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Communicate Like a Boss

5d5a6bf8c3a2bae2c5e4d972921cf33d?s=47 Calibrate
September 21, 2018

Communicate Like a Boss

Grow the skills needed to interact with other humans
Kathryn Koehler



September 21, 2018


  1. Communicate Like a Boss Grow the skills needed to interact

    with other humans
  2. Hello! About me... 2

  3. 3

  4. 4 The book that changed it all...

  5. 5

  6. Empathy People are at the heart of your work as

    a manager 6
  7. When was the last time an employee did this? ⊷

    Bitterly complained to you about another team member ⊷ Expressed frustration with a decision you made ⊷ Emotionally confided in you about problems outside of work ⊷ Felt underpaid for their contributions 7
  8. 9 9 How we’re wired The language of empathy does

    not come naturally Most of us grew up having our feelings denied or minimized This behavior, while well-intentioned, is not helpful “What’s the big deal?” “At least this other really bad thing didn’t happen...” “Well, when I was your age...” “You’ll be fine.”
  9. Try this instead Recognize it is critical to accept and

    acknowledge people’s feelings ⊷ Listen with full attention ⊷ Acknowledge with a word: “I see”, “Mmm” ⊷ Give feelings a name: “You seem sad / angry / frustrated / disappointed” ⊷ Give their wishes in fantasy 10
  10. Keep in mind 11 Use when dealing with negative emotions

    Overcome temptation to deny, ignore, minimize, moralize, etc. Acknowledge feelings even if you don’t agree You don’t have to own or fix someone else’s problems, instead create a space for people to express themselves
  11. Problem Solving Technical or otherwise... 12

  12. When was the last time you heard this? ⊷ I

    want to switch teams, Kevin’s a jerk ⊷ I want to be a VP in 3 years ⊷ Our architecture is crap, I’m redoing it! ⊷ I signed up for a Spanish class from 11-2 every day! 13
  13. What not to do In a position of authority, it’s

    easy to think your solution to any problem is best ⊷ Dismiss the issue altogether ⊷ Preach ⊷ Dole out unsolicited advice ⊷ Harshly judge alternatives 14
  14. 15 Engage cooperation Bring folks into the conversation providing the

    tools to solve the issue on their own ⊷ Describe the problem ⊷ Name it: “frustrating”, “ambitious” ⊷ Brainstorm together ⊷ Share impact of the behavior / issue ⊷ Give their wishes in fantasy
  15. Delegation AKA Autonomy 16

  16. 18 18 How we’re wired Command and control - you’re

    the boss! Doing everything solo Micromanaging Minimizing the work “It would be faster if I did it” “This feature is easy” “Here’s what you do...” “What’s taking you so long?” “This is never going to work”
  17. Try this instead... “Sometimes it helps…” “That must be hard..."

    “Interesting question, what do you think?" “Give it a shot!” 20 Let them choose Respect the struggle Don’t ask too many ?s Don’t rush to answer Don’t take away hope
  18. Feedback The good, the bad, the ugly 21

  19. Lame praise Elevating, non descriptive praise is hollow, even if

    true ⊷ “Amazing!” ⊷ “Great job!” ⊷ “Fantastic!” 22 I couldn’t have done everything right, they’re just trying to be nice. What does this even mean?
  20. Praiseworthy praise ⊷ Sincere ⊷ Timely ⊷ Accurate ⊷ Description

    with appreciation 23 After receiving this praise they are now able to praise themselves
  21. Delivering negative feedback Noooo ⊷ Email / Slack ⊷ Gossip

    ⊷ Coworker ⊷ Public ⊷ Unsolicited How it’s done ⊷ SBI style ⊷ Face to face ⊷ Respectful and direct ⊷ Follow up in email 24
  22. More avoidable disasters ⊷ Fake praise ⊷ Serving up a

    sh*t sandwich ⊷ Asking “Why?” ⊷ Labeling “... no, that was great, really” “I wouldn’t change a thing!” 25
  23. More avoidable disasters “You’re such a talented developer, what you

    did yesterday was wrong, keep up the great work!” 26 ⊷ Fake praise ⊷ Serving up a sh*t sandwich ⊷ Asking “Why?” ⊷ Labeling
  24. More avoidable disasters “Why did you do that?!” 27 ⊷

    Fake praise ⊷ Serving up a sh*t sandwich ⊷ Asking “Why?” ⊷ Labeling
  25. More avoidable disasters “You’re an underperformer” “You’re lazy” “You’re slow”

    28 ⊷ Fake praise ⊷ Serving up a sh*t sandwich ⊷ Asking “Why?” ⊷ Labeling
  26. Final thought... 29

  27. With all things, assume good intent No matter what you

    hear, read or observe, always try to assume good intent (even if wrong) ⊷ Ensures respond with the proper tone ⊷ Turns to fact finding, not accusation ⊷ De-escalates tense situations 30
  28. Final final thoughts... 31

  29. 32 Thanks! ANY QUESTIONS? You can find me at

  30. Additional recommendations 33 Leadership and Self Deception: getting out of

    the box by The Arbinger Institute Radical Candor by Kim Scott
  31. Credits Special thanks to all the people who made and

    released these awesome resources for free: ⊷ Presentation template by SlidesCarnival ⊷ Some photographs by Unsplash ⊷ Kristin Hendrix and her amazing feedback and artwork 34