Leadership Training

How to Stop Attracting Problems with One Small Change

Date: July 22nd, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

If you’re in a leadership position and perpetually find yourself under an inordinate amount of stress, as you seem to attract more than your fair share of problems, it may be self-inflicted.

When we are promoted into positions of leadership, we naturally understand our lives may be filled with a few more headaches as additional, heavier responsibilities are placed upon us. Why else would we be earning the big bucks? Think about it – as newly anointed leaders, we no longer have the luxury of worrying only about ourselves – we are also expected to manage others to ensure department goals are met and projects are completed to expectation. If we don’t perform, game over.

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What Would Aliens Say About Our Communication?

Date: July 15th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

If aliens are looking down at us from another planet and watching how we interact with each other, they would likely conclude that humans prefer interacting with devices and computers instead of with one another, face-to-face. The sad fact is that their conclusion would be correct. Just think – the very technology that was developed to help us become more efficient so we could spend more personal time with family and friends has turned on us, making us less social, and more isolated than ever.

This is equally troubling in the workplace where we are expected to interact with one another, build trusting relationships, communicate meaningful information and strategize within work teams to accomplish objectives. This is becoming increasingly difficult, as so many people not only rely on technology to communicate, it is, in some cases preferred, if not required. What mediums of communication do we have to choose from? I’ve narrowed it down to the four below, in the order of usage and popularity as I perceive it.

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How to Create a Better Climate at Work

Date: July 9th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

Most leaders have the technical expertise to do their jobs effectively. In fact, that’s usually the reason they were promoted to a leadership position in the first place. But technical know-how is only part of what it takes to be an effective leader–and an effective coach. Many managers and executives may be surprised to learn that it’s not the most important part. Technical expertise and knowledge are prerequisites to good leadership; they’re necessary, but they’re not sufficient.

working together2_dropshadowThe ability to relate with and motivate the people who report to the leader is far more important. Much research shows that when people work in a climate of respect, caring, honesty, collaboration, cooperation and trust, they maximize their contributions to the organization.

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The Unintended Consequences of Helping Others

Date: July 7th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

Most of us have at least a few kind bones in our bodies and are naturally inclined to help people who appear to be in some sort of trouble, at least to the extent we are able to help. We help our kids when they have trouble with their homework (or at least we try), we help our colleagues out when they need support with workload, and we make ourselves available to our friends when they ask us to help them move. With rare exception, most of us are good, kind souls.

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On Leadership, by Dr. Thomas Gordon*

Date: July 1st, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

Tom Gordon_color-funeralbookletphoto w dropshadow(The following is from writings just found, literally tucked away in a filing cabinet, printed on that purple mimeographed stuff—you “old schoolers” know what I am talking about. What a find! While I continue my treasure hunt, I am posting some for you now.)

Leadership is too much related to one’s personality, one’s basic attitudes and values. Consequently, becoming a different kind of leader requires fundamental changes in the inner core of the person, as opposed to simply their outward behavior.

Such a change will occur only through frequent exposures to new situations, through a kind of painstaking experimentation with different methods, and through honest examination and evaluation of one’s attitudes toward self and others.

‘Techniques’ will help, of course, but they can be effective only if they become an implementation of the leader’s own philosophy and temperament. There is a reason for stressing the intimate relationship between one’s patterns of leadership and their philosophy and temperament.

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5 Reasons to Stop Encouraging Someone into a Leadership Position

Date: June 16th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

Smiling coworkers_dropshadow

 

Every company has top performing employees who get along exceptionally well with colleagues and customers. They seem to have all those “people skills” needed to be a great leader – polished communication skills, Active Listeners, great at motivating team members to achieve lofty objectives, and with such admired skills, they intuitively know how to quickly extinguish conflict. You may be thinking of someone who is poised to fill a much needed leadership role in your company, and you may be encouraging him or her to accept a position in management. But what if that ideal person has rejected your offers, not wanting to have anything to do with the additional responsibilities associated with being burdened by a management title? What do you do?

If you happen to find yourself stuck in this situation, consider the following five reasons to cease and desist…

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How To Increase Productive Work Time

Date: June 10th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

So how DO you increase productive work time? Well, in Gordon Model land, we have a variety of skills to choose from: different types of I-Messages, Active Listening and the Method III Problem-Solving process. Specifically, here’s what I am talking about.

Using Dr. Gordon’s Behavior Window, depending on where we are in this window, we decide what skill we’re going to use and when. We’d like to ideally live in the No-Problem Area of this window. So how do we stay in this area? How do we increase this area so we can be as productive as possible?

Try these on for size–these are some skills to use when you’re in this area that can help you stay there:

Well, I declare!

Declarative I-Messages: These are your self-disclosures to others about your beliefs, ideas, likes, dislikes, feelings, reactions, attitudes, intentions.

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A Real Life Story About the Expensive Consequences of Bad Leadership

Date: June 9th, 2014

Blog post by: Scott Seroka

I worked for a number of different companies holding numerous types of positions before settling into my career, and during that time I received quite an education on how poor leadership can set into motion a sequence of events and behaviors ultimately affecting a company’s brand and bottom line. My favorite and most memorable lesson occurred during my college years.

