What Is A Real Leader?

Real Leaders recognize leadership is a relationship between you and your employees. You have to value their well being, their effort, their successes like you would your family.
 
Leadership is being a coach and mentor just like you would coach your grandchildren – sharing respect and security; feeding their desire to grow… knowing there is always a learning curve.
 
Leadership is knowing that even though you may be an expert, we live in a culture of change and there is always something new to learn…. or you risk falling behind.
 
Real leadership is communicating with people as they are… not as if they were you – with your goals, your knowledge, your stresses. Leaders recognize people are individuals and do not wish to be mini-clones of you.
 
Leadership recognizes everyone has emotions – they do not freeze when they (or you) walk through the door. Leaders also recognizes the relationships you need to nourish and respect are based on emotions. Trust is an emotion; so is Motivation and so is Respect… and the list continues.
 
Leaders build relationships that last… and the foundation of a leaders legacy… the foundation of a leaders personal and professional brand is their ability to build trusting, respectful relationships while motivating the people around them to achieve their greatest potential.
 
Real leaders are not perfect… but they try and are transparent of their shortfalls as well as their efforts and their successes. Leaders know their vulnerability only builds greater loyalty from others.
 
Real leaders want to make a positive lasting impact in the lives of their employees as well as their suppliers, customers and shareholders.
 
Real leaders never want to make a positive lasting impact at the expense of their employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders.
 
Bruce….

What we do every day of our lives is what matters.

We hope you enjoyed this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Leadership Skills, Motivation Skills, Difficult Conversation Training, Business Email Etiquette, Time Management, Mindfulness and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

 

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Having Difficult Conversations: Why They Are Important

Difficult conversations are important to have, so why do we avoid them? We avoid difficult conversations for many reasons, including:

  • We don’t want to make matters worseWhy It's Important To Have Difficult Conversations
  • We fear we’ll be attacked back
  • We don’t want to be mean 

It’s natural to fear difficult conversations – however the truth is that when we practice compassion and treat each other with respect, the conversations rarely are as difficult as we expect.

Avoiding vs. Having Difficult Conversations

When we avoid difficult conversations the issue never has a chance to be resolved. Plus, as we play the stories over and over in our mind, the stories gets louder and the people in the stories become bigger and bigger villains.

Having difficult conversations is an opportunity to build trust and respect. When we learn to build trust we also learn we can challenge each other without fear which means our relationships with other people and/or organizations improve greatly.

When we have difficult conversations we:

  • Demonstrate we care enough to bother (vs. sweep it under the rug)
  • Respect creativity and other people’s opinions / experiences / education
  • Might identify we are missing something – (two minds are better than one)
  • Build confidence in ourselves and our relationships
  • Create trust and respect

Having Difficult Conversations (how to prepare)

Difficult conversations should have a structure and the following 8 steps will help you prepare. When you can’t prepare, fall back on what will soon become your great experience. Overall, stay positive, listen mindfully, be compassionate (don’t attack), and do not be defensive. Difficult conversations are rarely conflict situations until we make them that way.

For example, you might be thinking “They are lazy,” when in reality they had other important priorities you didn’t know of.

Once you’ve agreed to take the initiative, use the following steps to prepare:

  1. Decide what you want to say in advance:
    • Then, decide if this is worthy of sharing or is this all about ‘you’ and something you need to work through on your own.
  2. Explore ‘What is your purpose, what is your desired outcome and what are your facts? How can you frame it so it’s not an attack? Why is this difficult for you? What are you afraid of?’
  3. Be prepared to discuss behaviour & how you feel. For example:
    • Instead of “I hate the way you interrupt me,” share your story. “Each time I began answering the customer’s question you spoke over me. I’m not sure you even noticed, so I wanted to share this with you because when this happens I feel like you don’t trust my experience.”
  4. Have you contributed to the problem?
    • Take personal responsibility – own your own stuff.
  5. Is the timing right for you AND them? Are they in a space where they can manage the difficult conversation? This cannot be your excuse NOT to have the difficult conversation:
  6. Start by saying this is hard for you:
    • I would like to talk about something that you may find challenging. This is hard for me also but it’s important.
  7. Stay positive, flexible and listen mindfully. If your purpose is honorable a few mistakes will be overlooked.
  8. Afterwards, evaluate how it went. What did you learn? Could you have done it differently?

