I’m Guilty As Charged

judge-with-gavel1I should have known better. I have been in the business of managing and leading others in one capacity or another, as a General Manager, College Professor and Management Consultant, for over forty years. In spite of all those years of experience, I committed the number one cardinal sin. I jumped to a conclusion before I had all the facts.  And worse yet, I posted my comment on LinkedIn. The person, who I  offended shall remain nameless, but T.M. knows who he is.  He may not realize it – but the fact that he called me out – reminded me of a valuable lesson that I had obviously forgotten. It’s time for me to step up and do the walk instead of just doing the talk.

Before I act, either verbally or in writing, I am going to step back, take a deep breath and follow these 3 simple rules.

Rule Number One: I am going to assume nothing. I am going to put my brain into gear before I engage my mouth. How often have you said something that you later regretted? How often have you said something that you wish you could take back?

Rule Number Two: I am going to do some research. I am going to take the time to collect all the facts before I act or speak. How often have you made a decision, only to find out it wasn’t the right one because if you knew then, what you know now, you wouldn’t have done it in the first place? How many times has it come around to bite you?

Rule Number Three: I am going to ask myself, how would I feel if someone posted something about me that wasn’t true? Someone who I’ve never met. Someone who didn’t take the time to find out more about me, and what my motives were?

Leaders will make mistakes. All leaders do, and when they do they should own it, apologize for it, learn from it and don’t repeat it. That’s what separates the not-so-good ones from the great ones.  What kind of leader do you want to be?  You get to make a choice, so choose wisely. Others are watching and deciding who they want to follow. If no one is following you, you aren’t leading.

Copyright (c) 2017. Brian Smith – PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a Professional Speaker or Seminar Leader who can deliver a session on a variety of soft-skills topics? Contact Brian today brian@briansmithpld.com – Visit https://briansmithpld.com to find out what Brian can do for you.

Has The Pendulum Swung Too Far?

Choices

Has political correctness gone amuck? James Damore was fired by Google for posting a memo he’d written. Right or wrong, it was his opinion. Just because you don’t agree with it, does it make it a fireable offence? The courts will decide if his dismissal was for just cause. What are we teaching our young people if everyone makes the team – everyone plays the same amount of minutes regardless of skill level? Where’s the incentive to improve? Are we teaching transferable life skills if everyone gets a trophy for just showing up? Is it fair that everyone gets the same bonus, regardless of his or her contribution to the project?

Should we be lowering physical standards so women can perform the same task side by side with men?  When the building is on fire I want someone who is physically capable of carrying me down four flights of stairs. If a woman can do it – have at it. Trust me – I won’t complain. The truth of the matter is there are some tasks that only men can perform, just as there are some tasks that only women can perform. Mind you there aren’t many that men can do that woman can’t.  If someone is physically and mentally capable of performing a task, gender is a non-issue.

I remember singing the National Anthem and reciting the Lords Prayer in school. It didn’t seem to do me any harm. Why are we afraid of hurting someone’s feelings if we call it a Christmas tree and wish people Merry Christmas?  We may not agree with the message but surely we can agree that everyone has a right to freedom of expression – as long as it doesn’t take away those same rights for someone else and it’s done in a lawful and respectful way without causing physical harm to people or damaging property. Everyone has a right to be protected under the law regardless of race, gender, religious beliefs or message.

Just because you’ve worked there the longest doesn’t mean you are entitled to get the promotion. I believe promotions should be based on ability and not longevity. Has the pendulum swung too far the other way? Are we going out of our way so as not to offend anyone? Has political correctness gone amuck? You be the judge. Some people may think we haven’t gone far enough, I respectfully disagree. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong, but then again I could be right.

Copyright (c) 2017. Not to be reproduced. Brian Smith – Professional Speaker, Seminar Leader, and Author. Are you looking for someone who can entertain and inform your audience on a variety of soft-skills topics?  Visit https://briansmithpld.com

How to Build a Relationship With Just About Anyone

Conflict Resolution 2Practice the 3 R’s – to establish trust and build relationships with the people you work with and interact with. Have you ever met someone for the very first time and thought, “Yuck – what a dink?”. (I don’t mean Double Income No Kids). There is just something about them that you don’t like. For what ever reason they rub you the wrong way. The truth of the matter is sometimes you have to work with – or interact with – people you don’t like. Even if you don’t like them – you still need to find a way to work with them. I have a solution for you. Think of someone who you work with that for what ever reason, you are having difficulty getting along with them. I want you to try this little experiment and see if it helps repair that relationship or a least make it bearable. I call it the 3 Rs to building relationships and establishing mutual trust with just about everyone and anyone.

