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We are too tolerant of conflict!

by Rick Baker
On May 29, 2017

Are you better off following prescribed step-by-step conflict resolution processes designed by 'the experts' or drawing on your innate talents to resolve conflicts? Perhaps, for some people, there is merit in using someone else's detailed approach. However, how often have you seen that work in real life situations?

We should draw on our innate talents to resolve conflicts.

I have never seen canned processes for conflict resolution work in real life situation. We cannot be someone else so what would cause us to think we could use someone else's approach to conflict resolution? To the extent we find ourselves in situations of conflict we know we are at least partially responsible for our predicament [if not fully responsible]. We didn't follow someone else's steps when we walked our way into the conflict situation...so, we should not expect to be able to follow someone else's logical steps to find our way out of the conflict situation.

Often, we find ourselves in situations of conflict because:

1. we lack self-confidence and, as a result of that, we behave either too timidly or too aggressively and

2. we are too lazy to figure out how to avoid conflict or nip conflict in the bud when we know it has commenced.

We are too tolerant of conflict.

Some people even promote conflict in the workplace because they view it as a good, healthy, and productive way to communicate, make decisions, and delegate tasks.

That's interesting in many negative directions!

The results conflict promoters achieve at their businesses prove it is a high-risk-low-reward strategy. If that strategy ever worked it certainly has fallen out of vogue in recent decades. For example, under our Bill 168, we want people to feel secure at work. I expect Abraham Maslow would have supported this approach.

The reality is, some people – mostly people lacking self-confidence - either enjoy conflict with others or see it as a necessary component of work [and possibly life]. What can we expect from these die-hard conflict consumers and conflict distributors? Certainly, we cannot expect them to buy into following someone else's prescribed steps for conflict resolution. These people cannot follow such steps because they lack the innate talents required to avoid or resolve conflict.

And, if people possess the innate talents required to resolve conflicts then they can and should find their own natural ways to avoid and resolve conflict.

Either way, there is no need for experts to prescribe conflict resolution processes. These prescribed processes do not work because people either cannot follow them or do not need to follow them.

People need to understand themselves, work continuously at building and maintaining their self-confidence levels, educate themselves about innate talents and interpersonal interactions, and exercise self-control. These are the routes that lead to conflict avoidance and conflict resolution.

Small business is like walking a tightrope: failure to step gets you nowhere & slip-ups bring you down.

by Rick Baker
On May 4, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Take Delegation seriously. It is really important to do it and to allow yourself and your people to learn from errors.

Tags:

Delegation & Decisions | Humour | Thought Tweets

Hiring Rule: If you blink, don't even think...

by Rick Baker
On Apr 30, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

I'm thinking about Gladwell's "Blink". We are blessed with intuition. We should allow it to help us make better hiring decisions. Sure, some experts claim that's horrible advice. My intuition tells me to ignore those experts. After all, those experts won't have to live with my bad hires. 

Tags:

Delegation & Decisions | Thought Tweets

Don't delegate any task you cannot do yourself...except software engineering.

by Rick Baker
On Apr 25, 2017

Clint Eastwood taught those villains, "A man must know his limitations."

Similarly, a man must understand he is at risk when he delegates beyond his limitations.

Yes, I known this also applies to women, however, Clint Eastwood didn't shoot women...at least I don't recall seeing him shoot women or instructing them on limitations.

OK - people, both women and men, must know their limitations and they must understand they should think about the risks before they delegate work that exceeds their capabilities.

So, one Master Rule is – Don’t delegate a task you cannot do yourself.

From time to time, leaders need to do the dirty jobs. [The jobs everyone can do but nobody enjoys doing.] If leaders choose to delegate all the dirty jobs then they will surely alienate some people….perhaps, most followers.

At the other end of the spectrum, leaders get into trouble when they delegate tasks that are beyond their capability. As examples - troubles follow when the time required for tasks is underestimated, when the complexity of tasks is underestimated, and when the resources required for tasks are underestimated. The best way to know the time, complexity, and resources of tasks is firsthand experience doing the tasks.

So, one Master Rule is – Don’t delegate a task you cannot do yourself.

…unless, of course, those tasks are software engineering!

