Tag Archives: lead

Leading with Tact

One of the biggest things that leaders in the organization must keep in mind is tact.  Tact is defined as “a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.”  So what exactly does it mean for leaders to lead with tact?  I believe that in order to lead with tact, it is important to keep the following three elements in mind:

tact

Avoid playing favorites.

As a leader, it’s our jobs to be fair to our personnel.  While there may be people we like more than others, it’s something that not only needs to be kept to ourselves, but cannot affect our decision-making.  In order to avoid playing favorites, it’s important that we are cognizant of our own biases toward certain individuals.  A leader’s job is to bring out the best in everyone, which we can’t do if people are seeing bias in how we treat others.

 

Avoid putting down others.

While there may be people in the organization we don’t necessarily get along with, it’s important that we keep it to ourselves and avoid letting our personal opinions influence ours and others’ decisions.  While it’s okay to give constructive criticism, it’s not acceptable for leaders to put down others solely because they don’t like the person.  When we publically put down other people, it not only affects our credibility as leaders, it also potentially burns bridges between us and the person we discredited.

 

Know what to say and when to say it.

Leaders in the organization are responsible for making important decisions that may affect many people.  While leaders should effectively communicate information to others in the organization, it’s important to keep in mind the appropriate context for presenting the information and the appropriate audience to present the information to.  Leaders are constantly exposed to sensitive information, and it’s important to keep the timing, audience, and context in mind when presenting it to others.

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.

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Why You Should Accept Resistance

resistance

Today, I wanted to discuss a short video presentation I found, called “Surround Yourself with Those Who Will Talk Back to You,” which talks about how push-backs in organizational decision-making can be beneficial to leaders who are on top of the organizational pyramid.  The idea of resistance in the organization may get a bad rap, but in reality, it can prove to be beneficial for leaders who are responsible for key decisions that affect multiple people.

Leaders are responsible for making the tough decisions, and although some of us may like to be the lone decision-maker in the organization, it’s important to weigh the potential consequences that accompany each decision.  The worst possible scenario for leaders is to lead a group of “yes men,” who go along with every decision that is made without questioning it at all.  Although leaders are chosen to lead because they have gained the trust of people in the organization, it is still up to others in the organization to keep leaders accountable.

Effective leaders should understand the importance of accepting resistance in the organization and surround themselves with people who will actually voice their opinions in the decision-making process.  No one likes to deal with resistance, especially when they know they are working tirelessly to do what’s right for their organization, but resistance is the essence to successful decision-making.  By encouraging others to voice their concerns, they show themselves to be open-minded to outside perspectives on matters at hand.  Leading a group of “yes men” shows signs of apathy within the organization, so don’t be frustrated if you’re meeting too much resistance in your organization.  It just shows that you have people who care.

 

Related Thoughts:

Five Steps to Handle Criticism

Making Decisions with the Organization in Mind

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.

Four Tips for Effective Listening

One key characteristic a leader must have is the ability to listen to others.  This is especially important in dealing with organizational conflicts and listening to criticism from others.  To be an effective listener, we must understand that there are more things to look for in a conversation besides just the spoken words.  Below are what I believe to be the four most important tips to keep in mind in order to listen effectively:

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Put 100% focus on the other person.

Although this sounds obvious, but it’s easier said than done.  We get distracted too easily sometimes (texting while others are talking to us, thinking about other things on our minds, etc.) that we don’t always put the necessary focus on the other person that it hinders our ability to gather sufficient information to make decisions.  To put 100% focus on the other person means we need to focus all our efforts on the other person when they talk to us.

Read between the lines.

Oftentimes we may say one thing, but actually mean something else.  One important trait to be an effective listener is the ability to gather information.  In this case, we do not only listen to a person’s spoken words, but also determine if there are any underlying meanings behind what they are saying.  This is especially important for people who lead a diverse group, as different cultures and personalities will yield different styles of communication.  While some people’s words may be taken at face value, others’ might require some extra analyzing.

Pay attention to body language.

This makes up for a huge part in conveying a message.  A person’s body language can tell you how interested they might be in a certain subject and what kind of emotions they may be feeling when they are talking to you.  It’s important to make sure that we pay attention to the person’s facial expressions, as well as body posture when they are talking to us.  I believe that effective listeners listen not only with their ears, but also their eyes.

Ask questions accordingly.

