Different Folks Requires Different Strokes

Control Freak 7Yes, I admit it. I was once a control freak! I was an “old school” micro-manager. Trust me – in my 40+ year career as an award-winning entrepreneur and general manager for a major corporation, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. I’m here to confess my number one sin in the hope that first-time supervisors, managers and business leaders will learn what not to do. I also think there’s a lesson here for seasoned veterans who developed their management style in the late 1960’s like I did. Social psychologist Douglas McGregor referred to it as a “Theory X” style of management. Managers who adopted this style believed that workers were inherently lazy and needed to be bullied or brow-beaten into performing their work.  Employees were never to question authority.  “Do as I say – not as I do. When I tell you to jump – the only thing you can ask is how high”. There are still a number of managers and business leaders out there who continue to manage and lead that way. They manage and lead by intimidation. I’m here to tell you the days of the “Bully Boss” are over.

#Worth Remembering …The definition of insanity is doing the same thing – expecting a different result” – Albert Einstein

Times have certainly changed for the better. If I knew then what I know now there is no question I would have managed differently. After reading this article I hope you’ll manage differently too. What you need to decide is – will the management style that got you here – be the same style that will help you be as successful moving forward? I believe we’re not born knowing how to manage or lead others effectively. I believe it’s a learned behaviour. We all start out making certain assumptions, based on our past experiences and perceptions, as to the kind of role we think managers and leaders need to play. But we also know, based on our experiences, that our perceptions may not always be correct and that sometimes we have to change our way of thinking to become better at what we do. Today’s managers and business leaders need to change the way they manage others to stay in step with an ever-changing workforce. Different folks require different stokes. It’s now about inclusion – not exclusion. It’s now about building collaborative teams.

#Worth Remembering … One of the most important things about being a good manager is to rule with a heart. You have to know the business, but you have to know what’s at the heart of a business and that’s people. – Oprah Winfrey

Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book – “Working with Emotional Intelligence”, might have said it best. “We are being judged by a new yardstick; not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other”. Emotional intelligence often referred to as soft-skills now plays a more pivotal role in how we manage and lead others. If you can’t connect on an emotional level with the people you work with and interact with – then you stand little chance of being successful. Productivity and profitability is still the name of the game. That will never change. But how we get there has. People like to work with people they like. And the only way to get people to like you is to work with them in a way that they like. It’s no longer about your technical ability. It’s about your ability to connect with others, communicate, educate and delegate in a style that they like. If you can’t do that then you can’t manage or lead. It’s no longer my way or the highway. It’s about our way. You need to learn to manage and lead the 21st Century way. You need to change because they aren’t going to.

Copyright (c) 2018. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator who can deliver an entertaining and informative session on a variety of soft skills topics? To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com


Life in The Land of Shoulda Coulda Woulda 6

images (23) Perception is reality and reality is what ever you perceive it to be. The things you do most often becomes you. If you believe you aren’t worthy then you will continue to hold yourself back. If you believe you aren’t deserving of the all the good things that may come your way, then you’ll continue to put yourself down. We know that behaviors can be managed and improved upon, and results are simply the cause and effect of your behavior. Your level of self-esteem is in direct proportion to your internal dialogue – the things that you tell yourself and what you think of yourself.  We all feel insecure and unsure of ourselves at times. We all have bouts of self-doubt – especially if we are attempting to do something we’ve never done before. No one wants to look silly in front their peers or make a mistake. Most humans would rather walk backwards into the future than turn around and face new challenges head-on. What would be worse? Taking on new challenges and discovering what you are capable of or letting your low self-esteem banish you to live your life in the land of shoulda coulda woulda forever.

Worth Remembering – “Lack of confidence in oneself is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from the lack of confidence in oneself.” – Cicero

There are a number of great books on how to develop your self-esteem. One of my favorites is Nathaniel Branden’s book  “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem”. Dr. Branden has done more than any other theorist to advocate the importance of self-esteem to your well-being. He believes the value of self-esteem lies not merely in the fact that it allows us to feel better about ourselves, but that it also allows us to live better – to respond to challenges and opportunities more resourcefully and more appropriately. If you have a poor opinion of yourself, and remember an opinion is rarely based on fact, then that poor opinion of yourself translates into a lack of confidence – which causes us to think negative thoughts. Negative thoughts in turn causes us to hold back and give up easily rather than face tough challenges. Self-doubt is a deal breaker in so many ways.

