Seven Valuable Leadership Lessons I Learned While Managing Others

millennials-200x192There’s been a great deal of discussion about the difference between managers and leaders. Do we manage more than we lead or lead more than we manage? Is there really that much of a difference between the really good ones to even bother trying to justify one over the other? I think 21st Century managers and leaders need to be both. The role of managing and leading is situationally based. Sometimes you manage – sometimes you lead – but the one constant denominator between both, is the people you work with and interact with. If you can’t communicate and interact effectively with others, then you stand little chance of doing either one well.

Worth Remembering .. “Leadership cannot simply delegate management; instead of distinguishing managers from leaders, we should be seeing managers as leaders, and leadership as management practiced well.” – Henry Mintzberg

To be successful at managing and leading others you need the ability to connect with people, communicate, educate and delegate effectively. You need to be FOCUSED (c).

F – Friendly: Smile, say hello, develop those all important relationships. You need to expand your circle of influence. You need to build collaborative teams. No one accomplishes anything inside a bubble.

O – Organized: Manage your time. Learn to prioritize so you accomplish what’s most important first. How you manage your time is how you manage your life.

C – Competent / Confident: Know what you know and know it very well. But also acknowledge won’t you don’t know and surround yourself with people who do. Some times you have to give up control to get control.

U – Understanding: You need the ability to see it from another person’s point-of-view. Be empathetic, open-minded and flexible. Your way doesn’t have to be the only way to accomplish the same thing.

S – Sincere: If you truly want others to be successful it will be evident in the way that you treat them. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. People like to hang out with people they like.

E – Energized: Be passionate and enthusiastic about what you are doing and the direction you are headed and others will want to follow your lead.  If no one is following you aren’t leading.

D – Dependable: Whatever you say you’re going to do – do it. If others can’t trust your word – then they won’t trust you at all.

Worth Remembering  … “Not everyone wants to manage or lead others. But we all get to decide who we want to follow. Be the kind of manager or leader worth following” – Brian Smith

Copyright (c) 2015. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics? Someone who can deliver on whats important to you and your organization. Give me a call – let’s talk. Find out about Brian Smith and what he can do for you visit http://briansmithpld.com

Resolutions Don’t Work Unless You Do

2015It’s that time of year again when you look back at the year that was and look ahead to the year that will be. I gave up putting a list of New Year Resolutions together a few years ago after reading a Chris Brogan post. Instead of taking the traditional route Chris suggested that you pick 3 action words to help you stay on point. Every action you take throughout the year should be a reflection of one or more of those 3 words. If they aren’t – then don’t waste your time.

If you’re having trouble accomplishing your goals give this method a try. It worked for me and I’m sure it will work for you. Concentrating on those 3 action words helped me stay focused and I ended up accomplishing more. Accomplishing your goals is a planned event, wishing and hoping won’t make it so. It’s not enough just to say it – you’ve got to live it.

Here are the 3 things I’m going to concentrate on in 2015.

Expand my circle of influence: I love what I get to do for a living. I get to work with people who want to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively: and who want to discover how to get the best out of themselves and others. I’ve grown my training and consulting business mostly by word of mouth. A satisfied client or someone who saw me speak at an event – mentioned me to someone – who mentioned me to someone – who helped grow my circle of influence by hiring me for their event or they passed on my contact information to someone else. If you’re self-employed and not marketing yourself, then chances are you aren’t growing. And if you aren’t growing you won’t be in business very long. One of my goals for 2015 will be to “Expand my circle of influence” by working with a marketing expert to help me reach more perspective clients.

Improve my golf swing: One thing that I was able to do in 2014 was play more golf. I love playing golf. It’s the one thing I like to do to get away from it all. You need to step back once in a while to recharge your batteries. It’s also a great way to network in a social setting and expand your circle of influence. For those who enjoy playing golf you know it can be a humbling experience. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out – it has a way of reminding you that you still have a great deal more to learn. One of my goals for 2015 will be to strengthen my core muscles and take golf lessons to “Improve my golf swing”. I want to be able to hit more consistent shots and lower my score. If you are going to spend your time doing something, you might as well take the time to learn how to do it right.

