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What Are We Not Saying? 5 Ways to Speak in Order to Engage Employees

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

engage employeesA provocative question. This is not about interpreting nonverbal behavior or playing Hollywood Game Night at the company picnic. It’s about being tight-lipped with our employees when we could choose not to. It’s about the messages we could be saying that would go a long way in engaging them, something we keep saying we want but can’t seem to get out of our own way to create.

What do employees want? We have scores of studies that show us. Whether you review Ross DePinto’s Emerging Leaders research for the Center of Creative Leadership in 2003 or Pew Research Center’s work 10 years later, it’s fairly consistent. Simply, as employees we want to enjoy our work, receive reward (intrinsic and extrinsic) for what we do and we want to be treated with respect.

Let’s take some counsel from business woman extraordinaire, Oprah Winfrey.  No stranger to respect, gratitude, and enjoying work, she expressed some excellent thoughts in her 2011 talk show send-off about her experience. She spoke about the guests during the 25 year run of her show. “…and all 30,000 had one thing in common — they all wanted validation. … They want to know, do you hear me? Do you see me? Does what I say mean anything to you?”

Regardless of whether we are talking employees or guests, here are five sentiments I would like to hear a whole lot more of for support and validation in our business world. Let’s engage by saying — and meaning — the right things.

Click to find out What Are We Not Saying? And then learn 5 Ways to Speak in Order to Engage Employees on ManagingAmericans.

Sherri Petro, President and Chief Strategy Officer of VPI Strategies, represents VPI Strategies on the Expert Panel for Managing Americans. ManagingAmericans.com is a management blog with more than 300,000 monthly readers. Sherri contributes monthly to the Workplace Communication Skills Blog and is one of the most highly read columnists.

4 Concepts That Get Lost in Translation Between Generations

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

between generationsLost in Translation?  A great phrase. It means that words, once translated, can lose the original intent of their meaning.  Or for those who loved the movie, it is the name of the insightful and curiosity-piquing film by Sofia Coppola released over a decade ago.  Either way, people, we have something to talk about.  We’re missing something in our communication.

In the movie, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson play mismatched souls who keep running into each other then begin a fledgling relationship.  Two different generations reach across the great communication divide to create meaning.  YES!  Oh, but wait, must it only happen in the movies?  NO!  Lest we get too excited, we must realize we do have issues when the generational communication wall is scaled.

It’s like we are talking in tongues thinking another generation understands our point of view.  We’re losing meaning in our communication because we don’t have the same meanings to start with!   Meaning is established by shared experience.  And, duh, we don’t share the same experiences, growing up in very different times.  End game?  Concepts are getting lost in translation.  We need to gen up (gather as much as information as we can) about the generations.

Lost in Translation Between Generations. Read the rest of Sherri’s blog on ManagingAmericans.

Sherri Petro, President and Chief Strategy Officer of VPI Strategies, represents VPI Strategies on the Expert Panel for Managing Americans. ManagingAmericans.com is a management blog with more than 300,000 monthly readers. Sherri contributes monthly to the Workplace Communication Skills Blog and is one of the most highly read columnists.

Dealing with the Rude Co-worker: Snarky, Snappy & Sarcastic

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

dealing with rude co-workerDealing with the Rude Co-worker?

No, Snarky, Snappy and Sarcastic are not the names of three additional dwarfs.  If they were, I think Snow White would not have been so optimistic!  Ever been in a great mood only to have a rude remark waylay your cheery disposition?  What to do?  What to do?  This is not to be confused with the seriously detrimental effects of bullying on employees’ psyche and health.  I’m talking about the under-one’s-breath-day-ruiner, the run-in you wish you had NOT experienced or the (ahem) gesture you received while driving into the parking deck this morning.

Do you walk away and fume?  Bite your tongue?  Pretend the person does not exist?  Do you view them as internal customers, believing they are the king or queen and you should accept the behavior? It may be smart; nonetheless, it can leave a mark and, potentially, cause YOU to react.

How do we handle the case of the rude coworker?

READ MY THREE TIPS FOR DEALING WITH THE RUDE CO-WORKER on MANAGING AMERICANS.

Did you know ManagingAmericans is read by more than 300,000 viewers each month? Please feel free to comment and post your feedback/questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Do you ever wish you had the Dalai Lama, Warren Buffet or your own personal Gandalf as a mentor or trusted advisor? Me, too.

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

mentor

I could have used a conversation with one of them recently. Ironically it was because I was asked to participate in a mentoring event for young professionals a few months back.  Mentoring continues to be a hot topic — and for good reason. Mentees seek ideas, tips and secrets to success. Mentors seek to share words of wisdom and add value.

As for me, I had to come up with a gem or two that I could share with emerging leaders.  What should I say?  I thought hard. That’s a lie.  I agonized.  I spent far too much time coming up with the required text.

This prompted me to think about my own and other people’s mentoring experiences. What could we all learn as we seek to enhance our communication skills?  I canvassed colleagues of each generation (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y) on their mentoring experiences and counsel.

Here are some of my favorite sentiments:

From Mentors’ and Mentees’ Mouths: Five Lessons Worth Sharing

1. Ask the Provocative Question

Former CEO Scott Suckow, received a cosmic 2 by 4 on channeling ego by a mentor who posed an excellent question about what Scott really wanted.  As the CEO of a non-profit that had a great deal of success and growth, he was dealing with a board leadership transition that was not going well.  He was sure all he needed to do was to help the other person understand just how wrong they were. He was asked the question, Do you want to be right or keep your job?”and told that he might have to choose.

Scott continues, “That simple question really pulled out the complexities of ego, and whether as CEO I would be able to put mine aside for the greater good. It was explained that if each of us give 50% and meet in the middle, that puts half the responsibility on the other person.  That’s half that we have no control over.  Rather, if I was committed to success, why not do everything I could to ensure it, even giving 100%?  This seems like such a simple observation, but I was rooted in my belief of being right, my ego didn’t allow me to see how much power I actually had.  To this day, when I find my ego keeping me from exploring new ways of doing things, I nudge myself along by asking this question “Do I want to be right or………..?”

I blog monthly on ManagingAmericans. I invite you to read more of my favorite mentoring sentiments on Managing Americans.

MAXIMIZING MILLENNIALS – GETTING WHAT YOU WANT FROM GEN Y – MARCH 12 HOSTED BY 4GOOD.ORG

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

Access the FREE White Paper Here: From Jitterbug to Twitter: Motivating Each Generation to Buy Into Your Mission 

GETTING WHAT YOU WANT FROM GEN Y

Thank you for joining us on the webinar. Here is an excerpt from our white paper.

“Communicating effectively is a most desired skill and yet we mess it up all the time! Whether we are communicating individually — face-to-face, via landline, cell, e-mail or text — or collectively through numerous marketing channels, we have issues. How can we make a connection to potential board members as well as clients, donors, volunteers, new employees, peers, supervisor, Executive Director or CEO if we don’t understand the psychology of their generation and cannot communicate in a way they can hear?

Let’s complicate the scenario even further. We are using the same language but we are talking in tongues! The same words mean different things to each generation.

Understanding where each generation is coming from is key to making a connection. We have clues from generational research that tell us what is important and what motivates each. As you create messaging to encourage subscription to your mission in many ways, keep this information in mind.”

Access the FREE White Paper Here: From Jitterbug to Twitter Motivating Each Generation to Buy Into Your Mission