Managing Millennials – 4 Tips for Leading Millennials
One piece of general advice is not to think of leading and managing millennials as a problem. Instead, look at opportunities that come from the way millennials look at the world.

Managing Millennials – 4 Tips for Leading Millennials

We’ve heard a lot about the “millennial problem” lately and there is no shortage of opinions on it. My first experience working with millennials was in the Air Force in the mid-2000s. That was a bit different situation than dealing with it in a civilian environment. Despite the differences, we found some successful leadership principles that can help with managing millennials in the civilian world too. One piece of general advice is not to think of leading and managing millennials as a problem. Instead, look for opportunities that come from the way millennials view the world. How can that mindset benefit your team? If you lead millennials or are millennial and you have a different experience, I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to learn from your experience if you have different advice and share it with other leaders.

Managing Millennials Tip #1 – Recognize What Millennials Want

Millennials really want 3 things when it comes to their career and life in general. They want to be heard, to participate in the decision-making process and for their work to have meaning. This isn’t unique to millennials. Pretty much everyone in every generation wants these things in their work experience.

From a very young age, millennials have been encouraged to pursue their dreams. They were also much more included in decision-making with their families. This is far different from my experience growing up as a Generation Xer. Older generations were raised differently as well. We “paid our dues” in the workplace before we got a seat at the big table. Millennials view this differently and this can create that generational tension. We shouldn’t assign any blame here, just recognize the different mindset. Recognizing that millennials want the same thing as every generation does, but have a different mindset on how to get there, goes a long way towards building a strong team relationship with millennials.

Managing Millennials Tip #2 – Be Flexible Where You Can

Millennials love flexibility especially when it comes to schedule and being able to use the latest technology. Look for opportunities to be flexible on how your team does work. It’s important to maintain the standards of excellence that your organization demands. For example, who cares when your team is in the office if they can do the work remotely? What events or activities do they really need to be present for? Where you can, let your millennial team members experiment with new tech, new methods, and alternate schedules. Enforce deadlines and standards on work products even as you give them new freedom.

Managing Millennials Tip #3 – Give Millennials Objectives, Not Tasks

Give your millennials problems to solve and let them figure out how to do it. As above, set clear standards that their results have to meet. Identify any legal or regulatory frameworks they must stay within and let them work inside that framework. If you’re new to letting your team have this much freedom, schedule in a few vector checks. These checks let your team update you before they proceed and are a great opportunity to give them further guidance.

Managing Millennials Tip #4 – Be a Coach and Mentor

Here at Evil Genius Leadership we believe one of our most important jobs as a leader is to develop the leaders coming up behind us. It’s especially important with millennials who are looking to have a coaching and mentor relationship with you. Sometimes a team member will have an idea for an improvement. Often it’s not quite fully formed or doesn’t take into account the whole situation. Rather than just saying no, sit down and discuss how they can make their proposal stronger. We all had mentors who took the time to invest in us. We should do the same for our team members.

You may recognize that these tips are all basic good leadership principles. We were talking about these ideas 20 to 30 years ago before millennials ever entered the workforce. As I said earlier, if you’re leading millennials, or are a millennial, and you have a different experience, leave us a comment and let’s continue the discussion. I’d love to hear what you think and refine these tips to make them valuable to even more people. Rather than looking at this as a “millennial problem” let’s just recognize that every generation comes with its own worldview. If we follow good leadership principles we can get past the tension from differing worldviews.

Managing up isn't just about getting our boss to accept our proposals. We need to build trust that we will act in the best interest of the organization.

Managing Up – 3 Tips for Managing Your Boss

Often, as leaders, we get wrapped up in day-to-day problems and leading our own team. We sometimes forget how important managing up is. We need to build strong relationships with our boss and our boss’s boss in order to lead effectively.

Effective leaders do more than just manage their team. They build strong working relationships their leadership up the chain. Managing up isn’t just about getting the boss to accept our proposals. We need to build trust that we will act in the best interest of the organization.

