leadership incorporated blog

February 11, 2013

How smart leaders unintentionally murder successful outcomes

In the mid-1990s, the murder rate in Minneapolis was higher than New York’s. Things were so bad, people referred to the city as “Murderapolis.”

Today, that rate has dropped by 60%. How did they do this?

They gave high-risk teens an A.

I’m referring to the concept of “Giving an A” described by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander in The Art of Possibility (Penguin Books, 2002).

The idea is to assume that everyone is an “A student,” — even violent teens in Minnesota. You can see it in the core goals of Minneapolis’ program:

  • Every young person was supported by at least one trusted adult,
  • Intervention at the first sign of risk,
  • Focus on getting kids back on track rather than giving up on them,
  • Recognition that violence is learned; that there is a larger system at work.

This program assumed that every kid was deserving of support, intervention, training, trust and belief.  And it produced a dramatic result.

This same concept can make a big difference in the growth and effectiveness of your organization.

When we approach poor or underperformance from a stance of judgment and blame (the equivalent of assuming people are F students), what happens?

  • We become blind to root causes
  • We repeat the same patterns of poor performance over and over
  • We send discouraging messages to individuals that undermine their ability to recover
  • We send the team a message that blame is an organizational strategy, setting the stage for increasing blame in the place of problem solving
  • We increase costly drama and politics

When take the opportunity to assume that everyone is an “A student” it generally leads to the opposite actions:

  • Looking for root causes and creating more lasting solutions
  • Sending a message of support and expectation to the person that tends to increase effort and commitment
  • Establishing an organizational culture focused on attacking problems and not people, which increases trust, safety and retention
  • Reducing costly drama and politics

Meet Gordon, the VP of R&D in an information technology company.

Gordon lived in a constant state of fury brought on by Joan, one of his project directors. He had no patience for hearing that yet another of Joan’s deadlines had been missed and the raft of excuses that would follow. Their relationship had deteriorated to the point where they were barely communicating. He was ready to issue her a Performance Improvement Plan that would allow him to finally let her go at the end of 60 days.

He was giving Joan an F.

When I was brought in to coach Gordon, the conflict with Joan surfaced as one of his biggest challenges. When I asked Gordon how he would approach the situation if Joan were an “A student,” he realized that in his quickness to assess Joan as a underperformer, he had not once had a straight conversation with her about the challenges she faced.

Gordon uncovered that the issue was not with Joan but with another department Joan’s group was dependent upon for data.

By giving the other department an A in his negotiations with them, Gordon was able to work out realistic deadlines and help them in resolving a bottleneck that was consistently keeping them behind schedule.

Do you want to be right or do you want to be productive?

When I present this concept, I’m often asked, “When can I give someone an ‘F’?”

This question asks, “When can I blame?” My response is “Never!”

Blame never leads to the best possible outcome.

This does not mean you won’t give people honest and constructive feedback. It also doesn’t mean that you won’t hold people to the highest standards. Or even sometimes let an employee go.

You may take the very same actions when giving a person an A as you would have when giving them an F. Yet, the quality of the experience of those actions will be completely different for all concerned — in ways that support rather than undermine growth and success.

The concept of assuming people are “A-students” actually makes it easier for you to effectively hold someone accountable, as well as to support them in creating the outcomes your business needs.

One more distinction: you may be tempted to reframe this as “giving someone the benefit of the doubt.” This takes you halfway there, but still begins with doubt.

Giving someone an “A” begins with trust. And trust leads your organization down a very different and much more productive path.

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January 13, 2013

Where are your assumptions blocking the right solutions?

I’m rebranding. And it’s time for a new website.

Oh, what an odyssey!

When I started Leadership Incorporated in 2005, I had enough skill (from my 25 years in the ad biz) to put together a passably professional site on my own. Now my business has grown and evolved, I need a solution beyond my ability or time to produce.

So I set out to find a web designer to get the job done.

Spoiler alert: first mistake.

As your jammed spam folder can assure you, there is no shortage of web designers poised to redesign your site. Of course, I didn’t use the spammers. I reached out to the excellent web design professionals in my network, trying to find the right combination of design sophistication, programming ability and price.

I spent literally months in conversations with professional design companies. My gut told me we were talking about more work, time, complication and cost than I actually needed. But I didn’t have another solution.

I was ready to write the check and get moving when my business partner from my advertising past (who I should have asked to begin with, second mistake!) pointed out to me that WordPress has all kinds of new templates that don’t look like “templates.” A few looked almost exactly like what I had envisioned.