My real life leadership course began when I was working at a higher-end men’s clothing store in the early 90’s. We had nine employees and two managers on our staff, and we were all driven and motivated to sell based on a draw plus commission compensation package. I got the hang of selling rather quickly, and after a couple of weeks I was consistently posting higher-than-average sales numbers nearly every month. It was rare for me to have a bad week, so for a college student, I was making some pretty decent cash. Things were going very well during my first six months, before I met the company’s district manager, Paul, who I now refer to as my first “leadership instructor.”

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Attention Leaders! Do You Think You Have a Good Reputation?

Date: June 2nd, 2014

Blog Post By: Anonymous

What Kind of Leader_drop shadow

 

Employees do quite a bit of of talking. They talk to each other, they talk to their friends and they also talk to their peers at office parties, networking events, seminars, conferences and online. And if you want to know what they talk about, they talk about their jobs. More specifically, they talk about their managers and co-workers, at least some of the time. Without even knowing it, you, as a leader are earning a reputation based on how people are talking about you.

Now if you haven’t thought much about what kind of a reputation you have, your answers to the following questions will give you some insight. Make sure to be as honest and as open as possible with yourself and your answers:

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How To Fight Crime With Your Ears – What I Learned On A “Ride Along”

Date: May 27th, 2014

Blog post by: Michelle Adams

SDPD Police Car w Michelle headSo I was in a patrol car for the first time the other day—no, no, I wasn’t in trouble! We have a friend, colleague and LET-trained police sergeant who works nearby and I asked him if I could do a “ride along” and he said “Sure!” so off we went for a few hours last week. Besides learning ALL that they do (which is a lot), how much territory they cover on their shift (which is a lot), and what the world looks like when you’re in a patrol car, I got to learn about how the LET skills help this police supervisor out on a daily basis. He has a naturally helpful, easy-going personality but I noticed his empathy and caring with his team, who reports to him, ending every interaction with a Direct Report with a, “Do you need anything?” And he often checked for clarity to make sure he understood the situation.

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A Simple Truth About Leadership

Date: May 19th, 2014

Blog Post by Scott Seroka

If you give this a moment’s thought, leadership is actually quite simple. Employees want the very same things their leaders want: opportunities, autonomy, respect, to be heard. etc. And if employees perform and produce to expectations, these requests are fair and realistic. Would you agree? However, each and every employee, no matter how professional and friendly they are, are also in a constant pursuit of getting their needs satisfied. When something or someone gets in their way, it creates conflicts (people problems), and problems not properly resolved will disrupt an entire team.

LET Quote for Blog Post 052014 copyHere is a simple truth about leadership: it is not your responsibility to solve problems between people. In fact, your involvement will likely do much more harm than good, even if you believe you have the perfect solution to fix everything and get everyone back to work again. And the reason is simple: As you do not have the full, unbiased insight into the source, details, politics and personalities surrounding every problem, you are usually not in a good position to offer any kind of solution. As a leader, your role isn’t to solve problems; it is to make sure problems get solved.

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Soooo…what I hear you saying is…

Date: May 12th, 2014

Blog post by: Michelle Adams

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar to you:
“So what I hear you saying is…..”
Okay, you can put your hands down now.

Most of you will recognize this as a way of beginning your own Active Listening to someone who, in your Behavior Window* is “in” the top part of the window, yes? Okay, good so far.

Listening 2 _ drop shadow

This can be helpful to those who are new to Active Listening AND it’s also a good way to buy yourself some time before you give your Active Listening a shot. On the other hand, it can sometimes be, well…okay, I will just say it…annoying! What do I mean by that? If you use this opener or lead-in a lot, your Active Listening might start to sound robotic or formulaic to the other person.

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29 Reasons Employees Avoid Their Managers

Date: May 6th, 2014

Blog Post by Scott Seroka

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working for a manager who taught you how not to lead, you’ll appreciate this blog.

confront_drop shadow

 

Employees despise working for managers who do not practice even the most basic people skills, leading with intimidation and an iron fist. When forced into such working conditions, employees will typically avoid their managers at all costs which consequently leads to decreases in productivity, a measurable increase in mistakes and poor morale. There is no question this is cancerous to an organization. So, what causes employees to avoid their managers? Below is a list of twenty-nine:

 

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Why Managers Shouldn’t Strive for a Peaceful Workplace

Date: April 28th, 2014

Blog Post by Scott Seroka

As a manager under the stress of meeting expectations and delivering results to owners and stakeholders, striving for peace in the workplace and avoiding conflict should be the order of every day, shouldn’t it? When employees show up to work each day, on time, and do what they were hired to do, it is a good day. We don’t want to deal with politics or drama – we want everything to be running like a well-oiled machine. We assume that when there is peace, everyone must be happy.

Or maybe they are not.

Consider this: Peace can actually be detrimental to the success of an organization, especially if it goes on for weeks, or worse, months. Why? Peace can be a leading symptom of apathy and/or employee disengagement. Peace can also be a sign that a work team feels defeated or has given up on a fight or cause – the very things companies need if they are to improve and grow.