When I was a young Air Force Captain, I was working on a project and had to go see the Wing Commander. I had put together a few options but wasn’t really sure which one to choose. I went to the meeting and asked him what he wanted to do. He looked at me and said, “Jason I’m a Colonel, you’re a captain. You’re the project officer. Figure it out.” He then explained that he wasn’t trying to be harsh, but rather that he trusted me. As the expert, I should be recommending to him what the best alternative is. That experience taught me what managing up is all about. Bring solutions to the boss instead of just bringing problems or questions.

Managing Up Tip #1 – Bring Solutions, Not Problems

Effective leaders will go to the boss and present the problem, their thought process and their preferred solution along with several alternatives. Go to your boss with some solutions in mind. Don’t just bring more problems. The boss already has plenty of problems on his plate, we don’t need to bring him more. You show initiative by providing several solutions and build trust by showing that you have the best interests organization at heart.

Managing Up Tip #2 – Solve Your Boss’s Problems

Don’t just solve your own problems. Solve your boss’s problems. When you talk to the boss about a problem and how you’re going to solve it, think about the way your boss thinks about it. Consider their concerns they have across all of the groups they manage, not just your team. Also, be aware of the requirements that are placed on your boss from above. If you can solve your boss’s problems they know they have one, you’re effectively managing up. Your boss is going to trust you and see that you have that initiative to accomplish the mission and do what’s right for the organization.

Managing Up Tip #3 – The One Challenge Rule

What if your boss completely shuts you down on the solution you presented? That happens sometimes and we need to deal with it tactfully. In this case, you can use the one challenge rule to effectively manage up. You don’t want to argue with your boss over the right thing to do. After the decision, if you believe they are making a mistake, take one opportunity to say so. Lay out your case respectfully and calmly in a logical way. The boss may change their mind or decide to go with the original decision. Either way, you made your case and the boss will respect that you tried to do the right thing for the organization. Once the decision is made, go execute according to the boss’s guidance even if you didn’t get your way.

Next time you’re getting ready to pitch one of your ideas to your boss even further up the chain, think about these three tips before you go into the meeting. Remember, we’re trying to build a strong working relationship with our boss and all of the leaders in our organization. We want to build trust by showing them that we’re focused on our mission as well as what’s in the best interest of the organization.

Following the chain of command can be slow and painful, but there are some advantages. When you understand the chain of command, you can use those experiences to improve your own leadership skills.

Chain of Command – 3 Tips to Make it Work for You

Following the chain of command can be slow and painful, but there are some advantages. When you understand the chain of command, you can use those experiences to improve your own leadership skills.

While I was in the Air Force one of my assignments was rapid prototyping and testing of new capabilities. It was exciting and rewarding, but there was a lot of risk. We had to go through a lot of levels in the chain of command to get approval for our projects. When I first started this job, it was incredibly frustrating. But I learned over time that I was getting huge benefits by working through the chain of command. That experience forced me to understand the needs and interests of each leader in the chain. If you feel like you’re hitting your head against the wall with your chain of command, here are three things to consider of how it benefits your career instead of feeling like its holding you back.

Chain of Command Benefit #1: Improve Your Critical Thinking

Bosses ask a lot of questions and it can be kind of annoying sometimes. They ask these questions because they have concerns you may not be aware of. Answering these questions helps us get to the best optimal solution for the organization. It may not be the best or most convenient solution for you, but listening carefully to their questions and answering them thoroughly will set you up for success. Keep track of the questions that certain decision makers in your chain, or even out of your chain, ask. Chances are they ask the same ones over and over again because the same concern comes up on every project. If you already have a good idea what questions they will ask when you bring your next project, you can address it thoroughly in your first presentation to them and solve their problem before they even know they have one.

Chain of Command Benefit #2: Build Strong Relationships

When anticipating the questions your chain of command may ask, you may wonder how to get those answers? Building relationships with other parts of your organization will help you gather the information you need. To successfully navigate your chain of command for approval you’ll want to get the perspective of the other departments on how your proposal will affect others. Addressing all of those issues is daunting, but you can get the answers from people who work with them daily. Get out there, make friends with people in other departments. As you’re working on your proposal, talk about it with them. See if it causes any problems in their department. Ask how they can be fixed and if they can support that solution. Now, when you approach your chain of command, you can show that you understand the perspective of others and you’re working with them on the solution.

