Open Communication Tips for Leaders

These communication tips are from the Toastmasters.org website and are not my original thoughts. I  am sharing them as a reminder to myself and maybe as helpful tips to anyone else who wants to encourage honest feedback, suggestions, and receive criticisms positively. _ Dave

Do you communicate openly and diplomatically at the same time? Those skills are the backbone of effective leadership, according to Keith Ferrazzi and Michelle Tillis Lederman, two speakers presenting at the 2018 International Convention in Chicago later this month. Ferrazzi, who will be honored with the Golden Gavel award, is a proponent of leaders creating a “culture of candor,” while Tillis Lederman emphasizes the importance of sharing opinions diplomatically. Specific to team leadership, here are a few of their best-practice communication ideas:

Encourage “caring” criticism

Present the idea that constructive negative feedback is a gift that can help improve performance or avoid mistakes. Persuade your team to use phrases like “I might suggest” and “Think about this” when giving feedback. On the receiving end, encourage them to regularly request one-on-one feedback from those most critical to their success. (In my Toastmasters club we often provide suggestions describing them as “gifts”.  For example – my gift to you would be to speak slower,  and incorporate more pauses. This will allow the listener to absorb more of your speech and connect with you.” 

Break it up

To get more voices heard, break a big meeting up into groups of two or three to brainstorm for a few minutes, then have a spokesperson from each group report back to the entire team. Smaller groups promote more risk-taking and increase the odds of getting collective group feedback. (This especially makes sense in large groups or training sessions, but I suggest you limit small group sessions to ten minutes max.)

Promote ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

Encourage team members to give permission and gratitude for candid feedback. The idea is that candor often results in a reciprocal request for honest feedback and can accelerate closer team bonds. Immediately after the feedback, team members should thank their evaluator; then, later let them know how they’ve used the feedback constructively. (Often people are hesitant to be candid, they want to be liked, and don’t want to seem unfriendly or harsh. Just a reminder that feedback is just an opinion, something to be considered and accepted or rejected. I don’t always agree with an evaluation but I do always appreciate honesty if it is meant to help me)

Be a (really) good listener

When there is team conflict or a difference of opinion, it often falls on the leader to mediate. But often, that simply means being a good listener. Allow both parties to vent and express their opinions openly and constructively. Sometimes, that will be enough to rectify the situation. (Tricky I think, but I wonder how many problems could be avoided if people really felt heard?)

Practice ‘acknowledge and add’

When the time comes for a difference of opinion, do not dismiss, offend or shut the other person down. But also, don’t agree—instead, add to their viewpoint. That means responding with, “That’s an interesting perspective. Another perspective is … ” Or, “I hadn’t thought of that. What I was thinking was …” In both instances, you’re not discounting or dismissing the other person’s opinion; you’re simply adding your own to the conversation. Lead by example with this technique. Let your team know that people listen best when they feel they have been heard. (This is something I know takes skill and practice. It allows others to contribute without disagreement. Seeking understanding and negotiate consensus takes listening skills and acknowledgement of the individual.)

Communication is not optional in life, whether it is with your best friend, your family or in an organization.  Part of communication is being a good listener and providing feedback that shares you were paying attention and not just waiting your turn to speak. Good luck in all your communication! – Dave

2012-07-22 20.58.34 HDR

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Give me the beat boys,

The house was dead quiet as he rolled out of bed, straightened himself slowly to stretch out the kink in his back. Frowning, he felt like the Pisa tower, not quite standing straight as he moved silently out of his bedroom, and into the hall.

Small glowing lights on the stove clock said 4:10.  Every morning for nearly two weeks he has found himself in the kitchen at nearly the same time.

Image result for quiet street at nightSliding the patio open, he stepped out onto the balcony to absorb the cool air and stillness outside. He promised himself he would go back to bed, and hopefully to claim more rest.

The crickets were asleep, the street was silent, but to the east there was a slight glow, but dawn was not arrived.

Quietly,  this verse returned to his thoughts, and a smile to his face –

And when my mind is free

You know a melody can move me

And when I’m feeling blue

The guitars’ coming through to soothe me

Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me

I want you to know I believe in your song

Rhythm and rhyme and harmony

You help me along making me strong

He loved this time of the day,  and part of himself soaked up the cool air, and stillness so he felt peaceful.

Another day is in the wings, ready to take the stage.  I hope it will be a good one.

One last big breath, and back to bed. He promised himself that he would try to sleep some more. Maybe sleep will wrap around him, so he can drift away.   Dobie – Give me the beat and free my soul…

2012-07-22 20.53.14Thanks Dobie Gray for the music,  just like you “I look for the light in the pouring rain.”

