Corporate IQ & EQ: tip 3
How do you see yourself when you think about your own role in the company you work for? Do you feel the pressure of having to use control just to keep everybody on track? Or is it your job to motivate, stimulate, by offering your support and asking questions?
When managing looks like you need to prevent a stampede and are mostly putting out fires, it is no fun and in fact very exhausting. It makes for stressful relationships and in turn, you will feel stressed out yourself as well. You may find yourself caught in a vicious circle. Because you control too much, others may leave the controlling to you and await orders. They stop correlating their actions and stop thinking about how the way in which they operate influences and impacts others. In response, this requires even more control and creates a general sense of powerlessness.
Perhaps it is time to change this around and create a different dynamic by using a different far easier process: Give!
Give direction (control) only in the beginning of a working relationship when there is a need for others to learn from you.
Give support when others are in the process of becoming self-sufficient in their jobs. You manage others less and achieve more together. Empower others by asking questions that stimulate their resourcefulness in solving their own problems. Give your best to make them winners!
Give advice only when being asked for it and others have exhausted their own resources. To make others self-sufficient it is better that you don’t find and/or fix the problems, offer the solution or give advice. It is more helpful that you offer your support in a way that helps others find their own mistakes, solutions, and directions. On the other hand, you may also find that Einstein’s quote often is true in that “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” To untangle the other person’s reality you may need to separate fact from interpretation, feelings from thoughts and needs from strategies. You are a guide in a reality in which they may possibly have lost their way. You may shine a revealing light that creates clarity and supports the other person by paraphrasing their words and identifying what you recognize to be at the core of their inner reality. Having this clarity supports people in moving forward once again.
Give by using coaching questions. Particularly when people are facing a problem avoid asking “Why?” Even an inquiring ‘why’ can easily be experienced as an interrogation that looks to lay the blame somewhere and with someone. It tends to put people on the defensive. Coaching questions are intended to be supportive and are a collaborative effort to acquire a new perspective. Use open-ended questions (not to be answered by a yes or no.) Instead use questions involving ‘what’, ‘how’ or “tell me more.” By doing so you are supporting the other person in seeing new pieces of the puzzle, which in turn will help to complete the picture. By paraphrasing what you hear as an answer you are holding up a mirror for the other person.
You also offer your support by helping the other person identify doable actions that will create the desired solution. Then agree on a time to evaluate the progress that was made after they implemented their actions. This helps in setting the focus and creates a time-path that supports a positive outcome you both can celebrate.
Give space. Allow others to find their own strength, develop clarity and learn from their own experience. Give space so they can become self-sufficient.
Give appreciation. The easiest way to offer guidance and indicate the desired direction is by showing appreciation for what works. It is motivating for people to know that they are on the right track and are doing well. It inspires to do even better and improves performance and outcomes.
Give opportunity. When encountering problems give people opportunity to take responsibility to work out solutions or make reparations. We all make mistakes, so encourage people to correct what went wrong without shaming or blaming them. It makes it easier to own what happened and to self-correct. It is empowering when you stimulate resourcefulness and creativity by offering the opportunity to do the “right thing.” Use coaching questions to help others find clarity:
1. Where are you now (what are you seeing)?
2. Where do you want to be (what do you want to see)?
3. What will bring you there (how can you achieve this)?
4. Will this choice do this for you?
5. If not, find a better choice!