Group Dynamic

Alan Feirer's thoughts on leadership issues

Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Leaders know their audience

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Recently I was asked to be a guest blogger for a business leader focused blog. (www.upatdawn.biz)

I provided an older post from this blog that I’m pretty proud of, but Jeffrey Kirk over at Up At Dawn helped me understand that his audience was different from mine.

Nonsense! My audience is also business leaders, right?

Kind of. I also have lots of education leaders, and youth-oriented readers. It’s been my contention that best practices in leadership and teamwork are pretty darn transferable. And I’m right.

And Jeffrey agrees with me, but remained firm (and correct) in asking for some changes. And, truth be told, when I wrote that original post, I was picturing a different reader.

I’m still proud of both posts, and I ask you — which one speaks to you more? Are the differences subtle or noticeable?

My daughter (she’s 10) made a comment to me the other day: “You talk differently to different people.” When I asked her what the difference was, she pointed out differences based on how close I was to the person. More about this in a future post, but the point now is this: shifting our words or tone based on our audience isn’t fake; it’s how we connect. And connecting is how we get great things done.

Here are the posts – what do you think?

Original post. (Breath Support to the End of the Phrase is a Key Deliverable)

Modified for the focused audience. (Secrets for Conducting Business)

Written by Alan Feirer

May 14th, 2014 at 10:33 am

Leaders create a cohesive team with these five behaviors

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Last week we dipped into Five Dysfunctions of a Team; this week we dive.

I take you through a high-level overview of the Five Dysfunctions, and tell a short story about their accidental impact.

This is a touch longer than 90 seconds, but I’ve gotten feedback that folks are hungry for more on this topic, so I took things further this time.

Leaders need teams to become cohesive.  Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team is an actionable, accessible path; team leaders need to be familiar with it.

You can buy the book at this link: Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

OR – if you’re within my driving distance, watch the end of the video for a way to get a copy for free.

NewHead

      alan@groupdynamic.us          515-468-1969

 

Written by Alan Feirer

April 30th, 2014 at 8:03 am

Healthy Conflict – sign of a strong team

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This week’s book is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. My brief comments focus on this:

Healthy teams have healthy conflict — not overly nice, and not overly aggressive. Where are you?

Written by Alan Feirer

April 16th, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Called to Serve – Tips for non-profit boards

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This week’s book is Called to Serve by Max DePree — my shared nugget involved board member accountability.

Written by Alan Feirer

April 2nd, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I saw a Disney cast member holler at a child once…

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photo…and it was perfectly appropriate.

Disney cast members are highly trained in many ways.  You likely know of their magical customer service and commitment to staying in character, and making sure the parks run smoothly, but the order in which those commitments play out is not at all random.

Disney gives all staff (cast) a clear priority order of their Basics, or Keys:

1-Safety

2-Courtesy

3-Show

4-Efficiency

If everything is going well – no safety issues, everyone is cooperating, and no challenges to staying “in character,” then cast members are free to do whatever is most efficient to get things moving quickly for guests, whether it’s a line, or food, or a character interaction…

But they will let efficiency slide Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alan Feirer

February 12th, 2014 at 7:11 am

Posted in Communication,Vision

Q: When can you criticize freely?

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John Robinson, courtesy of 103.7 The Buzz.

A: When the relationship is strong enough, AND, according to coach John Robinson:

“Never criticize until the person is convinced of your unconditional confidence in their abilities.”

When I think of the people in my life that I willingly take criticism and feedback from, without taking it personally (though my wife and friends may point out that I still get a bit defensive), I realize the following:

They have faith in me.

Think of the people who get defensive when you address or criticize them.

Do they KNOW you have TOTAL faith in them?  Or are they normal, and somewhat (or a lot) insecure?

Once you get to a great professional relationships, and they know you believe in them, you can start to give critical feedback.  Until you hit that point, it will be less effective.

IMPORTANT: Continue to give positive feedback to reinforce that faith, at a ratio of 3 to 1, positive to negative. And make it specific.

Thanks so much to Ned Parks and his “Monday Moments” for illuminating me to this great quote.  I suggest you subscribe also.  One of the most concise mailings I get.

Written by Alan Feirer

February 5th, 2014 at 9:44 am

Being easy to work with! When your leader is an “Influence” type!!! :)

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Art

So, you’ve read your leader as an “I!” And, you want them to read this post!  Of course you do!!!

