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I found a couple of open days this month (which are hard to come by with my heavy training and travel schedule), so I decided to take advantage of my Pryor+ membership and attend some professional development classes. My training goal was to improve my training skills and see how other trainers conduct their classes.

I met the wonderful trainer pictured with me above, Lena Brown, at a "Training The Trainer" class in Towson last week. Lena gave me great ideas on how to step-up my visual presentations, group exercises and class activities when I train.

I know that I am an auditory learner, relying heavily on spoken words to grasp concepts, so I tend to train predominantly through verbal communication. Now I have more tools to balance my training with engaging visuals and activities for visual and kinesthetic learners. This training will help me develop my own Collaborative Intelligence, which will enhance my own leadership abilities.

How do you keep sharpening your tools? Reading, taking classes, engaging in new activities, other tools? I'd love to hear about it, please share with me.


In the leadership and coaching classes that I train for Pryor Learning Solutions, I talk about how feedback is vital in a coaching conversation to develop team members. Both positive and negative feedback help us to capitalize on our strengths and improve upon our weaknesses. For leaders who want to develop their teams, it is important to give feedback that is honest and regular, to build trust individually and as a group.

My team, since starting my business three years ago, are the students in my classes, who are asked to give me feedback at the end of each class on a seminar evaluation form. I always read their feedback to give me ideas on how to improve my training ability and their class experiences. I give feedback to students in class to guide them in developing feedback discussions with their team members that positively-frame problem-solving and individual development of critical thinking skills.

My critical thinking about my training developed when I received feedback last year that I was a skilled trainer, but that there was no big takeaway from my class. This changed how I thought about my role as a trainer to lead my students toward their own development, not just deliver a curriculum. This year my class feedback has improved with students commenting on how many takeaways they have gotten from each class. This makes me proud of my work, knowing that I used negative feedback to improve myself and others.

To continue to embrace feedback for development, I have revised my website contact page to encourage feedback submission, including what you would like to see in my blog posts, so that I can make sure to cover your desired learning topics.

While training "Dealing with Difficult People" for Pryor Learning Solutions this past month, I have had many discussions with students on how soft skill development is critical to be a successful leader of productive teams. Soft skills, which include positive and proactive communication, a focus on teamwork and a problem-solving mindset, help us work through conflicts that are created by differences in people's values, beliefs, needs and communication styles. This is what we discuss and practice during this class and end with students creating an action plan to improve their communication skills to work on resolving conflict.

We discuss how to turn destructive or dysfunctional conflict into constructive or functional conflict by identifying task vs. relational issues and communicating to others in the style that they use and in a way that the other would want to be treated. This is using the Platinum Rule of doing unto others as they would be done unto, instead of the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have done to yourself. When leaders try to understand followers' perspectives, they create relational motivation for teams to accomplish tasks.

To keep conversations constructive when dealing with emotions, leaders should manage emotions in conversations, their own and that of others, to calm down destructive behaviors and convert conversations into problem-solving efforts. This is using a relational approach to accomplish tasks, dealing with human emotions to constructively communicate all of one's perspective, to enable working toward conflict resolution.

Once different perspectives are communicated and understood, common goals and interests can be identified to develop a path toward problem-solving that focuses on mutual gain and positive outcomes. Failure to understand another's perspective or to treat someone as they want to be treated, requires a leader's apology or empathy to get on common ground with followers. Shared goals enable the leader to lead by motivating others to want to do what needs to be done, instead of managing them without motivation, therefore, not creating followers that you can depend on to get work done.

Contact me for more leadership and team development information or attend when I train this public seminar in your area.

Collaboration Communication

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