Monthly Archives: October 2017

Working With Someone Who Drives You Nuts

Working with someone who drives you nuts can range from the co-worker who is simply too loud to the one who has no control over their “personal habits” (Did he just hack up a hairball?) to the person who is an outright ogre to be around. Every one of these employees obviously make some contribution or they still wouldn’t be there (we hope.)

So how do you work along someone like this?

Listen more and talk less.

We spend so much time trying to convince the other person we are right, we fall to actually listen to try to truly understand where they are coming from. The division of political discourse is falling into our work communication. Compromise is becoming a sign of weakness, instead of a sign of strength, and this is making finding common ground much more difficult.

Anticipate the discomfort and prepare.

Instead of fretting over the impending confrontation, why not strategize how to find something you can both agree upon and build from there? Through relationship building, words become clearer and intentions become known, therefore, constructive criticism tends to be received better from friendly acquaintances than from combatants.

Focus on what you enjoy, instead of what you find frustrating.

Thinking “If only he would…” is an exercise in fantasy and a waste of time and energy, not to mention creates a mindset rife with disappointment. Focus on what the other person does well (there is always something) and give that greater weight in your thoughts of this person than in the habits that frustrate you.

Ask for their help on something they are very good at.

When you invite people to help you out on something that is in their wheelhouse, you get to have a common victory. Winning together builds bridges.

I’ve had to remind myself over the years, “No one can make me have a bad day, unless I let them.” If I allow them to drive me nuts – they win. If I can find a way to get beyond that – I win. If you work with someone who drives you nuts, it’s an opportunity for you to find a victory.

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Decision Scrutiny is Upon Us

In the age of over-reaction and ever-present cameras, every decision is tested under the bright lights of scrutiny. While watching a football coach get grilled by the press immediately following a crushing loss by his team, I wondered how most business leaders would be able to handle that type of close inspection for their day to day decisions.

Like high profile football coaches facing decision scrutiny from the press and social media, business leaders must employ the following three ideas when making solid decisions.

Don’t let vague emotions dictate decisions.

A coach is under a ticking clock when making tough, in-the-moment decisions. There is no room for second-guessing. All eyes are on him to demonstrate his leadership. Being firm in your decisions for your team says you are in charge, good or bad. Surveyed employees indicate one of the worst traits of bad managers is being wishy-washy. When you are firm in your decision it tells your team that you believe in what you are doing. Vagueness breeds apprehension throughout the business. Make sure your team isn’t guessing what is going on — be decisive.

When a decision goes wrong, take the blame.

The quickest way for a leader to lose his team is to throw someone under the bus when a mistake has been made. Active leaders are always going to make mistakes. When decision mistakes happen, be solution-focused and not blame-focused, then evaluate the event for what can be learned to prevent it from being repeated. Anyone can lead in the best of times. True leaders demonstrate their character in tough times. Be the leader the team wants you to be.

Have a plan.

Decision are never made in a vacuum. Every decision has multiple facets of impact and consequence. Be sure to be informed and aware of the impact of your decisions and how they fit with your overall plan for the business.  Decisions should never appear to be random or reactionary. Frequently I ask my client how a particular action supports the overall direction of the business. So often it’s easy to get lost in fighting the battle and lose sight of the war. Follow your plan so your leadership shows where you are taking your team.

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