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How to Respond Effectively to Fierce Criticism

How to Respond Effectively to Fierce Criticism

Posted in Crucial Conversations

Dear Crucial Skills, If someone accuses me of something or yells at me, my reaction is: they must be right. In my mind, I’m always guilty, even if it’s not true. As a result, when people are verbally aggressive with me, I freeze up. What do I do? Help! Signed,Frozen _____________________...


How to Advocate for Your Direct Report

How to Advocate for Your Direct Report

Posted in Crucial Conversations

Dear Crucial Skills, I have a staff member (let’s call him Tom) who recently began reporting to me, and he has a history of having a bad attitude. I discussed my expectations with him at the onset of our relationship, and his behavior has improved. He even took some of my feedback to his wife,...


How to Discuss Childhood Immunization with Reluctant Parents

How to Discuss Childhood Immunization with Reluctant Parents

Posted in Crucial Conversations

Dear Crucial Skills, With the recent rise of children getting measles and the increasing number of people who refuse to have their children vaccinated, I have become very curious about the decisions that parents are making about their children. I work in healthcare and support...


How to Talk With Your New Spouse About Your Stepchildren

How to Talk With Your New Spouse About Your Stepchildren

Posted in Crucial Conversations

Dear Crucial Skills, I recently got married and moved into my husband’s house. My husband has three children: two sons, 23 and 19, who don’t live with us, and a daughter who lives with us part time. I love them all very much and am happy to be part of this family. But there is one thing...


How to Adapt to New Technologies at Work

How to Adapt to New Technologies at Work

Posted in Getting Things Done

Dear Crucial Skills, My organization has just rolled out a new collaborative software tool and my manager let us know we are expected to use it. I’m excited about the new tool, as several people on my team have used it at previous organizations and swear by it. Yet, I still don’t use it. When...


How to Align Your Management Team

How to Align Your Management Team

Posted in Crucial Conversations

Dear Crucial Skills, I’m the Human Resources Business Partner for a region within a global organization. We often feel as if we are our own freestanding company, but, in fact, we all have bosses at headquarters. Many of our local leaders condemn headquarters’ decisions in front of their peers...


Responding to False Accusations

Responding to False Accusations

Posted in Crucial Accountability

Dear Crucial Skills, One of my coworkers said I didn’t involve him in a decision I made, but I did. I told him I relayed his input—he is the expert in this area—to another person, as he asked me to do. He said I made the decision to meet with this person without inviting him. When I try to...


How to Say “No” and Reclaim Your Career

How to Say “No” and Reclaim Your Career

Posted in Getting Things Done

Dear Crucial Skills, How do you say “no” to requests and projects that come across your desk? I want to be helpful and do everything that’s asked of me, but if I said “yes” to every request I received, I wouldn’t actually get to my top priorities and that would reflect poorly on my...


Influence Versus Manipulation

Influence Versus Manipulation

Posted in Influencer

Dear Crucial Skills, The culture in my organization is toxic. We have intelligent, proud, committed leaders who are beginning to learn the talk of collaboration and empowerment. However, they still cling to the quick-and-dirty solution of compliance. My question is, how is intentional...


French-fried Memories

French-fried Memories

Posted in Kerrying On

When I entered the eighth grade in 1959, I was given the option to study either Latin or French. I chose French because from what I understood, the French weren’t dead yet. Miss Limply, the school’s French teacher, launched the first day of class by showing a cartoon of the Three Little Pigs....


How to Speak Up For Your Morals and Values

How to Speak Up For Your Morals and Values

Posted in Crucial Conversations

Dear Crucial Skills, I work in Information Technology and our company was recently bought. Several members of the parent company came in to bring our network up to their standards. Me, two of my coworkers, and five employees from the new company worked together all weekend and late into the...


Do Crucial Conversations Skills Make Others Defensive?

Do Crucial Conversations Skills Make Others Defensive?

Posted in Crucial Conversations

Dear Crucial Skills, When identifying styles under stress (silence or violence) how do we confront them without “calling someone out” inappropriately? In another Crucial Skills post that I read recently, the author recommended that we address silence and in one example suggested we might...