I grew up around the construction trades. Before I was even a teenager I owned my own power tools: A drill, jig saw, and circular saw. I still have the jig saw. But the circular saw had a problem. It was misaligned and it was hard to cut straight with it. I learned then that bad tools get bad results.
Good tools, on the other hand, make getting good results easier – assuming you know how to use them well.
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for handling difficult conversations. Different cultures, personalities, relationships, and histories all call for high emotional intelligence in determining how to address conflict. But here are some tools that most leaders would benefit from pulling out of their toolboxes more often. Continue reading Healthy Disagreement
Good questions are powerful. Not just because of the information they surface, but even more because of how they impact the asker, the answerer, and everyone else in the room. In short, our brains engage differently when we hear a question than when we’re told something. Continue reading Ask Anyway…
“They know that”. Possibly one of the most growth-stunting phrases in a leader’s mind. We tend to assume that others know what we know. The ideas have floated around in our own heads or in closed-door meetings for weeks (or months, or years), but they’re coming out-of-the-blue to others. We have to talk about them rather than assume others already share our head space.
Get me talking about one of my passions and I can bore you to tears in minutes. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ramble on for hours! Whether you’re in a one-on-one meeting, presenting to the board of directors, or addressing a large audience, how do you decide how much to say when sharing your expertise?
Know Why You’re There
Unless you’re the one who called the meeting and set the agenda, it’s a safe bet the organizer invited you to provide some information or perspective that the audience lacks and needs. It’s your responsibility to find out – preferably ahead of time – exactly what need you’re expected to meet. Clarity sets you up for success. Making assumptions sets you up for failure. Rarely is an audience satisfied just by you rambling on to demonstrate the breadth of your knowledge. Continue reading Deciding How Much to Say…
I slipped up this week. On Monday I told several people I would have something out to them by Tuesday. This was Wednesday morning. Someone else owed me the last piece I needed so I could do my part. It might come in any minute. Or maybe not. But naively thinking I would have it, I had made a commitment.
Never in history have we had so many options for how to communicate with each other. Face-to-face was once the only alternative. Then we added written words and pictures – although before paper, being carved in stone was a constraint! Radio and telephone introduced real-time remote options, and now the internet offers many ways to communicate with almost anyone, anywhere in the world instantly.
This week I talked with a man who was frustrated by a boss who wouldn’t say, “thank you”. This isn’t a “high-needs” guy, but he’s self-aware enough to recognize that, like most of us, he’s energized by gratitude. Having just poured extraordinary effort into a successful endeavor, a little appreciation seemed reasonable. Continue reading Gratitude: High Yield, Low Risk Investments
Think about a conversation with someone who gives you his full attention, is genuinely interested in what you say, and doesn’t talk about himself all the time. These conversations leave you energized and willing to do your best to help that person.
Compare that to a conversation with someone who is all about his own agenda and knows you need his wisdom and stories. Your energy and commitment to help him succeed is diminished. Continue reading Influential Listening