Give kindness over chocolates 🍫 this Valentine's Day 💘

Valentine was a priest in Rome and was martyred on 14th February in the year 269 (that’s an awful long time ago but we still remember him).

Some legends tell us he annoyed the emperor because he performed weddings of young men to help them dodge the draft. The emperor wanted single men as soldiers so they would not be distracted from getting themselves killed on the battlefield because of the wife and kids back home.


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Why you shouldn't use the word "why?"

As I walked past an alcove at a major hardware store recently I overheard a manager addressing the assembled team of about 20 workers. In a loud accusing voice he berated one or more of the team members saying:  “Why would you do a thing like that!"

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Accentuate the positive

A local government worker I met recently was most despondent. His performance appraisal was such a bad experience that it made him want to quit work completely.


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Tuesday TUF Tips | Listen - Don't Rescue

I was doing a big ‘download’ recently with a friend. I seemed to have a jumble of problems that I needed to name out loud. At first he offered a suggestion to each thing I said: “Have you tried this…” or “It could help if you …”

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Tuesday TUF Tips | Who's to Blame?


Why blame is such a silly thing to do!

In a sales training workshop I was running a participant argued that if he made a mistake with an order it was his fault, and his fault alone. I had been teaching systems thinking and how blame was not helpful for business.
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Tuesday TUF Tips | How do you Say Sorry?

There are many moments when you can upset people in the workplace. When someone is hurt or upset they have an emotional reaction. They might pull away from you or they might attack you in some way, even when you didn’t intend to hurt them.

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You don't need to fight! Here's how you can switch your brain from emotional to rational.

A couple are commuting to work in their car. There is an easiness between them as they drive along the highway. She, quite innocently, raises the unresolved issue about the high cost of their upcoming holiday.

He experiences this question as an attack. He tenses up and goes silent. That's his usual way of coping when emotions like this arise in him. In that moment he thinks of her and this question as 100% the cause of his uncomfortable feelings.

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Personal problems at work cause stress

John Kirwan was one of the most devastating wingers that New Zealand and world rugby had ever seen. A prominent and revered figure at the dawn of the professional age of rugby, he seemed to live a charmed life. But he did have personal problems at work.

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Angry customers - the unseen hazard

 On Monday 1st September 2014 an extremely distressed client walked into the Work and Income office in Ashburton, New Zealand, and shot two of the front line workers. 

All the staff at that office were working under stress and the client was even more stressed. None of them had the skills to manage his anger over time until he finally cracked and the results were tragic. While the harm done in this situation was clearly visible and extreme, there are many workplaces where the damage from stress is not so obvious, but can be nearly as destructive.

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Workplace stress - a health and safety issue

Health and safety - law and mental stress.

Laws tell us that we must keep workers safe and healthy at work, this includes avoiding mental stress. Managers can be proactive in reducing workplace stress through a well organised workplace, and by training themselves and their teams to communicate well when emotions are raised.

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Say 'NO' to zero tolerance in customer service

In a recent review of the TUF Online Training program the writer was pleased that I did not advocate zero tolerance: not letting customers swear or show any kind of aggression. Organisations with a zero tolerance policy towards customers tell people not to swear. If the customer persists in swearing they terminate the call or stop serving them and ask them to leave the premises.

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You don't have to fight!

The biggest challenge in dealing with difficult situations is to first of all manage your own emotional reactions to them. It is easy to see the other person as difficult and to blame them for your uncomfortable feelings. Acknowledging and accepting your own feelings to yourself is an important first step to making a positive response to someone who you find challenging.

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Valentine's Day 2013

Whatever you may think about Valentine’s Day there is a degree of excitement around. I heard people renewing their vows to their partners on the radio this morning. People give red roses, chocolates, special meals and many other signs of their love today.
Anything that get’s people to relate better to each other is good in my book. Building positive relationships needs to be worked at. Just as with a loving relationship you need to say and do things to let the other person know they are loved, respected and valued.

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Weak apologies are poor customer service

A story in the Dominion Post this morning (February 4, 2013) sparked my interest. It is fifty years since a young man, high on alcohol and tranquilizers shot two policemen in cold blood.
He served over 11 years in jail and another 10 years on probation and has since lived a productive life, it would appear. He is now 77 year old with children and grandchildren. I have no quibble about his punishment and am delighted that he has done well with his life.

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Bad customer service stories

The supplement in last weekend’s Dom Post in Wellington (Saturday 26 January 2013) had a feature about the terrible customers that turn up in hospitality settings and the often equally nasty things some workers do to get back at them. It was a story full of horror and negativity.
People who work in customer service, especially in hospitality can get jaded. Customers can be very difficult especially if they are affected by alcohol in bars and restaurants or highly anxious such as when travelling.

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Hearing the unspoken request

Another missed moment at the luxury resort which said they were ‘all about YOU” 
The housekeeping staff were very friendly and pleasant of course. When my wife mentioned to the cleaner that there were bits of white fluff on the carpet from something we had dropped she replied "Don't worry, I'll give it a good vacuum when you go".

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It's all about YOU - the customer, Yeah Right!

I recently stayed at a luxury resort as a birthday gift from my family. It was a lovely place and we had a relaxing time except for one thing that I was struck by.
Their by-line was "We're all about YOU". Great I thought, I will be looked after here.

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Empathy stronger than gun law reform

Adam Lanza the gunman who caused such carnage in Newtown Connecticut was a loner. It was difficult for people to show him empathy and difficult for him to receive it. But that is what he needed most from the ordinary people around him.
While changing the gun laws will restrict access to these lethal weapons and may reduce the number of incidents of shootings in America, changing the way we show empathy is a more sustainable way to change the hearts and minds of others and make the world a safe and peaceful place.

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Convincing others and handling their objections

Here is a TUF tip when speaking to individuals or to a group of people in a meeting, especially about new projects that you are wanting to introduce.
When someone asks a question or puts up an objection, you will have more chance that they will listen to you if you acknowledge the feeling or concern that is most likely behind that question. Be aware of their emotion, even if they don’t express it fully.

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Workplace Communication: Simple or Complex?

A controversy in the news today concerns the publicist for the ACT Party, John Ansell, who sacked himself because the party wouldn’t use some of his copy in their advertisements. Leader Don Brash said he was tempted by some of the statements John Ansell used, but in the end toned them down. John Ansell claimed the whole party are cowards because they won’t speak ‘the truth’ about what is going on.
Without getting into the details of the controversy, here are two things we can learn about workplace communication and community dialogue from this incident.

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