move toward artificial intelligence is being characterized as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Are you ready for it? How do you ensure you continue to have a place in the workplace? Can you still stand out or excel in this new age of AI?

Things that AI cannot truly replicate

We have to build on the things that underscore our humanitythe things that AI cannot truly replicate. Things like:

Emotional Intelligence: What makes great leaders stand out from good leaders? Usually it’s emotional intelligence. The good news is that you can learn how to boost your leadership emotional intelligence. 

It’s primarily about self-awareness, self-management and managing relationships with those around you. Being fully conscious of how your behavior affects others is at the core of emotional intelligence.

Effective communication: There is no comparison between someone who can communicate well and communicating with AI. Hands down, effective communication skills will give human leaders a competitive edge over the best bot technology.

Being able to communicate effectively with those around you takes more than strategy. It requires understanding that communication flows two ways and being able to cater your communication style to be delivered in a way that others will receive it well. 

When you are intentional in your communication and listen to understand rather than listen to reply – you can turn difficult conversations into essential conversations.

Curiosity: Harnessing your curiosity can reap huge benefits for your team (and it’s not a characteristic of artificial intelligence!). Instead of directing outcomes and solving problems, a coach approach sees leaders ask questions and cultivate curiosity about everything. 

A growth mindset:  We as leaders can move away from a fear mindset to a growth mindset. This takes us from feeling driven to keep things smooth and even to feeling driven to grow and experiment. Learning from (and celebrating) failures encourages us to stretch and strive to do better.

Strategic thinking: This means not just thinking of the logical next move in the execution of an idea but instead, thinking through the idea to determine the angle of approach. It’s determining the most effective outcome (which isn’t always based on the most efficient approach).

Initiating good conflict: Building good conflict is the act of challenging people you trust to help them develop even better ideas (or them challenging you to do the same). Conflict in this sense isn’t about fighting, it’s about not being afraid to share different perspectives or raising concerns. 

Managing bad conflict: Most of us have experienced bad conflict either performance problems or the nasty, interpersonal conflict between coworkers. Tackling the bad kind of team conflict requires having the unique ability to address a challenge head-on or help the other person find ways to solve it.  

If you build and adapt your leadership style to the needs of individuals you’ll go far – even in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – because while machines can figure out complex problems, they can seldom figure out emotions. 

At this point, artificial intelligence still can’t compete with leaders who boost their emotional intelligence as creative, resourceful, inclusive, respectful and accountable humans.

Coach’s Questions

Where do YOU have an advantage over artificial intelligence? What can you do to boost your emotional intelligence this week? How can you protect your future career from AI? Want to do more to work on your EI? We offer a workshop to help you understand,  assess and develop your emotional intelligence as a leader (and foster emotional intelligence skills with your team).

How One to One meetings build a solid culture of engaged employees

How often do you engage with your direct-reports? I don’t mean a list of updates at a weekly meeting, or a drive-by debrief when something is falling apart. 

What I mean is: 

  • How often do you sit and talk about what is motivating them? what’s wearing them down? 
  • How often do you tell them what you’re appreciating about their work, and what you would like to see adjusted?

I get it – you’re ready to stop reading because, “I don’t have time for that.”  Give me another couple of minutes to hear me out. 

Why is it worth spending time every week with each direct report??

  • One-to-one meetings strengthen relationships between the manager and their team members, which is foundational to build a solid culture of engaged employees.
  • We all have a need to feel validated. Sharing thoughts one-to-one lets your direct reports know that their insights and concerns are appreciated and taken into consideration.
  • The above prevents all sorts of other problems and challenges, and sets you both up for big success.

There are many benefits to having short, focused meetings one-to-one with your team members:

  •  One-to-one meetings improve efficiency and productivity 

What’s critical to note is that the amount of time you spend holding ad-hoc conversations with your employees, communicating by email and tracking down crucial information will be condensed almost entirely. 

This brief one-to-one communication provides a high-level overview of current issues and progress. These unique meetings significantly boost productivity and cut wasted time. 

  • You’ll build loyalty

Employees will place a greater sense of trust in your leadership if you meet with them regularly for one-to-one meetings. Loyalty cannot be established through a drive-by relationship with your people; frequency and consistency are required.

  • It benefits both of you

Not only will you have the opportunity to discuss needs, goals and expectations, but you’re also giving your folks an advantage by providing your undivided attention. Within this time, your employees are given a chance to relay their progress and receive clear direction for upcoming priorities.

