5 Top Leadership Articles 09-04-2017

5 Top Leadership Articles for the Week of September 4, 2017

Each week I read a number of leadership articles from various online resources and share them across social media. Here are the five leadership articles readers found most valuable last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.

On Being a Bad Manager by Jason Fried at Signal v Noise

A fellow I admire just asked me why it’s so easy to be a bad manager. G**damn, that’s a fantastic question. I made some bonehead moves myself yesterday, so I’m in the perfect position to answer this one.

Because I didn’t want to overthink my answer, I told him I’d write something up this afternoon and send him a link.

Here goes, stream of consciousness, unedited, and quick…

My Comment: This question has haunted me for many years. My version goes something like this: “We’ve been working together and leading one another for thousands of years. Why is there still so much bad management?”

Fried answers this succinctly: “We’re bad at most things by default.”

In other words: you have to learn how to lead effectively. Winning Well doesn’t just happen. If you want to be a great manager and effective leader, you’ve got to master specific skills. And yet…half or more of managers are placed in those roles, but receive no training in how to lead. No wonder it’s easy to be bad.

Fried digs a little deeper as well, noting that it takes time and practice to get good at something, but most managers don’t even start practicing until they’re actually in the role. (Imagine a pro athlete starting to practice their game once they’ve been put on the playing field.) We fall prey to common assumptions about people that just aren’t true and we often focus on doing the wrong things because they’re known and comfortable.

Note: this is a raw stream-of-conscious article and includes profanity.

Irresistible Is Rarely Easy or Rational by Seth Godin

There’s often a line out the door.

It’s not surprising. The ice cream is really good, the portions are enormous, and a waffle cone costs less than three Canadian dollars. And it’s served with a smile, almost a grin.

It’s irresistible.

Of course, once you finish the cone, you’ll stroll around, hang out by the water and maybe start to make plans about where to spend a week on next year’s vacation.

The Opinicon, a lovely little resort near Ottawa, could charge a lot more for an ice cream cone. A team of MBAs doing a market analysis and a P&L would probably pin the value at about $8. That’s where the ROI would be at its peak.

But they’re not in the business of selling ice cream cones. The ice cream cones are a symbol, a beacon, a chance to engage…

My Comment: Recently we worked with a team of leaders who do sophisticated analysis and planning. They had an incredible amount of data in their spreadsheets – but they didn’t have all the data. They were missing some of the intangibles, the effect on people, and how the numbers would be received and translated. Most of all, they hadn’t taken into account the critical factor Godin gets at in this article: desire. Why will people want what you offer?

I love a good spreadsheet and to keep things organized, but as Godin says: “If you run everything through a spreadsheet, you might end up with a rational plan, but the rational plan isn’t what creates energy or magic or memories.”

How can you make your team’s work irresistible?

Think Positively of Others by John Baldoni at SmartBrief

What’s the secret to a long-term relationship?

“Overlooking the negative and focusing on the positive,” says Helen Fisher, a best-selling author on relationships and a fellow at the Kinsey Institute.

Speaking on “The Diane Rehm Show,” Fisher says that brain scans of couples averaging 20 years revealed the parts of the brain that were active were those linked to empathy, self-control, and an ability to overlook negative, that is, “positive illusions.”

Maintaining “positive illusions” is an outlook that leaders can employ…

My Comment: In our leadership workshops I often share the principles that “you always make sense to you” and that “you are not the center of anyone else’s universe but yours.” When you keep these concepts in mind as you work with your people, it helps you maintain perspective and not get as easily upset when people don’t behave the way you would have expected.

Baldoni’s invitation to focus on the positive intentions can be extended to the assets that each employee brings to your team. Unless it’s negatively impacting the work or the team, don’t worry about the areas where they’re not as strong. Focus on what makes them excellent and on their contribution to the work and team. You’ll find what you look for – and, quite often, your expectations, perceptions, and positive outlook become reality.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore destructive or irresponsible behaviors. When those threaten an individual or team’s performance, you absolutely need to ditch the diaper drama and have the conversation.