But – things go better when we work to adapt ourselves, rather than trying to force others to change!  In fact, our adaptation can inspire others to change. (Have you read Leadership and Self-Deception yet?)

[Are you getting tired of all the exclamation marks yet?  Sorry – just trying to condition you!!!!!!!]

Consider this as a goal: Be easy to work with.  More opportunities come along that way.  Something we’ve seen is that the world seems to work better for people who are punctual, deliver on time, respond to communication quickly, are pleasant, and exceed expectations.

So — how to do that with your “Influence” leader, who cares about action, results, and ENTHUSIASM!!!! Match their style and their needs.  (Which, frankly, can sometimes be exhausting, I know. I am an “I” and I’ve seen it in your faces.)

Consider keeping these things in mind:

-We like to have fun and explore interesting tangents.  It doesn’t mean we’re not thoughtful or serious about things.

-Move fast – maybe a little faster than comfortable, so plan ahead.

-In fact, the “i” might predict what you’re about to say and interrupt you.

-Steel yourself for enthusiasm, positivity, smiles, and energy, especially if you seem “down” – the “i” might take it upon themselves to cheer you up.

-Emails may contain emoticons or exclamation marks!  ;)

-The “i” cares about the level of influence they have, so if you can subtly find a way to help them understand that such intense energy might hurt their influence, you may have an impact.

While it is probably true that we need to work on slowing down and listening more and staying on topic and focusing on details, it isn’t your task today to change and develop us.  But, you can give us room to do that work on their own when you stay easy to work with. And fire up!

Everything DiSC Workplace Map

Written by Alan Feirer

January 29th, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Being easy to work with – when your leader is “Conscientious.”

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espresso

So, you’ve read your leader as a “C.” And, you want them to read this post.  Of course you do.

But – things go better when we work to adapt ourselves, rather than trying to force others to change.  In fact, our adaptation can inspire others to change. (Have you read Leadership and Self-Deception yet?)

Consider this as a goal: Be easy to work with.  More opportunities come along that way.  Something we’ve seen is that the world seems to work better for people who are punctual, deliver on time, respond to communication quickly, are pleasant, and exceed expectations.

So — how to do that with your “Conscientiousness” leader, who cares about accuracy, challenge, and stability? Match their style and their needs.

Consider keeping these things in mind:

-Keep all professional communication concise, factual, and without modifiers or small talk.

-Ensure that any changes you suggest are validated by factual evidence, rather than “man, this would be cool”-type emotional pleas.

-Steel yourself for matter-of-fact, even blunt, communication and feedback from a “C.”  It’s okay to ask for clarification or expansion or a progress evaluation, because they may often hold back on information if all is going as they expect.

-Move slowly enough that you don’t come across as pushy, overly urgent, or emotional.

-Know that they may find small talk in the workplace to be a distraction from getting work done, rather than as an opportunity to connect.

While it is probably true that they need to work on being less of a perfectionist or giving positive feedback, it isn’t your task today to change and develop them.  But, you can give them room to do that work on their own when you stay easy to work with.

Everything DiSC Workplace Map

Written by Alan Feirer

January 22nd, 2014 at 8:35 am

Effective Leaders are Specific – a BRIEF case study reminder

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gripes

From yesterday, an email exchange that took a bit too long:

Them:

Dear Group Traveler,
Thank you for booking your Group with Southwest Airlines. The attached Travel Agreement contains your itinerary, instructions on how to complete your Group reservation, and Group policies….

Me:

If in the next week, I wanted to add 6 seats at this fare, would it be possible?

Them:

You may just give our folks at Group Reservations a call at 1-800-433-5368.
Thanks!

Me:

You’re right — but email works better for me right now.  Can you please check to see how many more seats on this itinerary are available at this fare?
Thanks much!

Them:

Hello,

Group reservations can only be quoted, booked or changed by calling Group Reservations at 1-800-433-5368.
We do not have access to fares and availability here in the accounting office.
Thanks :)

——–

Had I known from the return address or the document that the reservation info was coming from the accounting office sooner, we’d have all saved some time and inbox real estate.

I know it was brief, and small, and without hostility (I got a smiley from a corporate accounting office!) but how many of these examples pile up in a day or a week?

Doesn’t specific communication both solve, and anticipate, problems?

 

Written by Alan Feirer

January 15th, 2014 at 11:57 am

Being easy to work with – when your leader is a “Steadiness”

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IMG_0814

So, you’ve read your leader as an “S.” And, you want them to read this post.  Of course you do.