  • You can give feedback in a way that’s meaningful and personable

Providing feedback for your employees can be uncomfortable, but one-to-one meetings offer the ideal opportunity for letting your directs know how they’re doing, and what you expect from them moving forward – it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

  • You can check-in on goals/objectives and clearly align on progress and next actions to attain goals

This keeps you (and them!) on track and gets things back on track faster when things are derailing. 

And hey, for those times when the weekly meeting doesn’t avoid a crisis and you have to have “the talk” with someone about a big mess-up, it’s a lot easier to do when you’ve built a foundation of weekly honest conversations full of good talking and good listening. 

So how do you have great one-to-one meetings to achieve all those great things, and not painful and awkward meetings?

Make it Safe

Making it safe and maybe even comfortable for people to speak openly is important. As coaches, we work hard to create this atmosphere with our clients and leaders should strive to do this with their direct reports. If these meetings feel too clinical or formal, they’re less likely to achieve the outcomes we listed above. 

Make this meeting an opportunity to get to know this person better. The point is not just to “get an update on their projects,” but rather, to really get to know them because strong work relationships are foundational to success. 

Not only does that build trust, which is key, but you can, for example, find out if there’s anything worrying them. This can help you foresee issues before they become problems. 

It takes time to establish trust, so don’t call it quits after only one meeting. It takes time to change and build a solid culture and get everyone engaged.

Listen More Than You Talk

Don’t dominate the discussion; instead leave plenty of room for the other person to talk, even if that means sitting in silence. I get it: silence can be uncomfortable, and some folks find it harder than others. It takes time to master the art of sitting in silence. But, silence can be very important, allowing for quiet reflection and encouraging others to speak.

Listen to Understand

This is one of our favorite rules for communication because too many of us listen with the intent to respond. When you stop thinking about how to respond, and actually listen to what someone is saying to you (even if you’re angry about it or disagree with them), you may understand what the other person’s issue or concern is. If you reply with a question to understand their perspective more deeply, they feel heard and then real communication can take place. 

Ask Curiosity-Based Questions

People talk more when they’re encouraged to share, not just with open-ended questions but with curiosity-based questions. Show that you are genuinely interested and eager to learn more by asking inquisitive questions. 

I’ve advised clients to consciously think, “I’m curious about…” when they start to ask a question. For example, if you’re talking to a direct report about a situation and they say something intriguing, you’ll think, “I’m curious about XYZ.” Asking, “You mentioned XYZ and I’d like to know more. What can you tell me about that?” might yield more information than more direct “yes/no” or “why?” questions, which can put people on the defensive.

Build Confidence

Here I mean their confidence first, then yours. Help your staff feel confident in a one-to-one meeting by letting them talk and showing concern for any problems from their point of view.  

For example, if a direct-report shares with you their concern about the risk of delays on one aspect of a project, your mind might immediately think of the negative impact that could have on things, how that would damage other areas you’re responsible for, how it might make you look bad, etcetera, etcetera. 

Instead, try responding by looking at it from their perspective. How difficult might it have been for them to tell you? How worried might they be about all the things you just thought about? How can you inspire them to feel confident in finding solutions?

Build your own confidence, too. You might be feeling silly or even weak – having a meeting where you aren’t guiding the conversation, where you’re not answering questions and telling them what to do when there’s a problem might feel alien to you. Using a coach approach to leadership takes practice, but as you move from being the leader who tells people the answers to helping them find the answers themselves you will see how much stronger your team becomes.

A lot of that feeling is about your own beliefs: thinking you need to solve all problems, thinking you need to always have an answer, thinking you have to have it all together. (If that were true, why would you need a team?!)

Practise letting go of that self-talk and reminding yourself that you’re in this together and you can help each other. Remember that by NOT responding and by NOT imposing your own solutions to problems, you’re helping them to grow and you’re being a great LEADER (instead of a BOSS!). You can feel confident in that – and enjoy the benefits of building a solid culture of engaged employees. 

Review Your Progress

Before you leave a one-to-one meeting, take a few minutes to go over what you’ve discussed. Ask:

  • What was helpful in today’s meeting?  
  • What would you like to have happen differently next time, to make our one-to-one more valuable to you? 