What are the Best Employee Perks? 4 Questions to Ask First by Annamarie Mann at Gallup

Earlier this year, online craft marketplace Etsy came under public scrutiny after new investors balked at the long list of lavish perks offered at its Brooklyn headquarters.

Along with a community loom and crafting classes, the company had also renovated its office for $40 million, which included adding irrigated walls to grow plants, according to Quartz. Though these perks reinforce the cultural values of the organization, investors questioned if they distracted workers from achieving overall business success and outcomes….

But as companies begin to consider how they try to win over employees, it’s critical that they avoid racing after trends that may initially attract workers, but will ultimately fail to retain them. After all, these perks may be alluring at first, but companies need to make sure they’re not overlooking the fundamental benefits and perks for which most job seekers are actually looking.

My Comment: I once worked at a company that put in a gym with much fanfare. It sat unused, however, because the president thought anyone who tried to workout, even during their breaks or lunch could have been more productive.

When it comes to employee perks, I use the metaphor of frosting a cake. If you haven’t baked a good cake, you can’t decorate it. If you try to slap some frosting (perks) on a half-baked cake (poor employee experience), you end up with a mess.

Too many leaders try to solve morale problems with perks. People are never upset because there isn’t a ping pong table or weight set at work. They’re upset because of core issues: perhaps a systemic injustice, they’re no appreciated, or irrational competing priorities make success impossible. When you have these issues causing problems, don’t introduce perks – they’re insulting. Fix the issues.

Once you have a healthy core, then use the questions in Mann’s article to help you identify which perks make the most sense for your organization.

The Wrong Side of Right by Shane Parrish at Farnam Street

One big mistake I see people make over and over is focusing on proving themselves right, instead of focusing on achieving the best outcome.

People who are working to prove themselves right will work hard finding evidence for why they’re right. They’ll go to the ends of the earth to disagree with someone who has another idea. Everything becomes about their being right.

These otherwise well-intentioned people are making the same costly mistake that I did…

My Comment: This is one of the most important life lessons that some people never learn. My way of asking it is: “Do you want to be effective or do you want to be ‘right’?” The insistence on your own rightness (whether you are objectively right or not) does little to help you influence other people, get buy-in, and move people to action.

For leaders insisting on credit for yourself, or being right at the expense of others being wrong, or what you did vs what happened are certain to keep you from being effective. Focus instead on the outcomes. What do you want to have happen? Do you want to prove you had an idea first or do you want the team to implement and exceed expectations because they owned the idea themselves?

There’s a saying I learned as a child that may serve you as it has served me: “Someone convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.”

In every situation, ask: “What does success look like?” Follow up by asking yourself what you can do to achieve that success. Rarely will the answer be “prove to everyone that I was right.”

Your Turn

What thoughts do these articles bring to mind? Do you see something differently than the author? Did you have a favorite leadership article this week? Leave us a comment and let’s hear from you.

Frontline Festival: Leaders Give Pointers on Handling Conflict

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is about handling conflict in your team. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about building brand awareness. What approaches are you and your team using to build your organization’s brand? Submit your relevant blog posts here!

Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog  presents how to handle in-fighting on your team by sharing four tips that help leaders break through communication barriers and eliminate in-fighting within their teams.  How to Handle In-fighting on Your Team  Follow Robyn.

Jesse Stoner of Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership says that a list of values that are simply a list of single words that are not clearly defined can lead to confusion and team conflict, as this true story demonstrates. 5 Tips to Ensure Your Values Unify Your Team, Not Divide    Follow Jesse.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership   says if you’re the boss, you have to confront team members about poor performance. When you do it promptly and well, everyone is better off.  Confrontation and Splinters   Follow Wally.

For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.  Margaret Heffernan

David Grossman of The Grossman Group  explains that conflict is a paradox that every leader faces:  Create teams that work well together but embrace conflict. Embracing Conflict: It’s Part of Every Leader’s Job  Follow David.

