Are You Asking The Right Type of Question?

Are you looking for answers? Not getting the answers you are looking for? Maybe it’s because you aren’t asking the right type of question. If you learn to ask the right type of questions and listen, really listen to the answers, chances are others will tell you everything you need to hear.

Worth Remembering ... “I listen to understand – not necessarily to agree” – Dale Carnegie

Depending on what you want to know, you have four basic types of questions that you can ask.

Open Ended Questions – If you are wanting to promote dialoge then you need to ask an open ended question. Ask a question that requires more than a one word answer from the other person. – Example: “What kind of options are you looking for?”

Closed Questions – When a one word answer will do. A closed question gives the person limited options as to how to respond to your question. – Example: “What colour?”

Clarifying Questions – A non-judgemental question when you want to verify what was said. – Example: “So if I heard you correctly you said …..”

Problem Solving Questions – Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese Industrialist, inventor, and founder of Toyota Industries, developed the 5 Whys technique. If you are looking to solve a problem try asking “Why”until you discover what problem, or problems need to be solved before you get the desired results. Some solutions may be simple, while others may be more complex. You might uncover more problems then you think you had. – Example: “The shipment didn’t get delivered on time – Why?”

Worth Remembering … “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Robert McCloskey

Are you asking the right type of question?

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. 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

Avoidance Is Not Conflict Resolution

You can’t ignore a conflict in hopes that it will go away. Avoidance is not conflict resolution. Conflict and disagreements are unavoidable. Whenever you have more than one person in the room you’re going to have some type of conflict or disagreement. Two people can’t be expected to agree on everything. When dealt with in a respectful and positive way, conflict provides an opportunity for both parties to grow.

Worth Remembering … “Problem solving is a having the ability to directly and positively face and resolve difficult situations.”

If you are going to resolve it, you must first understand what caused it. Was it competitive feelings, personal jealousy or resentment, the desire to sabotage someone else’s idea, dissension caused by poor listening skills, lack of good communication skills or a lack of trust? Remember – avoidance is not conflict resolution. It is not going to go away by walking away. You need to deal with it.

Here are five things you can do to resolve conflict.

1 – Provide more information to make discussions productive rather than contentious. Lack of information or not the right information could be the reason behind the conflict.

2 – Ask for solutions. I would never let anyone come to me with a problem and not ask them what would they do to resolve it. If their solution sounds reasonable, and is doable, then go with it.

3 – Establish common goals, In the big scheme of things the differences may not be too far apart. You may discover you both want much of the same thing.

4 – Managing your emotions and keeping your ego in check is key to resolving conflict. Make saving the relationship your number one priority.

5 – Do not force a consensus. Develop a plan of action that is right for both parties. Something that you can both live with. Learn to pick your battles. Sometimes the conflict is not worth damaging or destroying a relationship.

Worth Remembering … ” An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

My final thought on resolving conflict. We are emotional beings, and sometimes we say things in the heat of the conflict that we wish we could take back. Words are powerful. They can leave an invisible scar. We can use them to build people up or tear them down. Choose your words wisely.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. 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

Establishing the T Word

Trust – a five letter word that makes all the difference when managing and leading others. Without trust you won’t be able to do either one very well. Trust doesn’t come automatically just because of the title you’ve been given. You must earn it one person at a time. Establishing trust between you and the people you work with and interact with is a 3-step process that I refer to as the 3 R’s – Rapport, Relationship and Respect. It’s a process that everyone must go through before you can establish trust.

Worth Remembering .. “In organizations where people trust and believe in each other, they don’t get into regulating and coercing behaviours. They don’t need a policy for every mistake … people in these trusting environments respond with enormous commitment and creativity.” – Walter Wriston

Step One: Building Rapport. Find out something about the person you are working with other than the work that they do. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children? What do they like doing in their spare time? You need to be able to carry on a conversation with them about a subject that they like. Idle chit-chat is important if you want to tear down any walls that may exist between you and them. Building rapport will help you do that.

Step Two: Developing Relationships. The second step in establishing trust is to develop a relationship. You can’t have a relationship with anyone unless you have built rapport first. Successful salespeople understand the value of building relationships with their clients. They understand that clients choose to do business with people they like. The same holds true for the people you work with. People like to work with people they like. If they like you – chances are they will follow you because no one wants to let a friend down.

Step Three: Establishing Respect. The third step to building trust is respect. You won’t respect anyone that you haven’t developed a relationship with first. However, keep in mind that respect is reciprocal – you can’t demand it. Respect is a two-way street. You have to give it to get it – and you have to give it first if you expect to get it back. You may not like or agree with everything that others have to say – but you need to respect the fact they they have a right to express their opinion. You can agree to respectfully disagree.

Worth Remembering … “I’m not upset that you lied to me. I’m upset because from now on I can’t believe you.” – Nietzsche

After respect comes the “T” word – trust. You’ll never trust anyone you don’t respect first. Sometimes managers and leaders need others to take a leap of faith. Sometimes managers and leaders don’t have all the answers and need others to trust them that they have their best interests in mind. If you have navigated the 3-step process successfully you will have established trust. Without it – you have nothing.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. 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 or contact Brian via email: brian@briansmithpld.com

Are You Dangling Carrots or Using Sticks?

How do I motivate others to do what I need them to do? The truth of the matter is – you can’t. You can’t motivate anyone to do anything that they don’t really want to do. Whether you are dangling carrots or using sticks won’t matter. People do things for their own reasons – not yours. Just because you say it – it doesn’t make it so. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. The key to motivating others is by creating an environment in which they will want to motivate themselves. To create that environment you need a clear understanding of what motivates others into taking action.

Worth Remembering … “It is only when a person has their own genertator that we can talk about motivation. They need no outside stimulation. They want to do it.” – Frederick Herzberg 

The key is to find out what they want, and then use that understanding to get them to do what you want.  You have to figure out what’s their WIIFM. (What’s in it for me). I believe  for the most part that people are inherently self-serving and will only do something if they believe they are going to benefit from it. If they aren’t going to get their WIIFM, then they won’t be motivated enough to put in the effort. Even people who volunteer their time or donate money for a good cause are getting some kind of WIIFM or they wouldn’t keep doing it.

Worth Remembering … “The common wisdom is that managers have to learn to motivate people. Nonsense – Employees bring their own motivation.” – Tom Peters

If you have the power to grant them their WIIFM, then you’ll have their attention. If they want theirs – and you want yours – then all you have to do is create a win-win. They win because they got their WIIFM and you won because you got them to do what needs to be done to complete the task, to  accomplish the goal. If you want to motivate someone to do what you need them to do – then you need to put down the stick and offer them a carrot. When you can do that everyone gets their WIIFM.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. 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