No Psychology Required

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We can get into trouble trying to analyze people whose behaviors confound us. We humans are complex; even the experts stumble trying to figure out people’s personalities. More important: the more we focus on what (we think) is wrong with them, the more they will get stuck there.

To get people unstuck, let’s instead take small steps, focus on desired behavior, and express our belief in their ability to improve.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: [Yes, this is Freud’s office.] Alessandro Grussu Londra-215 via photopin (license)

When You Want to Knock Heads About

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We leaders spend a lot of time dealing with other people’s behaviors. But we can not blame them or use their behaviors to justify our reactions. Our reactions always only ours.

We can, however, choose to see our reactions as signals.  These–and all bad feelings–are signals that we are out of step with what the wiser parts of us know to be truer, better-feeling perspectives.

Since our reactions are the only thing we can ever control, we all are able to heed those signals. We then pause and listen for the that wiser part’s always more productive and efficient way of handling things.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: And don’t worry. All of us from time to time think, “But isn’t it faster and easier to just knock some heads about? Can’t I guilt, coerce, demand, or manipulate them into doing what’s needed?” No, that’s never faster or easier; it’s always less effective. We all know this and just need an occasional reminder.

 

Today’s photo credit: McBeth Marcus gets some sah-weet action with the ladies via photopin (license)

Tough Love

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter
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Seeing unhelpful behavior from someone on the team, we tend to either avoid or press.

If we tend to avoid, we don’t want the conflict. But then we will keep missing the opportunities to call people on unhelpful behaviors. They will believe we tacitly agree with their approach. The longer we wait, the harder it is to call them on it, and the worse it gets.

If we tend to press, we like to tell it like it is. Usually, they will read anger or at least frustration in us. But this unwittingly causes withdrawals from the relationship bank accounts we have with others. The more we press, the more likely they are to give up on us.

Seeing unhelpful behavior, our job is not to press or avoid. It is to go for tough love.

We just have to remember to do both the tough and the love.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Erin

We Have To Call Them On This Stuff

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

Social conventions tell us not to say anything when we witness less-than-effective (or worse!) behaviors such as BS, bad-taste jokes, drama, or poor treatment of others.  We don’t want to add to the problem by kicking up a fuss.

But, good leader (with or without title), we have to call them on this stuff. It’s our job.

Happily, we can do it with a minimum of fuss. The most effective way is to name what we just saw. First, we affirm in our minds that it’s the behavior not the person we want to address. This will help them remain open instead of getting defensive. Next we quietly, calmly name what we saw. Examples: “I notice you haven’t answered the question yet,” or “What you just said was disrespectful,” or “You seem to be reacting strongly.”

Then we let there be silence.

They will either get it and correct things or put up a fight. If they get it, thank them. If they put up a fight and their points are valid, say so: “You bring up a good point. Let’s discuss that next (or offline later).” If they put up a fight and they are just being defensive, say so: “You seem to quite defensive,” or, “I notice you’re putting up a fight instead of addressing the issue I raised.”

It can be uncomfortable, at first, to call out these behaviors. We need to do it anyway.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Ed Yourdon Football: Jets-v-Eagles, Sep 2009 – 29 via photopin (license)

You Gotta Tell ‘Em

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Needing to deal with poor behavior from someone (especially when it’s consistent) is actually our second problem. Our first problem is telling them.

If we tell them, we fear, they may overreact, under perform, or leave. But if we don’t tell them, everybody else will overreact, under perform, or leave.

Dang.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: We can’t, under the guise of development, sneak them into a program or have them see a coach to fix their behavior. Without the clear understanding that they have a gap between how they act and how they need to act, they very very likely will not change. Gotta tell ’em.

 

Today’s photo credit: cc

bad dog

Wrong

Posted on Posted in We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
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“You are never prepared for our meetings.”

“I really am no good at sales.”

“They are screwing things up.”

“You are wrong.”

Whenever (w-h-e-n-e-v-e-r) we think that there’s something wrong with you, them, or me, we make the mistake of attacking identity.

If you assert (out loud or to yourself)  that I am wrong, I will get defensive and you will similarly react to my reaction. The same reactions happen, oddly, when we think we ourselves are wrong. These reactions delay, distract, and derail us on our way to success.

Though our behavior perhaps was ineffective or damaging, you, them, and I are not the problem.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Darin cc

tango

It Does Take Two to Tango

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter
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Because, as leaders, we enter many relationships, we often find ourselves bothered by and reacting to other people’s actions. Whenever and with whomever we repeatedly feel angry, rejected, unsafe, or criticized etc., we have joined them in an unpleasant dance.

Intellectually we can see that it’s not all them; we own at least half of the problem. But we join the dance before our intellect knows what’s happening. Subconsciously, we run a program that says, in effect, “When they do X, I judge them in this way–it feels bad to me as I do, by the way–and respond like this. To do otherwise would be wrong or hurtful to them or me.”

And it’s not true. We have better choices.

We can catch ourselves getting tripped by their behavior. We can flip our judgments to thoughts that feel good. We can commit to win-win.

Doing so, we put our best foot forward to lead a new dance.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: J’ via photopin cc

How to Deal With Other People’s Unhelpful Behavior

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

We often witness in others unhelpful behaviors that get in the way of everyone getting to desired, win-win results. Such behaviors include passivity, aggression, lying, schoolyard politics, bullying, blaming, excuses, disdain, disrespect, manipulation, abuse, stealing credit, avoiding, talking over, clamming up, etc.

These behaviors stymie us because we tend to either ignore or criticize them, neither of which works. Not wanting to deal or wanting to be polite, we ignore but can only tolerate so much. Then we criticize. We attack, explain, tell, or complain. But these actions only generate defensiveness and resistance from the people we address.

To get beneath and beyond the behaviors and resistance that get in the way, use truth-telling. Like explaining etc., truth-telling is a proactive step. Rather than going into why they shouldn’t do something or what they should do, we merely state the unhelpful behavior we notice. Then we zip our lips. And we wait patiently for their response.

Examples: “I notice you’ve been late to every meeting this week.” “It seems you are really angry about this.” “You really want me understand something here.” “I am pretty sure that is not true.” “You seem to want to avoid this discussion.” and, “It seems you are shifting blame to others.”

With the ball clearly in their court, they eventually respond. And, eventually, they drop their defenses. When they do, we can negotiate with them meaningful improvement and change.

In your corner,

Mike

PS: The silence after a truth-tell will be uncomfortable. That’s why it works.

shortcut

An Unexpected Shortcut Through Others’ Bad Behavior

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
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Much, if not all, of the bad behavior we see in others comes from fear, uncertainty, doubt, worry, anger, and remorse. (We can call all that, “fudwar.”) Fudwar and the behaviors it sponsors are habitual. That’s because fudwar feels really bad. And, at some point long ago, they adopted those behaviors we see now as a way to manage.

Reminding ourselves of others’ fudwar gives us a shot of compassion. Never underestimate your power to change everything for the better with only that shot of compassion.

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Seriously. No planning, no decisions, no actions required. Just a sort of being there with them and your shot of compassion. Weird? A tad. And a darn effective shortcut through the mess of fudwar.

PPS: Yes, of course we have our own fudwar, too.

 

Today’s photo credit: BaconStand via photopin cc