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture  says when team members are of “one mind, one heart, and one voice,” there are fewer conflicts, better decision making, and more aligned performance.  Does Your Team Have “One Mind, One Heart, One Voice”?   Follow Chris.

From Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding: In all conflicts – the only person you will ever control is you…but learning to hold others accountable with compassion will grow your influence and your results.  Got Sugar?  Learning to Speak Truth with Grace   Follow Chery.

Amanda Cameron of Patriot Software, LLC knows that being the boss isn’t easy. Business leaders need to know how to handle conflict in the workplace to keep operations running smoothly. How to Handle Conflict at Work for Small Business   Follow Amanda.

Conflict is drama, and how people deal with conflict shows you the kind of people they are. Stephen Moyer

Shelley Row of Shelley Row Associates explores how to handle conflict well by pointing out that your team needs to have healthy conversations. She provides some tips for turning competitive talks into collaborative discussions. For Better Decisions: Convert Competitive Talking into Collaborative Talking  Follow Shelley

Nathan Regier of Next Element Consulting – Next From Nate  shares his viewpoint that when we mediate, manage, or reduce the conflict, we necessarily reduce the energy available for productive problem-solving. When we respect the tension and use that energy to create instead of destroy, the results can be transformative.  My Manifesto For Change: Conflict Isn’t The Problem  Follow Nathan.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference  shares his perspective about how business can be a power for good amid the the conflict that pervades our nation’s political discourse. It’s time for CEOs to become activists for positive change and help handle the conflict infecting our American team.   The Leadership Power Shift Underway (A Political and Business Undercurrent)  Follow Jon.

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.  William Ellery Channing

From Paula Kiger of Weaving Influence: In this post, Paula shares the story of a father who sends his children to learn teamwork via a “challenge course.” The situation deteriorates when there is conflict over who will lead and who will follow.  Gambling on Leadership  Follow Paula.

Chip Bell of Chip Bell.com  challenges us to get a child to hear your positions and make recommendations.  There is nothing more sobering than hearing an eight-year old comment on your positions and practices.  Their innate humility and innocence can be a boon to seeing through the minutia and sometimes silly things that trigger conflicts.    Follow Chip.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited  knows that to handle conflict well, you sometimes owe someone an apology. She shares about a well-done apology she was given. How to Give an Effective Apology   Follow Beth.

 

 

7 Reasons Collaboration Breaks Down

Great ideas come in halves,  these are the words I hear often from my LGL en Español partner, Kay Valenzuela. I believe it.  Work is enhanced by true collaboration. One of the best parts of my entrepreneurial journey has been the amazing collaborations, in writing, in business, in shared passions.

I’ve got four deep collaborations in process now, including writing a children’s picture book with Alli Polin  and the launch of a Parent’s Guide to Leadership (a free ebook downloadable from the sidebar.)

I’ve also had a few false starts.

Here are my lessons learned. I look forward to hearing yours.

  1. Misaligned Passions –Collaboration works best when you’re both deeply in it to win it. Your shared passion fuels inspiration. If one or the other of you is less of a zealot, sooner or later the spark will fade.
  2. Propinquity- Joining up with the usual suspects or the guy next door, simply because of convenience limits possibility. Go slower and cast a wider net when looking for potential partners. When you stumble on chemistry search deeper. Sure working with partners around the globe is logistically more tricky, but becoming easier each day due to amazing technology.
  3. Score Keeping – Real collaborators don’t keep score. They’re too engaged in the cause to count who’s doing what. The focus is on the end state.
  4. Surface Respect – For true collaboration to blossom mutual respect must run deep and thick.  It becomes slippery when one or the other feel superior.
  5. Fuzzy Communication- Collaboration requires a constant flow of real-time communication. Don’t rely on email or chats, look in each other’s eyes, even if it’s over Skype.
  6. Short Term View- True collaborators value the relationship over the small stuff. They’re willing to let go what really doesn’t matter and spend time seeking to understand differences that do.
  7. Rigid Boundaries – True collaboration involves doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Toe stepping goes unnoticed or is met with a real time discussion.
  8. Mismatched Talent – The best collaborations involve diversity of talent– pairing up with folks who amaze you (and are amazed by you.). If  anyone is not bringing enough to the party, resentment and conflict are imminent.

