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Archive for the category “communication”

13 ways how to become a leader and a manager


13 ways how to become a leader and a manager 

I have just read yet another article on LinkedIn about how you are either a leader, or a manager. It separated leaders being the folks that do the lofty dreaming and entrepreneurial stuff, and managers are the drones who just make the stuff leaders come up with happen. I have grown to believe that this is absolute nonsense. There is always a combination of the two. If you are the CEO you still need to possess better than average managerial skills. Conversely, as a line manager or team lead you still need to be able leading your team members by creating a purposeful and engaging work environment. Here are 13 quick tips that can make a huge difference for how well you lead and manage your team.

  • Park your personal agenda and ego: Did you ever like a boss that is only concerned about his / her own issues, but never yours? Turn that down a notch or two. Have you ever seen the movie “Saving Private Ryan”? In it there is a great line about leadership: “Never gripe down, always gripe up.” Your folks are not interested about your woes; their’s are big enough the way they are.
  • Be fair: Kick up the old golden rule to platinum level. Treat others how they would like to be treated. Never treat people differently. You will regret it in the end. The moment you lose their trust you will no longer be privy to vital people and company information. There has to be clarity about what applies to everyone.
  • Help promote your team members: Nothing shows more respect than to be a great career steward. Help your team advancing in their careers.
  • Give them a great reason to spend their time at work: Purpose and impact is what people are looking for. Especially Millennials will emphasize on this point.
  • What happens at the work place, stays at the work place: Other than the heavy hitters of employee safety, harassment, discrimination, moral, and ethical problems, no other team member information is supposed to leave your lips. Confidentiality is the keystone to how much you will be trusted as a leader.
  • Make sure having a great one on one contact with your team members: Nothing beats being able to help and assist your team members on a one on one basis. You get to know about their struggles and aspirations and you can help make a difference happen.
  • Listen, listen, and listen: Your organization can tell you anything you want to know about the state of mind of your folks and also the strategic and tactical progress you are making (or the lack thereof). Boy, did that take me a while to learn how to do this better. Asking engaging questions is the tougher but better thing to do and you get to listen to your organization’s creativity come alive.
  • Embrace transparency and collaboration: This builds trust. Trust begets creativity. Realize that you cannot and should work alone. You need all the help you can get working toward common goals. The worst that can happen in business is to have success. Success can outgrow and outspend you in a heartbeat. You need a team that is nimble and fully engaged in order to make it through the ups and downs of the economy.
  • Be humble and grateful: Nothing beats a little self-depreciating humor when you make mistakes. Admit them and make them public. No one – not even you – should be able getting away with not learning from your mistakes. At the same time you want your team to stay informed enough such that they will not have to make the same mistakes either. Be grateful for the openness your team affords you. Not allowed are intentional or pattern of mistakes.
  • Do something with what they tell you: When your team is trying to tell you that there is a systemic problem with a process, policy, people, etc. do something with this info. That is why you became the leader-manager in the first place. Do not let anyone else handle this important detail for you. This needs to come from and through you. Taking charge of difficult situations is (unfortunately) something you will to get to deal with. Do it well and people will trust you.
  • Be mindful of other people’s time commitments: Knowing when to end a conversation is tough. Sometimes it feels great speaking with like minded folks about issues you are mutually facing. Cut it short if it no longer serves the purpose. Do not fall victim to scope creep either. One issue leads to the next and then there is another one, etc. etc. Trust me, there are more challenges than you can shake a stick at. Keep it to solving one short and effective issue at a time.
  • Prepare meetings well ahead of time: Most meetings are really not necessary, or the are simply not effective. Too often leader-managers look at them as a “working meeting”, meaning that the problem, problem statement, and possible solution finding happen with the attendees hearing about this issue for the first time.
  • Start and end meetings on time: Do this religiously. Yes, there are times when it may be necessary to run over. Attempt your very best to get a reputation for beginning and ending on time. Your folks want to get their tasks done.

Do not be afraid to fail with any of the above topics. Only very few business schools are providing leadership and soft skill training – yet. I am hoping that one day leader-manager training will become a mandatory topic at graduate and undergraduate level. Plan, Do, Reflect, and Correct your future behavior and you will have made the biggest change already. Remember that you are a leader-manager. Good luck!

Ralf

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One of the most effective ways to make any conversation effective


One of the most effective ways to make any conversation effective 

How many friends could you make with your mouth versus your ear? Oh my, this question hit me square in the forehead quite a while back. Here you have all the technology to reach out to so many people in real time and yet nothing matters until someone starts to listen. The key to making a difference is learning to keeping your mouth closed and to just listen. You can inject your knowledge and experience etc into the dialog depending on the questions that you will be asked in the process of listening. This is the most effective way of making any conversation a win-win situation.