Tags:

Delegation & Decisions | Hero Worship | Humour | Master Rules

Sorting Out Your Decisions Before You Make Them

by Rick Baker
On Apr 24, 2017

On the Nature of Decisions

Every one of us makes numerous decisions every day.

Many of our decisions are small, like - “What shirt should I wear today?” Some of our decisions are larger with more serious consequences, like – “How should I go about firing this employee?”

Some decisions trigger strong and challenging emotional responses, like – “Should I tell this person my true feelings?”

Other decisions involve trade-offs between goals, like – “Should I stick to my diet or eat that chocolate-dipped ice-cream cone?” 1 [Often these decisions pit short-term rewards against long-term rewards.]

Some decisions involve massive risks involving money, reputation, relationships, etc.

Decisions involve the study of past and present data and the forecasting of future outcomes.

This is just a sampling of the ways you can sort decisions before you make them. If you take the time, and it will be a surprisingly large amount of time, to analyze the decisions you make in a 24-hour day then you will discover the wide variety of decisions you make. You will be able to consider the ‘nature’ of your decisions and you will be able to categorize your decisions by their ‘nature’ and confirm the frequency of each major type of decision.

But – odds are you will never do that 24-hour exercise.

Perhaps, you will buy into sorting your decisions into two types/natures: easy decisions & tough decisions? This simple sorting will be a very good first step toward understanding then planning the types of decisions you face regularly.

On the Method of Decisions

There are also numerous ways to make decisions.

Decisions can be knee-jerks and blinks, relying on unconscious responses, emotional waves and intuition.

Decisions can be crafted by masters and orchestrated by maestros. Capturing this in a shorter description - when we make decisions we can “Plan the Work and Work the Plan” [paraphrasing Napoleon Hill].

This article is about planned decisions, which can be sorted into 3 'methods' 2:

Consultative and consensus decisions involve trade-offs, as examples:

As psychologists and judges will confirm:

  • the ‘nature’ of the decision is important,
  • the decision outcome is important, and
  • the procedure or ‘method’ used to create the decision is important...especially if you want people to "buy-in".

Sorting Decisions by ‘Nature’ and ‘Method’

Simple tools exist to help people think through and sort out their decisions - examples include Pareto's Principle [80/20 Rule], Covey's Time Management Matrix and Berne's Transactional AnalysisMuch time and effort can be saved by using these simple 1-page tools to sort out the best ways to make decisions. Also, these tools can be used to reduce decision-making conflicts and increase decision buy-in. It is a good idea to have a number of these tools in your decision-making toolkit. You can use them to set your personal decision-making rules and you can use them to communicate with others on your decision-making teams.

Here’s a starter tool you and your decision-makers can use to create a picture of the way you sort decisions by 'nature' and 'method' -

 

Footnotes

  1. As a general rule: when decisions align with goals they promote good habits; when decisions do not align with goals they promote bad habits.
  2. Brian Tracy recommended these categories. 

People Question Their Bosses’ Decisions [“The Point”]

by Rick Baker
On Apr 13, 2017

I won’t be surprised in the slightest way if you figure The Point is a rather trite point. My argument is – it isn’t a trite point.

The Point is a point worth thinking about.

Here’s where I am coming from…

Some bosses behave as if The Point is not true, or, more accurately, they behave as if it better not be true. Sometimes, we call these people Autocrats. They rule with absolute power. And they are very inclined to make stiff, inflexible rules…Master Rules [i.e., Master Rules under full double entendre].

Some bosses behave as if The Point is true, however, they fight against it every, single workaday of their lives*. Sometimes they are surprised when people question their decisions. Sometimes they get huffy when people question their decisions. Almost always, they feel and show negative emotions when people question their decisions.

Perhaps, these unhelpful reactions illustrate the flaws of those bosses who feel ‘position power’ provides special rights…rights that make their decisions golden?

Putting a finger on your Leadership pulse…

When your decisions are questioned – do you feel negative emotions?

If so, how’s that working for you?

And, how’s that working for the people who follow you?

***

If you are one of those people who question your boss's decisions - do you observe negative reactions?

If so, how's that make you feel?

And, what are you doing to generate better outcomes?

Have you given any thought to The Art of Good Questions?

 

Footnote:

* yes, technically speaking 'workaday' is not a noun...

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