Posts Tagged ‘ Best Intentions ’

Top 3 Reasons Why Being a Great Leader Isn’t Easy

A few months back, I asked a group of leaders for a show of hands on who had experienced either oversupervision or undersupervision. Almost every hand went up. But then I asked how many had themselves oversupervised or undersupervised their direct reports. Only one or two hands shyly peeked out from the crowd.

So what’s going on? Well, leaders can sometimes be unaware of what they should and should not be doing. And this lack of awareness separates good leaders from great leaders. Great leaders know that leading is a never-ending journey that can be filled with treacherous obstacles.

So what do you need to know to become a great leader?
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British vs. American Culture!

Top 5 Office Pet Peeves (Leadership Quote)

10 Things You Can Do to Look Smart in a Meeting

Infectious Thought Germs Will Anger You

Looking past the viral-oriented nature of this video, the main concept presented is critical for leadership. Thoughts, when attached to emotions other than sadness, generally have higher “infection” rates.

Thus, it is important to generate more emotion (hopefully positive and not anger-inducing) around messages that you want your direct reports to remember or share. It seems idea is lost at times in the data-driven world of today, where it’s more important to get across the numbers and metrics than it is to tell a story.

So communicate with feeling and generate positive emotions in your direct reports. Make the topic relevant to them. They will be more receptive to your messages and will remember them better. Let’s infect the world with the good germs to promote healthy thoughts.

Just don’t anger them… or you may end up on the wrong side of a thought germ!

Leaders, Are You Listening for Explanations or Excuses?

Stop for a moment and consider the last time either you or one of your direct reports missed a deadline. What happened? It’s likely you were asked, or asked for, an explanation. When the explanation was given, how was it received? If it was not well received, do you feel that ANY explanation would have realistically been acceptable? When this point is reached, unfortunately, the only thing being heard is an excuse.

Most people inherently know the difference between an explanation and excuse. Subconsciously, however, we frequently confuse the two. When explaining an action or behavior, you’re making clear the cause or reason for that action or behavior. When making an excuse for an action or behavior, you’re maliciously trying to hide something and/or avoid any consequences. The subconscious confusion comes into play when our expectations become so high that no explanation is good enough so, by default, it is interpreted as an excuse. Or, when an explanation is either overused or seemingly unbelievable, it is also easily interpreted as an excuse.

One of the most well known excuses that we all grew up with was, “the dog ate my homework.” But imagine the child who spent hours finishing his homework assignment and then woke up in the morning only to find that Fido used it as a chew toy during the night. When he tells his teacher that his dog ate his homework, is that an explanation or an excuse? When he’s laughed at, called a liar, or punished, how will that make him feel both in the moment and in the future?

The very first post I ever did for this blog was entitled, Assume the Best Intentions. The gist of this piece was that in your daily interactions, you “give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the best intentions.” People generally want and try to do well even when it may appear to you that their actions or behavior might not seem to support this. My challenge then is to apply this mentality whenever you are being offered an explanation for a behavior or action that you find displeasing. Listen with an open mind and with the intent to be influenced.

You’ll find that in most cases, an explanation is legitimate and valid. This then becomes an opportunity to flex your leadership skills. Hear the explanation and discover how you can support your direct report in accomplishing the task at hand. And when giving an explanation, do so with confidence and be prepared to share how you can be supported in accomplishing your task.

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Assume the Best Intentions

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to a simple yet revolutionary concept. It is one that has changed my life and allowed me to view people and situations through an entirely different, more positive, lens. It is called, “Assume the Best Intentions.”

This mantra was introduced to me when I joined the Coaching Services department here at Blanchard. It is one of our team norms and actually reads like this, “We give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the best intentions.” Simple? Yes. Revolutionary? If you don’t already approach your daily interactions with this in mind, then yes.

Like many of you, I was taught a different saying about what happens when you “assume.” I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about. Therefore, I rarely assumed anything. But, when I was introduced to this team norm, I was intrigued by this new idea and decided I’d buy in to it. I’m so thankful that I did because it has greatly improved my mental approach when encountered with challenging interactions and situations.

Now, when I get THOSE e-mails, I no longer immediately jump to the conclusion that the sender has it in for me or is trying to make my life difficult. I admit I used to go there and admit it, you sometimes do too. When I’m faced with one of these moments, I take a deep breath and briefly attempt to understand where the other person is coming from. I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they have the best intentions. In most cases, they actually are coming from a good place and, surprisingly, really don’t have it out for you and aren’t trying to make your life difficult. I know, hard to believe but trust me on this one.

Keep in mind that in most cases the person that you are dealing with is trying to do what they believe is best given the knowledge that they have on the issue in question. Here’s the kicker…in most of those cases, that person’s knowledge is either limited or different than your own. That’s not a bad thing. However, it does require you to be a bit more patient and understanding.

Adopt this as one of your norms. When you give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they have the best intentions, you will be rewarded with a healthier mental outlook and more positive and productive interactions.

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