Sunday, 14 October 2018

How to root out workplace harassment.

We all know it. Employees have a right to work in a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. And as an employer, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that these rights are met. 

So many business try to do the right thing and run frequent workshops that provide up-to-date knowledge regarding legal and duty of care obligations. But based on recent headlines, these training programs might not be working, and employers should perhaps try more innovative approaches. 

Recent research suggest that the best way to prevent sexual harassment, bullying and other toxic workplace behavior is not by proving staff with more knowledge, but to train them in how to stand up for their abused colleagues when they witness incidents. Also know as Bystander Training. 

One reason why encouraging intervention makes good sense is that some 70 percent (!) of employees have observed harassment in the workplace. 
While the concept of encouraging employees to report harassment is not new, bystander training achieves additional goals that may positively shift workplace culture:

  • It provides employees with strategies for intervening in/responding to observed workplace misconduct.
  • It allows employees to practice in simulated scenarios with role play actors to increase confidence and improved communication skills.
  • It reinforces to employees that, if they don't feel comfortable stepping into active situations, they can "intervene" by reporting misbehaviors through different channels.

Additionally, Bystander Training can serve as a powerful deterrent. Potential harassers, even those in high-level posts, will know observing "bystanders" are watching.
Finally, bystander training helps create a culture of shared responsibility and purpose, in addition to boosting workplace morale. 
There is a strong case for incorporating some form of it into existing training programs and there is really no downside to equipping employees with intervention tips to address harassment.

Would you like to know more about our roleplay based Bystander Training Program? Call 0487693349 or visit our website

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The 1 critical element missing from Leadership Training

When I was 28, I was beside myself with excitement when I learned I was being promoted to my first Account Management position. It was everything I had worked hard for, and I was determined to be the best Account Manager possible. My company's leadership training program addressed many critical elements, like understanding my new role and what my responsibilities would include, communicating expectations clearly and delegating responsibilities. 
However, my training didn't include any learnings on how to deal with conflict and with resistance. It turned out to be the critical missing element, leaving me unprepared for a challenge I would soon face...
In my early days in the new position everything went well, and I was thrilled to see my clients and account team members respond to my actions. However, the honeymoon ended quickly when one of my biggest clients started arguing with me in a crucial meeting and was causing conflict about a contractual error. 
I was so confused. I did not know how to deal with the situation, and it escalated with my client leaving the meeting and myself on the verge of tears.

The reality of conflict
According to a global study an overwhelming majority of employees at all levels (85 percent) experience conflict to some degree. The research also found that employees spent more than 2.8 hours per week involved with conflict. (!) 
This is an enormous financial cost to organizations whose managers lack training in dealing with conflict and those companies who understand the value of training on conflict resolution have a competitive advantage. An advantage I didn't have at 28 years old.

Tips for managing conflict in the workplace
Conflict in the workplace is a given. Bring people together, and you will find differences of opinion, perspectives, and personalities. And to manage conflict, you need to understand your own response to the objection, or person's behavior, or situation. You need to learn how to diagnose a situation and drive it to resolution and, how to manage the conflict and turn it around.
Sound impossible? It's not. Here are a few tips for dealing with conflict:
1. Use empathy statements to show you hear them.
2. Drop your agenda and go into open question mode. (Who? Why? What? When? How?) 
3. Overwhelmed? Suggest taking a break, before resuming. 
4. Ask the person how they feel about your solution.
Need more help?
Our 'Conflict Resolution' and 'Dealing with Difficult Conversations' workshops offer hands on practical advice and scenario based practice opportunities to help manage diverse personalities, conflict, and challenging conversations.

And my client? After developing my own conflict resolution skills I was able to reconnect and rebuild the relationship. We managed to clear the air and get issues out of the way effectively. Twelve months later they placed their biggest order ever. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Presenter, Facilitator, Trainer or Experiential Trainer?

In recent years I have come to notice that many businesses don’t know the difference between a presenter, a facilitator, a trainer or experiential trainer.
In fact, many still consider a training room to be an extension of a school classroom. 
This is the same as believing that a team-leader, a supervisor and a manager all do the same thing...

So to clarify: Who's who? 

A facilitator is a person who makes the learning process easier. They often help a group of trainees to understand their common learning objectives and assist them to plan how to achieve these objectives. In doing so, the facilitator remains "neutral", meaning he/she does not take a particular position in the discussion. Facilitators don't necessarily need to have formal education in adult learning. 

A presenter is someone who performs a speech or presentation to a live audience, with less interaction with the learners. They are often subject experts and their (sometimes Power Point) presentation is deliberately structured with three general purposes: to inform, to persuade, to inspire and to entertain.

A trainer is able to design and provide training to fill gaps in knowledge that are identified and agreed on. Trainers focus on the foundations of adult education: establish existing knowledge, build on it and keep it relevant. The trainer focuses on learning for the group in face to face sessions and will use videos, group activities and binders with useful information to keep the trainees interested.