When Passive Aggressive Meets The Truth #meanit

He was the poster-child for passive aggressive (at least that’s my side of the story). In an effort to keep the peace, I’d tried to shake it off. I’d kept my mouth shut, and encouraged my team to take the “high road.”.But the high road was getting bumpier with time.

I realized I needed to take a bit of my own advice; but frankly, I was worried about the political ramifications.

And then the best kind of truth-telling realization. What kind of role model am I if I advocate for ditching the diaper genie, only when it feels safe? I had to address the scene.

I had to address the scene.

I confronted Mr. Passive Aggressive. I shared my concern about the tenor of his emails, the endless digging for problems, the data sent over my head without a chance to review… Calmly, carefully, but truthfully. And held my breath. My truth.

We connected and he responded. Of course, he didn’t MEAN to come across that way, after all, he’s just trying to help. We’re all in this together. His truth.

There was my window: “I would LOVE your help…THIS is what would be most helpful”. We spent over an hour discussing our common concerns and joint goals. We got specific on what matters most and how we could help one another. Our truth.

Then he shared with surprising candor, “But I have to say. I can’t change the way I communicate. My emails are not intended to be aggressive, I just get really fired up. This is how I communicate with everyone.” His truth.

Somehow that statement also felt like progress.

I responded, “Thank you for letting me know so I’ll be prepared. Here’s what I can assure you, I will never send you an email with that tone.” My truth.

You guessed it. The tone has improved. All the other support we discussed is playing out. The business is better off. We’re both in a better place.

When we respond by being passive, we quietly encourage continued aggression.

6 Ways to Deal with Passive Aggressive Behavior at Work

Ditch the Diaper Genie– I’ll never know if he was really “just trying to help” or if there was an ulterior motive. I’ve decided that just doesn’t matter. When your gut tells you somethings wrong, something’s wrong, even if it’s just a miscommunication. Truth speaking encourages a truthful response, even if it’s not something we want to hear.  Better to get it all out in the open.

Listen to Understand- Somethings going on underneath that wacky behavior. Do your best to understand the person and their scene. Get to know them as a fellow human being. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re doing the best they can.

Take the High Road – Taking the high road has nothing to do with rolling over or shutting down. It’s about not emulating the passive aggressive behavior. Resist the urge the fight fire with fire, or take the offensive. Stay true to your leadership values and role model what must be done.

Stay Calm – Responding in an emotional way will only bring on the passive response, leaving you looking like (and feeling like) the fool. Nothing’s more intimidating to someone trying to manipulate you then a calm, clear-headed, overview of the situation.

Be Specific – Avoid speaking in general terms. Track specific behaviors that feel wrong to have as examples as needed. It’s hard to argue with the facts

 Ask For What You Need – It’s hard for someone to work against you after they’ve agreed to help you.  Resist the urge for lofty platitudes like “I really need your help.” Or, “I need your commitment to work as a team.” Instead said, I could really use your help with addressing X issue at the meeting on Tuesday.

Strong leaders stand up to passive aggressive behavior, model healthy communication–for you and for your team.

When To Stand Your Ground

“Pete” a leader in a new job with a substantial increase in scope and scale, asked me this seemingly simple question: “How do you know when to stand your ground?”

I knew he needed more than my first instinct of “just go with your gut”.

“I’ll stand my ground. And I won’t back down.”

Knowing when to stand your ground is a fine art. Digging in your heals at the wrong time will damage your credibility and impact. Yielding when you shouldn’t, makes for weak leadership and dangerous results.

