Merge's Blog

Monthly Archives: October 2009

Are you guilty of setting your employees up to fail?

How often have we asked our people to get a job done, but then not given them access to the optimal resources and equipment they need?

The American Chamber of Commerce in the Slovak Republic publishes Connection Magazine and I was invited to pen the opening message for the September/October issue focusing on human resources.  Read the entire article here.


Leadership in action – how one organization managed a difficult situation

Approximately three weeks ago, I delivered a live webcast for CGA Canada, a national association for accounting professionals.  An unprecedented 3,550 people worldwide registered for this conference (it must have had something to do with the topic – Dealing With Difficult Personalities :)) and in the weeks leading up to the event, staff at CGA Canada took steps to ensure that their technology could handle this high volume of participants.  They checked that the virtual room was big enough, that the bandwidth was sufficient, that there were backups in case of power failures and telephone line breakdowns.  Unfortunately, there was one thing that didn’t come to mind, and as Murphy’s Law is known to operate, it was the one thing that threw a monkey wrench in the works!  They didn’t check the size of the door!  They had a large enough room to handle over 3,500 participants, but only one regular sized portal.  And in the 5 minutes before the webcast was supposed to start, thousands of people tried to walk through that door at one time!  They all got stuck, no one could move forward or backward, and the whole system ground to a slow halt. Continue reading

The truth behind bullying bosses

Bosses who feel incompetent are more likely to bully subordinates, according to a study published in the November issue of Psychological Science.  This research paper challenges previous assumptions that abusive bosses are driven solely by ambition and the need to hold onto their power.  Instead, it demonstrates that it is the combination of power AND a perception of personal incompetence that leads to aggressive behavior such as sabotage, yelling at, or belittling an employee. In other words, bullying bosses are insecure and have low self-worth.  (Duh!)  Authors Serena Chen and Nathanael Fast also established that boosting the self-esteem of an insecure superior should lessen the bullying behavior.  So apparently, flattery may be the best way to soothe a savage boss!  Good information and advice if you are the employee of a bullying boss.  But what if you ARE the boss? Continue reading

How to Coach a Winning Team at Work – Live audio event on October 28

If you’re a manager, supervisor or team leader, then you already know that in today’s fast-paced and exceedingly competitive workplace, you need to be a lot like the coach of a winning team. But winning teams don’t just happen, whether they’re on the playing field or in the workplace.  This is where I can help!

Click here to register

In one power-packed hour, right from the comfort of your office, I’ll give you specific, practical, and useful tools to become a better workplace coach.  You’ll learn:

  • A simple, yet powerful, two-by-two coaching grid to analyze your team’s lineup
  • How to easily evaluate each of your employees so that you can apply a laser-like focus to your coaching efforts
  • The easy and effective T-S-T approach to workplace coaching
  • How to select the most appropriate coaching method for each of your people
  • How to mentor employees that have positive mindsets but have not yet fully developed the skills to shine
  • How to coach employees who have what it takes, but lack the motivation and drive to get on with it
  • A straightforward perspective on how to empower those who already have top-notch skills and a great attitude
  • What to do with those problem employees who lack both the aptitude and the attitude for success

Join me on October 28, 2009 at 11 AM MDTEarly bird pricing in effect ONLY until this Wednesday October 21!

Click here to register, or for more information.

What is your workplace coaching IQ?

In the fast-paced and exceedingly competitive organizations of today, the successful manager, supervisor or team leader has to draw upon similar skills that athletic coaches use to create their winning teams.  And winning teams don’t just happen, in the playing field or in the workplace!  High-performing teams are created by trained and capable coaches who’ve learned how to mentor, motivate and empower their people to take action.  These same coaches have also mastered the skills to manage the under-achievers, those problem players who lack both the aptitude and the attitude to achieve peak performance.

Your success as a coach is directly proportional to your coaching mindset and ability.  Take this quick ‘n’ easy self-assessment to gain an insight into your coaching IQ.

Self-assessment: what is your coaching IQ?

The Ten Most Difficult Conversations to Have With Your Employees (or Co-workers)

If you’ve ever had to have a difficult conversation with an employee or a co-worker, then you should know that you are not alone.  If you’re like most people, you’ve probably lost sleep for several nights just thinking about it, and the very notion of having these discussions causes you to break out in a cold sweat!  In fact, this is such a common problem that at least once a week, I receive requests from managers and supervisors in client organizations, seeking assistance in having exactly this type of dialogue.

David Gadarian of MostMost asked me for a list of the ten topics that come up most often when it comes to “difficult conversations”.  Here then, based on an informal poll we conducted earlier this year as well as anecdotal evidence, is my top ten list.

The Ten Most Difficult Conversations to Have With Your Employees (or Co-workers)

Do you agree?

The power of focus when dealing with conflict

Early one morning, I was walking through an empty parking lot when I observed a seagull gracefully swoop down towards a small paper bag lying upon the asphalt.  No doubt, the seagull hoped to find some morsel of food within the bag.  It must have been right, because moments later, a magpie plunged down and tried to snatch the bag away from the seagull.  A crow arrived in the next instant and attempted to get its share of the prize.  Within minutes, the three birds were battling one another in the quest for whatever unknown gift lay within the paper bag.  So caught up were they in their conflict that they failed to notice the squirrel.  The little bushy brown-tailed creature watched them from about 10 feet away.  As the three birds skirmished with one another, he began to cautiously make his way forward.  With a quick burst of energy, he dashed forward, grabbed the bag, and made off towards the trees that skirted the edge of the parking lot.  At the last moment, the seagull noticed the squirrel and tried to switch its attention towards rescuing the treasure.  But the magpie and the crow weren’t having any of it; they continued to wage war with the seagull and with each other.  By the time they all realized that the subject of their fracas was no longer, the squirrel was long gone, probably dusting off crumbs and chuckling at his good fortune. Continue reading

Good leaders listen to customers and employees

Generally speaking, Canadians love to hate Air Canada!  I fly them a lot, and I am well aware of my good fortune as most of my experiences have actually been positive.  Nevertheless, I can certainly understand why people get frustrated when flights are delayed, luggage is lost, and concerns and complaints either fall on deaf ears or are met with indifference.  Which is why recent actions by Air Canada’s new CEO Calin Rovinescu have caught my attention.  For the first time in recent history, a CEO at this organization actually seems interested in what customers and employees have to say.  Predecessors Montie Brewer and Robert Milton unfortunately created a culture in which both employees and customers felt both unimportant and unheard.  Not so with Calin Rovinescu. Continue reading