Leadership Training

Help! I Can’t Stop Solving!

Date: September 8th, 2014

Blog post by: Michelle Adams

For those of you who took a Gordon Model workshop (L.E.T., P.E.T., Synergistic Selling, etc.), you will recall (I hope!) the concept of Problem Ownership.  For many of us—and maybe even most of us—our tendency, our desire—is to solve, fix things for other people when we see them struggling or they’re upset (when they are in the “Other Owns” area of our Behavior Window).

leader leadership gordon model problem solving at workOur aim is to help, to ease their pain, right?  Or perhaps…this problem-solving thing we do is really to ease our own pain, because we’re too uncomfortable with the situation the other person is experiencing?  Or maybe it’s officially a part of our job right?  To solve problems.  If I am a leader or a manager or a parent—that’s what I do—I fix stuff so we can all get along with our lives right…..?

...Read more

Are You a Vacation Hater?

Date: September 2nd, 2014

Blog Post By: Anonymous

You may be one. And it’s probably because everyone seems to request his or her vacation at the worst possible time. There may be an industry conference to prepare for, a large customer order that needs to be fulfilled or things are just “crazy busy.” Being down a person for a day or week just adds more stress on everyone else.

employee vacation time off leadership effectivenessVacations are also expensive because that employee sitting on a fishing boat staring at a bobber or reading their iPad’s while slathered in SPF 1,000 are still getting paid even though they are not producing anything. You may be even more frustrated when you need to hire a temp to cover for them, adding a layer of cost that eats away at your bottom line.

...Read more

A Peaceful Score Composed for Thomas Gordon

Date: August 25th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

Today’s Blog, in honor of our beloved, wonderful and brilliant founder, Dr. Thomas Gordon (March, 11, 1918 – August 26, 2002).

Active Listening? He introduced it to the world with P.E.T.
I-Messages? His creation.
Behavior Window? 100% Tom.
Communication Roadblocks? Yup, from him, too.

This is a partial list of his contributions that continue to help people around the globe.

Unofficial info? He loved to tell super bad puns, made it a point to relate to every person he came in contact with and wanted to know their stories. Any time there was a child near by, he would get down on their level to talk with them.

He was indeed a great man with a great legacy and we’re doing more than carrying on his legacy—we made it ours and we are on a mission to help the world get along better.

...Read more

The Emerging Trend of Routine Terminations

Date: August 18th, 2014

Blog Post by: Scott Seroka

If you’re a CEO, small business owner or entrepreneur, you operate in a different world than most others. You get up every morning fighting the good fight to make sure your business succeeds. If it fails, there is no mattress to fall back on which is why you may constantly remind yourself, even in the most turbulent times, that failure is not an option. No matter what industry you’re in, you face more and more competition, technology continues to change the way consumers interact with brands, and sales is the lifeblood that needs to keep flowing in order to keep your business going. Most importantly, you need the best employees you can find to acquire new customer relationships, build great products, lead in innovation and service your customers until they fall in love with your brand.

...Read more

What To Do When Office Friendships Backfire

Date: August 12th, 2014

Blog Post by: Scott Seroka

How many times have we heard about the importance of building the right culture to fit our organization’s profile? If you’re like me, probably more times that you can shake an iPhone at. Building the right culture is no small task—it requires us to search out and hire people who share similar values, beliefs, attitudes and ethics. Why is this so important? People who share more similarities than differences work better together and hence, are much more productive. Put them all together for 40 or more hours per week and friendships will inevitably develop. Most will remain strictly professional, but a few may develop into stronger, and more personal long-term relationships.

office friendships friends at work conflict leadershipThis is all fine and dandy, as long as those friendships are built on the same hierarchal level. However, when strong, personal friendships begin to develop between managers and employees, dangerous and risky lines will be crossed, and such relationships are often unsustainable, destined to implode. It’s up to the manager to define and draw which lines not to cross for six obvious reasons:

...Read more

Your Leadership Style Is Communicated in Unexpected Ways

Date: August 4th, 2014

Blog post by:  Anonymous

It was April 17, 2011 when Elaina spotted an ad on monster.com for an account executive position at an advertising agency. Her vast experience and long list of qualifications seemed to be perfectly aligned with what the agency was looking for – she had more than fifteen years of experience representing BtoC accounts and had a an impressive track record of helping her clients get plenty of press coverage and win awards.

Elaina enthusiastically submitted her resume along with some very strong references, feeling very optimistic about the prospect of winning an interview. To her delight, she received an email from the agency’s hiring manager at 8:08 that same evening and was ecstatic because she hasn’t been gainfully employed since her former employer closed its doors right before the prior years’ Thanksgiving holiday. The interview was scheduled for the following day, which gave her little time to prepare for it.

...Read more

9 Things Your Employees Need to Hear From You

Date: July 28th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

In my role as a brand consultant, I do quite a few employee insight assessments. These assessments are questionnaires and interviews I facilitate to gain insights on how employees perceive their brand in twelve different categories, and I also gain a deep understanding of how they feel about the company’s leadership.

