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

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

Being Passionate Is Never Enough

imagesBanish the word passionate from your bio. Being passionate should be a given. If you aren’t passionate about what you are doing then why bother doing it at all? Being passionate about what you are doing is a pre-resiquent to your overall success. However, being passionate is never enough. Being passionate about helping others to be successful, to achieve more, to do more or be more will only get you so far. It’s the same as having a goal but not bothering to put a plan together to achieve it.

If you have to tell someone you’re passionate about something then it’s obvious you’re not. Passionate people get into the game – they don’t sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by. Unless you are willing to take the next step you’re no different then a monday morning quarterback. You talk a good talk but you fall short on doing the walk. It’s time to stop talking about it and time to start doing something about it.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you – or someone you know – looking for a speaker who can inform and entertain on a variety of soft-skills topics? Planning a lunch-n-learn or organizing a training session – give Brian a call. He will work with you one-on-one to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out more about Brian and what he 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