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As managers and leaders we can do very little to motivate others. Unfortunately, we can very easily demotivate (e.g. by unfair and abusive behaviors). But we can do a lot to create something more important: Engagement and Satisfaction, which have a more sustainable effect on positivity and productivity.
No matter how many conflict management courses you have taken or how many negotiation books you have read, you may still find yourself in confrontational situations where tools and tactics are not as effective as they promised to be. The real issue is in our mindset.
How often do we hear statements like “I do not know what it takes to convince him, I have tried everything”? Perhaps we may also ask ourselves: “I wish I knew how I can explain it so that he can understand!” Whenever I hear these statements during a coaching session, I enquire back: “so did you ask him? do you understand his concerns?” This usually brings about blank stares...
No matter how many conflict management courses you have taken or how many negotiation books you have read, you may still find yourself in situations where tools and tactics are not as effective as they promised to be.
The real issue is in the mindset: do we see disagreements and conflicts as time-wasting issues or as opportunities to learn from different perspectives? And what affects our mindset?
During my 40 years in management, I steadily held a belief: that when you follow your passion, work will be your hobby and everything will go well; business challenges and personal frustrations can be swiftly overcome; it is easy to consistently make the sound choices that add value to the business; and you achieve happiness and satisfaction. Now, as a consultant, I realize that individual passion is not enough. I was fortunate to operate in a context of shared values, but this is not always the case...
We see evidence of it every day, research supports it, and deep inside we know it to be true: happy people are more productive and tend to be more successful than sad people. But wait a minute: don't we usually say that we need to work hard to pursue success, and only then shall we be happier?
Well, it seems like we got it backwards.
The substitution of “I” and “You” with a “We” is a very common technique to evolve disagreements into an opportunity to learn, exchange and co-create, by focusing on similarities.
There are however exceptions; a typical case when it is more productive to focus on differences rather than similarities is a multicultural context where the parties are not familiar with each other's cultures.
Have you ever been in a meeting where all of the sudden you find yourself entangled in details and the debate diverges into endless and unproductive discussions? Chances are that you are overly focused on reaching an agreement: the ones with the stronger data or support must “convince” the rest, hence “win”. Ego-driven personalities may well thrive in such situations, yet, is it serving the common purpose? How can we realign and focus to better serve the business?
Fear of public speaking is extremely common and it is often the most competent of us who experience the highest levels of anxiety in front of an audience. Why? And what can we do? If thorough preparation and techniques do not help, as they rarely do, the answer is probably to be found somewhere else. Actually, we might all together be asking the wrong questions. How about trying a counterintuitive approach?
A recent Deloitte Survey indicates that many CEOs and CXOs claim interest in developing talents and leadership, while at the same time expressing lack of confidence in future leaders. One key reason is: they do not see sufficient motivation and ambition; young talents do not appear “committed”. Let's rephrase this in a provocative way: is it possible that motivation and ambition have taken different forms among the new generations? Other studies indicate that “commitment” may have lost meaning in favor of a new concept: “engagement”; and how about “fun”?