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Boundaries 

Darling You Got This

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it  

-Lena Horn

 

From the book Where to Draw the Line, author Anne Katherine writes:

You created this life by the people you let in and the people you shut out, by giving your time to the quests that matter and by letting hours trickle toward lesser goals, through the pursuits to which you gave your energy, by the pressures to which you heed.  Every decision you’ve made, step by step, brought you to this pass.  In short, your boundaries or your defenses created a corridor through which your life moved. 

I write and speak about how to lead effectively in our professional lives, and today I am speaking about boundaries and respect.  It works at home, in your family, and with those with whom you work.  It is a truth for me that respect is not earned, it is given.  It is a value of the giver.  Demonstrating respect for other people is based on the fact that they are human beings.  Their presence exists.  Their power exists.  They live and breathe and they are a member of the human race.  They may never live up to their potential and they may never live up to your expectations.  They are deserving of respect none the less. In the course of working with someone to change their behavior, anger is a poor choice. Healthy boundaries and respect require consequences.  In fact, consequences are the only thing that works in the long term.  So how does one demonstrate respect when someone is careless with your thoughts and ideas, thoughtless in how they speak to you or around you, and shows themselves untrustworthy, even dangerous? Confront the behavior only after and if you have assessed the risk of their retaliation.  If safe, explain how their behavior creates pain and difficulty for you.  Patience.  Persistence.  Providing opportunity for adjustment.  After that . . . put personal, professional, mental and emotional distance between you and them.  Detach from your need they do something or stop doing something so you will feel better.  When it comes to dignity and respect, if it appears no boundary provides safety and security for you, walk away.  For some, seek assistance, establish security, then run not walk, away.

If you ever have to walk away from a person, family included, a company, or a supervisor, you have given them respect in that you no longer require they change. You accept them where they are.  Respect for others gives you the right to choose who is in your life and who is simply NOT.  In fact, Anne Katherine states, the right to say no is the freedom to say yes.  When you have the freedom to say yes, you can stop mourning the loss of what was or possibly what never was yours, and you are open to new possibilities.  What is not, is replaced by why not!

I will admit, it is easier for many to have good boundaries professionally, but it can be quite a quandary to draw healthy boundaries in our personal lives.  Life is messy and less straightforward in personal and familial relationships.  There is no roadmap, but remember the quote that began this message-  You created this life by the people you let in and the people you shut out, by giving your time to the quests that matter and by letting hours trickle toward lesser goals, through the pursuits to which you gave your energy, by the pressures to which you heed.  Every decision you’ve made, step by step, brought you to this pass.

If you are not personally or professionally where you want to be, please remember, you can make decisions today that do not immediately change your position, but your direction can change immediately step by step through every decision you make, your destination.  Personal and professional boundaries that help you maintain good self defenses will create the passageway through which your life moves.  Make it great.

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Copyright 2017 – 2018, All Rights Reserved, The Winning Way

Awareness

Say yes to new adventures

It is awareness, not knowledge, that is the secret to success.

-Christian Simpson, John Maxwell Team

A leader who is highly skilled in conflict management has respect at their very core. Respect is not earned to a truly great leader; it is a product from within. The very fact that there is life within demands respect, a great leader knows and believes. This causes the humanity, the ideas, thoughts and dreams of those they lead, to be of great care and concern. This awareness separates good leaders from truly great leaders. A good leader may be willing to listen and value those they lead when conflict is low and demands are within limits. However, in the midst of conflict they become confused because they lack awareness, and will falter and lose their grip. Lacking awareness and the ability to proceed from within causes the good leader to lash out and thrash to get their bearings. They will fight with their people, instead of arguing over the need conflict has identified. The trust and confidence this unaware leader has with their team becomes tenuous; actions and motives becoming suspect. During times of competing needs, the unaware leader fails to proceed with care and concern. They become emotional and reactive instead of responding to need by seeking to understand first. They will jump to conclusions and immediately take a protective posture and appear fearful and suspicious.

