Communication is a Hot Topic

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We cover a lot of topics in this TribeHR blog: from workplace accommodation to the impact of catching a few zzzz’s on productivity.

Along the way we touch issues of leadership and workplace power dynamics, as well as more traditional HR management concerns like effective onboarding and employee engagement.  

While all articles garner a fair amount of interest and certain subjects clearly trend based on the latest HR research or what’s in the news, one topic—communications—is consistently popular. Whether we write about different communication styles, offer Powerpoint “dos and don’ts”, or provide tips for dealing with conflict in the workplace, articles related to communication invariably float to the top of the list when we track readership.  

Photo by Len Radin, Flickr

Last year we listed many of the articles and resources we had available at that time in a blog entitled Mastering Communication at Work . Since then, we’ve added a number of interesting posts that tackle the ever-present challenge of workplace communications.

Here is a list and a brief summary of each. We hope you find them useful.

  1. Healthy Workplace Communication: A discussion of communication styles from the perspective of healthy and unhealthy communication patterns (Passive, Assertive, Aggressive and Passive-Aggressive ways of interacting.)
  2. Create a Common Language to Connect: The key to communicating successfully with all types of people is to speak their language…this article discusses how to establish commonality for better communications.
  3. Communicating With Purpose: The essence of communication is intention. Communication always has a result and whether that result is intended or unintended has a lot to do with the communicator.
  4. Communicating Change: In an ideal world, significant organizational change is managed in a pro-active, organized way. More commonly, today’s companies are not systematically managing planned change as much as they’re rapidly responding and reacting to external pressures and emerging opportunities on an ad hoc basis. 
  5. Office Politics: Five tips for Playing in the Mud without Getting Dirty: Few people enjoy office politics but, being human, they get pulled into sticky situations in spite of best intentions. Conflict will happen. Bringing it out into the open and resolving it without slinging mud or leaving people bruised creates a win for everyone involved.
  6. Managing Rumors and Gossip in the Workplace: Much like office politics, rumors and excessive gossip in the workplace create a drain on morale that managers and HR professionals must get a handle on. Here are some practical tips for slowing down the rumor mill.
  7. Keep Calm and Carry on at Work: When it comes right down to it, we can’t control the behavior of others; we can only control our own actions in response to that behavior. These strategies can help us keep calm and carry on in the face of workplace drama, confrontation and crisis.
  8. Words Matter: The right words can make the difference between creating instant rapport and triggering the immediate rejection of your message. The right words open doors, build bridges and move mountains.
  9. Presentation Skills – Using the Tools of the Speakers Trade: This article offers practical tips for anyone who is called on to make public presentations and wants to take it up a notch and handle the task like a professional speaker.
  10. 10 Things You Should Never do in a Powerpoint Presentation: PowerPoint is still the most commonly used presentation software on the market. As an application, it allows you to do everything you need to do in creating an effective presentation. Unfortunately, it also comes with enough bells and whistles to lead you down the path to presentation hell.
  11. Mediating Workplace Conflict: This article offers a six-step process to help you mediate workplace conflict between employees.
  12. Why Don’t We Listen: Listening is one of the most under-developed communication skills. This article helps us understand why and what to do about it.
  13. Reframing-an Essential Tool for the Workplace: The words we choose determine how we are perceived and influence how we (and others) interpret day-to-day experiences. By using this technique you can set the tone for how workplace events are interpreted and how you are perceived as a leader.
  14. Informal Communication at Work: Informal communication is what keeps things moving, builds relationships and creates culture in the workplace. In an increasingly virtual world, employers need to understand the importance of preserving this part of the communications environment.
  15. The Bottom Line on Office Politics: Every environment that contains more than one person will have its share of politics. Find out what it means to be good at office politics in a healthy organization.
  16. The Importance of Clear Signals at Work: In the workplace, signals are often unclear. This article describes three ways that signals often get muddied at work and how to avoid them.
  17. How Do You Handle Conflict? Everyone responds to conflict differently. It helps to understand how you and others typically react to conflict so you can better manage your own reactions and learn to work with the many different responses of others.  

Of course, communication crosses may boundaries and you’ll also find related content in the employee development, employee engagement and leadership sections of our blog. If you don’t see what you’re looking for and you’d like us to write about a particular aspect of workplace communication, let us know. Effective communication makes the world (and the workplace!) go around.


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Negotiators: Do You Fit the Profile?

