CommsMasters Blog

The Surprising Reason Your People Are Not Resilient

A few years ago, a friend of mine suffered serious stress as her marriage went through a rough patch. She couldn't sleep and couldn't concentrate properly. She began making mistakes at work as well.

To help her get through this difficult period, she decided to give herself frequent opportunities to relax. She treated herself to spa treatments. She made a point of going out for coffee regularly with her friends. And she also joined a meditation class at her local gym and downloaded a meditation app to her phone, so that she could clear her mind daily.

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When Training is the Wrong Answer...

Nothing changed from one annual staff survey to the next.

Every year, the scores around communication were low.

And every year, the answer was the same, as well – put on more training for managers.

By the time I got involved with this company, there was an unbelievable array of communication workshops available for the leadership. There was one on communicating by email, another on leading teams remotely, and still more on delivering staff briefings, coaching, influencing, and running team meetings.

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How to Read Between the Lines of Your Employee Survey Results

A couple of months ago I was chatting to a senior leader, who was telling me how he'd managed to change his company culture.

"You must have communicated well!" I told him admiringly.

"Oh no," he replied. "This wasn't about comms. This was about getting people engaged with ideas and projects, and getting them to feel they can really influence the decisions taken at the top."

I smiled. To me, this all boils down to one thing – communication.

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Annual Performance Reviews: What REALLY Scares Your Leaders

I once worked with a manager who never gave his staff realistic annual performance reviews. Everyone was apparently performing equally well.

Eventually problems began to surface, so the director of HR sat down with him to find out why he hadn't flagged up issues in good time. He claimed that he found it hard to find the right words – "I don't find these conversations easy".

The company invited him and several others to a communications workshop, so that they could become more comfortable handling such difficult conversations.

It didn't help. The next year, his team again received glowing appraisals, across the board.

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A Simple Way to Get Your Managers to Change

It's the end of your driving lesson.

Just before you get out of the car, you turn to the driving instructor and ask what you need to do better next lesson, in order to eventually pass your test.

"You need to drive better," is the reply.

"Yes, but what specifically?"

"You just need to drive better."

"How will you be able to tell I'm driving better?"

"Well, you'll be driving better..."

You'd be tearing your hair out, wouldn't you?

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The Key to Making Communication Training Stick

 "I used to think of going to comms workshops as a real waste of time. Just something that got in the way."

The manager wasn't joking.

I'd just finished running one such workshop. According to this manager, he had been 'sent' on all sorts of workshops and courses, learning any number of different tools and techniques to improve the way he communicated with his team. He'd even half-heartedly put some of them into practice – for a while.

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Teamwork: Does It Really Make the Dream Work?

We’ve certainly focussed plenty on teams so far this summer.

Wales’s football team – good. England’s football team – not so good. Leicester City, the David that slew the Premier League Goliaths and delighted us all in the process – good.

Although don’t get me started on the lack of teamwork our politicians have displayed over the last few weeks – boy, did they demonstrate how not to do it. Let’s hope things improve after their summer recess!

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How to Communicate with Your Team About the Impact of Brexit

How many conversations have you had about Brexit following last Thursday’s referendum?

Whether work or personal, every conversation I’ve had since has, at some point, got round to this topic and I’m sure you’re no different.

It’s inevitable, as we start a new week at work, that Brexit will still be a hot discussion topic in most workplaces across the UK. There’ll be plenty of speculation and catastrophising along the way as we step into what is undoubtedly an uncertain time.

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How to Communicate Difficult Messages with Confidence

Few leaders relish sharing difficult messages. 

Fears about what to say, how to deal with other people's responses, and concern for the individuals impacted, can knock even an experienced leader's confidence.

But business is not always plain sailing, and communicating tough messages is an inevitable part of being a leader in any organisation.

At CommsMasters, we've helped empower leaders across many types of industries to handle these conversations well, and given them the tools they need to succeed.

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Are You Undermining Your Team’s Resilience?

As well as managing our own resilience, we leaders have a responsibility to create a working environment that facilitates the individuals we lead to build and maintain their resilience too.

If we don’t do this, we are not only mistreating the people who work for us – we are also costing our organisations. Research by BITC shows that 70 million days of work are lost each year in the UK due to workers suffering from stress, depression and other mental health conditions. 

As this CIPD article highlights, managers need to become more skilled in talking about mental health with their teams – being able to ask pertinent questions when they spot signs of depression or stress, and engaging in meaningful dialogue about it.

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