You, Me, and Our Relationship Makes Three

Business Relationships

A previous post introduced the characteristics of relationship building, which is the foundation to public relations education and practice, and (ideally!) organizational relationships. 

Without a clear focus on people and its human aspects, organizations are doomed to remain stagnant, or even die.

On Relationships

As a refresher, the components of relationship-building are this:

  • Control Mutuality (allowing another party the power to influence you)
  • Trust
  • Satisfaction
  • Commitment

These components contribute to an exchange relationship, one in which one party in the relationship does something for the other party as reciprocation for a past or future service; or a communal relationship, in which both parties provide benefits to each other out of concern rather than payback and seek no additional recompense.

This post will look more closely at the four initial characteristics, and the final post in this series will focus on the outcomes of an exchange or communal relationship.

Not surprisingly, control mutuality, trust, satisfaction, and commitment are all characteristics that we seek in our interpersonal relationships, whether it is between family members, spouses, partners, or friends.

But how often do we consider these components as criteria for our business-related activities?

For example, during an interview process the idea of commitment may be an issue of concern for the interviewer, and possibly the interviewee. But once we are established within an organization, how often do we stop to think about how all of these characteristics influence our relationships on an ongoing basis?

The 4 Key Characteristics of Relationship Building

The relevance and impact of these characteristics on organizational well-being can be better understood in the context of both enduring and distinctive workplace challenges:

Control Mutuality

Interactions with most organizations require some level of control mutuality. In a retail environment, or when attending a sales pitch we allow, or perhaps even encourage sales representatives to “wow” us with the benefits of their product or service. The control then shifts as we decide whether or not we were moved enough to commit or take our business elsewhere.

This back-and-forth exchange of control can be seen in any number of scenarios across industries – hiring new employees, starting a new product line or creating a stronger team, as examples  – and the way in which each party contributes, as well as the value they place on the outcome strongly influences their role in the relationship.

Trust

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been under close scrutiny for the past several months as a result of accusations of delayed medical treatment to veterans, allegedly resulting in several deaths. Unquestionably a tragedy, and regardless of the outcome resulting from hearings and policy changes, damage to the VA has and will continue to be significant.

Already then-Secretary Eric Shinseki, himself a veteran and former Army general, was pressured to resign, negatively affecting both his and the VA’s reputation. From the perspective of multiple stakeholders as well as the general public, the VA did not do what it said it would do for its members– the cornerstones of creating trust!

Regaining the trust of these key constituents will be slow and costly, not just financially, but in terms of re-establishing and maintaining the much needed support for a mission that has been called into question.

Satisfaction

Over the past 25-years, employees’ job satisfaction has fallen precipitously from 61% to 15%. Considering that even at its highest level more than one-third of the workforce was dissatisfied with their jobs, this statistic is even more staggering. Evidence of this dissatisfaction is seen not only in the various rankings of “worst companies”, but also in the fact that while the lists contain some overlap of identified companies, they also include many unique listings suggesting that there is a good deal of competition for this dubious title.

Unfortunately, due to external factors beyond employees’ control, such as the economy, unforeseen costs at home (including medical expenses, child care, routine expenses) or an inability to compete in the job market due to a lack of skills and the ability to develop them, employees often end up staying at a job that they would prefer to leave.

This could have a domino effect impacting the employee, colleagues and supervisors, the organization, customers, and family.

Commitment

Sticking with a relationship, personal or business, requires effort, and remaining committed to a relationship means that both parties feel the effort is worthwhile.

Turnover is one way to evaluate employees’ commitment to their jobs.

Although turnover in the United States has maintained at a steady rate of 3.1-3.2 percent, down from rates more consistent in the 3.7– 3.8 range before the current economic crisis, it would be naive to assume this decrease is due purely to job appreciation, particularly given such low overall levels of job satisfaction.

It is realistic to assume that some, perhaps even many, employees are reluctant to leave a steady job in questionable economic times. It is important for leaders to have a realistic perspective on employee’s long-term tenure and its contributing factors and not assume that longevity equals satisfaction and commitment to the organization.

Maintaining Excellence

Successful relationships require effort and maintenance. The relationship becomes its own entity and, like the individual parties involved, needs to be considered in terms of decision-making and outcomes.

So, instead of asking “How does this affect me?” or “How will this affect my client?” you must also ask “How with this affect our relationship?”