But – things go better when we work to adapt ourselves, rather than trying to force others to change.  In fact, our adaptation can inspire others to change. (Have you read Leadership and Self-Deception yet?)

Consider this as a goal: Be easy to work with.  More opportunities come along that way.  Something we’ve seen is that the world seems to work better for people who are punctual, deliver on time, respond to communication quickly, are pleasant, and exceed expectations.

So — how to do that with your “Steadiness” leader, who cares about support, collaboration, and stability? Match their style and their needs.

Consider keeping these things in mind:

-Allow pauses in your professional conversations, and even more pauses when you present information.

-Ensure that any changes you suggest allow for proper time to mentally prepare.

-Read between the lines; the “S” leader may sometimes avoid direct confrontation or issuing ultimatums, allowing you to make tough decisions on your own, rather than forcing them on you unneccessarily.

-Stay patient, and allow them to think out loud about the process.

-Allow for some small talk for connecting on the human level.

While it is probably true that they need to work on being more direct or firm or having a sense of urgency, it isn’t your task today to change and develop them.  But, you can give them room to do that work on their own when you stay easy to work with.

Everything DiSC Workplace Map

Written by Alan Feirer

January 8th, 2014 at 8:02 am

DiSC in Action — leading as a “C”

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Information on reading the C (Conscientiousness) styles, and implications for leadership:

Following the steps of people-reading,  we learn that someone who tends to be “skeptical and challenging,” and “cautious and reflective,” likely fits the profile of a “C” style.

“C” leaders tend to be strong in the areas of Integrity, Self-Impovement planning, and clear Communication, traits found in The Group Dynamic Primer.

Teamwork values of the “C” leader: Accuracy, Challenge, and Support.

Leadership style descriptors of the “C” leader: Deliberate, Resolute, and/or Humble.

Unique tendencies of the “C” leader: brief communications, little small talk, separation of work and play.

Why “C” leaders can be very good: Things are done correctly rather than quickly; matter-of-fact communication makes things clear; time is rarely wasted because of non-relevant activities.

Drawbacks: Time may be wasted due to over-analysis or overly methodical processes.  Relationships may suffer or be slow to develop because of to-the-point communication.

One action suggestion for C leaders:

•Work to affirm members of your team, offering both positive and critical feedback, even when it seems obvious to you, or overly “affirming.” They like to know exactly where they stand.

These short, unmodified bullet points and this abrupt ending are characteristics of a “C” communication style.  We “i”s ought to learn this style – it can be very efficient, and even productive.

 

Everything DiSC Leadership Map

Written by Alan Feirer

November 21st, 2013 at 9:37 am

DiSC in Action – Why I Like It.

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Everything DiSC Workplace Map

 

Here’s one reason I love DiSC: you can put it to work immediately.

Consider an individual that you’re having a bit of difficulty connecting with – and you call it a “personality conflict.”

Ask this: Is the person more fast-paced and outspoken? or more cautious and reflective?
Then: Is this person more questioning and skeptical? or more accepting and warm?

The first question puts us more “top” or “bottom” — fast-paced equals “top” and cautious equals “bottom.”
The second puts us “right” or “left” – questioning is “left” and accepting is “right.”

If you know me personally, you will likely peg me as “fast-paced,” putting me on the “top.”
It’s tougher to decide if I’m more “questioning” or “warm;” that’s a testament to the fact that we are complex creatures.  Most will put me on the right.  My daughter — and some of my coaching clients — might put me on the left.

But let’s make this easy to start — if I’m “top” and “right,” then I’m an “i,” which stands for “influence,” which describes the way I like to work with others.  I value enthusiasm, and action, and collaboration.  Once you know that about me, then you have an idea of to approach me and work with me.

Armed with just that level of knowledge, my work with the “C” people (bottom left) improved – once I learned that the “Conscientious” style prioritizes accuracy over speed– which isn’t really my style — we got along better.  For details, read a post from three years ago: How DiSC Changed My Life.

The “D” stands for Dominance, and the “S” for Steadiness.  Just checking out their priorities — which are all good, and every team needs them — can help you decide how to modify your approach to get along.

I get lots of questions about this stuff, so I’m going to start sharing more.  Next week.  Until then, the “i” in me says “HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!”

Written by Alan Feirer

October 23rd, 2013 at 2:22 pm