If You Care About The Relationship (WT608)

If You Care About The Relationship (WT608)


WT 608 If you care about the relationship

Day 2 of our Leading Yourself and Leading Others experience.

One of the biggest concepts to appreciate when you’re learning to improve your communication skills is this:

“If you care about the relationship, use your skills. If you don’t care about the relationship, take the gloves off and have a go.”

What does that mean?

It means that we have a choice.

We are always choosing whether to use our communication skills or not.

Why would we care about the relationship?

  1. The person you’re in relationship with is important to you
  2. The relationship is important to you and worth fighting for
  3. Another relationship is important to the person that’s important to you, eg. An inlaw or friend
  4. Harmony is important to someone you care about, eg. your mum or dad or grandparents
  5. You have to work with the person
  6. It’s important to your boss and you care about your relationship with your boss.

Years ago, Ross came home from work and told me about a conversation he’d had with a colleague.

I was initially horrified to hear what Ross said to the colleague until I thought about it and processed it and then realised it was a valid point.

Having what we refer to these days as a “robust conversation”, in other words a fight, Ross told his colleague, “I have to work with you, I don’t have to like you”.  His colleague didn’t like hearing that because he wanted Ross to like him.

How about you? Is it important to you to be liked?

For me, reminding myself of the choice I have when it comes to relationships, I usually end up choosing to use my skills.

Those skills include:

  1. Active listening to what the other has to say.  It doesn’t mean you agree with what they are saying, it means you demonstrate that you heard and understood their message.
  2. Understanding if the issue is a conflict of needs or a values collision. Depending on the answer, we use different skills.
  3. Engaging my empathy and following Steven Covey, “seek first to understand before seeking to be understood”.

There are many many more skills and concepts we can choose to use and if you’re interested to know more, you’re welcome to join our Practical Leadership online membership or register for one of our Leading Yourself and Leading Others experiences.

For today though, your mission is to look at all the relationships you are in and decide if you care about the relationship and why or why not.

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Should I Say Something? (WT556)

Should I Say Something? (WT556)



Should I Say Something? WT556

Sean had a dilemma. His teammates had confided in him.

They shared information with him that affected the business.

He didn’t know what to do.

“Shirl, I am in a real pickle here. I want to maintain confidentiality, but I feel really strongly about what they told me. I don’t know what to do. What would you do?”

Now anyone who has worked with me knows that it’s not for me to answer that question.

We know that the person with the problem is the best person to solve the problem.

The best way to help is to listen (actively) and to ask the questions that they need to hear, not questions to satisfy our curiosity.

“Why do you think they confided in you?” I asked.

“Well, they know I can keep stuff to myself.”

“Yes, why else did they tell you and not someone else?”

“Well, I don’t know that they haven’t told someone else.”

“Ok. Let’s look at it another way. Do you think they were venting, or do you think they told you because they wanted you to do something about it?”

“I think a bit of both. I think they needed to download and share and I also think they were wondering what they should do with the information.”

“So what they shared wasn’t necessarily about them, rather it was what someone else had shared with them?” I continued to clarify.

“Yes, I think so.”

“In essence, they were having the same conversation with you that we are having now?” I reflected back.

“Yes, I suppose they were. You know, I really don’t have to do anything with that information, other than have listened to them. They are the ones who need to take action to change it, if they want to.”

“That sounds like you’ve worked out what you want to do?” I reflected.

“Yes. Thanks so much for the advice. It was really helpful.”

That comment always intrigues me because I didn’t give any advice. I merely asked questions to help Sean clarify for himself what was going on. At the end of the conversation he decided what he wanted to do and in this case, he decided he didn’t need to do anything.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, where you’re not sure if you should speak up, you can coach yourself, by asking yourself some simple questions:

  1. What was the motivation for them sharing the information with me?
  2. Is this something that has the potential to harm others?
  3. Is this a legal issue, such as child protection information or a non-compliance behaviour etc.?
  4. What is to be gained by me breaking the confidentiality and sharing the information or what are the likely consequences?
  5. If I was to break confidentiality, who would need to know and what would their likely reaction be?
  6. And finally, what are my real reasons for wanting to say something?

It’s a tricky situation to be in and every situation is different. At the end of the day, only you can really decide whether you should say something.

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Choose Your Communication Method Carefully (WT544)

Choose Your Communication Method Carefully (WT544)


WT 544 Choose your communication method carefully

One of the services I provide for my legends is a recruitment profile and interview for potential employees.