Rapport: Start a conversation and find out something about them that you can talk about. What are their hobbies? Do they have children, play sports or read books? What do they love to do in their spare time? You can’t build a relationship with anyone that you haven’t established a rapport with first. Get them talking about themselves or what they love to do, and you are on your way to the next step. You are on your way to likeability.

Relationship: People like to hang around with, and interact with people they like. The more conversations you can have with that person or persons, the more likely it is that you are breaking down those barriers and are becoming more likable. Soft-skills – the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others is a necessary skill in building relationships. Building a relationship is key to getting along with people – even the ones you don’t like.

Respect:  You don’t respect anyone you haven’t built a relationship with first. Out of a relationship comes mutual respect. You might not agree with everything they have said or done – but because you have built a relationship with them, you will respect the fact that they have a right to their own opinion and a right to live their lives as they see fit. We tend to agree to disagree with people we respect.

If you have navigated the three-step process successfully you will be able to establish trust in your relationship with the people you work with and interact with. You never trust anyone you don’t respect first. As friends, parents, managers, leaders, and coaches sometimes you need people to take a leap of faith. Sometimes you don’t have all the answers and need them to trust you. If you have established mutual respect in your relationships, then they will trust you. They will take that leap of faith knowing that you would never set them up for failure. They’ll know you have their best interest in mind.

Copyright (c) 2017. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Delegation 101: Assume Nothing

DelegationRule number one when working with others is to assume nothing because it may make an ass out of u and me. But mostly me because I took you at your word, that you understood what needed to be done and how I wanted you to go about doing it. People aren’t born knowing what they need to know. Always keep in mind that if you haven’t taught someone the way you want it done – don’t assume they will know how.

Worth Remembering … In the digital age you need to make knowledge workers out of every employee possible. – Bill Gates 

You may not be able to delegate all the tasks that you do, but you should be able to delegate most of them. I know you can come up with a 1001 excuses why you shouldn’t delegate, but think of it this way. If you don’t delegate some of your tasks you are robbing someone of their opportunity to grow. Do you hire stupid people or do they just get stupid after working for you? Your role as a manager or business leader is to teach others what you know. Your role is not to create followers but to create other leaders. And you can’t do that if you aren’t delegating some of your tasks.

Worth Remembering ... You establish some objectives for them, provide some incentive, and try not to direct the detailed way in which they do their work. – David Packard

Here are 8 easy steps to delegating more effectively:

1 – Decide what you want to delegate: You need to be very clear on what task they are going to do and make sure you give them all the tools they’ll need to be able to perform that task.

2 – Decide who you are going to delegate to: Who is capable, and more importantly, who is willing to take on more responsibility?

3 – Create a “Teachable Moment”: Demonstrate the task – then have them perform the task while you observe – and once you think they can do the task satisfactorily – have them do it one more time for good measure.

4 – Ask questions to ensure that learning has taken place: You need to ask some good open-ended and closed questions to make sure they know what needs to be done. Be sure to give them the opportunity to ask questions too.

5 – Monitor their performance: Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Make it a point to check-in on the person shortly after leaving them on their own, just to make sure they are performing the task satisfactorily.

6 – Keep the lines of communication open: Let them know you are there to help – if and when – they want it. Resist the urge to micro-manage.

7 – Hold the person accountable for the results: Standards, like quality, are not open for debate. You must hold people accountable for the results and not accept anything that doesn’t meet your standard. If they think they can get away with less than satisfactory work – then they will.

8 – Praise performance: Recognize what has been accomplished and be quick to offer praise for a job done well.

It’s important that you show trust and confidence in your people. The best way to do that is to get out of their way and let them do it. Results are what’s important, not how they go about doing it. Allow them to put their own personal stamp on it.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com