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When A Co-Worker Bad Mouths You

We received an e-mail from David. He recently overheard one of his employees make some very negative comments about his management abilities.

He wants advice on how to approach this long-time employee of the company, who is about ten years older than David.

We have three recommendations for David:

  • Know your purpose before you start.
  • You want to have a conversation, not a confrontation. You want to find out if there is an underlying reason for your employee’s comments. Behave accordingly.

  • Report on what you heard.
  • Try to use the word “you” as little as possible. As in, “You said …” Instead, say “It was said …” You’ll accomplish far more by not backing him into a corner. Be as objective as possible so you’re more likely to have a productive conversation.

  • Role play.
  • We talked about role playing a couple of weeks ago. David’s situation is a great example of an interaction where role playing in advance is beneficial. As part of your role playing, come up with the possible scenarios. For instance, He cops an attitude This is a bad sign. However, as nicely and unemotionally as you can, let him know that you want a discussion, not an argument. Tell him again that you’re more concerned about why it was said than what was said. Keep in mind, though, that he may have become the proverbial “bad apple”. You may need to let him go. If you do, your remaining employees will likely ask you what took you so long. He denies he said it This is probably the most frustrating. Remind him that you heard it first-hand; it’s not hearsay. Ask him if he agrees with you that effective relationships, at work or anywhere, rely on honesty. If you can’t communicate honestly, it’s going to be hard to work together. He becomes overly apologetic He may have just been having a bad day and you got the brunt of it. Then move on … we all have bad days. However, it’s possible he’s not being sincere; he just wants to get you off his back now. Only you can judge that. He admits it and tells you what’s wrong This is the desired result. Hopefully, it’s the only scenario you encounter, but you may take a detour through one of the others. Regardless, thank him for his candor. Then demonstrate what a great manager you are by working with him to solve the underlying problem!

Our quote today is by Ayya Khema.

“Eventually we will find (mostly in retrospect, of course) that we can be very grateful to those people who have made life most .”

It’s difficult to see a difficult situation as an opportunity to grow. But if you do … you’ll thank yourself for it later.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss intuition – it’s not just for women anymore, you know! Until then, here’s to your big success!

The Role Of Role Playing

In our last blog, we told the story on storytelling. We discussed finding the right yarn and offered tips on telling your tall tale well. Hear the story.

Today, we’ll discuss how to use role playing, both professionally and personally.

We’re not pretending to be the have all and be all of role play discussions here. We’re talking about a specific use of it. So let’s define what we mean when we say role play:

Practicing human interaction before you actually do it.

Rehearsing in your mirror is better than nothing, but it’s not role playing. With role playing, you’re going to have a mentor, a peer, or a buddy. When done right, it’s a much richer experience than simply rehearsing.

Practice makes perfect.
Imagine an athlete who never practiced. Or an actor who never rehearsed. Would you expect them to rise to the top of their profession?

So why do we think it’s any different for us? It’s not. By role playing, you’ll enter situations with more confidence, because you’ve been there before. You’ll face less stress and perform better. You’ve made the unfamiliar familiar.

Simulate the situation.
Create the exact same environment. Come as close as you possibly can to setting up the same circumstances you will face in the actual situation. This really needs to be done with you and another person face-to-face. You can role play over the phone (especially a phone call), but it’s much better in person. Let’s look at some examples of situations that you might want to role play.

Annual review / ask for a raise
Are you going to be sitting or standing? How about your boss? Most likely, you’ll both be seated around a desk. So when you role play, sit around a desk (or something you can pretend is a desk).

Sales call
You’ll probably be standing, at least at first. Practice your greeting while standing. Practice down to the handshake. You want a handshake Goldilocks would like – not too hard, not too soft.

Service call at homeowner’s residence
Practice ringing the door bell. What if the door bell doesn’t work? Practice knocking. Where will you stand as the homeowner opens the door? What will you say?

You can use these same techniques personally. For example, if you’re a parent, you may want to role play an important conversation with one of your kids. Personally or professionally, role playing is a great preparation method. Practice it, then do it.

Our quote today is by the great tennis player, Arthur Ashe.

“One important key to success is self-confidence.
An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

Willingness to prepare helps you succeed. Role play your way to a great day.

Tomorrow’s the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. So we’re going to talk about ‘taters. We’ll ask, “What kind of ‘tater are you?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!