Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

10 Common Leadership Mistakes

Leading is challenging enough without becoming your own worst enemy and  having to deal with the potential negative fallout associated with the 10 common leadership mistakes listed below. Take a moment and ask yourself if you might fall prey to one or more of these mistakes. If so, identify some action steps that will help you avoid these potential pitfalls in the future.

  1. Making yourself scarce

Workers appreciate a visible leader – someone who takes a personal interest in the work that’s being done by making it a priority to get to know those who are doing it. Make sure you always have an open door policy that is more than just talk or a print you hang on the wall.

  1. Allowing the vision to fade

Good leaders make it a priority to keep the vision of the organization fresh and focused. The consistent presence of a well-defined vision provides motivation, enthusiasm and purpose for those responsible for carrying it out. Live your vision, don’t just talk about...

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Keys to Confronting Well - Part II

In last week’s blog I shared the first five of ten keys to confronting well. Have you had an opportunity to practice those principles in a confrontation? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Confrontation can be a scary proposition, but when you learn to do it well it can be the key to resolving differences and strengthening trust in your relationships.  Here are the last five keys to confronting well.

  1. Express your thoughts and feelings

Expressing what you feel openly and honestly at the outset of a difficult conversation will help to reduce anxiety and diffuse pent up emotion that might otherwise escalate during the discussion. For example, stating, “I am angry” will actually help prevent anger from controlling your responses.

  1. Remember that it’s far better to be respected than to be liked

Although the person you are confronting may not like what you have to say, if you appropriately communicate your concerns, they are much more likely to...

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Keys to Confronting Well - Part I

Many people struggle with confronting well. The thought of speaking up, especially during a conflict or uncomfortable situation, can be almost paralyzing. However, the ability to effectively confront tough issues by clearly stating what you think, feel, and want can be one of the most valuable interpersonal skills a person can possess.

This week we will look at the first five of the ten keys to confronting well so you can be prepared for those difficult conversations.

  1. Objectively describe your concern

Stick to the facts only when describing your concern or complaint. If you begin by talking about the other person’s motives or intentions, you’re likely to trigger a defensive or angry reaction.

  1. Avoid making it personal

Address the action or behavior without attacking the person with criticism, name calling or blame. Negative personal comments can damage your relationship, even into the future.

  1. Keep your comments brief and to the point

Reserve the lectures for the...

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How to Exercise More Patience

Patience is a virtue, they say. If your patience is being tested and tried, it can be hard to see what value you receive from your situation. Being “good for goodness’ sake” may seem like a low return on your investment of frustration, but in reality you gain significant value by exercising patience.

People often confuse patience with apathy or being a wimp, so I looked it up in a thesaurus and found an impressive variety of synonyms – words like composure, endurance, perseverance, poise, tolerance and self-control. None of those words suggest weakness or indifference – and in fact, those two words are actually listed in the thesaurus as antonyms (opposites) of patience!

A misunderstanding of patience can lead to the notion that when a challenge arises, you should simply not respond, but that can cause more problems – unresolved issues, resentment, bitterness, and the expectation that things will never get better.  Patience is better...

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Time Killers at the Office

Labor Day got me thinking about how the concept of work has changed over the years. I respect and applaud men and women who work with their hands in trades and services, especially because so much of the work being done today is in an office environment. That is where our focus is today, but even if you are a craftsman or laborer, you will find some benefit in these recommendations.

Do you want to improve your performance and get more done at work? If you’re an honest, hard-working employee, manager or executive your answer is probably “yes”.  In my consultations with executive coaching clients, working smarter, streamlining efficiency and increasing productivity are nearly always included in their primary goals.  So one tool we use regularly is a list of time killers at the office.  This list is comprised of activities that on the surface seem harmless or even important, but in reality can greatly undermine the quality and quantity of work we...

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How to Keep Your Best Employees

During a recent executive coaching session the topic of employee turnover came up. My client shared what has been an ongoing problem in his company: losing star performers. Recognizing the tremendous expense associated with recruiting, hiring and training as well as losses in production and efficiency, he wanted to know what his company could do keep their best employees.

In addition to the obvious factors of competitive benefits and salaries, here are some of the key strategies to help you keep your best employees:

 

1. Regularly acknowledge their accomplishments and contributions.

2. Make sure they stay positively challenged and stretched.

3. Frequently revisit your vision and mission with genuine enthusiasm and passion.

4. Groom them for greater responsibility.

5. Give them regular feedback along with clear suggestions for improvement.

6. Empower them and then stay out of their way. When Lincoln appointed General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of the Union armies in...

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Honesty Builds Strong Relationships

When my youngest daughter, Kathryn, was four-years-old I asked her why she wrote her name on our front door with a pencil. She responded by saying, “Because I couldn’t find my marker.” Although her behavior was unacceptable, I found her honesty to be quite refreshing. It was one of many times I had to bite my lip so I could maintain a serious expression while disciplining one of our kids.

Unfortunately, there are many people today who don’t value the virtue of honesty. Every day we witness the dishonesty of public officials, high profile athletes and many others who are role models to our children. Many people don’t think twice about telling a lie if it will keep them out of trouble or from having to experience a painful consequence. Too often, people are unwilling to stand up and take responsibility for their actions.

People often justify dishonesty by rationalization, or inventing a reason why doing something wrong is actually right or at least...

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How to Be Your Daughter's Hero

Heroes are often people who face seemingly impossible odds, set personal wants and needs aside, and run to the rescue of someone who isn’t strong enough to help themselves. That’s also a pretty accurate description of a good father, don’t you think?

Dad, do you want your daughter to make smart choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol, sexual intimacy, boyfriends, academic performance, how she dresses and developing a strong faith? If so, I want to encourage you to read the four tips from Dr. Meg Meeker’s book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters below.

  1. Make a plan.

Your aspirations for your daughter will be clearest when she is young. When she’s an infant, you know with crystal clarity what you will expect from her: everything from what she will be allowed to say and do to whom she can date. Write it down now, and keep it clear in your mind and in hers. Teens love to tangle with your thinking. So have your rules inscribed like the Ten...

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Balance Your Life

Just like a tightrope walker, you need to know how to maintain balance in your life so you don’t fall into trouble. When even one area of your life is overloaded, it is time to ask, “Why?”

For many of us, the culprit is over-commitment. You may say, “Yes” to everything because you are afraid to say, “No.” Some people feel guilty when they disappoint someone with a refusal. In other cases, people who over-commit are insecure and trying to win approval. Some people have what appears to be a vibrant zest for life that they want to experience every single opportunity that comes along – but forget that some time must be saved for rest and self-care. Letting everyone else’s ideas and agendas control your time and energy will quickly throw you off balance.

An off-kilter life can also lead to discouragement because too much time and effort spent in one area of life will usually cause a deficit in another area. I understand...

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Your Greatest Investment

I will never forget attending the funeral of a man I had known for over 25 years. One by one, people shared stories of how he had touched their lives. His 75 years on this earth were well recorded with memories of his generosity, kindness, loyalty and love. As I glanced over to see how his wife was holding up I could see that she was filled with joy to hear how her husband’s greatest investments in life were paying off.

When we hear the word “investment” we automatically think in terms of money. However, there are other things in life we can invest with the hope of experiencing a significant return. Far too many people find themselves at the end of their life realizing that those things they invested their time, talents and resources in had little, if any, meaningful impact.

Maybe the simplest way to put it is this: If you spend your life only investing in your own pleasure and pursuits your legacy will die with you. None of us want to get to the end of life and...

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