When To Stand Your Ground

Sometimes it’s clear. If it’s unethical, immoral, illegal, or a violation of human rights, stand your ground, get support, and do what’s right. Jacquie Garton-Smith shares:

It’s reasonable to stand your ground when you have carefully, comprehensively and constructively evaluated the alternatives and it remains clearly the way to go. Good to demonstrate you’ve been open to the options even if the final decision is the same. And of course sometimes a better way becomes evident.

When to Back Down

Of course there are times when backing down is the obvious choice. Backing down makes sense when relationships trump the issue at hand, you need more data, or your team or experts know more. Sometimes ideas are worth giving a try even when you’re skeptical.

Stand Your Ground: Decision Points

But most of the time it’s more murky than that. It’s particularly challenging when your values conflict with company values. I asked some members of Lead Change Group to weigh in:

Consider Your Values – John E. Smith

It seems that two sets of values are in play here: The organization’s values and your personal beliefs about right and wrong. When both are threatened, the decision is easy; you should dig in and insist. You will do so with the full backing of your organization. I think the same can be said when your personal values are threatened, but not organizational values. In these cases, personal considerations around cost loom much larger. In other words, standing your ground may cost you and only the person who may lose can make the decision whether the risk to them is worth the fight. When organizational values are threatened, but not your personal values, I think this is more difficult. You might be called on because of your position to stand fast and fight about something which you have little or no investment. “Standing fast” implies some real passion, and you cannot fake passion at least in my experience.

Seek First to Understand – Chery Gegelman

Reflect a softer light of truth – visualize a candle – on (more complex) issues, giving people time to draw near, to listen more intently, to ponder, to understand and to come to their own conclusions. Being a beacon in a situation that requires a candle is viewed as an over reaction, often times people feel judged, they pull away and nothing changes. Being a candle in a situation that requires a beacon is an under-reaction and will not move people to action, so the risk grows. For more read here

Find the High Ground – Mike Henry Sr.

I catch myself trying to always find the highest ground to make my stand. The organization’s success may require me to do something a harder way than simply “my way.” Sometimes a key to standing my ground this time may be based on credibility I’ve earned from previous episodes. So I try to “stand my ground” when I believe I am on the highest ground and be a valuable team player in every other case.

Take the Long View – Susan Mazza

I think the key to making a good choice comes down to being able to distinguishing the difference between when you are standing for something that really matters for the future vs. digging your heels in to be right or prove a point in the moment.

Focus on Effective over Right – David Dye

Leaders who insist on being “right” sacrifice relationships and results. Standing your ground for principles and values is important – both for the organization and the individual. Standing your ground for the sake of preference or convenience often damages the relationships and fails to accomplish the needed results.

The Insiders Guide To The Dark Side

You’ve had those moments. So have I. You desperately want a leadership do-over, but it’s too late. It’s out there – your dark side in all it’s glory.

“Powerful you have become. The dark side I sense in you.”
~ Yoda

You hear yourself apologizing: “I just wasn’t myself.” Don’t be too sure. “I never act like that.” Yes, you just did. Your evil twin’s an excellent teacher.

Listen well to what your dark side has to say.

 A Lesson From My Dark Side

I like to think of myself as a caring leader, yoga woman, introspective, positive, working to develop others. So why was I screaming at this manager from another department? I’d completely lost it. That wasn’t really me. Or was it?

It was MY values that triggered the response. It was MY exhaustion that wore down my filters. Was the manager arrogant and closed minded? Oh yeah. Was I right in defending against the racial prejudice clearly at play? Yup. But I was the one swinging the figurative punches. He stayed calm. Dark side 1. Values 0. No cause advanced by my reaction.

I’ll never forget the incident that plunged me into a deeper understanding of my values and how I respond. Sure I regret my stupidity, but my fight against “bad leadership” now shines a bit clearer.

4 Lessons From Your Dark Side

Your dark side comes bearing gifts. Lean into your stupidity to understand your pain.

