Team Dynamics Articles

3 Tips to Overcome the Illusion of Communication

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 2/7/2012

Do any of these comments sound familiar?

• “I thought you were going to follow-up on that?”
• “But she should know how to do it; we’ve talked about it at least five times.”
• “That’s not what I heard in the meeting.”

If there is a hint of familiarity in any of these comments, you are not alone. It seems like communication (or lack thereof) is at the heart of many work place conflicts and team challenges. George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” And it is this illusion that creates many difficulties for leaders, team members, and bosses (not to mention the trouble it can cause in one’s personal life!).

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Telecommuting and the Millennial Workforce

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 10/26/2011

Over the last several years, we have been hearing more and more from our clients about the new generation of employees, the Millennials. Among the unique attributes of this generation is the need to find fulfillment at work and in their personal lives – the proverbial work/life balance.

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Create a High Performing Workplace

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 9/20/2011

In order get the best out of your workforce, look to create an environment that:

Ensures employees understand the significance of their work

  • Do employees understand how their job impacts customers?
  • Do employees understand how their job impacts the success of the organization?
  • Do employees feel valued?

Appreciates employee contributions

  • Do leaders/managers show appreciation to their direct reports?
  • Do leaders/managers treat direct reports with respect?
  • Are employees fairly compensated for the work that they do?

Allows employees to build their competence

  • Are employees’ skills and talents being used to their fullest potential?
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Three Tips to Calm Chicken Little

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 7/14/2011

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” — Chicken Little aka Henny Penny

Chicken Little

I’ve worked with a number of Chicken Little’s over the years. You know them…employees who become almost hysterical in their reaction to feedback or their belief that organizational or team disaster is imminent. These people are often unreasonably afraid. Worse yet, they often try to incite fear in those around them. So what can a leader do to calm Chicken Little?

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3 Tips for Increasing Team Effectiveness

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 6/14/2011

As I have worked with leaders and frontline employees over the years, it is apparent that they know exactly what good teamwork is and isn’t; however, the steps to achieve good teamwork seem more elusive.

Many leaders don’t know how to build an effective team because they say that they have never been part of a really great team.  They don’t know what behaviors and actions should be created and replicated.  While there are many factors that contribute to team effectiveness, if a leader pays attention to three key areas, s/he will set the foundation for great teamwork:

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Intent vs. Impact

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 3/29/2011

In the course of our work in leadership development we are asked to develop programs for our clients. One of the most popular development areas focuses on communication. While there are a variety of topic areas and assessments we cover, a common kick-off point for our introduction is the difference between impact and intent.

In a group setting we ask participants to name the communication-related behaviors they perceive as problematic or annoying in their workplaces. Most lists include behaviors like: “don’t share their opinions,” “dominate conversations,” “whine,” “don’t ask questions”, “don’t want to hear varying viewpoints.” These would be our examples of impact – how others’ communication style impacts us.

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A Story…And a Leadership Lesson

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 2/22/2011

Leadership lessons are all around us…if we observe, listen and learn. Sometimes we learn from successes; sometimes missteps teach us the most.

The Story

My friend (a mid-level manager) was talking with his boss (the organization’s General Manager) about some accomplishments in his department. My friend was pleased with results from the previous month and he talked about how he praised his staff (giving credit for) the wins. The GM then “coached” my friend (his manager) by saying, “Haven’t I taught you anything. As the boss you get to keep the credit and place the blame.”

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Heated Debate Versus Constructive Dialogue

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 1/18/2011

Heated Debate_imageCivil discourse.  Vitriolic language.  We’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the state of American politics and our ability to discuss and debate.  I don’t want to risk a comparison between our work lives and the Arizona tragedy.  Except in cases of violence, a comparison would be silly.  That being said, the concept of how we communicate with each other transfers from politics to our work lives each and every day.  Just how civil are we at work?  What does our organizational culture support?

I have worked in and been witness to work environments that have been quite heated—quite vitriolic.  In recent months, I have had individuals tell me (or have observed):

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How to Build Credibility

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 1/11/2011

For those trying to establish credibility with co-workers, focus on the 3 C’s:

1. Competence – the technical, managerial, or leadership capabilities of an individual (e.g., knowledge, skills and abilities). Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to be productive? How do I know?
  • Do I execute? Do I hold myself and/or others accountable for getting results?
  • Am I efficient and productive? Do I deliver in a timely fashion?
  • Are others convinced of my competence? How do I know?
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Be True to Yourself

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 10/26/2010

In a recent post I talked about communication style and adaptability.  I think this is one issue we have spent the most time on over the years—from the C-suite to the frontline.  As mentioned previously, it is also one of the most consistent themes in 360 feedback surveys (i.e., that managers need to do a better job adapting their style to meet the needs of other people—in particular their staff and peers). 

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