I have a couple of profiles that I use depending on the outcome we are looking for.

One of the questions I ask to find out their preferred communication style is “If you had a message to give to a colleague at work, would you: a: walk down the hall and deliver it face to face (assuming no Covid restrictions), b: send an email c: send an SMS, d: post it via the interoffice mail or e: call them?”

Just as it’s important for us to know their preferred communication style, I am often flabbergasted at what appears to be such little interest or little knowledge displayed by employees, to understand how best to communicate with their managers.

For example, some of my legends have shared with me how their former employees have simply sent an SMS message to resign.

Others have complained how employees will SMS or email when they are unwell and will not be going to work.  In fact, one company has now implemented a policy for employees to call their manager when they will not be coming to work, so that the manager can find out if there are any urgent tasks that need to be dealt with during their absence.

Another example includes emailing the boss with a list of complaints and an ultimatum, (not in these words but the message was clear), “Fix it or else (I’m leaving)”.

If you want to influence someone to give you what you want, you MUST discover their preferred communication style and use it.

If you don’t, you run the risk of them reacting to the manner instead of the message. It certainly won’t help your message or your request.

I have to ask, “What’s your preferred communication style?” and “Do you know what your manager’s is?”

If you don’t know or are unsure, how can you find out? (Hint: Ask them, or notice how they communicate with you. You’d most likely ask your customers, wouldn’t you?)

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Understand the “No” (WT539)

Understand the “No” (WT539)


If you’re like me, I’m guessing you don’t like to hear the word “No” when you make a request.

In fact, I don’t know too many people who do, unless of course, they have read “Go For No” by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz, but that’s a whole other Weekly Thought.

Today, I want to focus on understanding what’s behind the “No”.

Salespeople are taught to keep questioning until they understand the reason for the “No” and then, if they can, help the prospective customer overcome their objection, to make the sale.

I’m intrigued that we don’t do this with our employees.

For most of us, we simply get frustrated and do our best to either convince our employees or worse, order them to do what we want.

This week I had the opportunity to observe an employee’s reaction to a request to hire more people.


“Why not?”

“If we do, they won’t stay.”

“Why won’t they stay?”

“They want a permanent position.”

The penny dropped for me when I heard this. The employer was offering to hire a “casual” employee. I knew that the employer wasn’t attached to having a “casual” employee, rather they were looking to find the best solution to ensure that clients were being looked after without overworking or overwhelming the current employees.

“What if we offered permanent part-time, instead of casual?”

Now we got an entirely different response.

Name, I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen, really listen to understand what people are telling you.

The misunderstanding here, like most misunderstandings, occurred because we hold a different perception.

Your job this week is to understand the “No”.

What’s really behind the “No”?

I encourage you to put your “Patient Hat” on (patient as in giving someone time, not seeing a doctor – just so we’re clear) and take the time to really listen and understand the “No”.

You might be surprised at how quickly you get to a “Yes”.

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It’s All in the Asking (WT449)

It’s All in the Asking (WT449)


WT 449 It's all in the asking

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m not the best negotiator when it comes to getting a “good deal”. 

I tend to accept the price that I’ve been given when I want to purchase or sell something. 

I expect and believe that the person I am buying from or selling to, has the same values as me, which tends to make me quite naïve at times. 

At the end of February we will be taking possession of our Motorhome, affectionately named Contessa, to start our journey to live and work around Australia for the next few years. 

This meant we had to say goodbye to Connie, my beloved Lexus E350. 

It was a tearful day for me as I left Connie with her new owner. 

Here’s what I learned: 

I had an amount in my mind that I wanted to get for Connie. 

The offer I received was lower than this, not by much, but still lower.

My experience has also shown me that the first offer you get, whether that be for a car or house, etc. is often the best offer, so I was conflicted about what to do.

I shared the offer with Ross who immediately suggested I ask for more.

I didn’t know how to. I didn’t know the words to use. I didn’t know what to say.

Eventually I crafted an email and asked if we could agree on the revised figure, and if so, I would arrange to deliver Connie. 

To my surprise and delight they agreed.

Wow! It’s all in the asking. 

Lesson number 1 – be okay with asking. 

Lesson number 2 – be mindful of the language you use to ask. 

This little experience has motivated and inspired me and given me confidence. 

I still have a lot to learn and practice and I share this story with you to encourage you, if you need it, to be ok with asking. 

After all, if the answer is “No’, you are no worse off.

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