  1. Conflicting Internal Goals – When your dark side shocks you, look for signs of internal conflict. Distressed hearts yearn for deeper focus. Consider your competing priorities and options.
  2. Values – When your dark side takes wheel, check for squashed values in the rear view mirror. Look for patterns. Ugly reactions signal what you care about most deeply. Passion is good– even better when managed productively. Values don’t translate well through tantrums and other mishaps. Take time to understand your ugliest moments, and work to reframe them for good. Apologize and talk carefully about what drove the reaction. Dive deeper into the muck to find deeper meaning and connection.
  3. Triggers – Face it, sometimes your evil twin just overreacts. Know your triggers, and see them for what they are. Learn your patterns and ways to cope. Take a break. Walk away. Use your dark side to teach you patience, compassion, and understanding.
  4. Balance – Everyone’s looks and acts a bit uglier when exhausted. You can fake it for a while, but sooner or later tired and cranky brings out the dark side. Your inner witch may just be your body’s way of telling you it’s time to rest. Listen.

How To Expose A Two-Faced Leader

Two-faced leaders destroy culture, break trust, and diminish results. They act one way when you’re around, and another when you’re not. Frustrating when it’s a peer. Terrifying when you discover that Ms. Two-Faced is a leader in your organization.

In front of you she says and does all the right things. At other times, her witchy side emerges. You’ve been naively supporting the two-faced lie.

You see:

  • Receptivity to feedback
  • Helpful approaches
  • Warm engagement
  • Inclusive discussions
  • Calm and helpful meetings

Her team sees:

  • Threats and ultimatums
  • Micro-management
  • Yelling
  • Disorganization
  • Mismanaged stress

Chances are, they’re too scared to tell you.

If you’re a two-faced leader yourself, stop it. It will come out. It always does. If you sense a two-faced terror on your own team, read on.

Exposing a Two Faced Leader

  1. Hang around – Show up unexpectedly. Engage with the team in casual settings where they’re more likely to open up.
  2. Conduct skip level one-on-ones – Talk leadership style. Inquire about support. Ask what they need most. Ask for examples of great leaders. Some brave guys will bring up “two-faced.”  Avoiding the subject is also data.
  3. Conduct a 360 – Ms. two-faced may not fully recognize the differences in style with different audiences. Conduct an assessment, invite candor, and show her the data.  Get her a coach.
  4. Ask her – Don’t wait until you have files full of evidence. Ask questions without confronting. “How would you describe your leadership style? How does that play out in these different contexts?” “What would your team say about you” Watch for body language.
  5. Talk to her peers – They’ve heard the stories, and have felt the repercussions. They didn’t want to throw her under the bus, but “since you asked”

Peer Pressures: 5 Reasons You Frustrate Your Peers

Don’t destroy fantastic results with lazy relationships. Strong performers grow backwards when trust breaks down. Small issues mushroom overnight. Peers stop helping. Communication collapses. Careers derail. Without support, working harder can backfire. Unchecked frustration fertilizes conflict. Invest in your peers like you invest in your team.

5 Peer Problems

  1. Lack of Investment

    The Problem: It’s easy to under-invest in peer relationships. Leaders tend to focus on their team and boss first, and leave peer relationships to naturally evolve. Peer relationships take time and energy to grow properly. There’s a higher likelihood of competing priorities and agendas, and no natural hierarchy to inform norms.

    The Solution: Make a deliberate investment in the relationship. Take time to understand their goals and objectives. Ask them what worries them and how you can help. Break bread. Learn about who they are outside of work. Invest in their success.

  2. Too Many Spectators

    The Problem: You work the issues in meetings. Your disagreements have an audience. Sometimes conflict emerges in front of your boss.

    The Solution: Take issues offline. Stakeholder potentially contentious issues in advance. When conflict arises, call them afterwards to work through. Resolving peer conflict is not a spectator sport.

  3. You Don’t Ask For Help

    The Problem: You know they’re busy too, so you don’t ask for help. That can make you look arrogant, or aloof.

    The Solution: Understand their skills and ask for advice, or even support. There’s no greater form of flattery.

  4. You’re Not Acknowledging Their Contribution

    The Problem: Okay, suppose they did help you and now, you’re getting a lot of recognition for your work.

