Thoughts for the Day

Conflict

We all come across this from time to time. Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes we are forced into it. We all have our preferred ways of dealing with it.

The best analysis I have found is the Thomas Kilman analysis. They establish 5 methods of dealing with Conflict as follows competing, getting what you want at all costs.

Collaborating, understanding both sides and reaching a mutually beneficial conclusion.

Compromising, applying a quick fix, but maybe leaving both sides in a lest preferred position.

Avoidance, working round the issue.

Accommodating, giving in for a quiet life.

One, or a mixture of the above, will work dependant on circumstances. Be prepared for conflict and be prepared to adopt or adapt accordingly.

Team Work

We all work in teams of varying shapes and sizes, here are a few lessons to help teams work better:

Do:

  • Negotiate and agree explict (written if necessary) rules of engagement.
  • Continually give feedback.
  • Have respect for other points of view and address team issues immediately without procrastination.

Don’t:

  • Treat team members as irrelevant.
  • Deny the importance of feedback.
  • Belittle contributions.
  • Break into subcommittees.
  • Cross talk.
  • Imagine you will all get along.

It is better also if you clearly define the Goals and Objectives of the team so that all members appreciate and understand their respective duties.

Will to win

Develop a thick skin – after setbacks it takes considerable self discipline to get back in the ring.

Learn to be resilient and fundamentally stick with your principles.

If you believe you are right, you will keep that will to win.

Crisis

If you come across this here are a few tips:

Firstly, try and plan for these. Put some scenarios in when you pretend that a crisis has happened. Ffamiliarity will mean that the crisis is not so critical.

Form a team of people who can help you manage the crisis and have better experience.

Adopt a crisis mentality. Sometimes democratic processes may not work. Adopting a strong leadership approach works best. Be careful about the choice of leader.

Protect and preserve your core values, these will see you through the crisis.

Be prepared to change. The reason you are in a crisis is that you did not see it coming and you therefore did not change in time.

Dont let the crisis dominate your life. Try to continue as normal as possible in other non-critical areas. Keep a sense of perspective.

Finally, the crisis will pass. Analyse the results and learn from your mistakes.

Choice

You know the difference between right and wrong. The issue therefore is that it is your choice what you do next knowing it is right or wrong.

Ask yourself why you would do something that you know to wrong know that further consequences will probably be painful. Why do what you will regret?

Meetings

The shortest meetings (and probably the most productive) are the ones you have standing up; e.g. in the corridor, at the water cooler, in the queue at the canteen.

Always, always go to a meeting with an Agenda – simply don’t turn up and attend. If you are driving the Agenda, stick to it. If you don’t know what is going to be discussed then ask.

If the meeting is going off the Agenda say so. if it continues to go astray then seriously consider walking out.

Be prepared in terms of your own inputs.

Be prepared to be flexible when you are not getting your own way.

Have strict time limits, start on time and finish on time.

Difficult people

Yep, we all come across them from time to time – here are some ideas:

Do nothing, wait until they are receptive to your thinking.

Change your perception – ask yourself why are they saying/doing what they are doing. Dismiss the notion that they are bonkers and try to see it their way.

Change the context – what is it that has triggered their dis-ease? Try reframing the context and see if their behaviour now makes sense.

Motivate them to change their behaviour. State the obvious – if you carry on like this, then X (bad) will happen; if you approach the matter differently the Y (good) will happen.

Above all, concentrate on the difficult behaviour, not the person. Try and understand why their behaviour is ‘difficult’.

Listening 2

I hope you read Listening 1 which are bad examples of listening

Here are some good examples of listening:

  • Actually hearing what is being said.
  • Understanding why they are saying it.
  • Wanting to help the person solve the dilemma (see my ‘Problems’ thought).
  • Accepting that the other person has strong feelings about their point of view.
  • Letting the other person finish what they are saying.
  • Reflecting.
  • Acknowledging that there may be middle ground between to polar opposites.

Basically, understand what the other person is saying. Listen not only with your ears but examine the content/context and body language of what is being communicated.

Do unto others etc.

If you have been brought up as Christian, you will be familiar with this principle. The usual interpretation of the phrase is to treat each other as you would like to be treated yourself.

However, consider this, the phrase goes beyond this slightly egocentric view. What it is actually saying is that you should treat other people as they would like to be treated; i.e in a way that pleases them. That way:
a) they will understand you better
b) they may even reciprocate this principle and you will understand them better

Don’t forget, not everyone has the same world view as yourself and therefore by seeing the world through other people’s eyes and having a flexible approach in treating people means you can get your message across much easier.

Reputation

No reputation is built on the basis of a single experience or the result of a solitary factor.

Reputation is a culmination of all the things you are good at done consistently well over an extended period of time. Once you have established what this is and what these things are then protect them and cherish them as valuable assets.