Frustrated And Fuming: 5 Ways To Still Lead Well

“I’m just so frustrated,” his eyes had changed from fuming to weary. He shared, “I know anger isn’t working, but as my wife would say, “I didn’t yell the first 5 times.”

The situation was complex. We were both frustrated with the stagnant results, and had been collaborating on several strategies. He’s a strong leader, but I’d received feedback about his approach. His intensity was impacting his effectiveness. Even the perception of yelling is bad. But his words made me pause.

I had just yelled them in my kitchen.

Meat Drawer Meets Frustration

“I didn’t yell the first 5 times.”

  1. Honey, please don’t put the lunchmeat in the drawer with the raw meat
  2. Sweetheart I’ve labelled the drawers so you know where everything goes
  3. This is the 3rd time, please don’t put the lunch meat with the raw meat
  4. (Now slamming the meat into the right drawers) and an evil glare
  5. Why won’t you listen to me?
  6. You’re doing this on purpose to spite me. Why don’t you value our relationship enough to listen (you get the picture).

5 Ways to Lead Past Frustrated and Fuming

  1. Pause – When you’re that mad, don’t react. Walk away and consider the approach.
  2. Explain Why – Now one could argue that a grown man should understand “why” you don’t want leaky chicken on your bologna. That’s futile thinking. Instead share your vision and reasons for your point of view. Maybe the team doesn’t really understand the “salmonella” you’re working to convey. Step back, and calmly explain your vision.
  3. Ask Questions – People behave in patterns for a reason. There’s always a counter argument. Ask sincere (not sarcastic) questions and truly listen for the response. It turns out, my labels were still confusing. Lunch meat is meat after all.
  4. Model It – Roll up your sleeves and calmly model the behavior. Ask them to join you and explain what you’re doing and why. Again, gently. It’s easy to act like a jerk when you’re frustrated and fuming.
  5. Tell Stories – Tell your friend’s story of the provolone kept in the meat drawer that made her whole family sick. Stories are always more memorable than yelling.

Your Hard Sell Is Hard To Buy

If you want customers, stop selling. Hard sells exhaust. Aggressive pitches scream, “Do this for ME.” Every day, I close down down to parades of hard sells.

Last week I re-opened my mind to a sales exec who caught my interest by offering consultation to a real business problem. Two years ago, his predecessor pushed with a hard sell in the wrong context. I didn’t take the time to learn what the product was about. It took a long time to recover. This time it felt helpful and I’m listening.

Whether your’re selling a product or yourself. Approach matters. If you want customers or employers to listen, approach gently and solve problems.

From Hard Sell to Easy Relationships

Hard to Buy
“There are more fakers in business than in jail.”
~ Malcolm Forbes
  • Bringing the sales guy to the service meeting with a surprise agenda
  • Asking to expand the relationship, when performance is lagging
  • LinkedIn Spam emails
  • Follow-up Linkedin in Spam emails acting flabergasted that the first email was ignored
  • Sales pitches disguised as “Training,” “Workshops,” or “Webinars”
  • Sales people who don’t know the business or haven’t done their homework
  • Exagerated claims and manipulated data
  • Cold calls with creative tactics to get past the gatekeeper (burn those books)
  • Name dropping in interviews or sales pitches
Easy to Buy
“Stop Selling, Start Helping”
  • A track record of success in the current relationship
  • Networking through trusted relationships
  • Well researched analysis of problems, with creative solutions
  • Establishing non-sales professional connections in Linked and Social media
  • Helping without expectations
  • Showcasing what you can do
  • Sharing expertise
  • Intelligent questions

Executives turn down parades of hard sell approaches every day. We also tune into amazing networks of helpful people. How will you show up?

Everyday Empathy: A Podcast Interview With Dr. Paul Furey

I sat waiting for the Doctor to explain the procedure. If ever a situation called for empathy, it’s waiting to see if you have cancer. Not all doctors nail this. He sat down, looked me straight in the eye, and the took a very deep breathe and breathed out slowly. His eyes full of sincerity, he said, “I know this is very scary.” Then paused. We both let that connection happen before we moved onto logistics. 60 seconds. I was scared but supported.
Empathetic connections can happen in a moment.
My situation turned out well. That experience inspires deep empathy for those whose conversations are ending differently.