Chain of Command Benefit #3: Prepare Yourself to be a Boss

Developing your critical thinking and building these relationships provides a third benefit. All this effort and experience is preparing you to be a boss someday. Learning about the problems that the leaders up your chain have gets you thinking about them today and how you might solve them if you were in their position. Having the relationships with other departments already in place will smooth your transition into a position of more responsibility.

So those are the 3 ways you can think about how working through your chain of command benefits you instead of thinking of it as a burden. This still applied even if you don’t plan to stay in your current company forever. If you change jobs you’ll still have the critical thinking and relationship building skills that will help you be one of the great leaders of tomorrow!

 

The last fear that we're going to cover is the fear of saying no. I hate to tell people no, but sometimes we have to in order to get the best outcome.

Saying No: Facing Fear

All through October we’ve been talking about the things that frighten us and how to face them. The last common fear that we’re going to cover is the fear of saying no. We all have it. This is one that I have a particularly hard time with. I hate to tell people no, but sometimes we have to in order to get the best outcome.

Why is it so hard for us to say no to people? Often we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we’re afraid they won’t like us anymore. Saying no to our boss comes with some concern about how it will affect our career. The likelihood that someone will stop being our friend just because we said no to them is actually pretty small. Our real friends will understand if we can’t say yes to what they’re asking for. When we explain our reasons, they’re usually pretty cool with it.

As human beings we have empathy for those around us and we don’t want to hurt others feelings. We should consider though, will we be hurting that person more if we DON’T say no in this case? And when it comes to saying no to our boss, we could actually be hurting our company, department or our boss even more by holding back.

Saying No Scenario #1 – Peers

Have you ever had one of your peers ask, “Do you think this is a good idea?” Sometimes it’s not a good idea. The extreme cases are actually a little easier. “I’m going to stand in a bucket of water and hold on to these electric cables, do you think that’s a good idea?” That’s pretty easy to say no to. When the request is a little more nuanced it can be difficult to say no to our peers. We want them to like us. We want them to think we’re a team player and we want them to like us! How do we say no when our teammate has an idea that is not in the best interest of the team?

One way is to look back at our mission. Does this idea fit into that mission? Is it in the best interest of the team, the customer or the people we’re trying to serve? If the answer is no, that can be the basis for how to say no. You don’t have to limit yourself to just saying no. Thoughtful feedback to your coworker can get their idea more aligned with team goals.

Saying No Scenario #2 – As a Leader

Saying no if you’re the boss can be harder than it looks. Especially if you used to be on the team and then were promoted to being the boss. Looking  someone you used to work with in the eye and telling them what to do can be challenging.  Sometimes the people on your team will take actions or have ideas that you need to say no to. Just like with our peers, keeping the mission and best interest of the team in mind will help. Avoid being arbitrary about whose ideas you listen to and whose you reject. We want to evaluate suggestions and solutions based on merit, not on who brings them forward.

Sometimes you have access to information about the big picture that you should take into account when making your decisions. You may or may not choose to share this information depending on the situation. Don’t forget that one of our duties as a leader is to develop our team, so when you have to say no, keep giving that feedback on how that individual can make their idea or suggestion better so you can say yes in the future.

Saying No Scenario #3 – To our Boss

If saying no to our peers and our team is hard, saying no to our boss can be downright impossible. We owe it to our boss to ensure they have complete information or understanding of the impacts of a decision. We can ask, is this in alignment with our mission and in the best interest of the team? A lot of times the answer is maybe. Sometimes we have to pick our battles. If the decision won’t cause catastrophic failure or isn’t a clear violation of laws or regulations, maybe we let it go. If there will be a serious breakdown in accomplishing the mission or a clear conflict of our organizational core values, it’s time to speak up.

A technique that we’ve talked about before is the one challenge rule. The boss makes a decision, you speak up once to make sure that the boss has all the information. If the boss decides to go forward anyway, you said your peace and aired your objection. This may not result in the decision you wanted, but at least you tried to help your boss and your team accomplish their mission.