Employee Praise LeadershipI have reviewed thousands of assessments in my career and have consistently found that one of the top three things employees crave most from their employers that they rarely receive is “better” communication. Better in the sense of being high quality, timely, meaningful, informative and frequent. And this desire for better communication should not be surprising – consultants and counselors have cited poor communication for years as the #1 reason for conflict in relationships and poor employee morale.

Based on my experience and overwhelming evidence, I have created a list of what I believe are the top nine things employees need to hear from their leaders:

...Read more

How to Stop Attracting Problems with One Small Change

Date: July 22nd, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

If you’re in a leadership position and perpetually find yourself under an inordinate amount of stress, as you seem to attract more than your fair share of problems, it may be self-inflicted.

When we are promoted into positions of leadership, we naturally understand our lives may be filled with a few more headaches as additional, heavier responsibilities are placed upon us. Why else would we be earning the big bucks? Think about it – as newly anointed leaders, we no longer have the luxury of worrying only about ourselves – we are also expected to manage others to ensure department goals are met and projects are completed to expectation. If we don’t perform, game over.

...Read more

What Would Aliens Say About Our Communication?

Date: July 15th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

If aliens are looking down at us from another planet and watching how we interact with each other, they would likely conclude that humans prefer interacting with devices and computers instead of with one another, face-to-face. The sad fact is that their conclusion would be correct. Just think – the very technology that was developed to help us become more efficient so we could spend more personal time with family and friends has turned on us, making us less social, and more isolated than ever.

This is equally troubling in the workplace where we are expected to interact with one another, build trusting relationships, communicate meaningful information and strategize within work teams to accomplish objectives. This is becoming increasingly difficult, as so many people not only rely on technology to communicate, it is, in some cases preferred, if not required. What mediums of communication do we have to choose from? I’ve narrowed it down to the four below, in the order of usage and popularity as I perceive it.

...Read more

How to Create a Better Climate at Work

Date: July 9th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

Most leaders have the technical expertise to do their jobs effectively. In fact, that’s usually the reason they were promoted to a leadership position in the first place. But technical know-how is only part of what it takes to be an effective leader–and an effective coach. Many managers and executives may be surprised to learn that it’s not the most important part. Technical expertise and knowledge are prerequisites to good leadership; they’re necessary, but they’re not sufficient.

working together2_dropshadowThe ability to relate with and motivate the people who report to the leader is far more important. Much research shows that when people work in a climate of respect, caring, honesty, collaboration, cooperation and trust, they maximize their contributions to the organization.

...Read more

The Unintended Consequences of Helping Others

Date: July 7th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

Most of us have at least a few kind bones in our bodies and are naturally inclined to help people who appear to be in some sort of trouble, at least to the extent we are able to help. We help our kids when they have trouble with their homework (or at least we try), we help our colleagues out when they need support with workload, and we make ourselves available to our friends when they ask us to help them move. With rare exception, most of us are good, kind souls.

...Read more

On Leadership, by Dr. Thomas Gordon*

Date: July 1st, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

Tom Gordon_color-funeralbookletphoto w dropshadow(The following is from writings just found, literally tucked away in a filing cabinet, printed on that purple mimeographed stuff—you “old schoolers” know what I am talking about. What a find! While I continue my treasure hunt, I am posting some for you now.)

Leadership is too much related to one’s personality, one’s basic attitudes and values. Consequently, becoming a different kind of leader requires fundamental changes in the inner core of the person, as opposed to simply their outward behavior.

Such a change will occur only through frequent exposures to new situations, through a kind of painstaking experimentation with different methods, and through honest examination and evaluation of one’s attitudes toward self and others.

‘Techniques’ will help, of course, but they can be effective only if they become an implementation of the leader’s own philosophy and temperament. There is a reason for stressing the intimate relationship between one’s patterns of leadership and their philosophy and temperament.

...Read more

5 Reasons to Stop Encouraging Someone into a Leadership Position

Date: June 16th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

Smiling coworkers_dropshadow


Every company has top performing employees who get along exceptionally well with colleagues and customers. They seem to have all those “people skills” needed to be a great leader – polished communication skills, Active Listeners, great at motivating team members to achieve lofty objectives, and with such admired skills, they intuitively know how to quickly extinguish conflict. You may be thinking of someone who is poised to fill a much needed leadership role in your company, and you may be encouraging him or her to accept a position in management. But what if that ideal person has rejected your offers, not wanting to have anything to do with the additional responsibilities associated with being burdened by a management title? What do you do?

If you happen to find yourself stuck in this situation, consider the following five reasons to cease and desist…

...Read more

How To Increase Productive Work Time

Date: June 10th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

So how DO you increase productive work time? Well, in Gordon Model land, we have a variety of skills to choose from: different types of I-Messages, Active Listening and the Method III Problem-Solving process. Specifically, here’s what I am talking about.

Using Dr. Gordon’s Behavior Window, depending on where we are in this window, we decide what skill we’re going to use and when. We’d like to ideally live in the No-Problem Area of this window. So how do we stay in this area? How do we increase this area so we can be as productive as possible?