Trainers will have formal education in adult learning principles and know that Kirkpatrick and SWOT are not from Star Trek. ;)

Experiential Trainer:
An experiential trainer is a trainer who knows the material well enough to improvise during the session in order to include the participants in the learning. 

They will readily change the session in order to help the needs of the participants. An experiential trainer will use different, interactive methods when designing and delivering a learning event. These methods* are connected to helping learners achieve their learning goals.

*Methods are for example: Reflection exercises on critical incidents, presentations on what has been learned, Role play sessions, Simulation & Drama based Activities, A project that develops ideas further, Group discussions and Feedback sessions & Stories that involve thinking about learning in the placement.

Like to know more about our in-company Experiential Training Programs for 2018-2019? Check out

Monday, 7 May 2018

Who Are You?

Self Reflection is an important competency, and a common term used in Learning & Development. Just a quick google search on the term 'self reflection' leads to more than 357.000.000 results!

Apparently there is a lot of self reflection to be done...
And it is not without reason... You can learn and improve a lot from self-reflection. It increases your self-knowledge, makes you (more) aware of emotions that play a role in different situations and it gives you insight into how you can act more effectively. But how does one do that? How do you self-reflect? Recently I ran a Personal Effectiveness training using the Logical Levels of Change, Learning & Communication, based on Bateson & Dilts.

This theory states that people can think, learn and communicate on different levels:

The effect of each level is to organize and direct the information on the level below it. Changing something on a higher level would necessarily change things on the lower levels. Changing something on a lower level however, could but would not necessarily affect the upper levels.

For example: Many people have the behavioral skills to get up on a stage, grab the microphone and tell an audience of 200 people something about themselves. Yet many do not think that's a very pleasant task. There is something on a higher level that is blocking them... Perhaps a belief? (ie. "I do not have anything interesting to say.") Only changing that belief can lead to true changed behavior. Just changing the behavior does not necessarily change the belief. When you want to learn how to self reflect, these levels can be a very helpful tool.

For example, try this 3 Step Self Reflection Exercise:
Step 1.
Think of a situation that you recently experienced that you want to reflect upon. An argument? A conflict of interest? Or perhaps a difficult conversation?
Step 2.
Then write down the answers to following questions based on the different levels of the model. Starting with the lower, bottom level: 1. Environment: Where are you? What do you respond to, when and with whom? 2. Behavior: What do you do, see, hear, how do you act? 3. Capabilities / Skills: What can you do, how do you handle the situation? 4. Beliefs: Why do you handle it that way? What do you believe? 5. Identity: Who are you? What is your goal in life? 6. Purpose: What else is this happening for? What is the purpose? Step 3.
See if you can formulate a conclusion at the end and don't forget: Be kind to yourself! This willingness to examine yourself, to make corrections and to do better in the future, is essential to your personal growth.

Happy self reflecting!

Monday, 9 April 2018

6 Ways to make Role Plays Real

Role-plays are a great way of practicing new skills. But often workshop participants complain that they don't enjoy the role-play simulations because they don't feel real, making  them ultimately learn less. 

Fortunately, as a trainer/facilitator there is a lot you can do to make role-playing real. Starting with these 6 ways to make Role Plays REAL: 

1. Work with real situations
Role play becomes more real when participants can use their own experiences. I love to work with situations that the participants come up with themselves. Reason being that if someone suffers from the miscommunication with a colleague at work, role-playing that exact situation will feel a lot more real than a standardized case scenario.

2. Have the Participant choose his opponent
Let the participant always choose an 'opponent' himself. I promise you he will automatically choose someone who looks like the person he finds it difficult to deal with in real life. By doing that chances are also that the role play will become more realistic. I often see facilitators choose the opponent themselves or ask the group who want to play the opposite role. Don’t do it! It will take away from the learning experience from the participant.

3. Set the situation as it is
When the participant and the opponent are known, you set the situation as it really is. Are they standing, are they sitting? Is there normally a table, then put it there. If they talk to each other over the telephone, let them sit with their backs together and get some phones. These little things will add to the reality of the role play.

4. Name the opponent by his 'game name'
Call the participant by his own name, but name the opponent by the name of the person he plays. Use that name in the time-out. For example: "What do you see the effect was on Trudy?" This makes the situation more realistic.

5. Correct smiling observants
Sometimes observers laugh. That is OK if something happens that is really funny. But sometimes they also start laughing, because the participant in the role play tries something new that might look out-of-character. It can take the participant out of their learning experience so stay serious and say something like "Everyone, please keep the focus." Or to the participant: “You are doing great. Keep trying”

6. Recognize that it is not real
After all of this the participant might still say that the role play exercise did not feel real. In such a case just acknowledge their feelings. "No, of course it is not real." Afterwards, you ask whether the participant is curious about the feedback:" Do you want to hear what the group thought?" Or,"Shall we see how the opponent has experienced it?“ Acknowledging that it is not real will increase the chance that the participant wants to hear the feedback anyway.

Would you like to bring in a Role Play Professional? Than check out our website to learn more about our Role Play Services.