So I asked the project manager, “Couldn’t we save some time and money by using one of these WordPress templates instead of reinventing the wheel?”

His response: “Sure. But then you wouldn’t be talking to us, you’d go to a Themer.”

That was a slap-on-the-head-I-could’ve-had-a-V-8-moment! And my third mistake.

I’d never even heard of a Themer before! Turns out, there is a whole profession of graphic artists who aren’t web designers or programmers, yet work magic with WordPress themes. For a fraction of the cost! In a fraction of the time!

Big learning here with much broader application.

My mistakes: assumptions, assumptions, assumptions!

  1. I assumed that web design was basically the same as when I left the ad business almost 10 years ago. I forgot  that industries don’t just improve, they evolve. (Even someone who facilitates companies in evolving can make this mistake! Irony!)
  2. I assumed I was doing thorough research, and I was — in the area of web design. Only my earlier assumption kept me from looking into a perfect solution that I didn’t know existed.
  3. I assumed I had the right language. Go to a web designer and ask for design and that’s what they will quote and provide. It’s not their fault. My outdated language set me up to waste their time (I feel terrible about that) as well as my own.

Where might your assumptions have you pursuing the wrong tools and skill sets?

Here some effectiveness coaching tips to take from my mistakes:

  1. Become an absolute beginner. Put aside everything you think you know.
  2. Look for the total paradigm shift of a way to do the job (only better, faster and more cost effectively.) If you’re going to assume something, assume the world has changed fundamentally since you last used a similar tool. (Guaranteed it has!)
  3. Reach out to people more likely  up-to-speed than you are!
  4. Ask prospective vendors other paths you might take to get the same results. And hope you’ve got vendors who will tell you the truth!
  5. Listen to your gut. When you truly need a web designer go to a web designer. But when your gut is telling you that you don’t have the right solution yet, listen and explore other avenues. (Extrapolate to other solution providers as needed!)

One of Don Miguel Ruiz’ brilliant Four Agreements code for life is “Never Assume Anything.” Good advice.

April 22, 2012

How You Make The Difficult People You Work With More Difficult

Who ruins your day? The VP who has to be right no matter what? The client who doesn’t listen? The direct report who undermines your authority? The CEO who has to belittle someone in every conversation? Your colleague who, after you’ve come to an agreement, does exactly the opposite? The weenie who takes credit for your work? The softie who can’t make a decision?

OK. The person you’re dealing with really is a grade A jerk. Difficult. Unjustifiable. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And you’re right. So what?  What does being right get you? You still have to deal with it. And you still have to deal with the consequences of your interactions.

Let me offer you what may be an uncomfortable take on this, which just may change your life:

There is no such thing as a difficult person.

Difficult people are just human beings (no matter how much they may be disguising that) behaving in ways that they believe work for them.

The perception that they are difficult belongs to you. You are part of a system with them. And just as their behavior contributes to the difficulty, so does yours.

The good news: you can change any system by changing any part of that system. You may not be able to change the other person. But you can change yourself. And when you change, the system changes and then that person has no choice but to change.

It all begins with doing something different from the way you’ve been doing it. Here’s a quick roadmap:

  1. Depersonalize the situation. It may help to assign different names to the players and pretend that you are an objective observer.
  2. Identify the problem behaviors and the problem responses. Chances are good that you have a go-to response.
  3. Identify the costs of the difficulty. Look at the big picture as well as the more immediate one. Who else is impacted by this interaction?
  4. Identify your desired outcome. What would work better than what’s happening now?
  5. Put your butt in their seat. Develop an appreciation for why they’re making the choices they are making—and an understanding of what they want to achieve.
  6. Model the behavior you want to see. If you want them to listen, you listen first. If you want them to do it your way, try theirs.
  7. Strategize. What other ways might you respond to their behavior? Consider some of the following options: Get more direct or give more direction.  Become more connected. Look at ways you might offer support. Provide information. Use humor. Push back. Don’t push back. Agree. Disagree. Try it their way. Offer other options. Ask a good question.
  8. Try it out. Put a different strategy into practice and observe the results. Expect the discomfort that comes along with changing a habit and remind yourself that your desired outcome is worth it.
  9. Learn. Fine tune. Try again. 

Don’t give up. You’ll just go back to the way things were. Instead, keep moving forward. Keep being willing to adjust your own behavior and see what happens.