*** Thanks readers for taking the time for a different post. Maybe you are a middle of the night person also, and like me sing silently in the middle of the night. It just feels good.

 

 

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Dr John Watson or Sherlock Holmes – who are you?

If you aren’t a fan of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, then this post won’t make any sense to you.  Sherlock Holmes was created by Arthur Conan Doyle, and to me the language and characters are rich and satisfying – like cheesecake for my brain 🙂 [Use the links to learn more about the author or the character highlighted]

Image result for 221b baker streetSherlock Holmes and John Watson lived at 221B Baker Street, London England from 1881 to 1904.

John H. Watson or Dr Watson was a fictional character (as is Sherlock Holmes) and he was a typical Victorian era gentleman. Dr. Watson is astute, an experienced medical physician, and while sharing the flat with Sherlock he records the mysteries and adventures of Sherlock Holmes whose deductive skills are so precise that he seems almost a magician.

 “I have the advantage of knowing your habits, my dear Watson,” said he. “When your round is a short one you walk, and when it is a long one you use a hansom. As I perceive that your boots, although used, are by no means dirty, I cannot doubt that you are at present busy enough to justify the hansom.”
“Excellent!” I cried.
“Elementary,” said he. “It is one of those instances where the reasoner can produce an effect which seems remarkable to his neighbour, because the latter has missed the one little point which is the basis of the deduction. The same may be said, my dear fellow, for the effect of some of these little sketches of yours, which is entirely meretricious, depending as it does upon your retaining in your own hands some factors in the problem which are never imparted to the reader.
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1893)

Of course Sherlock is a detective, not a magician. Sherlock does more than observe,  he is carefully focused on detail and inferences to arrive at his conclusions. Analysis and deduction from minutiae.

Today’s question is Which are you? Holmes or Watson?  How attentive are you to those around you? Do you notice the clues, the details, the finer points that are there to be seen or do you need to have them pointed out?

I suppose this post is because I admire the skill of Sherlock and I want to be a better listener, focused on the speaker in front of me, and responding to the clues of their speech, asking followup questions, and remembering in the future the details of our conversation.

I accept I am more Dr. Watson, observing often without seeing clues in front of me. But now I hope I can improve albeit not to the level of the incomparable Sherlock.

I suppose that is the challenge we all face from time to time, and one I need to be reminded of, namely seeing the bigger picture from the clues in front of me.

Which are you? Watson or Sherlock?

“Show Holmes a drop of water and he would deduce the existence of the Atlantic. Show it to me and I would look for a tap. That was the difference between us.”
― Anthony Horowitz, The House of Silk

As always, I am sincerely grateful to everyone who takes a moment to read my blog, and leave a like or comment.  If you leave me a suggestion or observation, I am pleased to respond and in that way get to know you better. Tally ho!

 

 

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Eleven Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifteen so far

July 4, 1987 – A young father, a young husband, and at 29 years old he was looking ahead to more time in Vancouver General Hospital.  Not something he relished.

The phone rang after he arrived home from work, – 5 P.M..  The message was “Don’t Eat anything, Have a shower and come to the hospital as soon as possible. Surgery tonight.”

His feelings were mixed, excitement along with trepidation. The year before the call from the hospital in April had lead to months of disappointment and pain. Inside himself he wondered if he had the strength to try again. He wanted to try, the potential gain meant he had to.

6  P.M. – As they drove together to the hospital,  his wonderful daughter stayed with her grandparents and his wife stayed positive while he shared his wishes, just in case, something happened and she was widowed. They were calm and realistic.

8:45 P.M. – Now he sat on his bed, the thick concrete walls of the old building, the green trees outside. A few minutes alone to stay positive and remember why he was there, sitting in a hospital gown, plain white cloth.

He had kidney disease, surviving on dialysis had had its moments and the restrictions on diet and time were hard on him and his family.  Tonight after midnight, things might change for the better.

Work hardly entered his mind, someone would send them a message, his job would wait.  He tried to slow his mind, be calm, just breathe.

*********

12: 20 A.M. – The halls were silent, as he lay on the gurney, trundled down hallways, and up elevators and eventually he arrived in a hallway outside surgery.

He was outside surgery, laying on the gurney, waiting. He could see people milling around in gowns through the doors. Quickly they moved, precisely.

The surgeon stood beside him, they chatted briefly and he confirmed he was ready, his name and why he was there.  Just before they entered the surgery, he asked that they pray together, and the surgeon was happy to take the moment to do so.

12:35 A.M – Nervous, hopeful,  the last thing he remembered was being wheeled through the doors,  and then the anesthetist asking him to count backwards from 100. His vision faded as he counted down about five numbers, and then just darkness, silence.

