Relate Well! Blog

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

Principles for Effective Listening - Part I

Listening is one of the most powerful tools of communication, leadership and relationships. Here are some things you can begin doing today to develop your listening awareness and expertise. Then watch as your relationships and performance improve, too. 

  1. Listening is Active, Not Passive! 

While simply holding your tongue can make you look like you're listening, active listening also involves a conscious, focused effort not only to hear the words but also to discern the complete message the speaker is sending. It takes into consideration the speaker's intent and non-verbal communication, and it's non-judgmental (which, frankly, can be the hard part, so we'll discuss that next time).

To practice active listening, maintain good eye contact and an open body posture. Put down your pen or phone and relax your hands so it doesn't appear that you're just waiting for the speaker to finish so you can get back to "more important" work. Nod your head to acknowledge understanding...

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Are You Putting on an Act?

Lights! Camera! Action! When the spotlight of life is focused on you, what do people see? Are you an actor just playing a role or are you the “real thing?” Are you willing to let people see who you really are? Hollywood actors are paid big bucks to portray a make-believe character on the screen, but there are many people outside of “Tinsel Town” who put on a very convincing act every day without ever being paid a dime. In fact, many of them pay a high price. 

You don’t have to be a Hollywood star or public figure to be concerned with the way others perceive you. All of us are involved in personal image management to some degree, and in most cases, this is perfectly normal. In fact, thinking about who you will be with and what you will be doing is a reasonable way to determine what “image” to put on by dressing and behaving appropriately in a given situation. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with putting your best foot forward in...

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Job Stress – What Can You Do? Part 2 of 2

Last week we looked at the damaging effects that work-related stress can have on your health and life. Today, we will talk about some of the ways you can better manage the stress you feel.

If you are an employer or if you’re in charge of a team or staff working under your supervision, be sure to consider the tips about how you can make the working environment less stressful, too!

Big improvements in stress management take place in small increments and daily habits. Here are some Recommended Daily Habits to get you started:

  • Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself
  • Do something nice for someone
  • Share a laugh or a word of encouragement with someone you like
  • Make a list of things you are most grateful for
  • Take a leisurely bath or hot shower
  • Rest your eyes for 15 to 30 minutes without interruption
  • Relax outdoors, enjoying nature
  • Revisit your accomplishments - even the smallest ones
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Get up 15 minutes early to avoid having to rush
  • Watch a funny...
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Job Stress – What Can You Do? Part 1 of 2

Today’s workforce faces a multitude of pressures: deadlines, office politics, nonproductive meetings, conflict, job ambiguity, miscommunication, increased workload, inadequate resources, customer complaints and long hours. . . not to mention adjusting to working from home, complying with government requirements or feeling nervous about going back to the office! On-the-job stress can be quite costly, too, because it often results in increased absenteeism, reduced efficiency, low morale, reduced effectiveness, and high staff turnover.

Even before the pandemic, researchers discovered that since 1965 the overall stress levels in the U.S. increased nearly 50%, and that 75-90% of all office visits to health care professionals were for stress-related symptoms and disorders – so we can only imagine how the numbers have been impacted more recently!

We know that a certain level of stress can be good. It actually improves performance by sharpening concentration, focusing...

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Why Your Personality Type is Awesome

One of the most challenging, interesting, and rewarding things about working with people is helping them discover the unique combination of personality traits that make them the way they are. There is something so powerful about an individual seeing themselves – sometimes for the first time – as necessary and valuable to their communities and employers BECAUSE of who they are, not IN SPITE of it. I have seen too many people going through life thinking they are somehow wrong or inadequate because they aren’t like someone else.

While the comprehensive view of any individual is much too large and complex to address here, today we are just looking at the four main personality types outlined in the DISC Personality System. Which one sounds most like you?

Being “D” and Getting it Done – The DISC Profile lists the primary traits of the High “D” as Dominant, Driven and Determined. These people tend to be natural leaders who grab hold of a task...

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Helping Your Child Process the Illness or Death of a Loved One

In this life, there is no escaping the reality that your family will be impacted by serious illness and death at some time. This is painful and hard for adults, but we must be mindful of the children who are affected as well. 

When someone we love is seriously ill it can evoke within us a sense of helplessness and powerlessness and children feel it, too. Allowing the child to assist in an age-appropriate fashion can help teach them important lessons about caregiving and compassion, help them be distracted from the inevitability of death and give them a sense of purpose and a special connection to the one they love. This may be as simple as drawing a picture for their sick loved one, bringing a drink of water, helping a caregiver adult prepare a meal, or visiting with them as tolerated. 

When a child experiences the death of a family member due to illness or accident it is important for the parent or adult caretaker to speak openly about it. Children can’t be fooled...

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Leadership for Growth

If you are an owner or have any leadership role in your workplace, you care about the success of your business and your employees. In order for you to take your company from where it is today to where you want it to ultimately be in the future, you will want to pay close attention to these key leadership competencies that will lead your company and your team members to positive and profitable growth.   

Effective leaders… 

… Know their strengths and skill gaps.

Santa Clara University and the Tom Peters group identified a list of effective leadership qualities and characteristics and listed them in order of most important. 

Honest                                             Fair-minded

...

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Does Your Credit Score Reveal Impatience?

Did you know you can tell a lot about a person from just their credit score? You can certainly tell whether or not they will qualify for a mortgage, but researchers contend that they can also tell if someone is likely to be more patient or impatient simply based on their credit history.

Economists from the Federal Reserve’s Center for Behavioral and Economics and Decision-making surveyed 437 people asking them whether they would prefer a small reward now or wait for a larger reward later. Those who were willing to wait for a larger reward later had credit scores that were 30 points higher, on average, than those who said they’d prefer a smaller immediate payment. The findings also revealed that the most impatient subjects had average FICO scores below 620 – a commonly used cutoff for prime and subprime lending.

Patience – or lack of it – can make the difference between being able to buy a home or a car, qualifying for a good interest rate...

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Resolving a Bad Relationship at Work

The average full-time worker with two weeks of annual vacation spends up to 250 days or 2,000 hours each year on the job. Unfortunately, many employees spend this time interacting with co-workers they don't get along with, making their work situation almost intolerable.

If you have a problem with a co-worker and you're growing weary, don't despair. Although you can't guarantee cooperation from the other party, there are some practical things you can do in an effort to turn the relationship around. Review the tips below to see how you can confront bad work relationships.

  1. Take a good look at your own attitude and behavior first.

Before you complain or point a finger at your co-worker, take an honest look at how you might be contributing to the problem. Are you letting your feelings make you snappy, over-sensitive, jealous or uncooperative? Addressing your own negative attitude or behavior can often help decrease the distress brought on by the bad relationship and help...

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Are You Contented and Thankful?

I read a survey that revealed over half of all Americans would choose a new line of work if they had the chance. It’s amazing to think that every single day millions of people in our country spend their most productive hours at a job they wish they could change!

This statistic makes us ask the question, “WHY?” Is it because there are very few jobs that are truly satisfying and rewarding? Is it because they like the job but dislike the management or the people they work with? This is no doubt true in some cases because relationships on the job are such a big factor in how you feel about going to work each day.

But, I believe there is another important factor to consider: many people who are unhappy with their work are also discontented with other areas of their life as well. There are a lot of people who are living day to day with a general feeling of dissatisfaction in almost everything. Maybe you know someone who is never quite satisfied. Maybe you feel that way....

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