Try these on for size–these are some skills to use when you’re in this area that can help you stay there:

Well, I declare!

Declarative I-Messages: These are your self-disclosures to others about your beliefs, ideas, likes, dislikes, feelings, reactions, attitudes, intentions.

...Read more

A Real Life Story About the Expensive Consequences of Bad Leadership

Date: June 9th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

I worked for a number of different companies holding numerous types of positions before settling into my career, and during that time I received quite an education on how poor leadership can set into motion a sequence of events and behaviors ultimately affecting a company’s brand and bottom line. My favorite and most memorable lesson occurred during my college years.

My real life leadership course began when I was working at a higher-end men’s clothing store in the early 90’s. We had nine employees and two managers on our staff, and we were all driven and motivated to sell based on a draw plus commission compensation package. I got the hang of selling rather quickly, and after a couple of weeks I was consistently posting higher-than-average sales numbers nearly every month. It was rare for me to have a bad week, so for a college student, I was making some pretty decent cash. Things were going very well during my first six months, before I met the company’s district manager, Paul, who I now refer to as my first “leadership instructor.”

...Read more

Attention Leaders! Do You Think You Have a Good Reputation?

Date: June 2nd, 2014

Blog Post By: Anonymous

What Kind of Leader_drop shadow


Employees do quite a bit of of talking. They talk to each other, they talk to their friends and they also talk to their peers at office parties, networking events, seminars, conferences and online. And if you want to know what they talk about, they talk about their jobs. More specifically, they talk about their managers and co-workers, at least some of the time. Without even knowing it, you, as a leader are earning a reputation based on how people are talking about you.

Now if you haven’t thought much about what kind of a reputation you have, your answers to the following questions will give you some insight. Make sure to be as honest and as open as possible with yourself and your answers:

...Read more

How To Fight Crime With Your Ears – What I Learned On A “Ride Along”

Date: May 27th, 2014

Blog post by: Michelle Adams

SDPD Police Car w Michelle headSo I was in a patrol car for the first time the other day—no, no, I wasn’t in trouble! We have a friend, colleague and LET-trained police sergeant who works nearby and I asked him if I could do a “ride along” and he said “Sure!” so off we went for a few hours last week. Besides learning ALL that they do (which is a lot), how much territory they cover on their shift (which is a lot), and what the world looks like when you’re in a patrol car, I got to learn about how the LET skills help this police supervisor out on a daily basis. He has a naturally helpful, easy-going personality but I noticed his empathy and caring with his team, who reports to him, ending every interaction with a Direct Report with a, “Do you need anything?” And he often checked for clarity to make sure he understood the situation.

...Read more

A Simple Truth About Leadership

Date: May 19th, 2014

Blog Post by Scott Seroka

If you give this a moment’s thought, leadership is actually quite simple. Employees want the very same things their leaders want: opportunities, autonomy, respect, to be heard. etc. And if employees perform and produce to expectations, these requests are fair and realistic. Would you agree? However, each and every employee, no matter how professional and friendly they are, are also in a constant pursuit of getting their needs satisfied. When something or someone gets in their way, it creates conflicts (people problems), and problems not properly resolved will disrupt an entire team.

LET Quote for Blog Post 052014 copyHere is a simple truth about leadership: it is not your responsibility to solve problems between people. In fact, your involvement will likely do much more harm than good, even if you believe you have the perfect solution to fix everything and get everyone back to work again. And the reason is simple: As you do not have the full, unbiased insight into the source, details, politics and personalities surrounding every problem, you are usually not in a good position to offer any kind of solution. As a leader, your role isn’t to solve problems; it is to make sure problems get solved.

...Read more

Soooo…what I hear you saying is…

Date: May 12th, 2014

Blog post by: Michelle Adams

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar to you:
“So what I hear you saying is…..”
Okay, you can put your hands down now.

Most of you will recognize this as a way of beginning your own Active Listening to someone who, in your Behavior Window* is “in” the top part of the window, yes? Okay, good so far.

Listening 2 _ drop shadow

This can be helpful to those who are new to Active Listening AND it’s also a good way to buy yourself some time before you give your Active Listening a shot. On the other hand, it can sometimes be, well…okay, I will just say it…annoying! What do I mean by that? If you use this opener or lead-in a lot, your Active Listening might start to sound robotic or formulaic to the other person.

...Read more

29 Reasons Employees Avoid Their Managers

Date: May 6th, 2014

Blog Post by Scott Seroka

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working for a manager who taught you how not to lead, you’ll appreciate this blog.

confront_drop shadow


Employees despise working for managers who do not practice even the most basic people skills, leading with intimidation and an iron fist. When forced into such working conditions, employees will typically avoid their managers at all costs which consequently leads to decreases in productivity, a measurable increase in mistakes and poor morale. There is no question this is cancerous to an organization. So, what causes employees to avoid their managers? Below is a list of twenty-nine:


...Read more