Spend more time with my family and friends:  I have a son and a 4-year-old grandchild. One of my goals for 2015 will be to manage my time more effectively by blocking off at least one day a week to hang out with my son and grandchild. The older I get the more I realize how important family and friends are. When I first started out it was all about work. My family came second to my career. Work was a priority for me because I wanted to be able to provide for my family. Mission accomplished. It’s now time to shift priorities and “Spend more time with family and friends”. (Now if I could just get my son interested in playing golf that would be the best of both worlds :-))

What 3 things would you like to accomplish in 2015?: What 3 action words would you pick? What 3 action words will help you stay focused and accomplish those things that are most important to you? What 3 action words would you pick that will give you the best return on your time investment. You only have 168 hours in the course of a week – no more or no less. Those who accomplish the things in life that are most important to them, have learned to invest their time wisely. Spending time on things that won’t get you closer to accomplishing your goals is a waste of your time. Put a plan together and then work your plan. Resolutions don’t work unless you do.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you or someone you know looking for a speaker who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics? Contact Brian today – http://briansmithpld.com 

Lost in Translation

Positive Feeback“You cannot love a person into creativity, although you can avoid their dissatisfaction with the way you treat them” – Frederick Herzberg. Words are powerful. The words you choose and how you say them have the power to build people up or tear them down. Drawing attention to a person’s mistakes is not going to be received well. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t take “constructive criticism” personally. According to Collins Dictionary “construct” means to build while “criticism” means to pass judgement on someone. How can you build someone up while passing judgement on them?

You have a choice to make. You can either dwell on what they’ve done wrong or congratulate them on what they’ve done well – and what they need to do to improve. It can be as simple as replacing the word “but” with “and”. You can either dwell on the fact that they have made a mistake – or you can get past it by accepting the fact that everyone makes mistakes and move on from there. What is – is. What happened – happened. Change your mindset in a positive way by thinking about the mistakes people make as teachable moments. Use the opportunity to praise them for what they’ve done well and teach them what they need to do the next time , so they don’t keep repeating what went wrong.

Creating a teachable moment is an opportunity for both of you to grow. You’ll grow as a teacher and they’ll grow as a person by learning a new skill that will help them perform better in the future. The next time you have an opportunity to create a teachable moment use the sandwich technique. “Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise” – Mary Kay Ash. It’s a great way to keep your emotions in check and to turn the situation into a positive experience for both of you. You don’t want to change them – you just want to change what went wrong.

Step One: Start the conversation off by saying something positive about them or what they’ve done. Or how they contribute to the overall success of the team, department, organization, etc.. Remember – You are not looking to change them – you just want to change what they are doing that’s not getting the results you are looking for.

Step Two: Let them know the negative impact their actions are having and what problems they are creating. Let them know you are there to help them succeed. Ask some good open-ended questions to drill down and find out why these mistakes are happening. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. Get their input on what needs to be done to fix it. Agree on a plan of action. You need to get buy-in so be sure to include their ideas in the plan.

Step Three: Let them know that you are looking forward to working with them. Let them know that you will be following up with them to make sure that the plan you’ve agreed on is getting the desired results. If not – you need to agree on a new plan. People do what you inspect not what you expect. Follow up, follow-up and then follow-up some more. You need to change the habit to change the result.

 Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker or planning an in-house training session? Brian specializes in soft-skills training and leadership development. Contact Brian today. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out what Brian can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

Managing Your Boss and Living to Tell About It 2

images (36)The key to managing your boss is to manage them in a style they like. One thing you need to know for certain is you are not going to change them. They’ve been successful managing a certain way so why would they want to do it any differently? If you want to learn how to manage your boss and live to tell about it then you must change your style to be more in tune with theirs. Everyone has a natural style of behaving. A natural way of communicating and interacting with others. Everyone likes to manage and be managed a certain way. Learn to mirror their behavior.

Different strokes for different folks. I believe we are born one of four styles of behaving. (Dominate, Interactive, Steadiness and Conscientious. The theory of DISC was developed by Dr. William Marston.) Take time to discover your bosses style and then communicate and interact with them that way.

D Style: (Dominant) They walk fast, talk fast and do everything fast. Make communication brief and to the point. Don’t muddy the water by using graphs, charts and volumes of data. Respect their need for autonomy. Be prepared for blunt, demanding approaches. They lack empathy and are uncomfortable with social interaction so they see no need for idle chit-chat.

I Style: (Interactive / Interpersonal) Don’t be in a hurry. They prefer a relaxed and social environment. Let them verbalize their thoughts and feelings. They are great communicators so be prepared for someone who will attempt to persuade and influence others. Provide them with the information they’ll need to make the right decisions. They like being the center of attention.

S Style: (Steadiness) Be logical and systematic in your approach. They have a natural resistance to change. They prefer to know how things will be done ahead of time – preferably in writing. They have a difficult time identifying priorities and meeting deadlines. Teach them how to say no nicely because they usually say yes to everything. They are the ultimate team player never wanting to let anyone down.

C Style: (Conscientious) They value high standards – they strive to be perfect. Be prepared – know what you know. They have very little patience for vague generalizations. Chances are they will double-check your work so let them know what you don’t know but assure them that you’ll go and find out. Don’t make stuff up. They are all about detail. They love pie charts and graphs.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator? Give Brian a call. He’ll work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. Visit http://briansmithpld.com