Saying No with Dignity and Respect

These are just a few examples of times you might need to say no to someone, but the principles are the same. When we do say no to someone, whether it is our peers, our team or our boss, we always want to do it with respect and dignity. Coming from a place of fear or anger can distort our message and break down relationships instead of making them stronger. We should always strive to build better connections with the people, even if it means telling them no.

Halloween is getting close and we’ve been exploring the things that scare us and trying to understand them. For some of us, going out and meeting new people can be really frightening.

Meeting New People: Facing Fear

Halloween is getting close and we’ve been exploring the things that scare us and trying to understand them. For some of us, going out and meeting new people can be really frightening. We get nervous and anxious just thinking about it. We might even start to shake or sweat when we are standing in front of that new person.

Just like we talked about with public speaking, there are very real reasons we get anxious about meeting new people. Primarily, it’s important to remember that our human brains are wired for survival, not friendliness and in ancient times a stranger coming into our village could mean danger. Our ancestors wouldn’t have lasted long if they automatically completely trusted every new person they ran across. Sometimes we feel like we might be bothering or annoying someone if we go up and introduce ourselves to them. Also, we’ve all had some bad experiences that stick in our mind and make us nervous about approaching people. The good news is, that we aren’t stuck with these feelings and behaviors. Once we understand them, we can accept them and use that knowledge to help us reach out to new people.

Meeting New People Tip #1: Other People Like Meeting You!

Our parents have all warned us about stranger danger. That’s a very safe and prudent attitude to take in the right situations. There are times when it just doesn’t make sense for us to start a conversation with someone new. The flip-side is that there are definitely times when it’s appropriate for us to say hello and make a new friend. It’s all about doing it in the right environment. Work functions, networking events or even a friend’s dinner party are all safe environments to reach out to new people. Even though you don’t personally know everyone there, they’ve all been vetted to some degree by the host. You shouldn’t have to worry about protecting yourself from physical danger. You’ll still feel a some anxiety that comes from millennia of human evolution, but you can work with it. Recognize it, accept it and tell yourself it’s okay to feel that way. You’re in a safe environment where everyone came to connect and share with other people. This technique won’t remove all of your nervousness, but you can practice it to make meeting new people easier.

Meeting New People Tip #2: You’re Not Bothering Anyone!

Some of us feel like we might be bothering or annoying someone if we just walk up to them and start talking. I can tell you that this is something that holds me back from introducing myself sometimes. There are a few tips we can use to help keep this fear from holding us back. First, at social events, most people have a purpose of meeting others just by being at the event. In a public place, like a coffee shop or library, most people expect at least some interaction with others. They will probably not tear your head off if you speak to them. In either case, we shouldn’t plan any specific expectation in mind other than politely introducing ourselves. It would be nice to get to know more about them, but it’s important to read the situation. If we are respectful and open when we introduce ourselves and they are too busy to talk, they will most likely very politely tell us just that. That’s a great cue to thank them for their time and walk away. If they have time to chat, even better. Again it’s important to read the situation, and that can be difficult at first. With experience and practice we can learn to read the verbal and non-verbal cues that tell us it’s time to politely exit.

Meeting New People Tip #3: Forget Those Bad Experiences!

Like many areas of life, we’ve all had bad experiences when introducing ourselves to other people. It’s unavoidable and it’s hard to let go of the memories. If these experiences didn’t bother us, we wouldn’t be human. The experience is not as important as our reaction to it and what we learn from it. When we feel these bad situations creeping up in our memory and giving us doubts, we can do a few things to keep us from retreating into our shell. First, tell yourself it’s okay to feel this way. Don’t worry about why you feel this way or if you should feel this way, just accept that you do. Now ask yourself, what did you learn from that experience and can it help you with what you’re about to do right now. If the answer is yes, is there a way to apply it to your next introduction. If the answer is no, give yourself some credit for doing some self-reflection and remind yourself that everyone is different. The person you are about to introduce yourself to is a completely different being than the one you had the bad experience with. There is no reason to expect that this interaction will turn out exactly the same way things have happened in the past. This is a new, unique situation. Don’t take away the chance of letting that new person get to know you because someone wasn’t so nice in the past.