January 10, 2012

Short-Term Relief versus Long-Term Success

Bernadette is the managing partner in the mid-west office of a national law firm.

They’ve done well over the last few years, thanks to three senior attorneys with large, high-profile, anchor clients that have kept the firm busy.

Even as these attorneys have been critical to the success of the firm, they are also a big problem. They see themselves as the stars and others in the firm as dead wood. They are condescending and at times abusive of the other attorneys and support staff. Although they are already highly compensated and there is a significant income gap between them and others in the firm, they continue to push to widen that gap further. They strongly oppose any business objectives that do not directly support their practices, effectively preventing other attorneys from rising within the firm. Their sole focus is what is best for them, regardless of what is best for the firm.

Bernadette lives in fear of losing any of these key players. She sees the cost of losing any of the core clients as unacceptable. She works hard to keep the three attorneys happy. Her intention is to retain them at all costs.

The challenge is that morale in the rest of the firm is quite low. The culture is one of fear and resentment. There is a lot of turnover. She can’t pursue any strategy that isn’t supported by the triangle. And 2 of the three major clients are businesses with aging ownership and product lines in danger of becoming obsolete over the next several years.

Bernadette knows they are headed for trouble, but feels completely stuck.

What would you do in this situation?

Would you let the short-term risks rule the day? Or would you take a look at the cost of allowing these attorneys to hijack the business’ future? Would you focus on what people would think if you lost one or more of your key players or on what people think seeing the current turnover in the rest of your firm?

We all have challenges like this which interfere with the forward movement of our businesses. For you, it might not be partners or employees. It could be a strategy or a process. It could be a vendor. Or a way of thinking.

What are you afraid of losing that is causing you to make short-term decisions that undermine your long-term growth?

As we begin 2012, try this on: Shift your focus from addressing short-term problems to making the best choices for the long-term and see what new possibilities might arise.

August 14, 2011

Inspired to Succeed: Leading superstars (and others) behaving like idiots.

Ridiculously common leadership challenge:

That rising star you promoted into a management role, what a mistake! He’s throwing his weight around. She’s behaving unprofessionally. He’s demoralizing the staff. She’s creating conflict. He’s just not getting the job done.

So what do you do?

Traditionally, if we don’t ignore the situation or promote the person (which happens more often than you might think), we confront. We yell. We threaten. We paper the file. We discipline. We demote. We fire. We have that difficult conversation. That’s what accountability is, right?

Not necessarily.

Accountability is us taking responsibility. Us, being accountable.

Every day companies take people who are excellent at what they do and promote them into roles that require they do something more. They assume that people will naturally be as good at the new role as they were at the old one, without recognizing that the new job requires completely different skills and perspectives.

Bad management behavior is a sign of someone who’s drowning — and may not even know that swimming is required, much less how to do it.

As their supervision, their failure belongs to us. It is our job to lead even our leaders.

Should they know better? Maybe. But if they don’t, you are just fighting reality.

Is it understandable and even justified, to discipline these rogue managers? Maybe. It’s just not effective.

Let’s look at how traditional discipline works. We’ve all been there. How do you respond when you are slapped down? Do you push back? Become defensive? Resentful? Do you go underground? Does your confidence take the hit?

Even when people are open to feedback and want to do better, traditional discipline creates an extra layer of fear, defensiveness, and judgment that ultimately gets in the way of performance.

As leaders, what we had better want, even though we may lose touch with it in the moment, is for our people to truly succeed so that our organizations will succeed along with them.

Business is a team sport. If we want to grow, we need to develop and support our players.

Here’s a more effective approach to creating true and sustainable accountability in managers (and others) who disappoint:

1. Take responsibility. Don’t just push people into the deep end of the pool to sink or swim. Supervise and fine tune and guide and coach. Let them struggle — that’s how they learn — but don’t let them go under and certainly don’t let them drown anyone else to save themselves.

2. Align with the person you’re disappointed in. It’s counter-intuitive. We believe we need to confront. Yet, frontal attacks are always met with resistance. So instead of initiating a losing battle, create alignment.

This does not mean making unacceptable behavior okay. It simply means playing on the same team. Instead of standing in front of an employee and pushing them backwards; metaphorically, come around behind them and support their forward movement.

3. Direct their vision to the future. Speak to what is needed. Speak to what’s possible for this person in this role. Speak to their ability and your commitment their success. Be clear about what success looks like in this position in this organization, so they know what’s expected.

