How to be a Great Manager if You Tend to be Diplomatic and You Need to Drive Results

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This week we have Coach Shannon Goodwin with us sharing her thoughts on how to be a great Manager if you tend to be diplomatic and you have got to drive some results!

Take it away, Shannon!

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“If you are a Manager who tends to be diplomatic, that is often an indicator that you have high interpersonal sensitivity and that you easily and effectively build positive relationships across the organization. These are valuable skills!

 

For Managers who have the strength of diplomacy, there are times when driving results and confronting performance issues can be a challenge. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind if you’re one of them:

 

Use your natural ability to build positive relationships! Understand individual motivators and match mission-critical business projects to the people who will be motived by them.

 

Learn as much as you can about your people– their motivators, career goals, skills and talents. That way, when you need to assign a project or task to drive results, you can look for opportunities to match the people on your team with the projects that will be motivating for them!

 

If the task or project isn’t that exciting or inspirational, recognize and emphasize the value that the task or requirement brings to the company, clients, or the bottom line.

 

The key here is to be genuine and not to try to put the proverbial ‘lipstick on a pig’ or over represent the excitement or attraction of the task if it isn’t there.

 

Make performance goals as clear as possible.

 

Most of us have heard about the importance of having SMART goals. Whenever possible, apply the SMART framework with your team to make sure that their performance expectations are clear.

 

When we have SMART goals, it becomes much easier to assess whether or not they were achieved.

 

When someone didn’t meet expectations, have a candid conversation with them to find out what happened.

 

Most people who are high in diplomacy are not as eager to have these conversations. Whether we’re comfortable with them or not, it is often helpful to prepare ahead of time and to use an approach that will facilitate a constructive conversation.  Below are some tips that you can use to prepare:

  • Plan what you want to say ahead of time; practice aloud and/or write down a few bullets to help you remember your key points. Stay factual and avoid being accusatory or judgmental.

 

Be in a state of curiosity and inquiry; ask open-ended questions. Listen and breathe. Reiterate what you heard.

  • “Mary, the XYZ report was due on Monday. I didn’t see the report in my inbox. What happened?”
  • “So, you wanted to get the report done and you were traveling back from China when your laptop battery died before you had a chance to send it?”

Reiterate the business need. Let the person explore and own the solution. Encourage multiple options.

  • “The XYZ reports need to be submitted by Monday so that we can accurately report the metrics to corporate and ensure all of the commissions are counted before they go to payroll.” 
  • “What could you do to avoid this in the future and ensure that the XYZ report is submitted in time?” 
  • “What else could you try?”
    • Set a time to follow up, if needed.
  • “When would you like to follow up on this?”
  • “Would you mind sending me a calendar invite for that?”

Thank you, Shannon!!

Working At Home

Working At Home

As the world gets more and more virtual, so does our work. Studies have shown that 3.7 million employees (2.5% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time and more and more companies are moving to be totally virtual.

Sound exciting? We agree – at CRN, we’re proud to be in those ranks as well.

BUT – if you have worked from home for even a small portion of your week, you might have found some interesting traits about yourself and home/work style:

  1. You are so PRODUCTIVE. When you’re not concerned about the commute home, worrying if you locked the front door, or if you have to sign for that delivery – some of the typical stress of being away from your dwelling is completely out of mind and taken care of. You also don’t have the social cues to head to Starbucks with a colleague, or spend a bit more time at the proverbial water cooler, so those extra minutes are spent knocking things out!
  2. Some days, it’s harder to stay focused on the tasks at hand. AND stay motivated. The joy of working from home is that you’re, well, at home. The not-so-joy? All of the off-work distractions are front and center – and there’s no one physically there to hold you accountable.
  3. I’m kind of lonely. It’s harder to fulfill that basic human interaction need when all you’re doing is staring at a computer screen!

What other aspects have you found out about yourself while working from home?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at a few of our Team’s tips and tricks on how to keep the work-at-home productivity rockin’ and the distractors at bay – to have the most productive, work-at-home day ever.

Stay tuned!

Stop

No really… stop.

 

When is the last time you actually stopped to think about your direct reports?

I recently came across this info-graph below. Now, before you stop reading because it seems slightly cheesy, I’d like to challenge your thinking.

How to lead....

When was the last time you considered each of your direct reports individually and thought about the most effective way to empower them to be the best that they can?

As Managers, it can be so easy to just continue “doing”. When we bring someone new onto our teams, we focus on getting to know them. But once we’ve been working together for a year, or two, or five – it becomes much more challenging to s.t.o.p. and r.e.f.l.e.c.t and c.o.n.s.i.d.e.r what they really need.

We know you’re busy but this week, take 5 minutes for each of your directs and think about:

  • Where are they thriving?
  • Where are they struggling?
  • What is one thing you can do this week to support them where they are?

You may be surprised at how even just those couple of minutes can create a mind set shift in how you all interact this week.

The Battle for Focus

The Battle for Focus

We’re on week two with your chatty team! Did you have a chance to reflect on some of the questions Trish asked last week?

We hope those gave you a place to start. This week we’ve got Coach Sue Oliver based out of Texas on how to leverage the camaraderie of your team to get things done.

