LEADERSHIP Style and Skill
Conflict Management & Dealing With Difficult People
One of the toughest challenges facing an manager whether in a business or as part of an organization is determining the appropriate leadership style and leadership skill to apply when working with a team member. The starting point for understanding which leadership style is to observe the individual when they interact with you.
If you take the time to study people you will learn more about them then they could ever explain. How they move, their gestures and what they say add up to a formula for your giving being able to give instructions and direction.
For example, in one of my sales groups there was an older salesman who had been with the company for more than 30 years and swore that he knew everything and no one could tell him different. Noticing his posture and aggressive tone, I decide to "turn him" slowly toward the direction I wanted to go in. Given his self-invested ego, I knew going toe-to-toe (i.e., demanding he do it my way) with him would simply not work.
My first step was to take him to the side for a cup of coffee and begin to "ask" for his opinion on how he thought things should be done. During the course of him throwing up his opinions all over me, I asked him tough questions on why he believed his way was better. Now mind you, I wasn't challenging him. I took the, "help me understand" approach with opened the door to more extensive dialogue with him. This is often known as the Socratic line of questioning after the philosopher Socrates who always answered a question with a question. His approach was to keep asking until he got to the basic premise of the argument.
Now, during the conversation I kept in mind one thing; my objective was not to be right, but to learn as much as I could about his point of view. In other words, as he was talking and explaining his position, I in no way tried to adapt it to my way of thinking or contort it to my advantage. No, the dialogue was just that, a dialogue.
By the end of lunch I had learned quite a bit about his way of thinking, but more importantly he gave me a lot of 'food for thought' before I decided on my course of action.
I then did what most leaders will not do...admit that you learned something.
I thanked the sales sincerely for sharing his viewpoint and opening my eyes to things I had frankly not given any thought to. This admission of gratitude caught him off guard. Instead of facing someone who was his boss, he was having a conversation with someone who was trying to do what was in the best interest of all concern. Once he knew my concern was genuine, his stubborn attitude turned into an accommodating posture to try something new.
I learned early on that people who work for you just want to be heard. They want their voice to count. This is even more true when you have a person with tenure.
I want to point out two things here:
Your leadership style and leadership skill should be malleable because you don't have all the answers. (see article on "The Fatal Conceit Redux")
Second, you have to learn to trust yourself to trust others.
Ps Please email me so we can discuss your event and what it is you’re looking for in a speaker.
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Victor Antonio G., Sales Influence All Rights Reserved 2002-2009,
A business motivational keynote speaker for events and conventions
Travels from: Atlanta, Georgia info@SalesInfluence.com
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