Keep in mind they might not have answers right away, but you can start the next meeting with the same questions – things may have come to them in the meantime.

Coach’s Questions

What benefits from one-to-one meetings do you most want to see with your team? What can you this week do to implement or improve one-to-one meetings with your direct reports?

The holidays are coming – 9 things to think about when planning your office party

Tis the season! This is the time of year for party planning and merrymaking as the calendar year draws to a close.

But how often do we actually make office parties and gatherings fun for everyone?

Those of us who’ve been leaders for a decade or two or more (cough) remember when Christmas parties included a tipsy Santa making off-colour remarks and sometime later when inclusive party planning in December meant calling the office celebration a Holiday Party instead of a Christmas Party. Thankfully, we’ve moved even further in the last few years.

Let’s look at office celebrations a little more broadly and in a way that is more useful not just in December, but whenever you decide to throw a party or celebrate as a team.

When done well, party-planning is more than just putting together a festive occasion. It’s an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen your team. Chances are, at the root of it, you’re having a party to show appreciation.

That means throwing a party that doesn’t leave anyone on the sidelines, feeling awkward or (worse!) offended in some way. And that takes some thought. 

Here’s what you need to consider before you hit send on that invitation:

Diversity is about more than you might think

Most workplaces are comprised of a diversity of people and often we think of this in terms of religious traditions. At some point in the early 90s, North American corporations realized that not everyone celebrates Christmas (hence the Holiday Party!) and that many cultural traditions are valued and celebrated.

While this is a valid consideration, diversity is more than just multiculturalism. Yes, there are those of us who identify as Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, pagan, atheist or agnostic. We’re likely hearing about plans for big celebrations from Hanukkah to Christmas to Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice. 

We all come from a variety of backgrounds, experiences and lifestyles — and differences can be more than cultural and religious markers. 

For instance, you might have a colleague who has recently lost a partner (widowed, divorced or otherwise) who feels awkward if invitations are for team members and significant others. Statistically speaking, several of us will work alongside people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community — some of whom might not be “out” at work. 

There could be others who are sober or, perhaps, struggling with sobriety and not interested in open bars and a big emphasis on drinking.

More and more these days, workplaces employ people of diverse abilities. Your team members may be deaf or hard of hearing, on the autism spectrum or use a wheelchair or other support for mobility.  

Parents of young children have different demands on them, as do those who are caring for aging family members (or the “sandwich generation” folks who are caring for both!). 

Another consideration when we’re thinking of diversity is diet. You may have vegetarian or vegan colleagues as well as those who don’t eat pork or shellfish for religious or cultural reasons. Then there are also allergies to things like gluten, peanuts or tree nuts.

At this point, you might be thinking, “it’s just not worth it — I can’t satisfy everyone!”

Take the opportunity to unite instead of divide

When leaders understand the diverse make-up of their team members, they can plan accordingly so that everyone feels comfortable celebrating together.

It helps to focus on celebrating what you have in common rather than concentrating on the differences. (And remember — there are other simple ways to thank your team — you can think beyond a party!)

If you try to incorporate some religious or cultural celebrations into an event (for instance, decorating with a Menorah and a Kwanzaa kinara with seven candles on either side of Christmas tree), odds are you’ll leave someone feeling left out or disgruntled.

Instead, focus on your work together during the last 12 months. You’ve made it through another calendar year!

Here are some ideas to make your holiday gatherings and other celebrations inclusive:

