ENDURING THE HARD TIMES

Thank God for the tough times. They are the reason you are there – to be the leader. If everything were going well, the people wouldn’t need you.”

JOHN MAXWELL

Last week was exhausting. I didn’t say it was terrible, but it was difficult. You know when you have one of those weeks where you get knocked down, get back up, only to be knocked down again? Well, that was me last week.

Being a Health and Safety Professional during the COVID-19 crisis is pushing every button and pulling every last string I have. Every day consist of multiple virtual conversations, meetings, and phone calls. Last week I made decisions that were contradicted; I issued a process that had many grammatical errors. And I gave people advice that was off from our company position. But one thing I can admit, is through my ability to endure and be patient, I was able to overcome my difficult week.

But on a practical level, where did I build the endurance and patience I needed to get through last week? As a leader, I look to grow my leadership capability in many ways, whether reading books, taking on challenges, creating leadership classes, or merely writing my blog. However, I base my leadership foundation on the Word of God. With this knowledge base, I can persevere through difficult challenges and difficult times.

Last week brought me to consider this bible verse. Colossians 1:11: 

11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have high endurance and patience,….

This verse gave me the answer I needed to get through last week: God’s power produces endurance and patience within us. 

What I found is endurance and patience will empower leaders:

WHEN CONFLICT ARISES

WHEN DIFFICULTY ARISES

WHEN CHALLENGES BECOME IMPOSSIBLE

WHEN A CRISIS OR TRAGEDY STRIKES

WHEN THE TEAM LOSES HOPE

A weak or passive leader would fail in everyone one of these situations. During difficult times, people want leaders who can endure the worse conditions and who patiently employ faith and grit.

If you are afraid to fail, you will never do the things you are capable of doing.

JOHN WOODEN

We are in a time where many friends, families, and colleagues are dealing with difficulties beyond measure. As leaders, we need to step up and encouraging them to endure patiently.

Will next week be better? I don’t know, but I am going to continue to patiently endure through what ever happens. By doing this, I will increase my influence and become a more effective leader creating a higher morale with those I lead. YOU CAN DO THE SAME.

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

Can’t We All Just Get Along? 6 Principles to Solving Conflict

Look conflict is noEmotional discussiont fun, it’s not pleasant and quiet frankly it  becomes frustrating and irritating.  However, conflict is inevitable and it’s actually crucial for success. Without conflict, one continues on a path of mediocre performance.  However, if  we address the conflict, the clash of ideas, positions and personal preferences can become fuel for change, innovative thinking and thought provoking new ideas. Unresolved conflict will destroy personal relationships and create a division within an organization or team.

John C. Maxwell said; “People naturally see themselves in the light of their intentions, but they measure others according to their actions.”  Man that was me.  I use to avoid conflict all cost. Well that’s probably not entirely true.  I think it would be more accurate to say, that I use to instigate conflict when I could.

Most leaders don’t respond well to conflict.  In fact, I believe most leaders will avoid it and choose the easiest, rather than the most effective way to handle it.  In John Maxwell’s Guide to Managing Conflict”, he listed six typical responses to conflict.  I found these to be right on, so I want to share them with you.  How many have you used?  Personally, I used all six at some time in my personal life or professional career.

  1. Win at all costs.  It’s like a shootout at the OK Corral. It’s quick, brutal, and destructive.
  2. Pretend it doesn’t exist.  Even if they hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil, evil will still exist. It will simply grow unsupervised.
  3. Whine about it. Playing the victim doesn’t cure conflict. It just irritates everybody on the team.
  4. Keep score. People who keep a record of wrongs can never start fresh. And nobody can ever truly get “even.”
  5. Pull rank. Using position never really solves conflict. It merely postpones it.
  6. White flag it. Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

But, how can we address conflict and avoid these failed responses?  First, I think you have to truly care about the conflict, reason for the conflict and the person you have a conflict with. Second, we need to fully understand and comprehend the facts surrounding the reason for conflict.  Once we show we care, indicate we fully understand the facts surrounding the situation and we are prepared to approach a resolution from a humble perspective, then I believe you can effective solve the conflict.  How?  By fully implementing and following the 6 principles listed below.  Again, these were taken from John’s “Guide to Managing Conflict”;

  1. Confront a person only if you care about that person. It is more productive to go into a confrontation keeping the other person’s interests in mind.
  2. Meet together as soon as possible. When conflict arises, human nature is inclined to avoid it and procrastinate regarding resolution. The reality is, that by putting off confrontation, the situation can only deteriorate further.  Get together face-to-face.
  3. First seek understanding, not necessarily agreement. The person who gives an opinion before he or she understands is human, but the person who gives a judgment before he or she understands is a fool. The truth is, you cannot reach understanding if your focus is on yourself.
  4. Outline the issue. Be positive, describe your perceptions, state how this situation makes you feel, and explain why this is important to you. Engaging in this process without emotional heat or bitterness is essential.
  5. Encourage a response. Try to build a dialogue – be sure to let the other person talk while you actively listen. Maxwell talks about the following observations when confronting people:
    • 50% of the time people don’t realize there’s a problem.
    • 30% of the time they realize there’s a problem, but they don’t know how to solve it.
    • 20% of the time they recognize the problem and don’t want to fix it.
    • A solution can be had 80% of the time merely by engaging and seeking a response.
  6. Agree to an action plan. Be sure the plan clearly identifies the issue and spells out concrete steps that will be taken. The action plan should include a commitment by both parties to put the issue to rest once resolved.

Learn to identify the potential conflict and make adjustments in your approach, thinking Fight, two fists hitting each other over dramatic skyand desires.  However, if conflict occurs, then it must be addressed.  Following the 6 principles above will help ensure the conflict is fully, effectively and completely resolved.  Dealing with conflict won’t hurt relationships, in fact it strengthens the bond between people and teams.

John C. Maxwell said, “Successful confrontation usually changes both people, not just one.”  I agree.  Every conflict that I have effectively solved has made me a better leader.  I encourage you to resolve conflict quickly.  Don’t let it build!