Meeting New People: Going Forward

There are folks who are completely at ease meeting new people and then there’s the rest of us who get a little nervous about it. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with us or that it’s anything we should be ashamed of, it just means we need to accept that about ourselves and use the tools we have to help ourselves out. Human beings are social creatures and find relationships with others very rewarding on many levels and there are a lot of people out there who would love to get to know us. Understanding what makes us nervous about meeting new people leads us to clear actions that can help us take those first steps to introducing ourselves to someone new and starting a great new friendship.

One of our most important job as leaders is to train and educate the members of our team. This is challenging because everyone learns differently. Today we’re going to talk about the seven different learning styles and how you can apply your understanding of them to help your team grow to their full potential.

Learning Styles and How They Affect Your Team

One of our most important job as leaders is to train and educate the members of our team. This is challenging because everyone learns differently. Today we’re going to talk about the seven different learning styles and how you can apply your understanding of them to help your team grow to their full potential.

The Seven Learning Styles

The first of the seven learning styles is visual learning. Visual learners have a preference for using images, pictures, colors, and maps to organize information and communicate with others. They love to use whiteboards or other tools that let them explore their thoughts visually. You will hear them say things like, “Let’s look at it differently, I can’t quite picture it or Let’s draw a diagram or map.” Ways you can help visual learners are by Using color, layout, and spatial organization when talking with them, and using ‘visual words’ like see, picture, perspective, visual, and map.

Aural learners like to work with sound and music and have a good sense of pitch and rhythm. This can be helpful because music evokes strong emotions and aural learners can be tuned into the emotions of others. Aural learners often say things like “That sounds about right, That rings a bell or That’s music to my ears.” You can help aural learners by using sound, rhyme, and music when training them, Using sound recordings to provide a background and help them visualize and when creating mnemonics or acrostics, make the most of rhythm and rhyme, or set them to a jingle or part of a song.

Verbal learners find it easy to express themselves, both in writing and verbally. They enjoy playing on the meaning or sound of words, such as in tongue twisters, rhymes, limericks and the like. They know the meaning of many words, and regularly make an effort to find the meaning of new words. Phrases that verbal learners often say are, “Tell me word for word, The word you’re looking for is and Let me spell it out for you.” To reach verbal learners effectively, incorporate more speaking and writing in techniques. Encourage them to talk themselves through procedures or use recordings of content for repetition. Use rhyme and rhythm in your assertions where you can, and be sure to read important ones aloud. Mnemonics, acronyms and Scripting are powerful tools for verbal learners.

Physical learners use their body and sense of touch to learn about the world. They like sports and exercise, and other physical activities such as gardening or woodworking. Physical learners typically use larger hand gestures and other body language to communicate. They might use phrases like, “That feels right to me, That doesn’t sit right with me or My gut is telling me’”. To reach physical learners, Use physical objects as much as possible and Use role-playing to practice skills and behaviors.

Logical learners like using their brain for logical and mathematical reasoning. They recognize patterns easily, as well as connections between seemingly meaningless content. Logical learners typically work through problems and issues in a systematic way, and like to create procedures for future use. You might hear a logical learner say, “That’s logical, Follow the process, or There’s no pattern to this”. You can help logical learners by understanding the links between parts of a system.

Social Learners typically prefer learning in groups or to spend one-on-one time with a teacher. They heighten learning by bouncing thoughts off other people and listening to how they respond. Social learners often say things like, “Let’s work together on this.” “Let’s pull some people together to discuss.” Or, “Let’s explore our options.” Leaders can help these people learn by letting them work with others. Using tools like role-playing, mind maps and system diagrams are also useful.

Solitary learners prefer to work on problems by retreating to somewhere quiet and working through possible solutions. Sometimes they spend too much time trying to solve a problem by themselves when they could be more successful by talking to others. Solitary learners often say things like, “I’d like some time to think it over.” Or, “I’ll get back to you on that.”  You can help solitary learners by helping them set clear goals and objectives. Help guide them to align those goals with their values and personal beliefs.

Applying Learning Styles

A potential pitfall is making judgements about people based on their learning styles. It’s important not to assume that someone won’t be good at a certain task solely because of their learning style. We shouldn’t assume someone won’t be good at creating visuals for a presentation because they aren’t a visual learner. It is also dangerous to let others use their learning style as a crutch to avoid new situations. “I can’t take notes because I’m not verbal learner,” is not a true application of these learning styles.

