Finding effective balance, between our personality types, our effectiveness at managing our stress within the cultures we work, is not easy. One lady I’m coaching has found it difficult to stay in any job for very long. As she and I worked through the Discovery Phase of her coaching program, it became quickly apparent that her talent was being overwhelmed by her inability to manage her stress behaviors. Not always anger, but many times, her reactions to others came across as cynical or curt. Her willingness to fight, rather than, approach team members with a more balanced version of her personality has kept her moving from one job to another. Circumstances are not always in our control, but settling for a career of 24-month tenures is exhausting and unimpressive.
Self-awareness is a key factor in starting a program of improvement for leader-managers. What are the common themes of your workplace performance reviews? Have you been told that your technical skills are strong but you seem to “rub people the wrong way?” Is it time for you to “pull back the camera shot” of your work life and take a longer look? Finding ways to be responsive to the clues about your blind spots is not easy. If it were easy everyone would be accepted and effective in the marketplace. Adding some sensibility to the process for personal improvement is vital for all of us. Of course, as an executive coach and advisor, I believe a great coach can help make this new version of you happen. It is true that all of is need an unbiased outside resource to assist with leadership development.
In the blog Sensible Leadership – Part 1, I mentioned three ideas that were put forth in a client’s sessions to help him align his personality style with the challenges around him. They were:
1. Be clear of the specific outcome needed.
2. Be strong in the beginning so that your leadership actions will not have to react later.
3. Be professional throughout the leadership process.
Here, I’m adding three more ideas that were given to the lady client that was mentioned above to help her improve relationships with fellow workers.
1. Be humble and ask team members’ feedback on work decisions. To decrease tension and re-brand yourself in the workplace, begin with some humility. A leader that has a reputation for conflict and combativeness needs to step back and put forward genuine and sensible humility. When sincerely offered to others, no loss of strength of leadership is necessary.
2. Be consistent and dependable. To improve the respect of others for your skills, even though you may be re-inventing your image in the workplace, stay consistent. Sensible leaders lower tensions by displaying their dependability, while attempting to regain respect. Dependability is a welcomed attribute in every organization.
3. Be positive. As difficult as it may be, turn up your “optimism button.” One way to lower anger arousal is to start the day with a positive and grateful attitude. It is certainly easier said than done, but it is possible to train your brain to be positive. In the case of the lady mentioned above, her new found positive attitude is keeping her out of skirmishes with her teammates. Whether she stays much longer or not in this present position, her chances of getting a positive recommendation for the next job, becomes significantly greater with a positive attitude.
As mentioned in Part 1, my book, Sensible Leadership, takes many coaching scenarios and addresses them for practical leadership tips. Most of us just want to be effective in our work. The same is true in our hopes to manage others well. Sensible leaders learn how to control their own personalities and even practice diplomacy to achieve leadership success. Practical leaders lead with sensibility, balance and humility. The above six ideas are only a few of the practical thoughts that anyone can apply to their management or leadership endeavors for success. Let me end with a great quote from the movie, Braveheart.
“Now tell me, what does that mean – to be noble? Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country, but men don’t follow titles, they follow courage.” William Wallace, Braveheart
My book, Sensible Leadership, is ready for pre-orders at www.drrickforbus.com.
Rick Forbus, PhD