The Latest

How to Work With a Self-Centered Person

How to Work With a Self-Centered Person

Dear Crucial Skills, What do you do about someone who is so self-centered that everything is all about him? This happens to be my 14-year-old son, but I’ve also seen this pattern with co-workers and managers where I work. Sometimes, I wonder whether the world is filling up...


How to Tell Someone You’re Offended

How to Tell Someone You’re Offended

Dear Crucial Skills, Our company was recently acquired and I was asked to be on the transition team to merge the two companies. This project required that I work with several members of the parent company throughout the weekend and late into the night. I was trying my best to be chummy and...


What To Do When Coworkers Monopolize Your Meetings

What To Do When Coworkers Monopolize Your Meetings

Dear Crucial Skills, I work at a university where there is significant group work in the form of meetings or committees. In some of these meetings, a few people have a significant and vocal opinion about every agenda item. Every single one, every single time. I’ve noticed that these...


What To Do When Perceptions Aren’t Reality

What To Do When Perceptions Aren’t Reality

Dear Crucial Skills, For the past five years or so, I’ve often heard the phrase “perception is reality” and it makes me cringe. On one hand, I can see that in the heat of the moment it is very helpful to understand what the other person is feeling or perceiving to gain common ground and...


How to Manage Awkward Social Situations

How to Manage Awkward Social Situations

Dear Crucial Skills, I was at a nail salon with my daughter, daughter-in-law, and my elderly mother. The salon was packed. We have used this salon many times in the past. They tend to manage their schedule well. A woman entered the salon and started yelling at one of the owners who was in...


May Day Redemption

May Day Redemption

The following article was first published on April 26, 2016 by Kerry Patterson of www.vitalsmarts.com  In the fall of 1952, my mom carefully dressed me in my yellow raingear, kissed me on the cheek, and sent me down the long road that would take me to Larrabee Elementary School. There, far...


What to Say When Your Boss Pulls Rank

What to Say When Your Boss Pulls Rank

Dear Crucial Skills, How do you have a crucial conversation when someone pulls rank and shuts down dialogue by saying something like, “Because I’m the boss!”? I’m in a situation where I would like to discuss better solutions, but when I do, the other person uses her authority to stop...


Recovering from a Ruined Reputation

Recovering from a Ruined Reputation

Dear Crucial Skills, I am the victim of a character assassination at work. I have been at my current workplace for ten years. A new colleague seems to be jealous of my successes and has started spreading stories, gossip, and rumors, stating that I am a difficult colleague to work with. At work,...


How to Talk to People You Don’t Respect

How to Talk to People You Don’t Respect

Dear Crucial Skills, I feel like our current discussions of politics and social issues are so divisive. I struggle to engage with them and frankly, I disagree with many of them—even when they are the opinions of my friends, family, and neighbors. It’s hard for me to understand how people can...


Is It Ever Okay to End a Relationship with a Family Member?

Is It Ever Okay to End a Relationship with a Family Member?

Dear Crucial Skills, Is it ever acceptable to remove oneself (and spouse) from family relationships that repeatedly cause pain and trouble in a marriage? Using crucial conversations skills has worked in several cases, but not all. I guess I am seeking validation for my decision to severely...


Your Very Own Culture Change

Your Very Own Culture Change

When my partners and I first organized our company nearly thirty years ago, we were surprised by the stance our employees took on snacks. That’s right, snacks. The day we opened the doors of our burgeoning consultancy, we decided to stock the communal refrigerator with tasty fruits and juices....


The Manager’s Guide To (Appropriately) Advocating For Your Team

The Manager’s Guide To (Appropriately) Advocating For Your Team

Dear Crucial Skills, One of the most important roles I have as a manager is to be sure my people are properly recognized for their contributions. I do that through verbal gratitude, annual reviews, monetary compensation, and at times, career advancement. I feel heartbroken these days because...