Based on the information you gather from their spoken words underlying meanings and body languages, you can now think of questions you can ask the other person in order to get a better understanding of their viewpoints.  By doing this, you don’t only get a deeper understanding of where they’re coming from, but you also show them that you were actively listening to what they were saying and you that you are someone who cares about them.  You’ll gain more respect as a leader this way.

Related Thoughts:

10 Tips to Effective & Active Listening Skills

The Art of Listening

Effective Listening

Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.

Making Decisions with the Organization in Mind

decision

As leaders, we have the power to make an impact in the organization with our decisions, as every decision we make will affect people in one way or another.  In order to make sure we make the best decisions, we have to think carefully about what’s at stake and not be easily influenced by others in our decision making process.

People tend to be individualistic in the way they perceive situations, but it’s important for leaders to think and act in the interest of the collective group.  I think the most unfortunate part of being a leader is the constant exposure to organizational politics, as some people will try to influence your opinions and get you to act in their best interests, instead of everyone’s.  It’s important that leaders are not easily swayed by others, as their decisions not only affect other people, but also shape their character.

I’ve seen situations where leaders have been easily influenced by others, which caused them to make detrimental decisions to the organization.  It’s okay to hear other people’s opinions in order to make well-informed decisions, but it’s also imperative to understand why people have certain opinions and suggestions.  Do those suggestions benefit the organization as a whole?  Has that person made positive contributions to the organizations before?  These are some of the questions to keep in mind when listening to other people’s ideas.

Unfortunately, many leaders become too invested in their relationship with people in the organization, to the point where they let those people’s opinions blur their purpose as a leader and affect their ability to make decisions effectively.  While it’s not a bad thing to create friendships in the organization, it’s important for leaders to remember that their responsibility is to the organization and everyone who is involved in it.  Remember, the decisions we make as leaders also define us as people, so if our goal as a leader is to act in the benefit of the collective organization, our decisions need to show that.

Related Thoughts:

5 Elements of an Effective Decision Making Process

The Big Key to Organizational Decision Making

Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.

Seven Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Lead

Leadership

You are only doing it for the title.

I’m sure a lot of people would like to be a “president” or a “CEO”, but that’s not enough of a reason to give them those positions.  Yes, the title is prestigious, but along with that are lots of responsibilities and sacrifices.  With every action, leaders must keep the organization at the forefront of their thoughts.  The title is simply the byproduct of assuming bigger responsibilities and making sacrifices.

You can’t handle constructive criticism.

Leaders must be able to accept being under constant scrutiny by others within the organization.  Not everyone is going to agree with what you say or do, but it’s important to understand why they don’t see eye-to-eye with you on certain things.  You are not expected to be perfect, but you are expected to allow others to point out potential mistakes so you can learn from them.

You are easily influenced by others.

It’s okay to consider other people’s opinions on certain courses of action, but you shouldn’t let them completely dictate your decision-making.  As a leader, your job is to be firm in your decision-making and stand by your choices.  You can weigh in other people’s opinions, but make sure you can draw the line somewhere so you don’t let others control your actions completely.

You’re not willing to make sacrifices.

A leader’s job doesn’t start at 8:00am and end at 5:00pm.  You are expected to be a leader 24/7, meaning that you must be willing to accept that and make the necessary sacrifices for organizational success.  You will have to sacrifice a lot of your time and freedom in order to be successful as a leader.  If you have the passion to be a leader, these sacrifices shouldn’t be too much for you.

You are happy with the status quo.

Leaders should be chosen because people believe in their vision and that they will act in the betterment of the organization.  They must be willing to make the necessary changes in order to achieve this vision.  I believe the most detrimental element to any organization is the unwillingness to change.  Competitive organizations should have proactive leaders who advocate change.

You want to be everyone’s friend.

As I’ve mentioned above, leaders will face a great deal of scrutiny.  They must realize that there will be people who disagree with them regardless of what they do.  The leader’s job is to drive organizational success.  Not everyone in the organization will like who you are and what you do, and that’s something you just have to accept.  A good leader’s priorities should be organization first, and friends second.

You don’t like to make the tough decisions.

If you’ve ever watched Spider-Man, I’m sure you are familiar with the quote “with great power come great responsibilities.”  As a leader, your decisions will affect many people in the organization.  A lot of them won’t be easy decisions, but you are ultimately expected to make that decision.  If that’s something you’re uncomfortable with, then you might not want to be a leader.

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.