    The Solution: Stop give credit out loud to the right people. Make a big deal of how much they helped.

  5. You Don’t Proactively Share

    The Problem: You share, but seldom first. You look toward a balance of give and take.,/p.

    The Solution: Say yes as much as possible. Help as much as you can. Don’t keep score. Then, help some more.

Your peers provide diverse perspectives. Your peers have resources you need. Today’s peer may be tomorrow’s boss. Invest well.

A Good Mad is a Terrible Thing To Waste

Are you good at angry? Or, do you waste your “mads?” Angry informs. Angry teaches. Mad makes us care. Unless it doesn’t.

Use anger to fuel passions and accomplish change. Don’t respond with frustration, outbursts, or retaliation. All you’ll have then is embarrassment, regrets and apologies.

When you are really ticked off, don’t just get mad get thinking.

4 Ways to Use Your Mad

1. Understand Your Inner Mad

Try studying and documenting your anger for 2 weeks (10 Ways to Manage Anger at Work)

“What was the situation?”
“What disturbed me, put me off, or made me genuinely angry?” (This could be an action, way of behaving, a word, etc.)
“What did I think and feel when this occurred?”

“Mad as heck” patterns help you understand your leadership values.

2. Be Mad Better

When you’re mad it’s tempting to raise your voice, throw insults, and say useless words. Some insights on the destructive nature of ignored anger (American Psychological Association).

Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven’t learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren’t likely to have many successful relationships.

Great leaders cultivate their ability to manage emotions, so that they are in control. 

3. Teach From Your Mad

Use your anger to create “teachable moments” for your team or other leaders. Chill first– you can’t teach with your head exploding.

Explain exactly WHY you are frustrated. When your team is angry, help them explore and understand their emotions.

Help leaders become better by watching bad leaders.

4. Act Against Your Mad

Anger motivates (psychological benefits of anger). I blog to act against my enemy of “bad leadership.” What makes you mad? What are you doing about it?

5 Ways to Surface Team Conflict and Live to Tell About It

We all know deep in our hearts that teams need conflict.

Conflict is “healthy.”

Leaders and teams have been talking about Tuckman’s forming, storming, norming, performing model since the mid 1960s.

Teams were storming long before that.

We get it intellectually.

We’ve even seen the value of addressing conflict play out practically.

But conflict is uncomfortable.

Sometimes addressing conflict does more harm than good.

Stirring the Pot

I am a pot stirrer.

If you have ever worked on a team of mine, you know I am constantly encouraging you to “air and discuss your concerns” with one another.

I will listen (for a minute) and then immediately send you back to the person with whom you need to engage.

People love that or hate that– that too, can create conflict.

When the pot gets stirred, and the going gets tough, that’s when the calls usually come in from all parties. My stance remains the same.

“I don’t need to hear the play-by play. Everyone gets an extra smile from my heart for working it through. I’m glad you are talking. Have as many secret meetings” as you need. I won’t take sides.”

The biggest worry seems to be, “what if I get exposed?” The truth is, there are at least two sides to every story. I know that. If your boss has any sense, she knows that. If YOU are the boss, same rules apply.

Once the storming is over, I love to ask “what did you learn about how to do conflict better?”

The truth is I ask myself this same question every day.

Sometimes I screw it up.

Conflict is never handled.

Conflict Survival Tips

Here’s what folks have told me they have learned (from addressing conflict in real situations). I hope this helps.

  1. Don’t wait too long.
    Your issues become less relevant and feel more stupid to the recipient as time passes.
  2. Own it.
    No one wants to hear “everyone is saying” comments
  3. Carefully consider the input of others
    Don’t let your response feel like retaliation
  4. Watch your facial expressions when giving and receiving feedback
    Everyone is watching those more than your words
  5. Be prepared to give specific examples
    Even if you are absolutely right, it’s difficult to digest and even more difficult to take action without the details.
  6. ??? My list goes on but, I’ll stop here and let you play. what would you add?