If this really is a difficulty conversation, the other person now has the choice to do something with the information you shared… or to do nothing. If this was a conflict situation, some resolution will have to be found. (I will discuss the differences between Difficult Conversations vs. Conflict in another next post).

Conclusion

Having difficult conversations is vital to healthy, vibrant relationships.

Get clear on your purpose – make sure your purpose is constructive and not about teaching them a lesson. If you get emotional, heated and off topic then it’s likely they will also get emotional.

And finally, be comfortable being uncomfortable. Yup – difficult conversations will be uncomfortable. But, you are amazing. Your intentions are good and you are willing to be uncomfortable for the benefit of the individual, relationship and/or company.

Happy communicating.

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If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

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Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

How To Communicate: Communication Skills At Work

When we communicate with customers and co-workers we have to manage an almost endless list of conflicting feelings – for example: Hope and Excitement… or perhaps Boredom and Irritation. And then we’re asked to do something impossible; to leave our feelings at home in the name of productivity and organizational goals.

A clear sign of our feelings being alive and well at work is when we are speaking with a co-worker or customer and they begin the conversation with “I need….“. The “I need….” language style often translates into feelings of “more for you – less for me” which rarely evokes a desire to be creative or helpful. Does the following chart feel familiar?

Nobody wants to work with someone who makes demands. And because our feelings are not being considered guess what happens… productivity goes down because we’re not as helpful, creative, and compassionate with our co-workers and customers as we would prefer to be. We’re too busy being guarded and protecting ourselves… and this takes a lot of time and energy which is expensive in lost productivity and lost innovation.

Instead, if we considered and respected each others feelings we would all give 110% (or more), and our projects would be more likely to:

  • Succeed
  • Develop increased trust and respect
  • Create greater communication harmony
  • Be accomplished quickly and with greater creativity
  • Have fewer errors – which saves time and money

Transform Our Conversations

How do we unlearn our current habits? Lets start by learning a few new behaviours so that we can transition our conversations into positive, supportive experiences with customers and co-workers.The first step is a really easy solution that still honours and respects organizational goals.

  1. Take the opportunity to establish mutually beneficial goals.  Wow – could it be that easy?
  2. Show respect by asking people to participate – don’t take their time and effort for granted. Take a cooperative approach to our conversations / negotiations. We have to retire our (likely learned behavior), to use aggression to get what we want.
  3. Consider our customers and co-workers points of view and respect their feelings and experience.
  4. Describe in as much detail as we can our desired outcome – what will the end product look like? Include “What’s in it for them” (if possible) as well as “What’s in it for you“. This will:
    • Reduce misunderstandings
    • Establish partnerships
    • Show our communication partner how they can participate
  5. Use language that’s in line with their own knowledge. Never talk over someone, make them feel foolish or inadequate.

Imagine two people pushing against each other vs. working together. We can accomplish so much more when we work together.

When we respect our co-workers and customers they will respect us back – and cooperate more.

Listen

Learn to listen – really listen. This helps us find solutions that meet more of everyone’s needs.

One step to be a better listener means we validate what we think we hear instead of using our own knowledge and experiences to jump to conclusions about what our partner is saying (and what is needed to solve it). By turning off our ‘communication filters‘ communication becomes easier and more accurate.

When we listen we learn what’s important to each of us. We also:

  • Get clarity about our next steps
  • Inspire each other
  • Are able to collaborate on projects

Conclusion

Find out what others feel / want. Listening and asking a few open-ended questions can go a long way.

In the short-term, cooperative communication may take more effort to get what we want and when work get busy we might forget to use some of the skills we’re practicing. Don’t worry – keep practicing. In the long-term forceful behaviour damages our reputation and the willingness of people to support us. Who wants to help a bully? Nobody.

Change takes time and practice. This is one area where you will immediately start to see progress – and that progress will continue to develop the more you focus on open, cooperative communication. Do this and you will build a reputation as a great communicator.

Happy communicating.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

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