4. Build on what’s working. Focusing on what’s wrong keeps you stuck in what’s wrong. Cutting people down doesn’t build them up. Start from what is going well and focus on adding what’s needed. Ask them what support they need.

5. Do not do the work for them. If the support they request removes their responsibility or opportunity for learning, firmly decline and refocus. Empowering and facilitating is the shortest path to growing a stronger company.

6. Have them evaluate their own progress. You evaluate their evaluation. True accountability is helping a person hold him or herself accountable.

7. If you can’t do this, one of you needs to go. That’s right. If they can’t achieve the clear expectations with this kind of support, more often than not, they’ll leave on their own.

On the other hand if you can’t be this kind of leader, what hope is there for your organization?

Make the time. It’s worth it.


July 31, 2011

Do you know where you’re leading from in stressful situations?

 (458 words, less than 2 minutes read time)

An exec, high in ranks of a financial organization, was dealing with a CEO who was increasingly angry and demanding. The harder the exec tried to figure out how to please the CEO and gain his acceptance, the angrier and more demanding, and even abusive, the CEO became. With each new conflict, the exec always came at it asking the question: what do I have to do to get him to accept me?

It turns out, the CEO didn’t give a whit about the personal relationship. All he cared about were the business results. He was becoming more and more frustrated by this exec’s focus on the personal. The more the exec pressed for acceptance the less accepting and more demanding the CEO became.

Neither of these smart, talented, experienced professionals were wrong. Results are essential. So are good working relationships. What was going on is that each of them was approaching every problem from their own particular style and with a huge gaping blind spot to the style of other.

We all do this. We may think that we have many reasoned approaches to dealing with our business partners. But if we’re brutally honest with ourselves and take a  deep look, we’ll see that especially in the face of problems — real problems, the ones that stump us, the ones we don’t know how to solve, the ones that get under our skin — particularly in those moments, we each have our own habitual reaction that is our default. And it blinds us to other options and opportunities.

We might become angry and demanding. We might get very worried about the relationships and be unable to see anything else. We might focus on finding any solution that will stabilize the situation, anything to create peace now. We might focus on the details and facts, trying to prove our way out of the situation. We might go quiet and avoid the problem, hoping it will just go away. And so on.

The more stressful the situation, the more likely that we will approach it from that same room in our minds.

What room in your mind do you lead from when you are stuck in a business problem?

One of the ways I coach leaders and management teams is to make them  aware that they are only seeing the one room, while there’s a whole estate worth of other options available to them that can increase their effectiveness and their organization’s productivity.

The poet Hafiz said “Change rooms in your mind for a day.”

True leaders, when frustrated, change focus inside themselves before focusing outside themselves.
Become aware of your internal scenery. Find the door out of the room you’re stuck in and see what new solutions become possible.

February 20, 2011

How to destroy engagement, commitment and good work in 30 seconds or less.

This week I experienced first hand 5 huge mistakes leaders make in giving feedback — and the negative impact of those mistakes on forward movement toward their goals.

Last Tuesday I was the speaker at a local professional organization. As a growth engineer and consultant, I often speak to companies and other organizations about creating growth.

Rather than do all the talking, I like to create interactive experiences for my audiences that I intend will give them tools they can use immediately in their work and lives. This mini-workshop focused on helping professionals to flesh out their business growth goals for 2011.  I do this a lot and I usually get feedback that I open people’s eyes to fresh viewpoints.

This talk initially appeared  like any other. Of the 40 people in the room, most were actively engaged. As I introduced new perspectives on vision and the nature of growth, I saw widened eyes, expressions of contemplation and nodding heads. Only one person in the room was more focused on their BlackBerry than on what we were doing. Pretty darn good for 2011.

When we concluded, the group’s leader said “It’s our practice here to critique the speaker. OK with you?”  My inner voice hissed at me that “critique” was not the best way to set up a feedback situation. I didn’t listen to my inner voice. I should know better. She always knows what’s going on.

What happened next was about 10 minutes of people in “critique” mode telling me how others have done this before. What they thought I should have talked about instead. How I should have structured it.The leader went last and (thankfully) offered some positive feedback, speaking to the value he had received from the experience.

I  received some valid and useful comments. I also received some unrealistic perspectives: ideas that would have taken far more time than I had to work with. Ideas that were irrelevant to my topic. Ideas that were interesting for follow-up sessions, but which they framed as criticisms that I hadn’t covered those here and now.