Empathy is contagious.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, Feel and Grow Rich, I’ve interviewed Dr. Paul Furey as the second offering in our Let’s Grow Leaders podcast series.

Understanding Empathy- An Interview with Paul Furey Final

Paul shares practical techniques for creating empathetic connections in everyday situations.
You may also enjoy his free
empathy assessment.

Feel And Grow Rich: 5 Ways To Learn Empathy

“The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.”

Great leaders are empathetic. Tomorrows jobs will require even more empathy. Forbes writer, George Anders calls it the The Number 1 job skill in 2020 and The Soft Skill that Pays 100K +. So go get great at empathy. You’ll be a better leader, and make more money. Wait, how do you do that? There’s growing evidence empathy can be learned.

5 Ways to Get Better at Empathy

  1. Experience pain – No, I’m not saying go live a crappy life. But, when life sucks sit with that pain. Feel what’s happening, don’t ignore it. Work to process your reactions. Pay attention to who is helpful, and who is not. Discover what feels empathetic to you. When others share their stories, work to connect to common experiences in your life or in those closest to you.
  2. Collect and reflectDr. Paul Furey says, “Listening with empathy requires you to first pick up information about the other person: 1. How they feel, 2. What about, 3. Why they feel that way and then reflecting that back to them in a short sentence – a humble guess about ‘where they are’. e.g. “1.You’re annoyed 2. about me being late 3. and I had promised to be on time too!” This works great in a customer service environment. Tune in tomorrow for my podcast interview with Dr. Furey.
  3. Suspend judgement – Empathy is not opinion. Your opinion may be needed, at some point. Start with understanding and connection.
  4. Work on related EQ Skills – e.g. active listening, understanding non-verbals, questioning, thinking from another’s perspective.
  5. Practice – Harvard University is even piloting a game which teaches students to “walk in another person’s shoes.”  Approach situations with a deliberate focus on listening more deeply, reflecting back, understanding and connecting.

So, can we teach empathy? Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™ shares,
“The act of showing empathy is teachable. The signs to look for in others are teachable. The pace to feel others needs is teachable. The only thing that is not teachable is “desire” to do it. I can inspire it yet in the end others must want to do it”

Do The Right Thing Anyway

“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

Leaders under pressure. I am. You are. We are. It’s easy to do the right thing when everyone agrees. Sometimes they won’t.
You know what’s right. But then, the counter view. Important folks could say you “lack political savvy” or worse yet, that you’re “not aligned,’ or not a “team player.” What if your boss takes you aside and outlines the stakes? You could chill down. Consider. If you still need to take a stand, you’ll feel pressure.

Not easy. Been there. Survived. Grown. Not easy again. Survived. Got there again. Prospered. Who knows, taking a stand may or may not work the next time.

One time I even walked into my boss’ office and said, “if this doesn’t work, I’ll resign in 6 months, but you have to let me try.” He did. It worked. Fantastically. Should you do that? Only if you’re ready to follow-through.

Players and dynamics change. After you clear past moral, ethical, legal there are still so many shades of gray till you feel it’s “okay with you” not to mention aligned with your “leadership philosophy.”

When taking a stand, it’s important to have clarity. There will be consequences to your convictions. Good and bad. And open to interpretation.

Signs It’s Time to Do the Right Thing

“Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing”
Do the right thing when:
  • Your heart says stop
  • Your heart says go
  • You can’t sleep
  • The good guys are aligned
  • Your trusted advisors wrinkle their noses
  • Something’s stupid
  • You keep praying, but know the answer
  • Someone’s forgotten the human beings
  • You wouldn’t tell your kids your choices

With every decision, you’re writing your story.

Do the right thing anyway

3 Lessons Of The Expectant Leader

“Expectations” is one of my favorite topics. Today, please enjoy the lessons of expectant leaders, from leader and guest blogger Dave Bratcher.

Ever wonder why performance is not at the level you expected?

We often look through the rear view mirror to analyze our performance. Just as the mirror suggests, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” They are closer because the one who is responsible for setting them is the same person looking into the mirror.

Have you ever been perplexed as to why some team members are not performing at the level you expect? What about your own level of performance? Do you know what your boss or clients expect from you?

