“Probably my best qualities as a coach is that I ask a lot of challenging questions and let the person come up with the answer.” ~Phil Dixon
Do you have an employee with performance issues? If you do, you might want to consider using the T.A.L.K. method to develop a solution collaboratively with your employee. Remember that a coaching meeting is not a disciplinary meeting, it is a “helping” meeting. Use the following acronym to help you remember the process:
Tell it like it is
Ask for feedback
Lead the discussion
Keep at it
It goes like this …
Tell is like it is
- “I’ve noticed you have been coming in late and leaving early the past two weeks.”
- Describe the problem behaviour or situation in an impartial and factual manner.
- Don’t judge or accuse the person
- Use non-judgemental words
- Leave your assumptions at the door
- Keep your tone of voice approachable and calm
Ask for feedback
- “What’s up?”
- Ask the employee to share their thoughts about the situation and let them explain
- Listen patiently to the employee without judging and accusing
- Look beyond words for clues to what the employee is saying
- Don’t interrupt
- Using paraphrasing to clarify the message
Lead the discussion
- “When you come in late and leave early, what’s the impact on our customers – your team – your career?”
- Ask open ended questions to help the employee understand the impact of his behaviour
- Use logical consequence questioning and reframing to guide thinking
- Don’t give advice, instead give information and offer appropriate assistance
- Refrain from criticizing or offering advice
Keep at it
- “So we’ve agree to do, (then summarize agreed upon action) …….. and we’ll meet in two weeks.
- Encourage and express confidence in employee willingness and ability to help himself or herself
- Summarize and clarify expectations, agree, and document an action plan
- Set a follow up meeting with a specific date
- Keep at it until the issues are resolved
So there you have it. A simple and effective way to T.A.L.K. it out to improve performance. Try it. It works!
Best regards, Joanne Royce
P.S. I first heard the acronym T.A.L.K. many years ago and it stuck with me. Not sure who the source or orginator is, but it’s catchy and easy to remember!
My daughter and I enjoyed some mother-daughter time this week. No – we didn’t go shopping and we didn’t watch The Bachelor Pad.
We attended a meditation session.
I’ve only tried meditating once or twice before and enjoyed the experience. Since my daughter (my baby) is off to university this fall, I thought introducing her to the art (and science) of meditation would be useful. Learning to have a calm mind is a great skill to have especially during times of big change. Big change can cause big stress, and university is a big change for her and a big change for this particular soon to be empty nester. So off we went for some mother-daughter time.
The facilitator started the session with a breathing activity. We were asked to close our eyes, and focus on our breathing. Next the facilitator guided us to consider the feelings and thoughts that were interrupting our focus. We were asked to non-judgementally make note of them and then to let them go. She guided us to consider how our body was feeling. Was there tension or pain anywhere? We were asked to release that tension and pain to the best of our ability.
We learned that we have two inner spies.
Spy #1 reminds us about what we are supposed to be focussed on (i.e. our breathing).
Spy #2 watches to make sure Spy #1 doesn’t fall down on the job.
When we focus so intensely we drift towards being drowsy or less alert (which is Spy #1 falling down on the job), Spy #2 prompts Spy #1 to remind us to REFOCUS! In this way our two spies help us achieve a calm mind (not a sleepy mind).
For achieving calm abiding … your mind must have two qualities:
1) Great clarity of both the object and the consciousness itself
2) Staying one-pointedly on the object of observation.
It was a pretty interesting session. And of course I thought to myself afterwards, that is what we need when we are working! I don’t mean Big Brother watching our every move, I mean, we need our two inner spies. The first one to remind us to keep focussed on the task at hand, and when we lose energy, the second to prompt the first one to remind us to keep focussed.
Is there a message in the fact that my calm mind
immediately thought of work?
The next time you are a little unfocussed or stressed, take a moment. Close your eyes, concentrate on your breathing, and let your two spies help you achieve calm. Seems like a worthwhile skill to help create happy, healthy, and productive workplaces too! It will certainly be a good skill to practice for this particular empty nester with a soon to be quiet house.
Kind regards, Joanne Royce
P.S. My daughter enjoyed it too because she suggested we do it again next week. Mother-daughter time to cherish.
Photo Credit: strakplan, SXC
How much should you reveal about yourself at work?
That all depends on whether you wish to form meaningful relationships and trust with the people you work with.
Trust cannot be developed without building relationships. If you feel it best to close yourself off and not reveal anything about yourself at work, you won’t have as much success in building relationships. That’s okay, but work is about people, just as much as it is about process. And getting to know the people you work with helps build a great place to work.
Let me explain what I mean.
The Johari Window is a great tool to help with self-awareness. It visually depicts “self” as a four-part window pane with an open area, blind area, hidden area, and unknown area. To build relationships you need to make the open area larger by disclosing information about yourself to others (to minimize the hidden area) and by learning about yourself through feedback from others (to minimize the blind area).
1. Open: This pane is what we know about our self and what is known by others. (i.e. I’m a certain height and approximate age).
