A collection of thoughts through
personal stories, experiences and shared content.
by Nevin Danielson
Saying "no" is often counter-intuitive. Can you imagine being interviewed for a role and saying, "I'm quite skilled at denying requests from my colleagues. Even if they are specific and have a good reason for why they're asking me, I'm able to decline when it's not the right thing to do."
Even for those of us that are already within iQmetrix and making a contribution, declining a colleague's request seems against the culture.
And, uh, there are power dynamics.
Saying "no" is often counter-intuitive. However, having an up-front, deliberate discussion with your colleagues is a necessary, healthy component of making a contribution. Why is saying "no" important?
Because the truth is inescapable. We can't avoid the math. Some activities are more valuable than others and we can't do it all. In fact, even if we can do it all, we still have to choose...
I was in a meeting where a Lead expressed enthusiasm for the suggestion of asking "How do you like to be recognized?" in one-on-ones. That's awesome. It's a great tool to add to the toolkit.
It got me thinking. What other pieces of advice fit into a single blurb that might be useful? Here's my list. I hope you'll add your own to #iQU with the hashtag #bitesized.
Information is rarely communicated to a Lead so they know that information. Information is communicated to a Lead to make sure that information is distributed to others. When you hear something, share it.
If something is really important, it might mean everyone needs to participate. However, to make sure it gets attention, it's best to assign its progress to one person. It's not that one person needs to do all the work, but they should make sure it isn't neglected.
If you consistently start and end meetings late, some people adapt to it, others don't. It has a multiplying effect on everyone's time and morale.
This ONE TOOL will change the way you do everything. Sounds like clickbait, right? Well, consider that you’ve already clicked. The tool is described right now.
It is re-framing. It’s the practice of examining and redefining how we’re looking at a problem. Doing so can help us challenge presumptions, discover new solutions and help us move into actions that used to be considered off-limits. Re-framing is the multi-tool of skills. It works whether you’re fixing a broken appliance, figuring out your next contribution at your job or theorizing about how the universe works.
Spend more time examining your problem.
Move the goal posts.
Describe your outcome, regardless of how you’re going to get there.
Focus on your interests, not your position.
This re-framing concept just about covers anything I ever find worthwhile to talk about.
To further illustrate what I mean, here are few examples. The following scenarios typically result in us...
I’m working on being more aware of how I’m showing up in a conversation. I’m trying to ask more (and better) questions to understand and clarify. I’m trying to be completely in the moment when I’m having a conversation. I’m trying to be aware of when I come into a conversation with assumptions and biases.
There are some obvious moments when I’m acutely aware of how I’m falling short… like finding myself staring at my phone instead of focusing on the person talking on a Zoom call! Oops!
Reflecting on some recent conversations that didn’t feel quite right, it dawned on me that there is a whole category of conversations where I quickly slide out of being an effective listener and take over the conversation. You ask for my advice or a recommendation (or even hint that you’re unsure of something and might want other...
Have you ever just needed someone to talk to? Someone to listen with no judgment? Someone to listen as you sort out your thoughts? Someone to help you get to a next step? Someone who will keep your conversation to themselves?
Luckily for iQers, that someone could just be an iQ Ally.
In this interview with two of the iQ Allies (Kris and Barry) you'll hear more about how the iQ Ally program started, what it is intended to offer to iQers, when to recognize when you (or a colleague) might find an iQ Ally useful, how to get in touch with an iQ Ally... and more!
The iQ Ally Program (19:29)
About iQ Allies: The iQ Allies are a select group of iQers that are trained to provide sustainable support and advocacy services, focusing on listening and empathizing, and in some cases directly providing avenues of active support.
At the core of many (all?) of the practices shared is the importance of building Psychological Safety - an environment where individuals feel it's OK to say and do what they feel is best - without fear of negative consequences. If individuals don't feel safe, we get narrow, homogeneous ideas and actions.
I can't do justice to all of the factors that go into making a psychologically safe environment. Clearly it's a process of growth and improvement, not a checklist.
From that complex web, however, I want to pick out just one tiny component.
Individual contributors give more to the system when they believe they have value to share.
That seems so damn simple I'm not sure I should write it down.
The reason I write it (and am keeping it) is because somehow work shakes our confidence. Despite the best intentions from...
"I have a perspective and I want to share it, but I'm not sure I should".
This concern has come up in many one-on-ones across the company and after over a year of collecting responses, this post may be long overdue. My apologies for that.
There are ways to communicate an experience that supports getting what you want, and ways to communicate that actually take you further away from what you want and knowing the difference is important if you really want to impact change.
How many times did you want to tell about an experience you've had with them wasn't fulfilling for you? We all have.
What if you had the words to be able to share so future experiences were more likely to be fulfilling for you?
It is possible.
When you have the skills to share your perspective with clarity a few good things happen:
So here it is, here are some tips for how to say what you...
Listening is something we don’t always do well – any one of us, but how do you work with a bad listener?
This article in HBR walks through the do’s and don’ts and case studies; but remember – the bad listener may be you.
* More of our favourite iQU resources on the topic of Communication are available at https://iqu.iqmetrix.com/communication
Choose your words wisely. Apt advice for leaders, would-be leaders and those who need to communicate with others to get work done… so, pretty much everyone!
What makes it tricky is that for some words, in addition to their literal (or intended) definition there can be a variety of nuances, connotations or emotions attached to consider when communicating. The results of using the “wrong” words may vary from a slight shoulder shrug to an all-out nails-on-a-chalkboard cringe.
So, which words should you minimize in your vocabulary to avoid the cringes, successfully deliver your intended message and be an effective communicator at work?
The Atlantic recently created a bracket to determine the most universally loathed words used in the office-setting. In their findings, “lean in” and “value proposition” rose to the top. Inc. took the same list of words and looked at the data a little differently, ranking the worst words based...