3 Lessons of the Expectant Leader

  1. People will rise to your level of expectationThere is something magical about people performing to the level of your expectation. As a former School Board member, this is seen in classrooms around the globe on a daily basis. When test scores are low, it is often the desire of school administration to lower standards in an attempt to close the gap between performance and expectations. This has been proven to be the absolute wrong approach to take. Raising expectations will raise performance. This is also true within a family, as Karin recently reflected about her Dad
  2. Expectations must be communicated early and often – I am reminded of an assignment in college in which I spent hours completing the project, only to find out the grading metrics were not in line with what I produced. The expectations were not disclosed at the beginning; rather they were only used to judge performance. Have you ever thought, “How am I doing?” At some point in our careers we have all wondered this. Guess what? Your team members are normal and they may be asking themselves the same questions. In Dave Ramsey’s book, Entreleadership, he talks about the importance of developing a Key Results Area document for each position on your team. It is a short document, including 4-5 bullet points, describing the expectations for any given position. This document is then used to monitor and assess performance throughout the year. Our team should ALWAYS know where they stand, and it’s our responsibility to tell them.
  3. Inspect what you expect – I don’t like clichés, but this phrase is memorable. Just because it is easy to remember doesn’t mean it is easy to implement. I am talking to myself on this one. This has been the area that I struggle with the most. What I have to do is put a reminder in my calendar, marked “Follow Up” as a way to make sure the inspection follows the expectation.

About Dave Bratcher

dave bratcher Dave Bratcher (@davebratcher on Twitter) is the founder of DaveBratcher.com devoted to leadership development. Subscribe for updates at www.DaveBratcher.com and receive Dave’s FREE ebook, A Picture Book Manifesto on Leadership.  He is a John Maxwell certified speaker, trainer, and coach. Dave is also a writer and currently serves as the Vice President of Financial Services for his community foundation. He and his wife, of 8 years, have two children, ages 5 and 2.

Leadership Lessons From Social Media (Smartblog Feature)

Last week, I shared 10 leadership learnings from social media on SmartBlog on Leadership. Not the main fare for all of my followers, but if you’re curious. Here’s a start and a link.

***

Leadership lessons from the online world extend beyond the content. Learn as much from watching what bloggers do, as what they say.

  1. Say what matters – In social media, people say what they mean. Be as brave in your leadership as you are in your tweeting. Show up a little messy. Real attracts more than conformance. Attract followers by showing up real.
  2. Build your own tribe – Social media leaders know they don’t need a title to be a leader. Some don’t even use their real name. In your daily leadership, lead from your passion. Start something you care about and see who shows up.Lead from where you are.
  3. Take risks – Try new styles, new ways of leading. Meet new people. Twitter users move from tweets to phone calls to friendships. Try new ways of connecting in your leadership.Try new approaches.

 Read more on SmartBlog on Leadership

You’re Not Fooling Them

“Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit”
~ Elbert Hubbard

Hearts quietly murmur truth, while actions out our fool. Fooling around tricks few.

You’re Not Fooling Them

You’re not fooling them when you say:

  • customers come first, but metrics scream financials
  • work-life balance is vital, but you call them on vacation
  • they’re high-potential, but their career is stagnated
  • you value development, but keep cancelling training
  • you believe in transparency, and withhold information
  • teamwork is paramount, and reward backstabbers
  • ?

You’re Not Fooling You

You’re not fooling you when you say:

  • my family comes first, and leave no time for them
  • health is important, but don’t exercise
  • you believe in empowerment, but micromanage under stress
  • it’s not about the money, but stay in a job you hate
  • you always tell the truth, and tell a little white lie
  • you believe in transparency, but tell your boss what she wants to hear
  • ?

There’s always a justification, a reason, for “just this once.”

Our human struggle is to stop fooling ourselves into believing we’ll do it differently tomorrow.

Tap into instincts to be what you feel. Live deeply from that place.

You're Not Fooling Them

“Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit”
~ Elbert Hubbard

Hearts quietly murmur truth, while actions out our fool. Fooling around tricks few.

You’re Not Fooling Them

You’re not fooling them when you say:

  • customers come first, but metrics scream financials
  • work-life balance is vital, but you call them on vacation
  • they’re high-potential, but their career is stagnated
  • you value development, but keep cancelling training
  • you believe in transparency, and withhold information
  • teamwork is paramount, and reward backstabbers
  • ?