It remains one of the toughest things to do for me. How about you? You have so much to share. You have bundled up so much experience. You have been on an excited life’s journey that should be shared. There is a time to share all of this, but you need to scan for the best time to do so. Best practice is to park your desire to make statements and assertions – that is if you are interested in learning something new about the other conversation partner. It is takes a little exercise, but the rewards can be remarkable. Then you need to literally force your brain to think about how to switch from questions that would give you a yes/ no response to open ended ones. At first, you will not fell easy about this, but just recall that these questions had better start out with a W or an H (where, who, why, what, when, how).

Stand back and then stand by what ensues. The greater percentage of people will enrich your life by blessing you with their experience, talents and most of all they will give you two elements of human interaction that are the most scarce these days: They are now giving you their attention and a little bit of trust that if you do this well can last a life time. That is how you make any conversation highly effective.

Blessed beyond measure,

Ralf

4 golden rules of networking


4 golden rules of networking 

There are still some sales folks around who will explosion vomit their solutions all over their potential customers followed immediately by asking for more business. Wow. Good luck with that approach. Relationships are earned – there are not owed to you.

Patience, value creating, and competency are needed in copious amounts in order for you to be offered an open ear. Only then can any solid relationship happen. Just slipping your business card quickly into people’s hands during your first encounter – especially C level folks – is usually a waste of time. Networking events are for providing value and for connecting people of value to others. Here are four things to consider when networking:

  • Be prepared to add value to your new contact. This is by far the most important point in any networking activity. If you have nothing to add to any new relationship then don’t wonder why your circle of relationships does not increase. Remember that it is not important whom you know, it is more important who knows and remembers you.
  • Willingness to give before asking for anything. Honestly, do you really think that asking for favors the first time you meet someone will get you anywhere? You may luck out guilt tripping someone into giving you something, but is that sustainable in the long run? Approaching anyone with an open heart, soul, and your intellect / mind and making sure that you are willing to give your talents away helping someone else is the best way to start your networking process.
  • Invest your time smartly – but please make sure that you do spend time with your newfound friend. Only when you get to spend some significant quality time together will you really get to appreciate new folks and old alike. When people see and get to experience first-hand that you are the real deal you make a deeper connection that is trust based. That is the essence of relationship building.
  • Make sure you are genuine and sincere. Be genuinely compassionate with everybody. Compassion means that you are suffering with someone else. That is what it is all about. When you care enough to stop noticing what the real issue is that someone has, only then will you be able creating a much more genuine relationship. Listening and truly understanding where someone is coming from is essential for applying the correct technology / method to solving issues.

Networking is easy and effective if you are willing to give first. There is only one thing that you can ask. Ask for whom may be able to help you, or ask for another connection this person could possibly offer to you. Your new contacts owe you nothing, certainly not respect or their time. Earn their attention by working hard connecting them with new people, ideas, concepts, products, and services. Only then will you become a master at networking and your income potential rises with it.

Ralf

1 way how to turn a bad conversation into a positive one


1 way how to turn a bad conversation into a positive one 

Most conversations go awry when one person starts to use an accusatory tone. This can sound like this: “You always ignore me”, “You never consider my opinion”, or “Can you ever plan ahead?”

This kind of lingo can start a downward spiral of events. For one using “you” in this context typically is like poking your finger in the other person’s chest. Always, never, ever, etc, are rather strong words and most likely were not meant literally. Once offended the other person may start fighting back. And why not? After all, “always”, “never”, “ever” are very rarely true in the literal sense. The moment the other person also starts throwing similar sentences the other way, a battle of the minds will typically ensue. Even worse are those people of us who say such things to intentionally hurt and drawing pleasure from putting their friends, family, co-workers, employees, etc. down.

So, how can you turn this situation around? A way out is using the expression of feelings rather than using accusatory statements. If you can express how certain behaviors hurt you and how they make you feel, it is typically much easier for the other party to understand what has led to the issue in the first place. Also, the other person’s mental shutters and personal defense system are not engaged and a much more sincere and genuine conversation can happen.

So what could the sentences above sound like? Let’s try this: “When you do not pay attention to me while I am speaking with you makes me feel sad and undervalued.”, “Sometimes I feel like my opinion is not valued at all; it makes me feel ignored”, “Whenever you do not plan ahead I feel like you do not value my time and my day ends up in chaos”.

See the difference? Emphasis lies in expression how a certain behavior makes you feel and how it affects you. This is the way how to keep the conversation at a really professional and factual level. It does not offend and is not intended to make you get even with the other person. A much more fruitful discussion can result. Have fun trying it out.

Ralf

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