2. Blind: This pane is what we don’t know about our self but others know. By being open to feedback we reduce the size of the blind area and enlarge the open area. (i.e. an area of strength or development I’m not aware of but others can see).
3. Hidden: This pane is what we have hidden from others, so others don’t know about it. By disclosing information we reduce the size of the hidden area and enlarge the open area. (i.e. what made me who I am today, what is important to me).
4. Unknown: This pane is what we don’t know about our self yet and neither do others. (i.e. This is something in my future I haven’t discovered about myself and others don’t know about).
I don’t mean disclosing trivial information ad nauseam. Significant information about yourself does not consist of trivial details rehashed over and over about complaints or escapades on the weekend. It is about revealing information like what’s important to you, your values, your hopes, your dreams, your strengths, what made you who you are today, your weaknesses, and what you need to succeed.
It is rather like a balancing act. If you disclose too much too soon, you become the Chatty Cathy of the office. It’s kind of like the Chatty (Cathy) Baby doll I had when I was young. I could pull on her string and Chatty Cathy would talk to me. But I could only pull on that string so many times, because her repetitious chatting became irritating to me and to those around me. At work, when Chatty Cathy walks down the hall, people hide. She’s too busy talking to be open to feedback or to get to know others by listening to them. They know way too much about Chatty Cathy; they knew it too soon; and they heard it too often. Unfortunately Chatty Cathy knows nothing about them. Therefore, rather than building relationships, she stopped them from forming in the first place.
If you don’t disclose any information ever then you risk becoming Hermit Henry. Sure Henry does his job well, but he’s a puzzle. No one really knows anything about him. He doesn’t disclose anything about himself. His manager can’t figure out what motivates him because he doesn’t know anything about him. When Henry walks down the hall people might give him a wave, but it’s too hard trying to get to know him. Having a conversation with Hermit Henry is, as a colleague of mind puts it, like trying to push a large boulder up a hill by yourself. Soon you give up and that includes providing feedback that would help Henry open up.
You need to find a balance somewhere in between. The balance comes when an individual is open to feedback and to learning about themself and to disclosing and sharing information of significance to others, at the right time, and in the right amount. It also comes from providing feedback and listening when others disclose and share information. When this happens at work (and at home), a wonderful thing happens. Relationships are built. Managers know what’s important for to employees and vice versa. Conflict diminishes and communication flows. Trust is created.
A significant amount of our time is spent at work, so building relationships at work makes sense.
Building relationships = disclosing important information + being open to feedback about one-self (in a reciprocal way).
The end result is a happy, healthy, and productive workplace.
If you need help with this concept, self-awareness, and communication training, to build relationships and trust at work give us a call.
Best regards, Joanne Royce
Source: Johari Window Diagram, Business Balls
Last week in Part 1, we went over three recruiting scenarios to determine if discrimination occured, we looked at definitions and legislation related to discrimination, and we reviewed a concise statement by Stuart Rudner, an employment lawyer with Miller Thomson LLP. It is clear that not all discriminatory practices are unlawful. Only scenario #3 - Where are you from with a last name like that? – would be considered discriminatory based on the protected grounds of ethnic origin, whether intentional or not. Scenario #1 – I only want to interview candidates who graduated from my alma mater, ABC University. – and Scenario #2 – What horoscope sign are you? – are not considered unlawful because they are not discriminatory based upon protected grounds. But they are discriminatory based upon “silly grounds” and are definitely not sound human resources practices. This is why:
Selection decisions should reflect job requirements.
If the manager is hiring from a specific university, it is acceptable if that is the only university offering a program specific to the job requirements. If it isn’t then it is discrimination based upon “silly grounds” and should be avoided.
Selection decisions should be free from personal prejudices.
If the manager’s preference to hire from a specific university is based on the fact that he graduated from the same university or to make hiring decisions solely on horoscope signs, then he is allowing his own personal prejudice about a specific group of people distort the selection process. This is even worse when coupled with an extreme avoidance of hiring candidates from a rival university or specific horoscope sign!
Selection decisions should encourage diversity.
If the manager continually hires from the same university or same horoscope sign, he may end up building a group with a similar mindset which will become a barrier to creativity and problem solving. Hiring from a diverse source of candidates will encourage a competitive advantage for the organization.
Selection decisions should be equitable and fair.
Using criteria that favours one group over another with no consideration to job requirements will be perceived by others as being inequitable and unfair, as well as unethical. This perception can seep into how others perceive the hiring manager in other aspects of his responsibilities and will undermine his ability to build trust.
Selection decisions should build the organization’s reputation and brand.
If decisions are not made based on objective job requirements, the company is opening itself up to complaints of discrimination. Any complaint about discrimination, whether under protected grounds or not, can negatively impact the reputation and brand of the organization (and personal brand of the hiring manager).
There is a risk associated with discrimination based upon protected grounds, but as the above highlights, there is also a risk associated with discrimination on “silly grounds” as well.
Do you have a story about discrimination based upon “silly grounds?” If you do, please share it by commenting below. (You can comment anonymously)!
Best regards, Joanne Royce
Photo Credit: Svilen Milev via SXC