Handling a Criticizer

Q: I am a team leader, and I have an individual on my team that I wish would keep his mouth shut. He is constantly making snide remarks about his teammates or openly criticizing their performance. When he does this, there is always an awkward silence followed by less engagement and participation afterward. It’s like he wants to show that he is Mr. Know-it-all. What would you do in this situation?   A: Unfortunately this is a common occurrence on many teams. Failing to address the situation will continue to impact collaboration and erode teamwork, and may even work to undermine your...

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The Gift of Ourselves

I was dashing through the Atlanta airport to catch a flight out West. When I finally arrived at my gate and had a moment to pause, I started to notice what was happening around me. People were hiding behind their newspapers, texting on their smartphones, or standing shoulder to shoulder like a mass of penguins. I was shocked by how few people were actually talking and connecting with those around them. I thought, “Certainly on Thanksgiving weekend, people would show a little more cheer.” Little did I know, I would soon have an opportunity to connect with another person. I boarded...

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Late Again?!

Q: I am a Nurse Supervisor, and I frequently have a nurse who shows up late for her shift. I haven’t said much to her about her behavior other than, “You were late today.” I have received a cross look or two, but she rarely says anything. What is frustrating for me is that I never know who is going to be late or who isn’t going to show up. If we are short-handed, then I am forced to call in other resources to cover the patients in our unit. What should I do?   A: First, you need to realize that...

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"Outside" vs. "Inside" the Conversation

Q: Sometimes difficult situations arise unexpectedly and there doesn’t seem to be time to think through how to use the DialogueWORKS framework. In other words, when I am “outside” the conversation I have time to prepare what I want to say and how I want to say it, but when I am “inside” the conversation, things seem to happen too quickly. How can I become more effective at holding a difficult or emotional conversation when I am “inside” the conversation?   A: What a great question! Taking the time to prepare for a difficult conversation vastly increases the likelihood that the outcome...

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Don't Blame Me!

 Q: “I am in marketing and I design marketing campaigns for major corporations. My boss recently asked me to design a campaign in six weeks that should have taken three months. After completing the project on time, my manager, director, and vice president want to blame me for running over budget. It seems that when they lowered their bid on the campaign, they forgot to reduce the scope of the project. Consequently, we had to meet the client’s demands at a lower price. My supervisors have called a meeting with me next week, and I am guessing they are going to...

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Why Don't They Do What They Say They'll Do?

Q:  “My manager asked me to create a report for her. Although she promised to give me the facts and figures I need for the report, she has not done so yet. What do I say now?” A: There are a number of reasons why leaders may break a commitment: First, changing priorities often influence one’s ability to keep a commitment within a specific time frame. Second, with all that leaders have to do, it is easy to overlook--or simply forget--some commitments. Or perhaps your manager has changed her mind about having you prepare the report after all. This is a perfect...

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Throwing Things

Q: "I am a nurse in the O.R. at a local hospital. At times, out of frustration, certain physicians will throw things at us during surgery--soiled sponges, gauze, and sometimes even instruments. Our hospital has a motto of being 'Physician Friendly,' and yet our greatest asset is our people--all of our people--and the respect that we demonstrate to each other. How do I hold a difficult conversation about this behavior 'on the fly?'"   A: There are really two conversations that need to be held in this situation: a conversation about emotions and an expectations conversation. The Emotional Conversation When someone demonstrates defensive or reactionary...

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