The reality is that most people use a combination of the learning styles. Combining elements of each style can be helpful when working with a group of people. Pay attention to the styles that others use and to incorporate appropriate elements of those styles to communicate effectively. We got our information for this post from Learning Styles Online. Go check them out if you’d like to learn more. You can even take an assessment on their site to figure out what your own learning style is.

As we continue with our May theme of Courageous Leadership, this week Jason talks about the idea of intellectual honesty and how it is different from simply telling the truth. Intellectual honesty has a basis in problem solving but can be applied to make well-informed decisions in a variety of leadership situations. Striving to be intellectually honest helps us ensure that we have considered all factors when making a leadership decision. Developing our team members to be intellectually honest gives them the ability to provide depth to their work that will lead to solid decision making. In the video, Jason talks about how to differentiate between our interests and our positions and how that distinction relates to intellectual honesty.

Intellectual Honesty – Video Guide

As we continue with our May theme of Courageous Leadership, this week Jason talks about the idea of intellectual honesty and how it is different from simply telling the truth. Intellectual honesty has a basis in problem solving but can be applied to make well-informed decisions in a variety of leadership situations. Striving to be intellectually honest helps us ensure that we have considered all factors when making a leadership decision. Developing our team members to be intellectually honest gives them the ability to provide depth to their work that will lead to solid decision-making. In the video, Jason talks about how to differentiate between our interests and our positions and how that distinction relates to intellectual honesty.

Components of Intellectual Honesty

  • Not letting beliefs interfere with seeing the truth
  • Including all relevant facts in our decision
  • Presenting facts to others without bias or misleading
  • Giving credit to others for their work

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_honesty

Being aware of these concepts as well as our own biases helps us to make decisions based on all of the relevant facts and not just on the ones that support our position while leaving out facts that go against our argument. Even if we are not the decision maker, we can apply the principles of intellectual honesty when we present information to others who are making a leadership decision.

Jason goes on to talk about some practical tips you can use from Good to Great by Jim Collins in order to help you and your team adopt the principles of intellectual honesty in your day-to-day activities. Applying intellectually honest principles to our information gathering and decision-making processes helps us to make better decisions that stand up to external scrutiny and stand the test of time.

Photo Credit: By European People’s Party [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

No matter how skilled or talented we are, there's just no way we can accomplish the big goals we want to meet all on our own. Every great leader has worked with others to bring about the amazing things that they have achieved. Trying to do everything on our own can be frustrating, leads to slower progress and limited results and is honestly, a little bit lonely. One of the ways we bring others in to help us meet our objectives is through building partnerships and strategic relationships. There are lots of people out there in the world whose professional goals are either similar or complimentary to our own. Finding these people and working together in a mutually beneficial relationship is one of the best ways to achieve what we are setting out to do. One of the most difficult things to do when we're looking to build strategic relationships is to figure out who we should approach to be in this partnership with us. Fortunately, there are a few key questions that we can ask ourselves in order to make this easier.

Strategic Relationships – Video Guide

No matter how skilled or talented we are, there’s just no way we can accomplish the big goals we want to meet all on our own. Every great leader has worked with others to bring about the amazing things that they have achieved. Trying to do everything on our own can be frustrating, leads to slower progress and limited results and is honestly, a little bit lonely. One of the ways we bring others in to help us meet our objectives is through building partnerships and strategic relationships. There are lots of people out there in the world whose professional goals are either similar or complimentary to our own. Finding these people and working together in a mutually beneficial relationship is one of the best ways to achieve what we are setting out to do. One of the most difficult things to do when we’re looking to build strategic relationships is to figure out who we should approach to be in this partnership with us. Fortunately, there are a few key questions that we can ask ourselves in order to make this easier.

Questions to Ask When Building Strategic Relationships:

  • Who shares my goals and ambitions?
  • Who has a similar outlook on business and life?
  • Who has similar goals, but a different perspective than my own?
  • Who has experience or expertise needed to meet my goals, but that I don’t have?

