How to Communicate with an Angry Person

I was having a conversation with this amazing construction manager with higher than usual emotional intelligence. Since the projects he does are huge, with up to 250 people to manage, he ends up with different quirks and personalities woven into the mix.

On his current project, he talked about getting several complaints about one person who was overly aggressive. Continue reading

Stop procrastinating that request for a behavior change

It can happen to anyone. We decide not to say something, because it seem so innocuous, but now it’s driving us crazy.

If it’s been awhile, we can feel silly for bringing it up. But not saying anything can and often will damage your relationship or your reputation.

Here’s a video on what I tell my clients that helps them over that initial hurdle. Continue reading

The 4 Secrets To Making A Difficult Situation Better

copingPublished on HuffPost.

Anger or anxiety disables our thinking brain. We need to re-calibrate what we are thinking in order to reclaim our emotional balance. That being said, when someone is putting pressure on us or elevating our blood pressure, stepping back and approaching things differently can help improve the outcome. Continue reading

Are You Lying To Yourself About Employee Engagement?

Employee EngagementSo you think you are observant. Everyone seems to be getting along. After all, they come to work everyday and smile when you walk by. If people weren’t communicating well, you’d know! Right?

Here’s an old video to share my thoughts on this.

Continue reading

How to Communicate with Someone who is Suffering from a Psychosis

Mental health is top of mind for all employers. When we are faced with someone struggling with anxiety, depression or other main stream challenges, there is a lot of information out there to help us help them.

But when our valuable employee seems to be very sick, perhaps paranoid or delusional, what to do is not taught in HR or business school.

And if someone we love is struggling, we worry about upsetting them and hurting the relationship. So we stay silent.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks so I’m going to give a crash course Wednesday of next week. Click below to learn more and register for the webinar.

Here’s what we’ll cover.

  • Are they being difficult when they refuse to go for help?
  • Are they in denial?
  • What should you be saying?
  • What should you NOT be saying?

Join us to find out how to help the person in difficulty.

After I’ve shared some information, there will be a Q & A.

For people who know someone who is sick and refuse to believe they need help, this information can save a life.

For the rest of us, it’s just really good to know when dealing with someone who doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with them.


May all those you care about be brain healthy!

Monique Caissie’s facilitated dialogue “Demystifying Mental Illness” tackles the taboos and is appreciated by organizations that are ready to improve their professional and personal lives. Monique draws from 30 years of crisis intervention work to empower others to have more productive dialogues and improve collaboration in the workplace. You can download a brochure on these services here.


3 Reasons To Stop Being So Damn Collaborative

stop collaborating(Published in Huffington Post)

When we think of the best teams, many people aim for collaboration as the most desirable trait in the members and the leaders. While a collaborative approach targets the best win/win scenario that everyone can hope for, there are times where leaders need to step away and adopt a more directive stance.

If we are naturally collaborative, we may have a hard time taking over and controlling the situation.

Here are 3 times when we need to be aware that collaboration is not always the panacea the Buddhists monks may be alluding to. Continue reading

How Trust Gets Eroded By Jargon

I just finished watching the first four seasons of “The House of Lies” on Netflix with my husband. It is smart, edgy and too close to the truth about how people might sound in some competitive corporate environments where winning is the only goal.

Maybe you haven’t experienced that yourself in any way. Or have you on a smaller scale?

Imagine you are at a high end car dealership picking up your car after repairs. As you are paying your bill, the very friendly client care rep is explaining to you what they did to your car in a language that is filled with acronyms and industry specific language. As you look at your bill, you scratch your head wondering what the hell this all means.

The only thing that seems to be clearly and concisely laid out is what will go through your credit card.

You are smart, well read and pride yourself on being a good communicator. Your requests for clarification just confuse you more and you are starting to feel a little defensive for not understanding everything that’s on the bill.

Did the representative trigger your emotional attachment to the car? Just like parents buy more for their kids than necessary, are you justifying expenses without really being clear on what you just paid for? After all, this car is an investment and you need to protect your investment. Right?

We’ve all been there in one form or another where we second guess ourselves and start mistrusting the other person. We walk away from these situations thinking that we might have been taken advantage of, but we can’t really prove it.

How is it where you work?

Do we talk over people’s heads sometimes to get the upper hand? We’ve all heard the saying “bulls**t baffles brains”. That saying may come to mind when we are talking about our dealings with fast talking salespeople.

It is our responsibility to make sure that we are not guilty of triggering that very thought in people when we are communicating with them. Whether clients or colleagues, they mustn’t walk away wondering if we somehow just “slipped one by them”.

Its human nature that if we are not clear on what the person is saying to us, our egos get triggered and we can start feeling insecure. Conversely, if we want to increase our clients trust, we simply need to speak their language.

How do you build relationships?

Isn’t that car dealership experience similar to other communications? When someone is upset, and we make the effort to try to understand their point of view and use their own language, they suddenly feel understood and become capable of dialoguing.

But, if they don’t understand what you are saying, or if they don’t feel understood, their level of suspicion and mistrust escalates.

Here’s what you can do:

If someone is upset and you want to deescalate the situation; make sure you’re not trying to sound smarter using $15 words when a clear $10 word is available. Keeping it simple is key to elevating trust. Not only do we improve the communication, we improve the quality of the relationship.

There are many elements to communicating collaboratively. Besides needing to:

  • be clear on goals,
  • listen to the other person and reflect back,
  • be open to adjusting expectations;
  • we also need to eliminate goobledygook from our language to decrease miscommunication and elevate trust.

If you would like a simple script on how you might ask someone to be clearer in the way they communicate with you, check out the one page cheat sheet that walks you through a four step script.

Whose problem is that?

Look closerSmart leaders don’t only delegate to others, they have a habit of quickly analyzing each situation as it crosses their desk.  We need to stop and ask ourselves if that is really our problem to solve.

Recently, I was coaching someone who is being groomed for a leadership position in her organization. She was telling me about this older man who keeps speaking to her about problems as though she should be fixing them. She tends to react as though it is her responsibility. She now realizes that she has to discern between what is her responsibility and when it is appropriate to delegate. Continue reading

Can Being Too Honest Shoot You In The Foot?

Can we be too honestThis article was also posted on Huffington Post

“I won’t work for someone who is not honest.” Jack said. “I have to trust them or I won’t give them my best. After all, I am always honest and they can take my word to the bank!”

How noble to be truthful. That being said, how it is managed and expressed can be problematic.

In this recent conversation, Jack is telling me how unlucky he’s been, working for all these dishonest companies, he’s thinking of leaving his current employer. He is complaining to me how people should appreciate his deep integrity. Continue reading

The Truth About Their Flaws

ImperfectYesterday, between moments of writhing in pain under my skilled physiotherapist’s hands, the conversation, as it often does, turned to what we expect from our relationships.

During her dating years, a terrific guy friend got annoyed at her bellyaching and told her to stop looking for the perfect guy to marry. There is no perfect guy! He said:

“Find the guy who has flaws you can live with.”

How brilliant is that?

Continue reading