A leader possessing an area of expertise and relationships is aware. Moving from good to great takes awareness. Awareness of our humanity. Awareness of what makes us uniquely human and the bond we all share. Respect will hold the relationship with those we lead in place even when the ground beneath appears to shake. It is not the water around a ship that will sink it; it is when water gets into the ship that it sinks. What is more, a great leader will take actions to separate from every member of the team unable to work within the construct of respect. Poor performance and inability to meet standards at a collective level are easy decisions for a respectful leader to make. No fight and no confusion. “We counted on you. You have let yourself down and you have let this team down.” This is the conversation that takes place at the exit interview of a team member unable to respect themselves and those they work with.

This is commitment and this is the demand placed on leadership. Awareness, respect for others, and a deep desire to seek to understand are critical skills and identifiable behavior of a great leader. These leaders will grow up a team and an organization by their deep respect for those they lead. These leaders are trusted and establish themselves by their ability to solve problems  -The Winning Way™

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Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved, The Winning Way

 

 

 

Flexibility

Hump Day

Every day in every way our world requires us to change. Every second of any given day, time changes, we change, the sun moves across the sky and the moon follows in orbit. Life demands change. Once accepted, every single day must be seen as a new day with limited resources. While resources are always limited, resourcefulness is not. There are people to meet and new ways of looking at what we are doing and who we are doing it with. There lies in each day opportunities to build stronger relationships with the people we work with and for. We can seek more effective methods, and we can open our eyes wider to the skills and talent within the people around us by an openness to do so. To support an environment of change, flexibility is key. Without flexibility, people become stuck, leaders become burned out, employment claims are filed, accident and injuries are suffered, and businesses eventually fail.

It takes mental flexibility to meet and overcome obstacles that happen every day in our business life and in leading people.  We must, as leaders, possess limberness and have range of motion. Leaders are continually required to stretch mentally as they solve problems and find creative solutions in complicated issues. Mentally flexible leaders look for ways to serve the people they lead that helps the organization meet goals and work efficiently and effectively. Here are a couple examples of inflexibility in leading people that I have seen:

  • Manage by proxy- set up a system of rules, then manage the rules
  • Micromanage- take away any ability of team members to have or express ideas
  • Move from leader to mentor- appear flexible but lack strength to protect the organization in motion

An individual who is flexible will demonstrate a willingness to change. Leaders lacking flexibility will be rigid in their responses. Inflexible leaders engage in behaviors you can recognize and should challenge. To protect their lack of flexibility and range of motion, some will lead by proxy. They set up a system of rules, then mange the rules. The rules are to protect their lack of mental strength and emotional stability. When the rules are violated and not followed exactly, they fall apart. They become angry and retaliatory and see all deviation as threat. Others will micromanage, so every incremental second of the day, only that which they want done and can handle is allowed. They neither want or need input from their team. They are rigid and fixed, immature and undeveloped. Their treatment of the individuals who work with them each day robs an organization of necessary resources that can protect profits through limberness and range of motion. All the while, the ineffective leader attempts to protect themselves from discomfort. This sets up a system where talent will walk out the door if they can, and constant power struggles will ensue with individuals on the team refusing to be treated as incompetent and unable. The rest of the team under the micro-manager will do less and less, waiting ever patiently to be asked for more.

The third way you may recognize behavior of a leader lacking mental flexibility is that they move away from management and leading, and move toward mentoring. This leader appears flexible, but they have not developed strength to support flexibility and range of motion. They become mentors and cease leading by decision-making. They, in effect, lead from behind. In time, these leaders can take an organization into an area that drains profits and wastes resources. The road that got them there may have been a good idea someone they manage had, and without proper vetting and strategic planning, it becomes draining to the organization. It wastes time and resources and takes them away from critical needs, organizational effectiveness, and nimbleness.

Flexibility is developed as a leader, and in us as organizations, as we demand of ourselves, openness to change. This openness to change builds strength. Strength will lead to greater mental flexibility which supports change. In the end, a strong and flexible leader develops skills and abilities that help them endure. Endurance is the courage to continue. In closing, with strong hearts and minds we must understand the burden of leadership- leading and managing organizations of trained and capable individuals, given opportunity to succeed for themselves and for their families – The Winning Way™

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Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved, The Winning Way

 

Harmony

Albert Einstein quote

To put everything in balance is good. To put everything in harmony is better.