**********

6:35 A.M. – he opened his eyes to a nurse asking him his name, and then he fell asleep. He could see two poles and tubes running from the poles to him. He was too tired to think what it meant.

 

 

That was Eleven Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifteen days ago (31  years) ago.  I woke up and the surgery worked. I had received the gift of life, the gift of organ donation from someone and now I would live. I had a working kidney.

During the days ahead, I would celebrate the birth of a son, I would walk my daughter on her wedding day, I would look forward to  holidays, and celebrations. I would work, and make memories.

Organ donation – register please, next it could be someone who means everything to you.

Eleven Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifteen days ago I got the call, and another chance.  My donor I never knew, but I think of that person every day. Someone lost their life but their kidney lived on in me.

 

Thank you to my donor and to your family for your gift that day.  It has meant everything. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2018 Penticton Beach Cruise

 

This weekend is one of the festivals in Penticton I enjoy the most, classic cars with the Penticton Beach Cruise.

I particularly went looking for a Rambler and I found one because my Dad was telling me about a Rambler he owned that was rare and he wasn’t visiting this year to check out the 850 cars registered. I found one and took a picture (see below).

These cars are seen all over town all weekend and are on show along Okanagan Lake Lakeshore Drive when the owners aren’t cruising the beach.

Perfectly suited to the cars, this is also the weekend of the annual Elvis Festival in Penticton and it is not unusual to spot an Elvis or two during the festival around town.

Fear not my friends, I didn’t take pictures of all 850 vehicles – next weekend is British cars!  It’s a great way to spend a summer evening, sashaying along checking out all the cool vehicles.

Thanks for visiting!

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Love You and Leave You

My Mom, Lillian, connected to everyone in her life in different ways.

She talked regularly on the phone with her many friends, and her family and her way of ending the call was to say “I’m going to love and leave you“.  So many people have told me she ended her calls to them like that also, I’m Going to Love You and Leave You.

She remembered special dates of family and friends by writing them in her little book and would call or send a card. I remember getting a phone call from her wishing me Happy 10th Anniversary for my successful cataract surgery (I had forgotten the date, and lost track of the years!) Obviously she remembered all kinds of events 🙂

Lillian was creative in many ways. She loved painting, and painted in oil, and water colour.  She also enjoyed drawing and on my desk, below my keyboard is a drawing she made in 1967 of Tiger (my german shepherd) that she covered in plastic so I would always have it.  I think of Mom every time I sit at my desk.

Lillian’s creativity was useful also, she studied and mastered card folding and included her needlepoint in beautiful gift cards, get well cards, birthday cards, thinking of you cards. People tell me that they saved every card and bookmark Mom ever made them because it was special, handmade and personal.

Mom also loved to make relish, and jams and when I pull out one of Mom’s relishes from the pantry and every-time I use them I am reminded how she cared for the people in her life and demonstrated that care.

Mom had faith in God, and before you ate at her table or left her home to travel to your own, she made you stop so she could pray for you and your safe trip,  It was not unusual to get a phone call from her so she knew you had arrived home safely.

Lillian loved to knit, and she made toques and slippers especially.  The slippers were soft and especially appreciated by family, who like warm feet in the winter time, I guess that means everyone 🙂  Toques she knitted by the hundreds all summer long while she was watching TV with Dad.  These toques were donated to the homeless in Vancouver for the cold damp winter months, and I loved her toques because they were warm, colourful and not too tight, a bonus because a tight toque makes my hearing aids squeal.

Mom was special and will be remembered for the loving person she was. I will remember her in countless ways,  because she showed her love for me in countless ways.

Mom showed that love and kindness to my Dad, my brother, her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She showed that kindness to her entire family, her nieces and brother in law, sisters in law, and her church family.

I’ll be talking always to you Mom, you loved and left me too soon.

mom and dave on a motorcycle

Mom & I in Quesnel – approximately 1965

 

My Mom, Lillian passed peacefully June 6, 2018 and left a hole I can never fill in my life.

Missing you Mom.

Thanks for reading. I wasn’t sure if I would blog about my Mom’s passing. This post is not about me, it’s about her and the life and person she was. I was fortunate to be her son.  I was so glad I stood and spoke at her funeral because I wanted to share how I remember her, and it was six minutes I prepared for and yet it was a day I never wanted to experience.  I know she would have been proud of her son speaking out and it was my last gift to her.  Life is a gift, hug those you love as much and as often as you are able, you won’t regret it.

 

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Every Day – Help Wanted

 

I was thinking about things that I want to include in my life Every Day. What do you include in your Every Day?

