To Build Your Team, First Build Trust by Brad Smith


Team-building activities create close-knit, happy and productive workers who function efficiently. Engaged teams are more motivated and reliable. They are supportive of the objectives of the team and there is greater alignment through the organization.

The result is that high-functioning teams are focused on improving job performance and the organization’s competitive position because they have a stake in the company’s success. Team-building initiatives improve workplace morale and reduce employee turnover.

Team-building as a cornerstone of corporate culture

Effective team-building begins with employee allegiance to corporate values, as well as immediate team objectives. It develops a service community within the organizational culture, one dedicated to optimal performance.

Coaching and otherwise facilitating teams to this level of achievement adds value to your organization, particularly as it relates to engagement with corporate strategies and goals. The team’s goals and the company’s goals are aligned, enhancing the communication between different levels of the firm. Teams are more inclined to achieve stated objectives.

Employees’ perception of personal and team value improves, boosting their confidence in their ability to complete their responsibilities within the team. Evidence suggests efficient teams finish their work 20 percent faster, with worker-satisfaction improving by 10 percent.

In addition, team-building exercises help develop workers and have a significant impact on employee performance. 45 percent are more likely to stay with their employer, 32 percent saw improved team productivity and 82 percent are less likely to use sick days.

The enhanced attendance and corporate loyalty engendered by team building further develops a team-centric corporate culture.

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How will they evaluate you? It’s largely in your hands By Naphtali Hoff


Recently I had the pleasure of going on a fishing trip on Lake Michigan with three of my sons. This was our first such fishing charter, and it turned out to be a great experience all around.

Clearly, one of the most common words on a shipping boat is “catch,” as in the fish that is brought in during the trip. When used in the workplace, the term can be used to reference a great new resource, such as a new hire or tool that has the potential of adding value to the workforce and its efforts. Proactive managers and employers can also catch their workers doing something right and praise such conduct as a form of reinforcement.

On the negative side, the term “catch” can refer to the way in which employees are oftentimes evaluated, as in being caught off-guard with critiques (or worse) that stem from unstated or unclear expectations. For many leaders, this can come from multiple sources and stakeholders, each of which has its own conception of what needs to be done and how the job is actually being fulfilled.

How can leaders ensure the formation of a proper set of expectations — and one that focuses them on a clear set of goals and ensures a fair assessment of their work?

First, leaders need to be clear on who is doing the assessing. This may be a direct supervisor, the board of directors, a board subcommittee or another party. Whoever it is, make sure to meet with them early on to discuss the evaluation process.

In that discussion, a number of areas need to be covered. These include: frequency of assessment, the assessment tool and whether there will be a particular set of priorities that will take precedence and carry disproportionate value.


Naturally, frequent feedback is preferable. This gives leaders the opportunity to make adjustments as needed, well before things go sideways in a serious way. It also allows for modifications of goals if that is required. While each situation may dictate its own feedback frequency, there is no question that a once-annual review is not sufficient, especially for millennial workers who expect regular feedback

The tool makes all the difference: 

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10 Good Communication Skills You Absolutely Must Know by Barrie Davenport

Communication.  Most companies and managers fall short in this area of business. Our teams and clients need us to become better communicators. Here is a straight forward article full of great advice.


Every relationship you have is impacted by your ability — or inability — to communicate well.

Whether at work, in your love life, or with friends and family, good communication fosters better understanding, helps us resolve differences, promotes mutual trust and respect, and allows creative ideas to flourish.

Although communication seems fairly simple and straightforward, so much of our communication is misunderstood or misinterpreted. Of course, this can cause conflict and wounded feelings in personal and professional relationships.

Think about the times you’ve said something to your spouse or a friend, and your meaning was entirely misconstrued. Or consider an occasion when someone said something that hurt your feelings, only to learn later they had no idea how their words wounded you. In my own life, I’ve seen how the power of words can sow the seeds of trust and love — and how they can be divisive, hurtful, or misunderstood.

Learning effective communication is a skill set that should be part of every school curriculum, beginning in elementary school. Knowing these skills can make the difference in the quality of your personal relationships, your potential career success, and your own self-esteem and social confidence.

Here are 10 good communication skills you absolutely must know:

1. Body language

Your body language speaks volumes before you ever open your mouth. How you stand, your facial expression, and your eyes tell a story and create the very first impression others have of you. It doesn’t matter how powerful your words, if you don’t appear confident and friendly, people will assume you aren’t.

Become aware of your body language, and begin to make changes. Look others in the eye when you speak. Smile frequently (and appropriately). Offer a firm handshake or a warm hug (with friends and family). Stand up straight and hold your head high with your shoulders back. Don’t cross your arms or legs in a defensive posture.

2. Active listening

Good communication isn’t just about talking or using body language. It’s about listening well to others. By becoming a better listener, you can improve your relationships and social interactions, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate.

Active listening involves consciously hearing beyond just the words spoken. It’s mindfully paying attention to the complete message being sent. Focus intently on the speaker, and try not to get distracted. Notice the speaker’s body language. Use your own body language to show you’re listening by nodding and smiling appropriately. Offer feedback and thoughtful comments.

3. Conflict resolution

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, and learning how to handle conflict in healthy ways is essential to making a relationship work. Many people choose to avoid conflict altogether because they don’t want to deal with the discomfort and pain. This only causes resentment and misunderstandings. When conflict triggers strong emotions, often a deep-felt unmet need is at the root of the problem. The needs and feelings of both parties must be respected and considered.

The ability to resolve conflict healthily requires you respond in a calm, non-defensive, and respectful manner. When you’re in control of your emotions, you can communicate your opinions and needs without threatening, wounding, or punishing others. Conflict resolution also means you can forgive and forget quickly, and that you have the ability to compromise for the sake of the relationship.

4. Authenticity

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