Relate Well! Blog

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

Strong People Skills = Career Success

Having trouble getting ahead at work? Research reveals that the higher you go on the career ladder the greater the likelihood that obstacles standing in the way of your performance, productivity and advancement are your own problematic behaviors and bad habits. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of those fired from their jobs are let go because of an absence of strong interpersonal skill rather than a lack of technical skill. Therefore, the higher a person goes in an organization, the more significant it is that their people skills (or lack thereof) will ultimately determine how far they will go in their career.

Below is a partial list of people skills that can help you achieve greater success at home and work. Invest in yourself, your relationships and your career by identifying the skills that may represent areas of growth for you!

Understanding others – It can be a challenge to slow down and take the time to better know and understand your coworkers, but it’s...

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Hi-Tech Communication – Use With Caution

Technology can be great. It has made communication faster and easier and become an integral part of our everyday lives both personally and professionally. Many of us remember when business was done primarily through hard copy letters and memos, or old-fashioned telephone calls that sometimes required a written message to be taken if the party you called was unavailable at the time. And if you can imagine it, the telephone was tethered to the desk by a cord!

In the last few years alone we have seen an explosion in the use of text and instant messaging with portable devices that work virtually anywhere in the world. Contracts can be signed electronically, documents can be transmitted instantly via e-mail and stored on the cloud and almost daily we are introduced to new technologies and tools designed to increase the speed and efficiency of social interaction, commerce and communication. All that is great, but let’s slow down for a few minutes to consider whether these fast and...

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1% vs. Perfection

Here are some more great thoughts from my friend and colleague, David Towne.

I’ve got a problem. Okay, I’ve got lots of issues as many of my friends and family know all too well. My singing hurts the ears of those too close to me in proximity. I don’t run anymore unless someone is chasing me. If I mistakenly eat a peanut, egg, carrot, any kind of fish, or watermelon (to name a few), my throat swells shut in seconds and I die. Yet my most frustrating problem is how, in the past, I have attempted to tackle my life goals.

Maybe you can relate. We get something in our mind and desire to make a change. It could be that we want to lose weight, eat better, spend more quality time with our loved ones, work smarter, curb our social media addiction, go to bed earlier, turn off the television and read more, get more involved at church, and the list goes on and on. The issue that has plagued me for most of my life is that I fail to effectively address the changes I want...

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I Just Don't Like Confrontation

While helping clients navigate the pain and frustration associated with some of their most important relationships I often hear a very familiar phrase, “I just don’t like confrontation.” The truth is, the vast majority of people fear confrontation.  The thought of confrontation often evokes fear of criticism, rejection, and/or conflict. There are multiple reasons associated with wanting to avoid confrontation, but I want to address just one of them today – fear of rejection.

Confrontation is taboo for many people because they want others to like them. Boy, don’t we all want that? It sure beats having them dislike or even hate us.  Wanting to be liked isn’t a bad goal unless you give it an unrealistic level of importance and link it to your self-worth.

When a person thinks they “measure up” only as long as people like them they set themselves up for a life of avoidance fueled by fear. If you believe that losing a...

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Attitude Is Everything

I am so pleased that my good friend and colleague, David Towne, accepted my invitation to write today's blog post on the incredibly important topic of Attitude.  In addition to being a highly gifted educator, communicator and professional development guru, David is also one of the most relational people I have ever met.  His ability to make genuine personal connections with people of all ages is remarkable, and I know you will enjoy his thoughts and insights.  Please take a moment to share your comments on the role attitude has played in your own life.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Right after I completed my Masters in Teaching degree from Seattle University in 1991 my wife threw a surprise graduation party for me. Even though I am not a big surprise party type of guy, it was a joy to celebrate with family and friends. One of the gifts I received that day was a poster of a monkey on a bike with the caption saying “Attitude is Everything”....

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How Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others

The measure of a great leader is not how high up the ladder someone goes by stepping on others. A great leader lifts everyone around them up, and like a buoy on a rising tide, the leader rises with his or her followers. It may seem backwards, but if you want to be a successful leader, learn how to bring out the best in the people around you and help them thrive and achieve their best.

How do you get others to achieve? It’s a well-known principle that you can’t change another person; you can only change yourself. But if you are responsible for leading a family or a team, there are effective ways you can influence the way people respond to you.

I saw a sign in an office that read “The floggings will continue until morale improves.” The irony makes us laugh because it’s so obvious that it won’t work. You can’t get positive responses from people with negative strategies. Your teenager won’t wipe a scowl off his face if you yell...

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Have You Mastered These Leadership Practices?

How do you know if you are a leader? If someone is following you, you are a leader! It may be an official part of your job, or it may be a volunteer endeavor, or maybe you’re a parent, with children following in your footsteps. In my study of leadership, I found some of the best information in the research conducted by James Kouzes and Barry Posner and documented in their book, The Leadership Challenge.

According to the authors, no matter what areas of life you lead in, there are five practices that strong and effective leaders consistently engage in.  And in order to incorporate these practices you’ll need to make some key commitments associated with each. Here are the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership:

1. Model the Way – Modeling the way is the most fundamental way in which leaders earn credibility and trust. You will never be an effective leader if you are unwilling or unable to walk your talk. If this first competency is not mastered,...

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The Power of Wise Decision-Making

One evening when my youngest daughter was five-years-old she asked me if she could go outside and play. I told her, “No, it’s too dark out.” She defiantly replied, “I’m going to go outside anyhow.” I then replied that she could choose to go outside without my permission, but if she did she would suffer the consequence of being sent to bed early. After giving her options some thought, she stated, “I’m not going outside because it’s just too dark.”

In that moment, I enjoyed watching Kathryn exercising good judgment and wisdom for someone so young. She had considered the facts – that her Dad had a habit of following through on what he said, and that going to bed early would make her miss her favorite TV show and her bedtime snack. Weighing these harsh realities against what would happen if she made the right choice brought her to the conclusion that it was in her best interest to do the right thing.

For most of us, once...

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Do You Struggle with Difficult People?

Difficult people are everywhere. You can find them at work, in your neighborhood, at the local store, in government offices, in customer services and even in your own home. Now, to be honest, we can all be difficult at times, but today I’m talking about what I refer to as chronically difficult people – the people whose behavior is often obnoxious, rude, aggressive and just plain frustrating. In other words, their behavior is predictable… predictably difficult!

Difficult people come in a variety of styles with behavior patterns that fit some classic categories. The Tanks bully their way through every situation, steamrolling anyone who stands in their way without considering how others feel. The Exploders use “shock and awe” to get their way by blowing up so others learn to tiptoe around them or give in to prevent an angry outburst. The Know-it-All has to answer every comment and conversation with information designed to make themselves look...

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Dump the Resolutions and Create SMART Goals

On January 1st many of us identified some big changes we want to make or a plan we want to accomplish during the new year. By February 1st we began wondering what we were thinking and why we paid for a whole year gym membership or committed to a seemingly impossible resolution to lose weight and get in shape.

Now that the month of January is behind us, don’t get discouraged because your resolutions have fallen by the way side. Instead, get excited because now is the time to get seriously focused on how you can identify and construct effective goals and action plans so 2016 can be your best year ever!

So where do you start? I recommend to my clients that they begin by learning and implementing the SMART approach to goal setting. By clicking here you can download instructions on how to begin identifying and creating SMART goals and action plans. You will also receive helpful worksheets for creating each of your goals and action plans.

The SMART approach begins with writing down...

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