  • Pick a neutral theme instead of tying your celebration to a particular holiday tradition. Think snowflakes, pinecones and cedar or colour themes like black & white or blue & silver. Trust me: You can be festive and celebratory of “the season” without pulling out the Santa decorations!
  • How do you think your team members would like to celebrate? Maybe everyone would like a late night and fancy dinner, but is it possible they’d rather have a family-friendly event during the day or a long lunch? Sometimes after work soirees or group activities are a hit. The best parties are going to have a broad appeal, so ask your team. If everyone is indicating they’re already busy, perhaps opt to hold a celebration in the New Year or on your company’s anniversary date.
  • Parents or caregivers on your team? You might want to offer money for a babysitter or caregiver to make it less stressful for team members to attend (not just cab fare home!).
  • Not everyone wants to drink and party. Many cultures are uncomfortable with alcohol and some team members may choose not to drink for other reasons. Choose a venue that allows everyone to feel comfortable and ensure that you word the invitation so that it’s clear this is not just a booze fest (for example, “Network & Chill” feels different than “Happy Hour”). Drinks menu? Offer non-alcoholic drinks that are fun and festive, too.
  • Instead of wording an invitation to include a “spouse” or “date,” invite your team members to bring a plus one. This way people won’t feel awkward if their guest is a good friend or family member other than a romantic partner — and no one feels obliged to explain the relationship when they RSVP!
  • Think about your menu. Your venue should ideally be able to offer vegetarian and non-vegetarian options (and many of those will also work for those who are gluten-free). Ask people to let you know about dietary needs or allergies when they RSVP so that you’re not taken by surprise.
  • Check that the venue is accessible to people who are differently-abled and perhaps easily accessible by transit — whatever things are important to your team members. You don’t want to be the leader who chooses an exclusive venue that is formal and difficult for people to get into when everyone wants something informal and relaxing.
  • Think about the soundtrack to your event. Plan for music that will provide the right ambience and allow for conversation. Too often, parties are drowned out by loud music and that doesn’t let people get to know each other. Consider something like big band, soft classical music or mellow contemporary music as a backdrop. If there’s dancing, make sure the DJ takes requests and can cater to diverse musical tastes.
  • When you, as a leader, speak at the event, focus on celebrating your team rather than the season. It’s easy to slip into the same-old, tried-and-true wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. Instead, talk about what great work everyone has accomplished in 365 days together — as a team. Talk about how proud you are to be a part of this team.  If the hours have been long, thank family, friends and loved ones who are in the room. This way your celebration will be part of building a company culture of growth and happiness (not just a party!).

Build respect among colleagues

Choices you make as a leader can help to strengthen the relationships of your team members. 

If you want to have an inclusive workplace, model this by making decisions that show you’ve thought about your team members individually and collectively.

This means remembering to consider special dates or occasions that your team members may be observing. You don’t want to offer to take your team for a huge lunch when someone on your team is fasting for Ramadan or Advent. 

If someone asks for time off for a religious occasion or family obligation, honour that. Meetings and important deadlines can be set accordingly. This is when floating holidays are a real incentive for diverse workplaces.

Encourage your team to share their heritage if they want to bring food to share or talk about their celebrations. That company calendar? Include multi-cultural events and important dates for diverse backgrounds so that people are aware of what’s important outside of what they see as important.

Be sensitive to what’s important to your team members and what demands or obligations they may have outside the office. Again, this is bigger than party planning; it’s about ways you retain your top talent.

Coach’s Questions

Has how you look at diversity changed over time? What could you do better to make your celebrations more inclusive? What would you like to change with work celebrations? How can you take all this into consideration without making it a chore?

Building a Company Culture of Growth and Happiness

Recently one of our CEO clients was telling me about the important project his leadership team had completed. It was almost miraculous in that they brought it in on time and on budget – though you can probably guess it was grueling and draining for everyone involved.

I asked the CEO what they did to celebrate, and he paused before saying, “Well, I thanked everyone for their hard work and praised them around the leadership table for their contributions…” As we sat for a moment longer, he said, “Other than that, we all got back to work – it’s a busy time for us.”

I’ll bet that sounds like a familiar company culture to many of us. Hard workers keep working hard, one success has to lead to another, etcetera.

That same CEO had, a few weeks earlier, shared with me his frustration that, “folks don’t seem to really appreciate it here. We seem to have this culture of exhaustion and frustration. People are at each other constantly.”

Celebration at work can go a long way to building a company culture that thrives, retaining the talented employees and growing success. So, with all the effort we put into our jobs, why don’t we celebrate more of what we do? Time and money are the most oft-cited answers. Sometimes it’s also a correlation with what we feel we’re already doing (“I pay people well, why do we have to celebrate, too?!”).

Create a company culture that celebrates

Survey says you’ve got to show more than the money

When we ask folks, “When you think about your entire career, and you focus on the job you loved the most, what was it you loved?” the answers we get aren’t about money. In fact, almost no one says the best job they ever had was the best because of the pay. Instead we hear that people loved a workplace where they: 

  • had autonomy
  • felt appreciated
  • were recognized for their efforts
  • felt the company values aligned with their own
  • were on a team that wanted to win together
  • felt the goals were clear

Now, consider a celebration of the people who made a company success possible. How many of those positives might we reinforce with a company culture that celebrates hard work and dedication?