Usually after I speak, there is a lineup of people who want to ask a question or connect later. This time, everyone averted their eyes from me and I found myself standing alone at the front of the room. I remember noting this same phenomenon when I was in the audience for another speaker in a similar situation (ironically in the very same room) about a year ago.
My coaching training helped me to keep all this in perspective. But many of the people to whom you may want to offer feedback won’t have had this training.

Here’s how employees react when leaders mishandle feedback:

  • Humiliation, disappointment, judgment of self and others
  • Certainty that the work in its entirety was a failure
  • Experience of themselves as a failure
  • Internalized or externalized anger at group and self
  • Disengagement from the group
  • Generalized insecurity, hesitation and loss of confidence for similar future work

All devastating stuff if you want to create growth in your organization!

What this leader did well:

  • Asked permission
  • Focused on what worked

Where this leader failed:

  1. Not providing a framework for the feedback
  2. Calling the feedback “critique”
  3. Leading with the negative
  4. Focusing exclusively on what didn’t work
  5. Giving suggestions instead of reactions

A MORE POWERFUL WAY TO GIVE FEEDBACK:

Begin with some detailed appreciation. It’s amazing how much better we can hear constructive criticism when positive acknowledgment comes first

Start by asking us to give ourselves feedback.

What did we think was working?

What did we think could work better?

We usually know. If we find it ourselves, we integrate it better and believe it more.

Only then, ask permission to add to our understanding. It may seem unnecessary but this formality makes a real difference in the person’s ability to hear and integrate the information.

If a group will be giving feedback, provide parameters for the feedback. For example: “Let’s stick to the content presented here. Please share with Sharon what worked for you and what might have worked better.”

Share only observations and reactions. For example: “The point about vision changing over time really resonated with me.” Or “At the beginning, I wasn’t clear where you were going.”
Don’t tell us how fix it. Let us find her own solutions.

Ask if we have any questions or wants anything clarified. Often when people are receiving feedback they shut down. This re-engages them in the process.

As leader should you give feedback last or first? It’s important to remember that people look to you for guidance to their own behavior. If you go first, you can set the tone for everything that follows. Of course, you may also inhibit differing viewpoints. One solution: lead with an example to get everyone started, and reserve most of your comments for the end.

Think this takes too much time? It only takes a few minutes more and the results save more than time. They save the engagement, commitment, confidence and future of not only the person but the project…and potentially your organization’s ability to reach its goals. This is what leadership looks like.

Wishing you an inspired week.

September 13, 2010

Inspired To Succeed: 5 Things You Can Do To Stop Infighting, Backstabbing, Bickering and Obstructionism

Imagine you are on the leadership team of a great organization.

Perhaps that organization is approaching major change (and really, what organization isn’t tackling change now?!) It could be the exit of a strong leader, a change in the structure or ownership of the organization, a shift in the business model. At first it looks like everyone is going to rise to the occasion, but then politics threaten to tear the organization apart.

This isn’t hypothetical. It happens to many organizations each year. And although major change creates the conditions that are ripe for politics — bickering, backstabbing and obstructionism can threaten the productivity, and  the viability, of any organization.

Have you ever been in this kind of situation? What did you do? Trying to change what’s become an embedded culture of politics can seem impossible. Yet, if you’re in a position of influence, you can refocus the team for success.

Here are 5 strong requests you can make to help get a self-destructing organization back on track.

Request #1: Take personal feelings out of it. Get everyone, including yourself, to look at where you may have a personal agenda or personal hurt feelings and have the maturity to put those aside.

Request #2: Look at the inevitable outcomes if you continue on this path. It’s not hard to project what will happen if infighting and politics continue. But people lose sight in the emotion of the moment. Walking through the natural progression of the path you are on can be an excellent wake-up call.

Request #3: Reconnect with what’s at stake. What is the purpose of this organization? What will be gained if it fulfills? What will be lost if it doesn’t?

Request #4:  Remember, amend and agree to the values of the organization. What does this organization stand for? Do we need to add or change any values that will help us to stay on track? Which behaviors and principles will support our success? And which will not?

Request #5: Anyone, including yourself, who can’t put the interests of the organization ahead of your own, needs to be confronted (as kindly as possible) and agree to either correct the situation or step down.

Have the courage to ask this of the leadership team and if the people are mature and honest enough you may turn it all around, refocus, and breathe new life into the mission.

