Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

10 Tips for Giving Effective Feedback

Giving feedback is a critically important part of the communication process within the workplace. Most people find it easy to offer positive comments but avoid giving negative feedback because they fear confrontation and conflict.

While criticism isn’t easy for anyone, it is necessary to receive honest appraisals from those you work with in order to better understand where you stand with your co-workers and supervisors. Unfortunately, the need for improvement is not always conveyed or responded to in a constructive fashion.

Giving feedback requires specific skills you can learn if you practice. Below is a list of suggestions that can greatly improve your communication and result in better interpersonal relationships and performance at work.

1. Provide information that is descriptive and objective. When describing your thoughts stick to the facts rather than bringing in your personal interpretation as much as possible.

2. Avoid using labels to describe behavior such as...

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How Your Past Can Impact Your Marriage

Remember the old jump rope jingle?

              Tommy and Suzy sitting in a tree

              K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

              First comes love, then comes marriage,

              Then comes Suzy with a baby carriage!

We usually inserted the names of a boy and a girl we knew and used this rhyme as a way of embarrassing them; but the point is, it wasn’t that long ago that the sequence of events in the relationship were the norm, and variances were socially unacceptable.

Social climate, perceived standards of morality and priorities have changed a lot since then!  I read some interesting research by Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley that explored how the “new normal” trends have affected the younger...

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5 C’s for Inspiring Your Team

If it’s your job to lead a team of employees or volunteers, it can be a bit unnerving to know that the buck stops on your desk, but the group members are the ones who make you successful – or not. One of the leader’s most important functions is to inspire their team so everyone succeeds. Here are five principles to keep people motivated to do their best.

Create consensus & unity in purpose – People enjoy being part of something good, strong, and purposeful. Be sure your team meets together early on as you begin any project, so everyone hears the vision at the same time and has the opportunity to discuss ideas and ask questions.  This ensures no team member is going into their assignment without adequate knowledge of what goal needs to be met or with a “lone ranger” attitude.

Celebrate diversity & unique contribution – The strength of a team lies in the combination of multiple sets of skills, talent, and experience working...

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Spend Your Time Wisely

As the new year begins, we often give a lot more thought to things we want to do differently, better, or not at all. Many of us evaluate our calendars and priorities, and I was reminded that several years ago I came across an illustration in a newsletter that I have never forgotten. Karen Ann Bland had submitted this thought-provoking item:

“Imagine you had a bank that each morning credited your account with fourteen hundred forty dollars – under one condition: Whatever amount you failed to spend each day would be removed from your account, and no balance would be carried over.

What would you do? You’d probably withdraw every cent every day and use each one to your best advantage.

Well, you do have such a bank and its name is TIME. Every morning, this bank credits you with fourteen hundred forty minutes. And it writes off as forever lost whatever portion you’ve failed to invest to good purpose. Use your credit wisely!”

Wow! It is a simple, yet profound...

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Merry Christmas!

If you’re reading this blog in the days before Christmas, maybe you have found a quiet moment either before or after a flurry of activity, family gatherings, celebrating and opening gifts. Or maybe your day doesn’t include any of that because you’re not close to your family – whether that’s by physical distance or emotional separation. 

Quiet moments are rare for some of us and “the usual” for others, but either way, they give us opportunity to reflect on the important things in life. In your quiet times, do you think about what you may be missing, or wish you had more – or less – of? Life is meant to be a balance of work and leisure, happiness, and sorrow, expressing and listening, giving, and receiving. Christmas and other holidays tend to magnify these aspects of life – the highs are higher, and the lows are lower. Sometimes people are overwhelmed with difficult emotions like regret, grief, and loneliness. It is not...

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Don't Take Your Anger Home!

If you have had a terrible day at work and you are angry or grouchy, what does your family see and feel when you get home?  Do you walk in with a scowl on your face and a hot temper?  Or are you able to make the emotional transition from anger to calm?

The reality is, there are days that push your buttons and test your patience.  I hope these days are few and far between for you, but in my work with both coaching and counseling clients, it seems that some people are frustrated almost all the time by their job or people in the workplace.  In other blogs and articles we have talked about some of the ways you can make your situation better at work, but even before the problems are resolved, it is important for you to take a cue from Las Vegas and say, “What happens at work, stays at work.”

It is critically important that you get your emotions under control before you walk in the door.  Don’t bring the negative emotions home with you. ...

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Do the Right Thing

In the business world we often hear terms and strategies for doing business that are predatory, aggressive, and even deceptive in order to make the sale or increase profits. Words like shark, war, and guerrilla come up in the vernacular. But I’ve been watching people over the years, and find that, in the long run, people who are willing to cheat or compromise often lose out on true success. People who do the right things for the right reasons have more satisfying careers and happier lives.

So, let’s explore this a little further: Have you ever met someone that you consider to be, or to have been, a really good person? I would imagine that you could probably name at least a few. What character traits do you think describe a “good” man or a good woman in our society today? Perhaps words such as kind, thoughtful, generous, giving, and unselfish top your list. If so, I would agree – these are traits we would all expect a good person to...

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What are You Thankful For?

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday of the year.  I have very fond memories of the many special gatherings my family has celebrated together.  Playing and watching football, catching up on the latest news, and eating until we practically pass out continues to be a part of our family’s Thanksgiving tradition.  As is the case for many families, it has also been our tradition to acknowledge the many blessings we experienced throughout the year.

Pausing to reflect on the things and people you are thankful for at Thanksgiving is a great practice, but it’s important to remember how valuable it is to engage in this exercise on a daily basis. When you consistently make space in your life to regularly pause and express gratitude it promotes an attitude of appreciation, optimism, and hopefulness.

The truth is, we too often take for granted the things and people that help to bring happiness...

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The Power of Listening

Q: What do you think is one of the most common complaints expressed in the workplace today?

A: The habit of NOT LISTENING. (Perhaps the title was a good clue!) Poor listening is considered one of the rudest of all office behaviors. After all, the messages you send, whether intended or not, come across loud and clear when you don’t listen or pay attention:

• I don’t care about you.
• I don’t understand you.
• You’re wrong.
• What you have to say isn’t important.
• You’re wasting my time.

Most people don’t realize just how powerful listening can be, and they often miss out on its valuable benefits.

What about you? When someone talks to you at work, are you really attentive? I’m not talking about merely hearing the sound of their words, but truly paying close attention to body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Real listening, the type that produces accurate understanding and empathy, often...

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Getting a Handle on Sibling Rivalry

“Mom, Oliver pulled my doll's head off again!” “I know you are, but what am I?” “Dad, Emily looked at me!” Sound familiar? It does if you have more than one child in your home. Sibling rivalry: A common pattern of negative interaction between children of the same family that dates as far back as the Old Testament and the story of Cain and Abel.

Even though it can make you want to scream and pull your hair out, sibling rivalry is normal and can even be constructive if handled properly. Day to day interactions between siblings and parents help children learn important skills such as problem solving and negotiating and how to develop self-control and an attitude of cooperation. 

Sibling rivalry is typically an outgrowth of a child’s immature attempts to gain their parent’s love, attention, acceptance, and approval. When emotions such as jealousy, envy, and frustration are combined with impulsivity and underdeveloped social...

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