I imagine some of you are thinking, sure, that would be nice but I have time and/or money constraints. 

Here’s how to start honoring successes and the toil needed to get there, without taking too much time away from work or blowing your budget:

Celebrate the small wins
You don’t need to book a hall, a caterer and a band to celebrate! Celebrating on a small scale can be very meaningful and motivating for everyone. Got a new client this week?

Seeing good numbers this month? Buy a box of doughnuts or cupcakes and gather everyone around for a quick coffee break this morning. Up till the wee hours getting a presentation together and thrilled the hard work paid off after a great meeting? Thank everyone and suggest you start the next day a little bit later than you normally would (and don’t forget the pastries!). Has the team salvaged a client relationship that was tanking? Thank them at the next team meeting (and maybe provide some cookies to go with that afternoon coffee break!).

Before you start singling out team members with flashy thanks in front of the group, just remember that you may have to cater your communication style to be effective! Depending on personality style, some people like a big public thank you and others flourish when it’s a more private expression of gratitude or a group thank you.

Celebrate often
Doing anything often helps make it habitual – and that includes recognizing effort and success. If you want to create a company culture of growth and happiness, you have to start celebrating together. Check out our 10 simple ways to thank your team during the holiday season and be prepared to do so year-round.

Does it feel like you just celebrated something and you’re not keen to celebrate again so soon? Celebrate again. If you’re not used to it, building the habit is going to require you to celebrate things more often than feels “natural” because right now the company culture’s “natural” is not celebrating at all.

Tie the celebrations to your values
Does your organization have values it lives by? Have you looked at them lately? (We’ve discussed before why it’s important that your organization’s values and vision line up.) Walk the talk by tying your celebrations to the values on that poster in the boardroom.

So if your company says: “We value diversity” then celebrate someone having the courage to share a different point of view on how to tackle a project or working hard to bridge a cultural gap with an international client.

If your organization says: “We value our customers” then celebrate a thank you letter received from a customer, etcetera.

Being able to tie celebrations to your organization’s values is especially important if you want to foster those values. When you recognize folks for things they do that align to the company values, you reinforce those values and actions.

Systematize celebration
Another way to make celebrating more of a habit (and thus a part of your company culture) is to assign a budget (even if it’s a very modest budget!) and put key employees in charge of the festivities.

Don’t force this on the accountant who thinks it’s a waste of time. Instead, take a look around the next cupcake and coffee gathering. Who is really enjoying it? Who thanks you for the treat? Those are the folks who like to celebrate and might be happy to take it on.

Be careful not to delegate and run! Instead, ask them to take on ownership, but be sure to encourage them, suggest things to them that have happened that can be celebrated and show that you’re supportive of their extra efforts.

Start celebrating NOW
Like so many good ideas, this idea of building a company culture of growth and gratitude is only as good as its execution. Letting this good idea linger isn’t going to change the company culture. Carpe diem

Coach’s Questions

When was the last time you celebrated success and hard work with your team? How can you make celebrating part of your company culture? What can you celebrate this week?

Career move: Are you ready?

You know you’re ready for a change – a new challenge, perhaps a move up the career ladder or maybe a new location or industry.

Before you start putting out feelers, stop. (Yes – stop!) A little bit of groundwork can make a career move much more successful.

Review

Take some time to review: 

  • What things do you love?
  • What don’t you love?  
  • What excites you?
  • What wears you down?  

Be completely honest! You’re not going to show this to anyone else. You don’t have to be seen to be somebody you’re not, nor do you have to try to please anyone else. This is a time for transparency and brutal honesty with yourself.  

Next, divide a notebook page in two columns and title one, “Love It” and the other, “Leave It”. At the end of each day, for a couple of weeks, go through your day and jot down things you did and things you avoided under either the “Love It” or “Leave It” column. 

After a couple weeks, you’ll have a pretty good list of things that drive you and things that wear you down.  (You don’t have to put everything on the lists – but if it remotely charges you up, put it under “Love It” and if it remotely bothers you or wears you down, toss it under “Leave It.”) 

We’ve also created a downloadable worksheet

Depending on the rhythm of your annual work cycle, at the end of the couple of weeks you may need to look ahead and think about what’s coming up. Consider whether you:

  • Love the year-end financial stuff? Add that to the list.
  • Love that you get four weeks of vacation? Add that to the list. 
  • Dread having to write the annual staff performance reviews? Add it to the list.
  • Know that you need an annual salary of $X? Add what you need to the lists as well – bonus, overtime, company car, expense account – just remember to differentiate between a want (would be nice to have) and a need (must have).