Take it away, Sue!

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“The ‘battle for focus’ is one we all wage daily.

We want to motivate and inspire our teams to operate at their best; yet, there are so many opportunities for distractions.

We all know a team in conflict can easily lose focus. A team that gets along well socially and has positive chemistry can also be impacted.

How? The camaraderie and enjoyment of being part of a team that gets along well together can pose a challenge in getting things done.

So, how do you harness the best of what a good team with positive chemistry can achieve without falling victim to unproductive distractions?

One tip is to draw on the positive chemistry of the team to involve them as solution owners.

What does this actually look like?

  • Begin by gathering the team together and laying out the situation transparently
  • Let them know you see the team’s camaraderie as a strength, except when it poses challenges to getting things done
  • Share with the team what the lack of focus looks like
  • Let the team know that you want them to have a stake in the solution
  • Challenge the team to identify the top 1-3 ways they can more clearly focus on achieving their performance goals while preserving the positive spirit and camaraderie of the team

At the end of the meeting or deadline set for team ideas, decide on the top few things the team can do to heighten their focus while preserving the positive atmosphere among the team.

This inclusive process will enable your team to be problem solvers and owners in the solution. You will have solved a problem through motivation and engagement – yielding a much more sustainable solution.”

Thank you, Sue!

By considering the questions from Trish last week and some of Sue’s suggestions this week, we know you’ll start to see some different results soon!

Cutting In Line

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Your day has been busy running in and out of meetings.

As you’re on your way back to your desk, your direct report stops you saying, “hey, I have been meaning to talk with you about….”

As they are talking all you can think about is the next thing you are going to say. You even find it hard to let them finish their point because you are so ready to jump in.

If this is you, then this week we’ve got some tips for you!

One of our great Coaches, Helen Cooper, is here to give us some tips on what to do if you tend to think about your next point while the person you are talking to is still finishing.

Take it away Helen…

 

Helen Cooper- Blog“Thinking ahead is a natural response in a fast-paced environment.

It requires focused behavior to understand and acknowledge another thought/opinion.

I use a couple of tricks to ‘slow down’ mental responses.

  • Try to engage differently by ‘listening’ more intently.
  • Focus on the key points the person is trying to make.
  • Don’t formulate a response immediately.
  • Use visual cues, they are really helpful.
  • Try to maintain eye contact when the person is speaking.
  • Don’t be distracted by texts or devices, stay engaged in the moment.
  • Check your understanding by paraphrasing the key points.
  • Think back to research or school days when trying to understand the key learning points in a lecture (really try focusing on content!) before thinking about a potential application!

Thanks, Helen!

If this is you, then this week then try out of Helen’s tips and let us know how it goes!

Listening… Even When You’re Busy!

No body hates a listener

You can see your colleague’s mouth moving, but the words are starting to drift off…

*ding, ding*

Your phone busses with an email from a client

No… focus, what was he saying again?

*Knock, knock* at your door… it’s your boss –

“Hey, quick reminder, we’ve got that business development meeting in 10 minutes, don’t be late”.

“I’ll be there!” you say quickly.

Ok – refocus… You look at your colleague and say, “I’m sorry, so in wrapping up….”

Ultimately, we want to listen – but in the busyness of life, it is so easy to get distracted.

And, for some of us, really listening can be challenging.

Over the next few weeks, we will be hearing from some of our great Coaches on tips on how to listen well, even when it’s hard!

Need help right now? If you’re finding it difficult to really focus on what the person you are talking to is saying, here are a couple of tips to start with:

  1. Put your phone on silent (this is such an easy distractor when it’s buzzing!)
  1. Prepare yourself to listen (relax and get comfortable)
  1. Try to really understand the other person’s point of view (ask “how” or “what” questions to gather even greater understanding)
  1. Listen to both words AND tone to gauge a deeper understanding of what they are thinking or feeling
  1. Watch for non-verbal communication cues for other feelings or reactions (these can be facial expressions, eye movements, or gestures).

Try these out and let us know how they go!

Seeing People’s Strengths

StrengthsYou know those weeks where it feels like professionally or personally (or both!) the people around you are just trying to push your buttons?

It becomes really easy to focus on the negatives.

So, if you are having one of those weeks- we want to encourage you to take a step back and gather a little more perspective.

  • Step 1: Take a deep breath and let it out slowly, counting to 5 (we’re serious… you will begin to think more rationally!)
  • Step 2: Ok – now, think back to what was pushing your buttons, but try to think of the situation with the lens of the other person’s strengths

For example:

Someone on your team seems to be impatient and wants to take action on projects quickly. You don’t feel like they are giving enough thought to the project as a whole. But maybe your employee’s strength is taking thoughts and instantly turning them into action. So, this is a teammate who you know you can rely on to help get things done!

Or:

Everything feels like it has gone wrong this week… the deadline wasn’t met, the client or executive team was not happy, and then there was the one person on your team who was upbeat and positive. You were feeling like this was not at all a time to be positive. This teammate is able to easily get others excited, rallying a team together, to have the encouragement to keep pushing onward!

See, your frustration, when seen in another light (may still be frustrating but) makes a lot more sense and puts value back on each member of your team!