You’re Not Fooling You

You’re not fooling you when you say:

  • my family comes first, and leave no time for them
  • health is important, but don’t exercise
  • you believe in empowerment, but micromanage under stress
  • it’s not about the money, but stay in a job you hate
  • you always tell the truth, and tell a little white lie
  • you believe in transparency, but tell your boss what she wants to hear
  • ?

There’s always a justification, a reason, for “just this once.”

Our human struggle is to stop fooling ourselves into believing we’ll do it differently tomorrow.

Tap into instincts to be what you feel. Live deeply from that place.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand: Leadership And Kids

Kids can, and do, make a leadership difference in their community every day.

My nephew, Jared Herr and his friend Caton Raffesperger, have raised over $28,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand through their independence day lemonade stand in Gettysburg, PA.

They share Alex’s story and their own journey in this short video.

As Gettysburg celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, they’re hoping to set a weekend record. To make a donation visit their site  or text an anonymous $10, by texting Lemonade 112680 to 85944.

Happy 4th of July.

You may also enjoy:

The Top Three Leadership Lessons from the Battle of Gettysbug
Democracy- 5 Ways You Can Make It More Meaningful
Why Volunteering Makes You a Better Leader
Leadership and Kids: The Best Way to Teach Your Kids About Leadership

*Photo Lemon Aid by Larry Kohlenstein

Alex's Lemonade Stand: Leadership And Kids

Kids can, and do, make a leadership difference in their community every day.

My nephew, Jared Herr and his friend Caton Raffesperger, have raised over $28,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand through their independence day lemonade stand in Gettysburg, PA.

They share Alex’s story and their own journey in this short video.

As Gettysburg celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, they’re hoping to set a weekend record. To make a donation visit their site  or text an anonymous $10, by texting Lemonade 112680 to 85944.

Happy 4th of July.

You may also enjoy:

The Top Three Leadership Lessons from the Battle of Gettysbug
Democracy- 5 Ways You Can Make It More Meaningful
Why Volunteering Makes You a Better Leader
Leadership and Kids: The Best Way to Teach Your Kids About Leadership

*Photo Lemon Aid by Larry Kohlenstein

How To Conduct A Meaningful Mid-Year Review

Mid-year reviews are often “optional.” No one’s really watching. You’re busy, so are they maybe just do a quickie.

On the other hand

You wouldn’t consider an optional Superbowl halftime huddle. Imagine the coach saying “well they played a great first half no need to say much.” Or, “Guys, just keep doing what you’re doing.” “We’re really to busy with all this excitement.”

The coach speaks at half-time and the players listen.

A mid-year review should summarize, celebrate, challenge, and inspire

Why Mid Year Reviews Beat EOY Appraisals

  • There’s still 6 months to impact the year
  • No need to assign a rating
  • No linkage to compensation, focus is on development
  • Since there often “optional,” conducting them well sends an important message

Making Mid-Year Reviews Meaningful

In my company, HR conducted a cool study linking performance appraisals to overall employee satisfaction. As expected, those who had received meaningful performance feedback, were overall much more satisfied with their jobs and supervisors. The interesting wrinkle, those who received a poorly conducted appraisal, were less satisfied than those who did not receive them at all.

Don’t go through the motions. If you won’t invest the time to offer a meaningful mid year review, you’re better off skipping it.

What Feels Meaningful

I’ve been asking my own organization and other review receivers, “what makes reviews mid-year reviews meaningful?”

  1. No Surprises
    Mid years extend ongoing conversation. If you have something to brand new to say, say it before or say it out loud, not in writing
  2. Create Linkage
    Circle back to commitments and progress made in the last review
  3. Be Specific
    Provide examples of what’s working and how to improve
  4. Personalized Career Discussion
    Link back to personal goals, show that you “get” me and understand what’s important from my POV. Go deep with me.
  5. Recognize
    Special projects and challenges I’ve taken on
  6. Challenge
    Me with a stretch project or assignment
  7. Stretch
    Me out of my comfort zone
  8. What would you add?

    P.S. I realized that as Steve and Eric began to comment, I left out the most important aspect, which I add here now.

  9. Conversation
    Great reviews are conversations. Ask LOTS of provocative questions. Listen more than you talk.

Let’s keep growing the list who else has suggestions?

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ICSA2013I am pleased to offer a Friends of Faculty Discount to anyone interested in attending the International Customer Service Association Conference where I will be keynoting this Fall. Use attached form to register to receive the discount.