Pick Your Battles – Some Just Aren’t Worth Winning 2

Conflict Resolution 2Are you the type of person that has to be right all the time? The need to always be right must be sooooo exhausting. I’ve been there, done that, and have the tee-shirt to prove it. Trust me, I’m a recovering “Control Freak” so I know how tiring it can be. Perhaps it comes with age or experience, but I’ve come to realize that it’s a total waste of my time and energy to try to convince someone else that I’m right and they’re wrong. In most situations I chose not to go there now. Creative problem solving and conflict resolution starts and ends with you. You can decide if you want to be right or agree to disagree and move on.

Here are five things you can do to try to resolve conflict:

1 – Provide as much information as you can to make discussions productive rather than contentious. Lack of information, or not enough of the right information, could be the reason behind the conflict. If others understand the “why” they are more likely to agree with your decision.

2 – Ask for solutions. I never let anyone bring me a problem without offering a solution. If their solution sounds plausible – go with it and see what happens. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just plausible. Always try to create a win-win. You won because you got the end result you where looking for and they won because they got to do it their way.

3 – A sense of humor is a great way to defuse a difficult situation and get people to step back for a moment and realize – in the big scheme of things – it’s not worth getting upset over it.

4 – Do not force a consensus. If the plan fails you’ll be to blame. Get them involved in the planning. If they have a personal state in the process they are more likely to make it work. Remember – it doesn’t have to be just your way. All you should be concerned about are the end result.

5 – Be prepared to make a decision that you can live with. Realize that not everyone is going to agree with the decision you make. But don’t let that stop you from making a decision. Leadership is about making tough decisions  for the good of everyone involved. If leading was easy everyone would want to do it.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. May not be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a speaker who can entertain and inform on a variety of soft-skills topics including communication, team building or dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better? Contact Brian. He will work with you to insure your event is a success. http://briansmithpld.com

Going Along to Get Along – The Art of Working With People You Don’t Like 1

grumpy ladyYou may not like some of the people you work with – but the truth is – you need to learn how to get along with them. Think of a job that you could do in your life time that didn’t involve working with people. You’d be hard pressed to come up with one.  Dealing with difficult people and challenging situations is a learned behavior. You just need to decide if it’s worth it. But trust me – If you are looking for a career in sales, owning and operating a business some day or managing and leading others then it’s not open for debate – the ability to get along with others is a must have.

Think of someone you are having difficulty connecting with. You don’t know why but there is something about them that drives you crazy. There is something about them that makes you want to pick up a heavy object and smack them across the side of the head. Before you do something that might get you arrested give this 3-step process a try. Remember – you don’t have to like them you just need to learn how to work with them. The 3 R’s will teach you how.

Rapport: Find out something about them that you could use to strike up a conversation. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children or grand children? What do they like to do in their spare time? Do they like to hunt, fish, play golf or read books? You need to be able to carry on a conversation with them on a subject that they like. You need to get them talking. Idle chit-chat is important to establish rapport. And you need to establish rapport to move to the next level. You can’t develop a relationship with someone until you’ve established rapport first.

Relationship: Successful sales people understand the value of developing a relationship with their clients. People like to do business with and buy products or services from people they like. You need to develop a relationship with the people you work with and interact with. You need to develop a relationship with the people you’re going to manage or lead. No one wants to let a friend down. If they like you they will go to great lengths so they don’t disappoint you. You need to develop a relationship before you can move on to the final step – respect.

Respect: The final step in this 3-step process is respect. If you have established a rapport and developed a relationship with the people you work with and interact with, then chances are they will respect you for you. They may not like what you said or what you did but, they will respect you and will most likely forgive you. However, keep in mind that respect is reciprocal. You must give it to get it. You can’t demand it. People respect people that they have developed a relationship with.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker who can deliver an entertaining and informative session on a variety of soft-skills topics including; communication, time management, coping with stress and dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better? Contact Brian today. He will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. http://briansmithpld.com

Leading From The Back of The Pack 4

Geese in Flight (2)

Geese in Flight (2) (Photo credit: Johnath)

What do great Leaders and Geese have in common? They both give up control to get control. They both let others lead from time to time. Great  leaders know they don’t have to control everything all of the time. They don’t have to have all of the answers all of the time. They just have to surround themselves with people who do know – and then get out of their way and let them take the lead.

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere” – Ronald Regan

Let’s pretend for a moment that you’ve decided to give up some of your duties and you’ve decided you’re going to delegate some of them to those you feel are capable of and are willing to take on more responsibility. Think of all the tasks that you do and list them on a piece of paper. Now look over your list and circle the ones that only you can do. If you’re being completely honest with yourself there will be some things on that list that you haven’t circled. Those are the ones that you are going to give up.

“Never learn to do anything. If you don’t learn, you’ll always find someone else to do it” – Mark Twain

If you don’t delegate some of your duties and responsibilities you’re robbing your people of their opportunity to grow. If you don’t delegate some of your duties and responsibilities you won’t have time to step back and think about where the organization needs to be and how you and your team are going to get there. You need time to step back and see the big picture and have an idea where all the pieces are going to fit. If you don’t trust the people around you to do the task on their own – then why did you hire them in the first place?

“I’ve got an ego and all that, but I know I need help. So I hire the very best people” – Ross Perot

It’s important that you show trust and confidence in your people. Remember not to get too hung up on how they go about doing the task. Yes – you can give them some pointers here and there – but keep in mind that most people want to put their own stamp on things. The end result is not open for debate. Company standards must be maintained – but how we accomplish them can be. The key to great leadership is about “inclusion” not “exclusion”. Great leadership is about including others in the decision-making process. It doesn’t have to be just your way. The more that you allow your people to have input – the more likely it is – that they will want to come along.  The more likely it is that they will want to follow you. – 🙂

Leadership Lessons – Fluent in Friendliness? Apply Within

Fluent in Friendliness? Apply Within. Hats off to Lowe’s who posted that sign outside of their newest location under construction. I spent 30 years in the retail business both as a general manager and business owner –  so that sign naturally caught my attention. The one-on-one service that you provide to your customer is the only competitive advantage that you have. It’s not your product or service. It’s not your selection or price. The only competitive advantage that you have to set yourself apart from your competition is the level of customer service you provide.

Every time you come in contact with a perspective client it’s a moment of truth. Every time you come in contact with a perspective client they get to decide if they want to continue to do business with you or not. And most often that decision is based upon the way they feel they have been treated. When was the last time you had “Wow” customer service? When was the last time you got “So-So” customer service? I’ll bet the “So-So” out numbered the “Wow” ten to one. (Ten so-so to one wow)

You don’t need to like everyone you come in contact with – But if you want to get repeat business you need to learn how to get along with them. The same holds true with the people you work with.  You don’t have to like them or socialize with them – But you do need to learn how to interact and collaborate with them. If you’re the one who gets to pick who is on your team you need to make sure you’ve surrounded yourself with people who like being around people. Managers and business owners need  to make sure they hire people who like  helping people. You can’t afford to have someone on your team who is turned off and have tuned out. You need to be just like Lowe’s and hire people who are “Fluent in Friendliness” and get rid of the ones who aren’t.  🙂