Belinda Newman, Ph.D

UNT Ombuds

Chilton Hall

Suite 140

 

Phone:

  940-369-8166

Fax:

  940-369-8119

Email:

  ombuds@unt.edu

OMBLOG

Oh, About that Evaluation…

It’s that time of year again – the annual performance evaluation. Are you one who looks forward to the time to dialogue with your supervisor/employee about the past year’s performance? Or, do you dread and agonize over the impending mandatory meeting? You may not want to hear this, but the reality is you do choose your attitude for this meeting. Regardless if you are giving or receiving the evaluation your attitude is your decision.

The Gift of Civility - Revisited

Last year about this time I penned my first “Omblog” on the topic of civility. In that initial blog I proposed that even in a down economy there still are some gifts that would not hit you in the pocketbook. One financially free option was (and still is) the gift of civility. I’ll let you decide if you think the economic conditions have improved since last year. Nevertheless, here are ten additional rules from P.M. Forney’s book, Choosing Civility, which might contribute to your happiness as well as those around you.

Fairness- in the Eye of the Beholder?

In my work the word “fairness” (or lack thereof) comes up often in discussions. What is fairness, why is it so difficult, and why is it important? A quick trip to Dictionary.com produces the definition: ”Fair implies the treating of all sides alike, justly and equitably.” Well that doesn’t sound too unrealistic to achieve. However, when I read the following quotes on fairness—one from Eleanor Roosevelt, the other from Oscar Wilde—they do appear to have different perspectives on the concept of fairness and what it might look like it:

Freedom

One of my favorite things about the month of July is the July 4th holiday and the ensuing celebration of freedom in our country. It is also a reminder that freedom is never really free. There are always costs associated with it. These costs always involve significant sacrifices, if not lives.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Giving and receiving feedback, whether it is during an annual evaluation or periodically during the year, does not have to be a painful or demeaning process.  Diane Levin, attorney and mediator, reminds us that the purpose of feedback is “an opportunity to build a relationship and trust with someone else.”  In her blog, “Seeing ourselves as others see us: the art of feedback”, she suggest seven tips for artfully giving feedback.

 

When Trust Is Broken

In her book The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, author Leigh L. Thompson describes a ten-step process for repairing broken trust in relationships.

Step 1: Suggest a Personal Meeting

Verbal explanations are more effective than written, especially when the topic is of a sensitive or emotional nature.

Step 2: Put the Focus on the Relationship

Trust is present in the first place because there is a relationship. What is most important is the relationship, and efforts towards saving it.

“Coaching” Yourself for (the Next) Promotion

There are many types of coaching opportunities available to assist people in both their work and personal lives. To name of few, there is conflict coaching, life/personal coaching, performance coaching, transitional coaching, and developmental coaching. Each of these coaching models is designed to help people with a specific issue or goal for improvement (e.g., interpersonal conflict, job promotion, and early success in a new job).

Focus on the Problem Not the Person

Focus on the problem not the person is a phrase well known by people in the dispute resolution field. What does that mean for use in daily practical terms? How often have you found that the person you are in conflict with becomes the target of your ire instead of the actual problem or issue causing the conflict? When asked for a description of the problem the response is typically a character description of the person - he/she is being power hungry, control freak, unreasonable, sarcastic, unreliable, single-minded, and so forth.

Are You Really Listening?

The saying seek first to understand, then to be understood especially applies when you find yourself in conflict with another person. Seems impossible, but the next time you find yourself in a heated conflict step back and begin to listen to your opponent rather than argue your position. Yes, listening can help remove the communication barricade the two of you built. In fact listening has proven to be one of the most effective communication tools in conflict. Deep or genuine listening is both a skill and a discipline that is not easy to master, but can be learned.

The Gift of Civility

The current state of the economy is causing many people to curtail their spending this holiday season. While your gift list might be shorter than previous years, there are some gifts like joy, happiness, and good cheer that you can give without spending any of our precious dollars.

Another “no cost” gift is the gift of civility. In his book, Choosing Civility, P. M. Forney writes twenty-five rules of “considerate conduct.” Here are ten rules that I believe will contribute substantially to our lives both at work and home, and especially during the holiday season.

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