Worth Remembering … “If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams and endeavors to live the life they have imagined, they will meet a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau

Read over the list below and decide where you want to start. Remember – You are the boss of you. No one has the power to take your self-esteem away without your permission. You must believe in your heart of hearts that you are worthy – because the truth of the matter is – you are.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You are unique. There is no one else who is exactly like you. Different is just different and different is OK.  
  • Stop putting yourself down with negative thoughts. You are good enough. You have all the tools you need – you just need to get out of your own way.
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. The truth is not everyone wants you to be successful and leave them behind. But do it anyway.
  • Get involved in the work and activities that inspire you. If you knew you couldn’t fail – what would you rather be doing? Go and do that.
  • Give more of yourself to those around you. Volunteer, become a Big Sister or Big Brother. Pay it forward. Help those less fortunate than you.
  • Respect your own needs. Stop putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You have a right to be happy.
  • Stop trying to be perfect! You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be good enough.
  • Stop listening to the should-do’s. Stop listening to people who tell you that you should be doing this or doing that. Do what you think is right for you.

People with low self-esteem see themselves as unworthy and undeserving. They will discount any good fortune that comes their way as being a fluke. If others are nice to them – they tend to think the person must have an ulterior motive – they must want something besides my friendship. In the words of author David McRaney, you tend to fulfill the labels you accept. It’s time you start accepting all the good fortune that is coming your way. Your lease has expired. It’s time you move out of the land of shoulda coulda woulda.  🙂

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith. Looking for a speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or organizing a training session? Brian specializes in soft-skills training and leadership development. He will work with you one-on-one to insure your event is an overwhelming success. Contact Brian today – briansmithpld@gmail.com or visit http://briansmithpld.com to find out more.

Life Lessons: Learning to Cope with The “S” Word 4

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The “S’ word is all around us. It seems at times that we can’t go a day without hearing about it – feeling it’s effects or getting caught up in it. It wasn’t as topical 20 years ago – yet it has  always been there – it just seems now it’s on everyone’s mind. The “S” word – yes I’m talking about STRESS! It’s like that pesky neighbour next door who just won’t move away. You can’t eliminate all of the stressors that are creating stress in your life but you can learn how to deal with them.

Stress is not always a bad thing. A little bit of stress can be a very positive and motivating influence in our lives. Stress can help create a sense of urgency and force us to get off the couch. It is only when stress increases beyond our ability to easily cope with it that we begin to feel both the emotional and physical effects of it. (Headaches, inability to concentrate and a rise in our blood pressure) The negative effects of common stressors are cumulative. A series of very mild stress events can create an exceptionally high level of stress if not dealt with effectively. You can learn how to cope.

Three Methods for Coping with Stress 

Your most critical stress issues are those you feel are high priority to change and you are able to change them. Your least critical stress issues are those with a low priority and are very difficult to change. Learn to change what you can, influence what you will and give up on those things that you cannot control. For those stressors you can change, the key is to develop a specific plan of action for creating the change you want, then follow through with that plan. (I know I make it sound simple but it really is that simple) For those stressors you cannot change, the key is to change your response to them. (Mind over matter. If you don’t mind then it doesn’t matter)

Eliminate the stressors or change your response to them 

To accomplish more with our lives and achieve a greater feeling of satisfaction we must reduce or eliminate unproductive stressors in our lives where ever and when ever possible. and improve our ability to cope with those stressors that we cannot eliminate. (You don’t get to pick your relatives or immediate family but you can choose how much time you spend with them) Attitude – your attitude is 100% in your control. Only you get to decide how you want to react to any given set of circumstances. Only you get to decide when to take a few deep breaths to calm yourself, walk away or simply ignore it all together.

Use the coping resources available to you 

There are a number of social services available to you to help you cope with those major life events like disease, divorce and even death. You don’t have to carry the load yourself. Reach out – it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help – it’s a sign of strength.  Hobbies are also a great way to de-stress at the end of the day. Exercising, eating right and sleeping right will also help reduce the ill-effect of stress in your life.

Develop new coping resources

You only know what you know. If what you are currently doing to cope isn’t working, then you need to discover a better way. Read a book, attend a workshop or better yet join a support group. The last thing you should do is sit at home alone with too much time on your hands. The last thing you should do is sit alone at home feeling sorry for yourself. Getting knocked down isn’t the issue, everyone gets knocked down. Not getting back up and doing something about it is. You can learn to deal with the “S” word. It’s 100% in your control. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian Smith is available for speaking engagements, one-on-one coaching sessions and workshops. Contact Brian directly at briansmithpld@gmail.com or visit his site http://briansmithpld.com