CommsMasters Blog

Is Your Management Style Worthy of a Good Tip?

Uber, the increasingly popular taxi app, is making headlines again due to the fact that, as well as allowing passengers to rate their experience at the hands of each driver, it also allows drivers to rate their passengers.

So, if you take a ride with an Uber driver, you can be rated on things such as size of tip, attitude and clarity of communication (just don't say Melville Street when you mean Melville Place or you may be marked down!).

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Keep Your Head Below the Parapet!

It's that time of year when bright young students head off to university to start their various degrees, bright young graduates enter the workforce to start their various careers, and oldies like me – and Financial Times columnist and author Lucy Kellaway – wonder where the years have gone since we, too, were all bright and shiny.

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What Are *You* Frightened Of?

In this Monday's edition of The Times, the BBC economics editor Robert Peston writes movingly about the profound effect the death of his wife (at the comparatively young age of 51) has had on him.

He goes on to describe the way in which some colleagues – notably male ones – found it difficult to know how to deal with the situation on his return to work.

And there, I think, lies the problem. Because of the perceived 'rules of engagement' in the workplace, difficult (even taboo) subjects such as bereavement are dealt with as 'situations'.

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Let the Facts Tell the Story

Watching BBC Breakfast yesterday morning, I was amused by a story about the potential for a return to economic insecurity and the slowing of growth across Europe.

UK share prices have fallen by some 10% in the last six weeks.

It wasn't the story in itself that amused me – but rather the attempts by the BBC presenter to sensationalise a rather banal story. It was evidently one of those mornings where news was slow and the Breakfast presenters had to fill the time somehow.

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The 'Mum Test'

This week the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the body responsible for the regulation of all health and social care in England – announced a new regime for the inspection of care homes. In future, inspectors will carry out a 'mum test' in which they'll be asked to consider if they'd be happy for someone they love and care about to receive the services patients are receiving – including the way they are cared for and spoken to. In other words, 'Would this place and its people be good enough for my mum?'

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Open the Can of Worms – Even If It Can't Be Closed Again

Recently a manager I was coaching described a conversation he had with a member of his team.

He said that the team member commented two or three times that he thought the manager didn't trust him.

The manager was concerned about this and yet, during the conversation, had ignored the point.

This is a common practice in conversations.

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Unfairness is a Costly Business

Capuchin monkeys have a sense of fairness.

This is apparent from research where a group of monkeys were given food in return for handing over a small granite rock.

When certain monkeys received more than others in return for the rock, the primates refused to continue their participation; some got angry with their handlers.

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When Our Egos Get the Better of Us

As is apparent from David Cameron’s indiscreet boasts to Michael Bloomberg, even Prime Ministers need to show off from time to time.

"Look at me, I can balance on one leg... look at me, I've got a bigger (salary) package than you... look at me, I can make the Queen of England purr..."

Look at me, look at me, look at me… notice me, notice me, notice me… admire me, admire me, admire me…

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When Vulnerability Equals Strength

I've never been a fan of Alex Salmond and yet last week, for the first time, I saw a leader I would have considered following.


It’s all down to the resignation speech he made on Friday. In his message, and his delivery of it, I saw his vulnerability.

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How to... Deal with Sarcasm at Work

Sarcasm may be described as the lowest form of wit, but that doesn't stop it being embarrassing at best and hurtful at worst when you are the butt of the sarcastic comment.

We often find ourselves at a loss for words when we experience someone’s sarcasm, or biting back with an even more caustic rejoinder. Neither response tends to leave us feeling good afterwards; the latter can damage the relationship and leaves others involved feeling awkward too.

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