This awareness of the relationship as a “third-person”, so to speak, forces all parties involved to give it greater consideration, which adds to the depth and value of the connection.

With whom are your most important relationships? Have you been disappointed that certain relationships have not worked out? What level of effort do you put into developing and maintaining both types of relationships? How strongly to you consider the potential relationship when soliciting or accepting new clients? Has that made a difference?

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———————–
Andrea M. Pampaloni, Ph.D.

Andrea M. Pampaloni, Ph.D is AMP Consulting
She provides Organizational Communication Consulting & Research Focused on
Relationship-Building and Presentation of Image
Email | LinkedIn |  Web

 

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On Leadership, Perspective and Toxic CEOs

6 Types of Toxic CEO's

 

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Hey Leaders: 5 Tips to Positively Powerful Presentations

Public Speaking

Great leadership requires great communication skills.

And one of the most challenging forms of communication is presenting in public!

Public Speaking

Hosting a work or group presentation often comes with a great deal of anxiety attached. Many people do not like to stand up in-front of groups because they wonder how they are going to sound and if the audience will enjoy the presentation.

Fortunately, preparing yourself to properly articulate words and capture the attention of your audience will help to chase some of these fears away.

5 Tips to Positively Powerful Presentations

Plan The Right Way

Speaking extemporaneously is a gift that some people have. However, chances are you don’t have this talent if you are afraid of public speaking. Start drafting ideas for the presentation once you receive the assignment. By having at least a structure in place when you sit down to complete the bulk of the work, the presentation itself won’t seem so overwhelming.

Use notecards if permitted during the actual speech, and put cue words and phrases on them. Writing out your entire presentation and reading it word-for-word is not the best idea. Not only will the speech sound robotic, but you will be more focused on reading a single word than anything else.

Use Audience Interaction

Think about what you like when you go to a presentation or listen to a speech. Sitting in silence for a lengthy period isn’t fun for even the most attentive of audience members. Find a way to incorporate audience interaction into your presentation.

For example, you might start by asking a question of the larger group, or, if time permits, plan out an activity where the audience divides into smaller groups to discuss an issue.

You could have them fill out surveys or answer quiz questions as an ice breaker or as an introduction to the topic you are going to discuss.

Harness The Power of Visual Aids

Visualization is an extremely important component of a strong presentation. Audience members can hear what you are saying, but that doesn’t mean they will retain or fully comprehend the information. A presentation that delves into statistics needs to have charts and graphs to properly display them.

You can pass this information around to the audience members so that they have copies to take home. Use pictures to depict a new plan for a management team, or show images and video clips of a new product or service that your company is launching.

Know How to Speak

Even if you have spent the last few months preparing and you have the coolest graphics in the world, people aren’t going to listen if you don’t have some basic speaking skills in your pocket.

  • Your voice needs to be loud and clear enough for everyone in the audience to hear.
  • Looking into the audio devices available well in-advance of the presentation date is wise.
  • Make eye-contact with the audience members.
  • Know what language the audience speaks, and do not use words that they are unlikely to understand.
  • Find a tone somewhere between boringly formal and overly casual that addresses your goals while engaging the audience.

Strong Introduction and Conclusion

You want to make sure people are listening when your speech starts, and you want to make sure that they take something away from it when it is over.

  • Use a hook question or a quotation to grab their interest at the start.
  • When you near the end, reiterate your main points, and let them know how to contact you for more information.
  • Opening up a question and answer session helps audience members to recognize you care about their absorption of the material.
  • If you are selling something, give free samples.

Being a Trained Professional

Creating a strong presentation is important because this is the first impression you’re providing to the audience members. Using these tools helps to let the audience see that you are a trained professional who cares about his or her purpose and goals in the presentation.

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———————
Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

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On Leadership Styles, Philosophies and Where You Live

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Lessons From Argentine Reaction to World Cup Loss

Argentina Riots

VIDEO: Riots erupted in Argentina after World Cup loss.

High hopes and expectations gave way to defeat, shock, dejection and finally to pain, anger and destruction.

This was the 120-minute journey taken by Argentina’s national football team’s supporters who had gathered at a public square viewing area in Buenos Aires, to watch the final 2014 FIFA World Cup match between Argentina and Germany. Chaos erupted after Argentina lost to Germany.

Who publicly vents their frustration through riotous acts of violence and hooliganism because of a loss?

