Grace in Disagreement: Brené Brown’s Ten Guidelines for Engaged Feedback

In Daring Greatly, social researcher Brené Brown tells a story about an experience she had in graduate school that surprised her. Called to a meeting with a professor, she expected to be intimidated and rebuked. Instead, her teacher was an ally. She pulled up a chair, sat down beside her, and offered Brené Brown adjustments. Grace in Disagreement: Brené Brown’s Ten Guidelines for Engaged Feedback


Why tough conversations are so tough to have – and what to do about it

 I think it’s something we all have in common. There are simply some conversations we don’t want to or don’t know how to have, and so we either avoid the conversations (or the person/people we should be having the conversations with), plunge into the conversations recklessly, or carefully think through exactly what we need to say (and end up watching our words so carefully that we often don’t get our […]


Want to give good feedback? Do the opposite of professor Bhaer in “Little Women

There are several reasons to dislike Friedrich Bhaer, the German professor who eventually marries Jo March in Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women. Maybe you were rooting for Teddy Laurence, in which case Bhaer—depicted by Alcott as older, “not handsome,” and moralizing—seems like a stick in the mud compared to Jo’s passionate, fun-loving suitor. Or maybe you had wanted Jo to fully embrace her independence and stay single instead of seemingly settling […]


How the lowest vibration in the room is costing you dollars and morale

We all know them, have worked with them, and at some point, have probably been them — “the lowest vibration in the room» guy/gal, or “energy vampire.” This person can suck inspiration, hope, enthusiasm and, at its most basic, peace, right out of the room. And it’s expensive. Consider the cost of negative energy at your next meeting. Negative energy in the workplace costs us time, money, resources, hope, enthusiasm, […]



The goal of helping is enabling, not more helping. Over-helpful leaders are over-worked and under-appreciated. Help in ways that strengthen competency and don’t create dependency. Train people to help each other, BEFORE they come to you for help. THE DANGERS OF HELPING: ARE YOU TOO HELPFUL Quit


Five things NOT to do in a conflict at work

It’s inevitable. You’re going to have conflicts at work. Most of the time they are minor issues – differences of opinion, low stakes disagreements, and misunderstandings. But there are times when the conflicts are significant. It may be that there is a lot at stake. It may be that the person you’re dealing with is someone you have had difficulties with in the past. It may be that you have […]


Who really killed Blockbuster?

The last Blockbuster on Earth was supposed to close this year. Its owner, Ken Tisher, once had five stores in his franchise. Store by store, he closed each one as the recession, and then the confluence of market shifts that killed off other video stores, caught up with his. Before 2019 came, he thought it would likely be the year he would close the only one still standing, in Bend, […]


How to mend a broken work relationship

Recently a client (we’ll call her Sue) shared her frustration following a conversation she had with a colleague. The discussion seemed pretty benign to me, so I asked Sue why she had such strong feelings about it. She then gave me the back story of an earlier conversation they had many months ago that went off the rails. In their heated exchange, Sue’s colleague said some things that blindsided Sue […]


Five ways to set your employees up to fail

We unfortunately set people up to fail all the time. We may have the best intentions, and we may think we’re setting our reports up to succeed, but we may be making things more difficult for them. We may not be giving them the resources and support they need, or we may be inadvertently placing obstacles in their way. We may be setting them up to fail. Five ways to […]


Walk in their moccasins

“I would never do it that way,” we think when we see someone on our staff take a wrong stab at a problem. “What are they thinking?” we wonder, as we watch them blunder through the situation. “Don’t they know anything?” we shout aloud, at least in our own minds. Walk in their moccasins