2005-11-18 12.56.08

Sitting Duck

Every Day

  1. Count Your Blessings, before you count anything else.
  2. Stretch, and be aware of the simple pleasures of movement.
  3. Be kind to someone you don’t know.
  4. Pick up one piece of litter that’s not your own and imagine if everyone did.
  5. Smile, it’s healthy for you, mind and body.
  6. Try something new, every day.
  7. When you wake up be glad to be alive.
  8. Like the boy scouts say; Do a Good Turn daily!
  9. Give your significant other a kiss and express your love verbally.
  10. Connect with God daily, through prayer, reading and worship.  Every other daily suggestion will fall into place from here. (Thank you Sharon D.)
  11. Meditating or sitting in silence.
  12. Practicing Gratitude (similar to #1)
  13. Connect with nature – spend some time outdoors every day. It makes a great difference to your level of happiness.
  14. Write something that resounds to someone or just write.

 

 Help Wanted – this is my hope, that NOW YOU will send me an email with your Every Day suggestion at dfolstad58.gmail.com or share it with me in comments. 

I will add them to the list.  My fellow bloggers, please help. 

Photo

what ear hair?

ONLY The first 5 were my thoughts – please share your thoughts from big or small to add to the list.

My hope is for 25 more, but you could surprise me. Thanks in advance.

I will update the blog with your ideas on Thursday May 24. See you then 🙂

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Make That “Some Day” Today

I procrastinate.  I can take a long time to get something accomplished,  and some things I won’t put off at all and they are usually fairly inconsequential.

kick in but 1I think everyone has a “Some Day I will” in them,  they know what they want and/or what they should do  but are lead footed in getting going.

David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) wrote these words for his song “Breathe” and maybe his version of  Some Day is what he was thinking.

I wonder what these words make you think of?

 

 

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me

Look around and choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry

And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

There are many types of Some Days including:

  • do something healthy or alternatively stop doing something unhealthy,
  • heal relationships, reaching out with an apology,
  • making memories with the closest people to your heart,
  • making that bucket trip or having that one experience,
  • going back to school,
  •  making a phone call to a friend you haven’t talked to for a long time.
  • whatever comes to your mind 🙂

sweet 8Regardless of the “Some Day” that comes to your mind in this minute,  I hope that today you take a step in the right direction (even if it is small) today to crush it, because only you will know how glad you did.  I’m trying to do better also.

It’s Possible, but it is all up to you and me (I’m exactly like you or worse)  to make it happen.

Let’s each one of us – Make that Some Day Today.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and taking the time to follow my blog posts. 

sweet 7

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Classic but true

7 years ago I posted this and remembering family today seemed appropriate.

Life and Random Thinking

I remember my grandma (Baba) teaching me manners when I was just 5 or 6. She took me to a hotel in Kindersley, Saskatchewan and bought me a cola. I think it was 5 cents. I couldn’t drink it until I said thank-you. She told me, and taught me to remember my manners, always please and thank you.

Baba was right and even for the simplest things, I remember my manners.

My parents and Grandparents taught through their actions. Family was important, and actions speak louder than words.

We never ate in front of a television, my parents taught me to try new things and do it myself. I made kites from balsa wood and newspaper. I used to play “Battleship” with my Dad and I drew 10×10 tables so we could call out the grid numbers for our “bombs”.

I hope I have done some things right teaching Classics…

View original post 13 more words

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Getting old is a pain in the…

2013-07-02 16.30.07.jpgMy grandma (Baba) used to tell me that in her mind she was still 18, and she told me this when she was in her 80’s.  She was a fun person who after she turned eighty started celebrating her birthdays in reverse i.e. 81 became her “18th” birthday.

Body versus mind.

My mind certainly can believe anything it wants but my body, well that’s another story completely.

sweet 8When I was young,  and I went camping with my family, I was the usually first one out of the tent in the morning.  I would spend the next few hours puttering and skipping rocks on the lake.

I mention this because yesterday I was down at the lake reliving those moments along the lake. I would look for a suitable flat rock and then crouch down and twist and fire that rock along the lake surface. 

Getting old is a pain in the BACK!  I hadn’t set any Guinness records yesterday before I realized I was in pain. That quick twist and throw without a few months stretching beforehand proved to be an painfully unhealthy decision that I am paying for.

Yesterday it was excruciating lower back pain, today less so. Last night I barely moved from a chair while I pressed frozen bags of vegetables onto my lower back.  Bless you Tylenol!

Fellow bloggers,  thank you for reading, and rest assured that your blog suggestions and comments are a boon to my recovery!  🙂

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