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How Leader Effectiveness Training Took Flight

Date: April 22nd, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams, written by Dr. Thomas Gordon

Here lies the humble beginnings of L.E.T. from the memoirs of Dr. Thomas Gordon. He was a flight instructor (Aircraft? B-24 Mitchell for those who are curious) for the Army Air Corps during WWII. He describes an experience that really opened his eyes about how leaders can dramatically impact the performance and morale of their subordinates—or in this case, students:

CaptThomasGordon-WWII-GroupPhotoWithB-24Mitchell_With Outline“Our main purpose was to influence flight instructors to drop the conventional authoritarian ‘tough guy’ role that usually instilled so much fear and tension that students didn’t perform well.

We wanted to avoid unnecessarily high rates of wash-outs [failures]. In this job, I had a leadership position for the first time. Heading a group of six fellow officers, I fell into the trap of ‘taking charge.’

I set the main goals myself—after all, I thought I was more expert—assigned the tasks, and assumed sole responsibility for evaluating progress.

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This Article on Healthcare and Teams Could Save Your Life. Seriously.

Date: April 14th, 2014

Blog Post by William D. Stinnett, Ph.D.

iStock_000034959162SmallRemember when doctors made house calls? Probably not! Few of us are old enough to remember such a thing. Times have changed and so has the health care profession. There was a time when the doctor knew everything. In a sense, that was true. He or she did know almost everything there was to know about medicine and treating illnesses. No more! The medical field is so vast and complex that no one person can possibly know everything.

Everyone is a specialist. I’ll bet that your primary care physician is some sort of internist, an oncologist or a pediatrician (or a gerontologist). We know much, much more about how to treat diseases than ever before. In fact, there are very few conditions without some kind of accepted treatment, not to say that those treatments always work – there are still plenty of frontiers. More troubling, however, is that the correct treatment is often not prescribed or not administered properly. Why in the world would this be so? Certainly, there are deep, and worrisome political issues that interfere with good health care.

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Isn’t Method III the Same as Win-Win?

Date: April 8th, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

Method III (the name of the problem solving concept in the Gordon Model) is based on a very different set of assumptions than the power-based methods:

• The needs of each party are considered to be of equal importance.

• The problem is approached from a needs standpoint, not a solution standpoint.

• Power is never used except in extreme emergencies.

Win-LoseAs illustrated here, the posture of both parties, whether power is equal or unequal, is democratic and concerned with the needs of each — saying in effect, “Let’s work together for a solution that meets your needs and meets my needs. Both of us will win, no one will be a resentful loser.”

The main advantage of the Method III approach is that it enhances rather than harms the relationship. No one loses; instead both win. Feelings of resentment and unfairness are thus eliminated from problem solving and replaced by mutual respect and concern for the needs of all parties.

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10 Helpful Tips for Better Active Listening

Date: March 31st, 2014

Posted by: Michelle Adams

1. Know when to use Active Listening. Use it only when you’re free enough of your problems to feel accepting and want to help other people with their problems.

2. Know when not to use Active Listening. It won’t work when you’re feeling unaccepting of the other person — when you own the problem. Nor will it work to influence them to change some behavior you don’t accept.

3. Avoid pushing or imposing your Active Listening on the other person. Listen for clues that the other doesn’t want to talk or has finished talking.

listening1 drop shadow4. Use the other listening skills: silence, acknowledgment responses, and door openers. Every response of the other person does not need feedback. Use Active Listening primarily when feelings are strong and the other person’s need to be heard is apparent.

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How To Totally Mess Up Confrontation

Date: March 25th, 2014

Blog post by: William D. Stinnett, Ph.D.

Confronting unacceptable behavior in the workplace (or anywhere) is often uncomfortable. One of the most valuable tools that can be used to increase your odds of a successful conversation about behavior that interferes with your objectives is called an I-Message. Using a well-constructed I-Message allows you to avoid many of the pitfalls of these emotional, uncomfortable but highly necessary conversations.

With an I-Message, you are not making assumptions about the other person’s motives or intentions (stuff you don’t know anything about). They are non-judgmental. They are clear. They give the other person useful information that can be used to make changes in their behavior if they choose to do so. It’s powerful stuff. But like any powerful tool, there are lots of ways to mess up. I know lots of carpenters, gardeners, and mechanics who certainly know how to use their tools but still have the scars to prove that even an expert can hit her thumb with a hammer.

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How Does Maslow’s Model Fit with the Gordon Model?

Date: March 19th, 2014

Article by: Linda Adams

needs_pyramid

First, understanding this Hierarchy of Needs makes you more aware that we all have many basic requirements that are necessary and essential to our survival, health and well-being and that our behavior is geared toward meetings those needs. It helps you see your own behavior and that of the people with whom you live and work in a different frame of reference. Instead of labeling behavior as “bad” or “selfish” or “misbehavior”, it can be seen as “need-meeting”.

Next, knowing the communication and conflict resolution skills gives you tools that are invaluable in getting many of those needs met, especially Levels 3-5.

A primary goal of the Gordon Model workshops is to expand the size of your No Problem Area in your relationships at work, home and with friends and others.

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