Think about what else you love in life. Perhaps these other things don’t immediately or obviously translate to a career move but then think about WHY you love them. Does the why translate? 

For example: 

I love being on the board of XYZ Non-profit because my role lets me see the big picture.

I like volunteering at the food bank because I can see the effect we have on people 

I like coaching sports because I like seeing the outcome of things.

I like having dinner with my kids every night.

Give some thought to what your “ideal” career move looks like and write it down. Read it a day or two later and edit it based on your gut reaction. 

So, a draft might read something like:

I want a role that lets me see a big picture – so something more tactical or strategic, where I can see an outcome for people directly. I enjoy sales but not the daily financial pressure to deliver, deliver, deliver.

When you’re thinking about your ideal, forget about “forever” and focus on the next few years. What would be ideal for now? Some of us of a certain age tend to look at career moves as rare and all-defining when, in fact, it could be an interesting step to a future opportunity.

I know that many of us think only of moving UP the corporate ladder, but there are times when a lateral career move makes sense. While you’re looking for opportunities, weigh all your available options. 

Go through your address book, and list 20-30 people you would feel comfortable talking to about your desire for a career change. They do NOT have to be people in your preferred industry or people who hire others. Schedule a coffee talk or phone chat with at least 15 of those folks.  

The goal is going to be to share with them what you’re looking for and why. You want this conversation to spark them thinking about who they know who might know someone who could help you find a new career opportunity. You see, you’re expanding your network by starting with people you know. 

There’s a really good chance the next person to hire you isn’t already in your address book, but there’s a good chance they’re in the address book of someone you know. 

When you meet your contacts for coffee, bring your goal statement and be able to speak in detail about it. We’ve included room on the downloadable worksheet for this information too. 

Telling someone over coffee that you’re looking for a job doesn’t accomplish much. They hear you but don’t see a role for themselves.  

Be Clear

You’ll want to be clear on a couple of things:  

  • Tell them what are you looking for in a career move
  • Share with them what are you good at (see the lists you created) 
  • Ask them if they can help you find something – or if they could refer you to others who might have a connection to something interesting

What about your current employer? If you really love your current employer, but you’re just not loving your current role, putting the same strategy to work within your current organization can work well, too. 

Build a network internally and use the same techniques of figuring out what you like, what you’re good at and seeking out a new opportunity. 

If you’re looking outside your organization for a new career opportunity, give some thought to when you want to share this with your employer:

  • On the one hand, you may work in an organization that won’t take it well when you tell them, so you may need to delay until you have a solid offer. 
  • If you have a good employer, they may want you to stay and offer to work with you to figure out how to bring out your real strengths with new responsibilities.

If you don’t share the information right away, prepare a response in case word gets back to your boss or employer that you’re looking for work elsewhere. Outline why you’re looking and how you would like to contribute more. 

As you explore the possibilities for a career move, remember this is about finding a good fit  – the best fit. You’re courting and being courted to see what opportunities are out there and you might land something really exciting. It’s good practice to consider your next career move at least once a year. 

Keep your eyes wide open to the fact that maybe your current role or company might turn out to be your best option right now. If there is some part of your job that made you think you needed to move, then you can try to do something to improve that part (rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater as they say!). Often a damaged interpersonal relationship is the motivation to move to a new workplace, but changing your perspective could change your career.

Coach’s Questions

What are your feelings about a career move? What can you do this week to figure out your ideal career move? Are there opportunities that you know that others in your network might be interested in? 

How to disagree with your boss

I remember vividly as a young professional a time when I had a dissenting opinion about an important issue, but hesitated to offer it. 

The problem was that I didn’t feel encouraged to give an honest opinion if it conflicted (and it did!) with that of the people more senior to me at the time. The boss was defensive and took disagreement as some sort of insult or insubordination. And so, of course, he often heard what he wanted to hear, not what he needed to hear.

It’s not uncommon. We’ve had clients share with us that they don’t know why their team members won’t tell them the truthand others who struggle to be candid with their bosses or board members. 

If you’re the leader seeking good information to inform your decision-making, you can learn how good leaders handle honest feedback and criticism and strategies for making the best decisions.

