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Start sitting at the grown-ups’ table

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Leaders still clinging to a “me-first” mentality—those who bulldoze, bully, cheat or subject subordinates to emotional outbursts—have work to do if they’re serious about changing the work climate from fear to respect.

Here’s a quick lesson and guide:
  1. Write down one characteristic of yourself that you’d like to change.

  2. Consider your own history— from birth order to work and values —to better understand yourself.

  3. Try to spot influences that might have contributed to the characteristic you’d like to change.

  4. Record at least one insight and resolution from this exercise.

Now you’re ready to do some growing up.

If you tend to over-accommodate people:
  • Pick a new idea or opinion, commit yourself to expressing it and do it.

  • Confront an employee who isn’t performing well. Explain the task, lay out how and to what standard you need it done, review the status if it’s lagging, give a deadline and enforce it.

  • Make time to listen to your inner voice and learn what you think.

  • Propose an initiative or two to motivate your team.

  • Resist caving in the next time you tangle with somebody.

  • Share an idea, plan or problem with a colleague to develop trust.

If you tend to dominate others:
  • Take time to get to know the people you work with.

  • Take at least 15 minutes a day (their least busy 15 minutes) to walk around the workplace and check in with people. Find out about their lives as well as their work.

  • The next time you tangle with somebody, focus on your own behavior and stifle whatever you normally do that fuels conflict.

  • Build individual relationships. Say, “I care about you. How can I help?”
—Adapted from Grown-Up Leadership, Leigh Bailey and Maureen Bailey, Nova Vista Publishing.

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