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!
“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!!
On the last day of July, we can all feel it. The summer we were longing for is feeling like it has slowly begun to slip away and soon enough it will be September again.
Most of us probably did not get to sit in a hammock above a beach and just relax for a few days.
So, how do you engage with your team as they are beginning to feel the “end of summer blues” too?
One tip is to give them something to look forward to for the rest of the year! What does this actually look like?
We’d suggest taking 30 minutes over the next week or two to meet with each team member.
Begin by asking engaging questions about them.
How are they doing? What are they enjoying about their job? Why? What would they like to do more of? What are they passionate about?
As they are talking, really listen to what they are saying and seek to understand more of who they are and where they are coming from.
At the end of your time together, decide on one thing that they can do as a result of this conversation.
This won’t necessarily take away the blues of another summer that has slipped away but it probably will give each team member something to look forward to in the weeks to come!
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…
“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!
If this is you, then this week then try out of Helen’s tips and let us know how it goes!
Oftentimes, people say they want to communicate better. What I have found is that they mean they want their communications output to be clearer – written, spoken, presented, or otherwise. But when I hear this, I look to their listening skills first.
If you agree with the adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’, listening is the most important component of communication. It’s the input part of communication and you’re unlikely to produce good communication output without considering your inputs.
There are a few different levels of listening to consider:
1 – I hear your words, but I’m thinking about how they affect me and how I’ll remember and respond.
2 – I hear your words and I’m aware of your body language, tone, and the context of the communication, and will respond taking into account all those factors. I ask questions.
3 – All of level 2, plus, I’m aware of you, and I’m aware of additional context and history. I am clarifying and summarizing what I hear to get even closer to what you’re saying. My goal is to understand.
There are certainly reasons to be in each level. But the key differences are important to consider when building relationships and trust.