When you’re on the other side of things and disagree with someone you report to, it can be challenging to figure out how you can share your opinion without watering it down (and without needing to duck and cover!). 

Disagree with your boss

Here’s how you can disagree with your boss with less worry about being blacklisted or fired:

  1. Line up those ducks of dissent beforehand.
    To be able to disagree, there has to be trust. Strong, respectful relationships allow people to contribute and communicate truth no matter where they are in the office hierarchy. This is why when we work with teams, we help them learn to build conflict (the good kind!) in the workplace.

    Instead of waiting for a time when you’re in a meeting and wonder whether you can share your thoughts freely, have that conversation with your boss when the stakes are low. Find out how your boss feels about dissenting opinions. How should your team handle and manage disagreements when the stakes are high? Having established ground rules about what healthy conflict looks like and how to encourage a culture that allows for healthy debate leads to better decisions and successful organizations.
  2. Read the situation and strategize.
    Timing, as they say, is everything. If you have established strong work relationships, sharing frankly with your boss is easier than it can be otherwise. Additionally, different personalities will take information better in different waysboth WHAT is delivered (facts and figures vs feelings) and HOW or WHEN it is shared (for example, in a group or privately).

    You might have very valuable insight for your boss, but it could be that if you share it in a public forum that boss will feel undermined and embarrassed. If this is the case, you’re better to ask to meet with your boss privately after the meeting (I have an idea to share with you offline about this situation. Do you have a minute to chat?)

    Perhaps it’s an important meeting with a variety of stakeholders present, but the tone is more one of brainstorming for solutions. In that case, contributing your radically different perspective in a respectful way (You know, it occurs to me that we could take a completely new approach and do this…) could be very well received.

    It can also be helpful to remember that other people are sharing ideas that they feel strongly about. Acknowledge the contributions you agree with (While I agree that X is an important consideration, and as you say that Y is another factor we need to keep in mind, I feel that….) and ask questions about the things you see as potential challenges or barriers (I hear what you’re saying about Z and that is valid, but I’m wondering about ABC. How would we handle ABC?).

    When you are able to stay collegial and collaborative, it helps to keep the focus on finding solutions rather than winning an argument. Asking questions is a way for you to ask for the opinions of someone more senior than you and offer your own reservations about a topic in a respectful way.
  3. Make your intention clear.
    Even if you have a good relationship with your boss and your work culture encourages healthy conflict and sharing of ideas, it helps to frame your contribution to the discussion in the right way.

    When there is tension or if things get heated, it’s human nature for people to feel defensive about their own positions. What is the goal that everyone hopes to achieve? Preface your idea as a way to meet that goal. This way, even if yours is a dissenting opinion, it doesn’t threaten the position that your boss cares about.

    “I know we all want to land this big account. I feel that we could still do this with what you’re suggesting but we need to consider X, Y, and Z before we tackle what you’re proposing.”

    It’s crucial that, especially when you don’t agree, you still show respect. A boss who feels you are respectfully sharing a counter-opinion will be much more likely to listen to understand (not just to respond!) than one who feels under attack.
  4. Ask for permission to speak freely.
    Some discussions in the workplace are much more delicate to navigate than others. It could be that there is a decision to be made around a disciplinary matter or an ethical decision.

    These are times when even if you’ve earned trust, it’s good to not only make your intent clear, but to ask for permission to share your thoughts honestly as a sign of respect.

    “I have some ideas about this, but I don’t want you to think I’m trying to undermine your position. I don’t feel right staying silent about this either because it’s crucial we make the best decision for the company. May I offer my opinion for you to consider?”

    When you negotiate the terms of sharing your truth, it’s less likely that your boss will mistakenly take your dissenting opinions as disrespectful or threatening.

In a perfect world, of course, your boss would love your ideas and take your opinions into consideration. If this is not the case, you need to respect the final decision and fully get behind it — that means doing whatever you need to do to make it successful (and not saying I told you so if down the road it turns out you were right!).

The good thing is that when you are able to disagree with your boss or the board and have your say, you’ll never regret that you didn’t say anything that could have changed the outcome. Not only that, but your boss will know that you can be counted on to say what you think courteously and respectfully.

Coach’s Questions

Have you ever disagreed with a boss or superior? What would you do differently to disagree with your boss now? Do you think your team members feel they can disagree with you?