Finally — and really first — if you ‘re a leader in an organization that you care about, no matter how old or healthy you are, make a succession plan. If you don’t know experts who can help you with this, get in touch. I know some great knowledgeable people to direct you to.

August 2, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: Do you recognize resistance when you see it?

So, I’m trying to lose some weight. And I notice that the days that I declare to myself, “No sugar today,” I end up eating sugar earlier than ever. I actually forget that I have even made myself this promise…usually until just a moment after the sugar is melting from my tongue.

Can you relate? Maybe not in this area, but we all have places where we do not keep promises to ourselves. Where do you do this?

Not following through on commitments is a form of resistance. You can probably see clearly how this resistance might sabotage my efforts toward my goal.

My resistance is brilliant. It continually takes new and different forms and is quite good at disguising itself and finding new ways to outsmart me. Your resistance is brilliant, too.

Resistance will keep us from achieving what we want and need. Worse than that, resistance has the power to sending us and our businesses careening in exactly the opposite direction.

Whether you are a leader in an organization or in your own life, anytime you find yourself in a change situation, you will find resistance. If you don’t, you are not looking hard enough. It is the way of things. You will resist. Your staff will resist. Your boss will resist. Your clients will resist.  Potential employers will resist. Your family will resist. The higher the stakes, the more resistance you will find.

If we are not aware that resistance is at work, resistance wins. But only 100% of the time.

Your only hope of overcoming resistance is to expect it. But even that isn’t enough. You also have to value it and embrace it. You have to work with your resistance, not against it.

You have to get intimate with resistance. And that starts with recognizing it. Here’s what you want to look for:

Obvious resistance is  easy to spot:

  • Refusal
  • Arguing
  • Disruptive behavior

The most powerful forms of resistance are usually much more subtle:

  • Not being available
  • Not getting started
  • Getting distracted and not completing
  • Offering misleading information
  • Bringing up other issues
  • Becoming very busy with something else
  • Getting sick
  • Anger
  • Irritation
  • Frustration
  • Confusion
  • Criticism
  • Silence
  • Feigning acceptance, without asking necessary questions or working out the details
  • Finding reasons to be removed from the task
  • Surfing the web
  • Compulsively checking your BlackBerry or iPhone

Oh yeah, and forgetting.

Which of these do you do? Which do you see the people you work with doing? Which do you see in your clients? Start noticing the signs of resistance in you and the people around you.

Remember resistance is very creative.

Next week, we’ll talk about a few ways to work with your resistance.

April 26, 2010

Inspired To Succeed: with dysfunctional people

What kind of dysfunctional people are you dealing with?

I’m hearing a lot lately about challenges working with clients, co-workers and particularly management who:

Scream

Can’t communicate

Humiliate

Are clueless

Never shut up

Don’t listen

Worry incessantly

Are paralyzed by fear

Have a hidden agenda

Lack an attention span

Are in-denial

Make stupid decisions

Say one thing and do another

Build obstacles

Plant road mines

They take us by surprise, catch us off guard every time.

They make us mad

Throw us off-center

Trigger our self-doubt and insecurity

They confound us

They turn us into people we don’t want to be. And get in the way of doing business.

Right?

Wrong. Actually THEY don’t do any of this. WE do it to ourselves in their presence. And we can change that.

But if we’re not mindful, we can find ourselves doing exactly the thing we hate that they do.

They don’t listen and we find ourselves jumping in and not listening.

They scream and we end up yelling back.

They lie to us and we lie back to them and to others.

We become the thing we despise and don’t even notice it.

Here are 7 ways for leaders to be effective with dysfunctional people in business:

1. See how predictable they are. Plan for how you will respond — not react — when they do what they do.

2. Prioritize. Know what’s most important to you and what doesn’t matter. Pick your battles. Be intentional.

3. Take responsibility for your own pace. Choose not to get caught up in their energy.

4. Listen deeply to them. Listen for what’s underneath what they say or do.

5. Check your assumptions. Ask them “is this what you’re concerned about?”

6. Be honest with yourself.

7. Tell them the truth — without emotion and ask permission first. “Can I give you my honest perspective?” When they say yes (and they almost always will) tell them how you see the consequences of their behavior. “When you talk over me, you’re missing some important information.” OR “When you scream, it makes it harder for me to hear what you are trying to tell me.” OR “When you direct us to do X, it appears counterproductive to Y.”

Give them the space to process the information and be as patient with them as you’d want them to be with you in tackling your area of dysfunction 😉

Have an inspired week and feel free to let me know how it goes…

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