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"Along the grid of negotiating styles, some people take a compromising attitude - a firm but fair give-and-take. Others take the stance: Do it or you're fired. Then there are those who try to ignore problems altogether…Of course, the ideal is a win-win style." [1] In her book, Winning by Negotiation, therapist and business consultant Tessa Albert Warschaw outlines the following basic negotiating styles: U.S. Pacific Air Forces, Flickr Jungle Fighters (win-lose) These people enjoy the challenge of conflict; they are aggressive and apt to resort to cutthroat tactics when negotiations do not go their way. To …

13 Communication Practices of Leaders

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Great leaders are great communicators. They share their vision in a way that inspires others and projects a contagious enthusiasm. But this ability doesn't always come naturally. We’ve all experienced the pep talk that falls flat: the gung ho, “take one for the team” speech that triggers sarcasm instead of motivation. Photo of Angela \Merkel by Duncan Hull, Flickr So how do some people stimulate belief, loyalty and a commitment that defies logic, while others are dismissed and dissed? With deliberate intent and lots of practice. Exceptional leaders connect and communicate at a level …

Advantages and Disadvantages of e-Learning

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Sandravc, Wikimedia Commons With the growing reliance on computers and information technology, we might assume that computer based and online learning had become the rule rather than the exception for work-related training. Especially in the knowledge sector. The truth is a little more complicated. While e-Learning continues to grow in popularity, it’s still a long way from taking over as the primary mode of workplace training. One study that examined the training activities of over 1,200 knowledge workers at the end of three year period, found that only 34% had participated in computer-based or online training for work. The following …

Fixing a Bad Hire

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No one intentionally hires someone who can’t do the job or who just doesn’t mesh with the team. And yet it happens more often than we like to admit.  In fact,one survey found that 8 of ten companies had made a bad hire, with 22% of respondents admitting they'd made a bad hire that cost the organization over $50,000. Photo by tishamp, Flickr What can you do when the candidate with the amazing resume, who aced every interview and raised no red-flags during reference checks, turns out to be a non-starter on the job? Well, first …

Seize the Season

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We changed the clocks for daylight saving time this past weekend. Usually a key harbinger of spring, the time change just hasn't had as much impact this year. Maybe that's because many of us who live in the northern hemisphere are still pretty much snowed-in, with only the slightest signs of a gradual thaw. But there are signs—like the slow but steady drip from the massive icicle I watch through my window, willing it to melt faster. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr Anyone who has lived through this frigid, lingering winter, knows that weather affects mood. …

Contingent Workers Pros and Cons - Part 2

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In our earlier post, Contingent Workers Pros and Cons - Part 1, we looked at the advantages a growing and increasingly qualified contingent workforce offers to employers. As a continuation of that discussion, today we consider some of the challenges associated with hiring more temporary, part-time and contract employees. Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Disadvantages of Contingent Workers Reduced control: Employers have less control over contingent workers, especially independent contractors who are self-managed. They can accept or refuse work and typically set their own hours, so the employer has only the power of the paycheck in these relationships. The control of temporary …

The Talent Mindset of Leaders

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Unlocking the talent mindset of your leadership style, whether you are a front-line supervisor or the CEO, is the first essential key to sustaining strong talent practices. The talent mindset can be defined as having the understanding and ability to recruit, retain, and recognize talent in individuals that can be effectively deployed and continuously developed towards a specific purpose that aligns the individual’s strengths and motivations to the short and long-term goals of the organization.  McKinsey & Company in their book “The War for Talent” examined high performing organizations in comparison to cohorts. The single …

How Coaching and Mentoring Differ

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Although it’s not always easy to explain the difference between coaching and mentoring in the workplace, those familiar with the two roles generally agree, they are not the same thing. When asked to identify differences between the two activities, however, things get a little muddy. One of the reasons for the confusion stems from the fact that a key function of a good mentors is coaching the person being mentored. Social Enterprise Network Mentoring Champion, Flickr When we review the various perspectives that exist around coaching and mentoring we see that there is definitely no consensus. Here are …

Contingent Workforce Pros and Cons - Part 1

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The contingent workforce is made up of temporary workers, part-timers, interns, consultants, contractors and outsourced workers. And make no mistake, it’s growing. Photo by Michael Coghlan, Flickr According to the 2014 Global Analysis of the Contingent Workforce Index (CWI), “the United States and Canada stand out for having substantially large contingent workforces for the region [the Americas], at more than nine million people and 2.5 million people respectively…” Some estimates expect the growth to continue and predict as many as 64.9 million in the contingent workforce in the United States by 2020.[1] What does this trend mean for your …

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The Latest from Workplace Tribes
Communication is a Hot Topic March 31, 2015
Negotiators: Do You Fit the Profile? March 26, 2015
13 Communication Practices of Leaders March 24, 2015
Advantages and Disadvantages of e-Learning March 18, 2015
Fixing a Bad Hire March 16, 2015
Seize the Season March 13, 2015
Contingent Workers Pros and Cons - Part 2 March 11, 2015
The Talent Mindset of Leaders March 09, 2015
How Coaching and Mentoring Differ March 06, 2015
Contingent Workforce Pros and Cons - Part 1 March 04, 2015