Once we’ve identified who to start building a partnership or strategic relationship with, we need to keep in mind that the relationship can’t be all about us and our own goals. Partnerships need to be two-way street where we give at least as much as we get to the relationship so that all parties can achieve their goals. Only when both partners give what they have to offer to make the partnership work do we really maximize our results.

Photo Credit: By Vicki Nunn (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There is nothing more rewarding than helping young leaders successfully navigate the challenges they face every day and providing that kind of assistance is exactly why we started Evil Genius Leadership Consultants. We love it when you send us your questions and we try our best to provide you with thoughtful answers and practical steps you can use to solve the problem. This week's video answers a question by Felix M. who would like some advice on starting difficult conversations with his team members. In the video we show the steps you can take to plan any difficult conversation to help it go more smoothly as well as some key tips for execution of the conversation.

Starting Difficult Conversations – Video Q&A

There is nothing more rewarding than helping young leaders successfully navigate the challenges they face every day and providing that kind of assistance is exactly why we started Evil Genius Leadership Consultants. We love it when you send us your questions and we try our best to provide you with thoughtful answers and practical steps you can use to solve the problem. This week’s video answers a question by Felix M. who would like some advice on starting difficult conversations with his team members. In the video we show the steps you can take to plan any difficult conversation to help it go more smoothly as well as some key tips for execution of the conversation.

Starting Difficult Conversations – Building a Plan

  1. Figure out exactly the message you want to get across. Think through all of the main points that you want or need to make as part of the conversation.
  2. Determine who needs to be part of the conversation or hear what you have to say.
  3. Consciously choose the location for the conversation. Find a place without any distractions like active work spaces or high traffic areas.
  4. Timing of your conversation is also critical to keep the other members of your conversation focused on your message.

You can find more details on how to build an effective plan for your difficult conversation in the video. We also talk about why these kinds of conversations can be difficult to help get you in the right mindset to craft your message and the tone of your discussion. Also check out the end of the video for a few key tactics to use during your difficult conversation to keep it moving smoothly while addressing the concerns of your team and getting your message across at the same time.

 

Photo Credit: By Lourdes S. (Day 14: I Don’t Know ANY of This!) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As Valentine's Day approache, we're probably all focused on our significant other or the personal relationships we have in our lives, but this is also a good time to reflect on how we go about building professional relationships with others. Professional relationships are very much like personal relationships in that the best ones are based on a genuine connection with other people, not based on selling something or getting something out of the relationship. If we want to be successful building professional relationships, we need to be focused on making that genuine connection from the very first meeting and maintaining it through the life of the relationship.

Building Professional Relationships – Video Guide

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re probably all focused on our significant other or the personal relationships we have in our lives, but this is also a good time to reflect on how we go about building professional relationships with others. Professional relationships are very much like personal relationships in that the best ones are based on a genuine connection with other people, not based on selling something or getting something out of the relationship. If we want to be successful building professional relationships, we need to be focused on making that genuine connection from the very first meeting and maintaining it through the life of the relationship.

Tips for Building Professional Relationships

  1. Consider who you want to build relationships with. They could be people in your current occupation or industry, other industries or maybe they share a similar passion or interest. Being conscious about who you want to bring into you want to bring into your network and why can help foster that genuine connection.
  2. Go where these people are. If you’re looking to make a connection with people in a certain industry or field, you’ve got to find them where they usually are. Networking events, meetup groups, trade shows and conferences are all great ways to connect with people who have specific areas of interest and expertise. Don’t forget social media and online forums too.
  3. Approach the connections you want to make. This may sound scary but you can’t start building professional relationships with people until you start talking to them. Remember that we’re trying to build an authentic connection, so don’t approach them trying to sell your product or service; just get to know them and find out what they’re interested in and passionate about. It’s okay to be selective about who you start a professional relationship with, so if you find that you’re just not connecting with someone you don’t need to pursue that relationship further.
  4. Maintain the relationship. Once you have that relationship established it’s important to keep the connection going. You don’t need to talk with the person every day, but checking in once in a while over email or meeting up for coffee are great ways to maintain the relationship.

Watch this week’s video to get more detail on how to apply these tips to your own professional relationships.

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