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

Checkmate – How to Become a Better Leader in Four Moves 2

Leadership Cycle Coloured 2Whether you are in a management position or play a leadership role in your organization, the challenges remain the same. New leadership skills are required for the workplace of today and for the forseeable future. Success in managing or leading others is no longer dependent on your technical abilities alone. Soft-skills, your ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others, build collaborative teams, problem solve, resolve conflict and deal with difficult people and challenging situations better, now plays a more pivotal role in your success and the overall success of your organization and your people.

I believe to be a really great manager or leader you need to master all four disciplines of my “Four Step Leadership Development Model” (c) . The work environment is changing and you need to adapt to keep pace with those changes. You must have exceptional people skills and be able to bring people together, communicate often, teach others what they’ll need to know and then learn to get out of their way and let them do it. Don’t get left behind – learn to manage and lead the 21st Century way.

Congregate: “To collect into a group or crowd; to come together into a group, crowd or assembly.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Your success and the overall success of your organization begins and ends with your ability to bring people together. If you can’t connect with others on an emotional level, then you stand little chance of assembling a cohesive team. You are only as good as the people around you. Each individual is a vital link in the chain. Get to know your people for more than the job that they do. People like to work with people they like. Successful managers and leaders know how to develop those all important relationships and build collaborative teams.

Communicate  “To convey knowledge of or information about; to cause to pass from one to another.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Communication isn’t just something – it’s everything! If you can’t communicate – you can’t manage or lead others. I can’t think of a more valuable skill set for managers and leaders to have, than the ability to communicate effectively up, down and across the organization. If you can’t send the message and have it received the way it was intended – then what you said means absolutely nothing. The words you choose and how you go about saying them can be the catalyst for action or inaction. 

Educate “To train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession.” – Merriam Webster Dictionary. I don’t believe there is any such thing as common sense. The only thing common about common sense, is that it’s not very common. We should call it “Life Sense” because it seems the older we get, the smarter we get. We aren’t born knowing what we need to know, to be able to teach someone else what they need to know. I believe having the ability to teach someone else is a learned behavior. Successful managers and leaders are great teachers and coaches.

Delegate “To entrust to another; to appoint as one’s representative.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. If you fail to delegate you are robbing your people of their opportunity to grow. Successful managers and leaders understand that they aren’t the end all and be all. Successful managers and leaders understand that they must give up control to get control. Resist the urge to micro-manage others. Your ability and willingness to delegate effectively are essential to freeing up your time, so you can carry out your duties and responsibilities as a manager or leader.

Any time is a great time to start a new beginning. Which one of these four disciplines; congregate, communicate, educate or delegate will you need to improve upon to be a more effective manager or leader? Don’t get left behind – you can become a better leader in just four moves.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Excerpts from Brian’s soon-to-be-published workbook “Leadership Lessons from a Reformed Control Freak – The Art of Managing and Leading in the 21st Century(c)”. Brian is available for keynote speaking or facilitating training sessions on a variety of soft-skills topics including: communication, time management, problem solving, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations better and developing the leader in you. To find out more visit http://briansmithpld.com

What’s Getting in the Way of You Leading? 5

images (36)If dolphins, lions and wolves can do it – why is it so difficult for humans to do it too? Why is it so difficult to put a group of people together and have them perform as a team? Teams, or at least the concept of teams, are the primary force of most organizations today but, without a strong leader, teams stand little chance of being successful. Team success or failure rests solely on the shoulders of the leader. If your team isn’t as successful as they could be or should be – it’s time to take stock of your leadership style and make some changes.

Worth Remembering … “It is not the individual but the team that is the instrument of sustained and enduring success in management.” – Anthony Jay 

You can increase your chances of leadership success by avoiding or maneuvering around these ten obstacles to building collaborative and productive teams. What’s getting in the way of you being a more effective leader? Are you guilty of committing any of these offences?

  1. Lack of a competent leader: Leaders aren’t expected to know everything. But, they are expected to know who to go to and find out.
  2. Lack of goals and goal alignment: Leaders need to be very clear on what it is they want to accomplish and have a general idea of how to go about accomplishing it.
  3. Individual focus on themselves and not their team: There can’t be any hidden personal agendas. There can only be one agenda – the team’s agenda. Everyone needs to understand that if the “team” wins – everyone wins – including the leader.
  4. Lack of understanding team members: What motivates you may not motivate them. Leaders need to take the time to find out what their people’s individual needs are. And then work very hard to make sure their needs are met.
  5. Lack of clarity on team roles: Everyone has a strength that they bring to the team. Leaders need to put people in positions where they will be able to play to their strengths.
  6. Lack of trust: If they can’t trust your word – they won’t trust you. Your word must be your bond. What ever you say you’re going to do – do it!
  7. Lack of accountability: You must hold yourself and others accountable. Standards aren’t open for debate. Standards must be met and maintained. However, how you go about accomplishing them can be.
  8. Lack of team focus: – Leaders must never lose sight of why you do what you do. Everything you do and say must be congruent with your purpose and vision, or you must not do it.
  9. Lack of spending time together: People want to feel important. They want to feel needed. Take the time to establish a relationship with the people you work with and interact with. People perform better for leaders they like and respect.
  10. Poor Communication: Leaders can`t communicate too much. People want to know what`s going on – good or bad. Especially if it`s going to impact them. If you can’t communicate – you can’t lead.

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a keynote speaker, planning a lunch-n-learn or training seminar? Brian will work with you to insure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out more about Brian visit http://briansmithpld.com