-Victor Hugo

Harmony is a combination of different musical notes played or sung at the same time to produce a pleasing sound. Harmony is a pleasing combination or arrangement of different things. Harmony in business is produced by leaders who are “peace makers” not “peace keepers”.

Leaders make peace by how they communicate and by how skilled they are at resolving conflict. Nothing else matters. It does not matter how good a person they are. It does not matter how long they have been in their position, how well they are liked, their level of education or technical skills, or even past successes in business. What matters most, and supplants everything else, is a level of knowledge, skills, and abilities in resolving conflict. A leader is a conflict manager, mediator, and must be a truth seeking respect building peace maker.

An ability to manage conflict is the single most important management skill an individual must learn if they are leading people. It is a skill, not a personality. M. Scott Peck wrote meeting and solving problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of our problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn. Leaders responsible for results through consequences of their decisions is the ONLY way those results will improve.

Every day across our wonderful world individuals have opportunities to work and earn income. They are put under the leadership of others, and it is my passion to make whatever difference I can make, to insist that leaders be held accountable for results. Leaders who are not accountable for results will blame shift and tell you they have bad employee(s). This is a poor argument. They are attacking the individual instead of attacking the issues. When performance on a team is poor and the leader blames others, you can determine the leader lacks training, resources, or is in the wrong position. Because if it were true, they had a poor performing employee(s), a good leader knows how to confront poor performance and will be successful in either bringing the performance up to standards or in managing the employee out of the company. Therefore, there would not be a “bad employee” on the team.

In the end, for business to thrive in a community and for the families of working individuals to be stable and flourish, leaders must be held accountable for results. They must be held accountable for supporting the careers of those they serve and for instilling trust in those they lead. They do not take lightly the fact that each and every day their team shows up to perform work for pay. They left somewhere else to do so. Resolving conflict that exists due to our diversity requires careful examination of the issues and implementation of continuous measurement of results. This is economic development. A leader exemplifies an organization’s human dignity, and has the power to help us grow a peace keeping community of talented individuals working cooperatively for the good of us all. -The Winning Way

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Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved, The Winning Way

Reconciliation

Every day is a fresh start

In the book, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, he writes, “The overall purpose of human communication is, or should be, reconciliation. It should ultimately serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us human beings, one from another.” 

To reconcile means to restore friendly relations between and to cause to coexist in harmony. It also means to make or show to be compatible. The desire to reconcile conflict between individuals within organizations is a skill, not a personality. Reconciliation and conflict management requires the individual take responsibility for their own emotions and gain control of themselves. An individual in control of themselves is able to express greater freedom by displaying openness, greater flexibility, and will continually seek to be kind. This individual is a leader, a conflict manager, and a problem solver.  

A skilled conflict manager will approach disagreement and discord, lack of productivity, and other performance management issues with respect and dignity, in a manner that seeks to understand. Leaders without these skills many times see conflict incorrectly as a threat and as dangerous. They will see distance between their wishes and others’ view as a frightening display of defiance and deviation. Defensively, angrily, and with fear and anxiety, these unskilled leaders will use confrontation to the area of conflict and be perceived as confrontational. Confrontational is displaying eagerness to fight. Confrontational leaders deal with others in a hostile manner and appear argumentative.  Confrontational leaders lack insight and awareness, therefore they are problem centered, not solution oriented. Leaders engaging in confrontational behavior demonstrate, by their actions, lack of relationship and inability to relate to others in a positive, trusting, and mutually beneficial manner. They are not open. They are inflexible, and they are not kind when faced with disagreement or even general inquiry during discovery. 

In a world that has become problem centered, more than ever we need leaders skilled in conflict management and in the art of reconciliation. This is how we can lower and remove the walls of misunderstanding separating us from mutual gain and clear focus on the greater good. -The Winning Way™

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