Success Today

Before we rush to condemn the fans’ behavior, it’s important to consider what may have led them to do what they did. In today’s world, success is highly overrated. We celebrate those who come first, conquer (however we define that), make it big, win awards and medals, achieve in one way or other. It’s all about positive feelings, positive emotions and positive labels.

On the other hand, we look down upon those who have suffered defeat, loss and humiliation. For them, it’s negative, negative, negative – feelings, emotions and labels. They’re not good enough, they’ve failed, lost, let themselves and us down.

So it’s shame, shame, shame!

Acting Out

And so for Argentina’s fans, theirs was not just a case of lawlessness. They were simply projecting on the outside what they were going through on the inside – their pain and disappointment. But, one may – nay, SHOULD – ask whether the fans could have displayed their feelings of loss differently.

After all, with no exception, we go through loss and defeat at different times in our lives.

  • Does that give us the license to take to the streets every time we lose and generally make other people’s lives miserable in the process? Especially when the loss is so intense, it’s palpable.
  • Or, do we have a choice as to how to respond to loss?

To quote a popular saying, we need to win with humility and lose with grace. But, what does it mean to lose with grace? In this post, I share a 3-step process that one can follow.

3-Steps to Winning With Humility and Losing With Grace

1) Accept That You Have Lost

Once you’ve lost, you’ve lost. You can’t wish the loss away. And you can’t turn back the clock, to translate the loss into a win. So, admit that you’ve lost. Allow yourself to come to terms with your loss and grieve if you must.

Argentina’s loss to Germany was boldly summed up by Joao Cuenca, who has an Argentine father and a Brazilian mother:

“This was a trauma. We were going to be able to leave singing songs in victory with the glory of the Cup. What happened is nothing short of a disaster.”

Ouch! The good news is that facing your loss and pain head on makes it much easier for the healing process to begin.

2) Learn All You Can

At one time or other, you will lose. It’s just a matter of time. And each loss has a lesson embedded in it.

  • Ask yourself what you can take away from the experience and make it work for you.
  • Don’t waste your loss.
  • The good news is that losing does not make you a loser.
  • It’s an experience, not a state.
  • So, make it your aim to learn all you can from any and every loss.
  • Drawing lessons can help you emerge a stronger, better person.
  • Apply those lessons to future pursuits, to improve your chances of succeeding then.

Internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach and author, John Maxwell says in his book Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Learn, that winning isn’t everything, but learning is. Don’t waste your experiences whether it’s a win or a loss. Learn from both.

3) Move On

Easier said than done, but you must. Don’t camp where you lost the game – for if you do, you’ll waste the chance to get ready for your next big opportunity. Guard against what Abraham Graham Bell, the late Scottish scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator warned about:

“When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

You have to make the decision to keep moving through other open doors. You never know – your next win may be far greater than your last loss. As long as you’re alive, keep moving.

Leading Through Loss

Indeed, better days lie ahead if you accept your past losses, learn from them and move on to seize future opportunities. This lesson applies in sports, family, business, community and in life.

How do you currently deal with loss in your life? Does it make the situation better or worse? How could you respond to losses more effectively?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Joyce Kaduki

Mrs. Joyce Kaduki is a Leadership Coach, Speaker & Trainer
She enjoys working with Individuals & Teams to help them Improve their Results
Email | LinkedIn | Web

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Leading People You Would Rather Not Lead

Terrible Employees

It is said that you can choose your friends, but you cannot choose not your family. Similarly you can’t always choose who you are going to lead.

If you are building a team from the start, yes, you have a say. But this doesn’t mean that you get everything, or anyone, you want.

Becoming a Leader

When I took on a management role, I was chartered to lead an already existing team. I had no choice in who was going to be part of my team. In other scenarios when I was leading virtual teams, I didn’t always have a say on which team members I would be working with.

Did I always find conducive people to lead? No. At times, I had the best of the best people working with me but other times, I felt like pulling my hair.

OMG! Leading THESE types???

There could be several situations where you would rather not lead the people you are working with. Let’s take a look at some of these scenarios:

  • First on my list are under-performers. These people are hardest to motivate. On the contrary, they can cause problems and bring the team morale down.
  • Sometimes you may come across lazy employees who are equally hard to motivate. At times you feel like doing the work yourself instead of asking them. Some of them would find all kinds of excuses to not complete the task. They would also push the blame on to other innocent employees.
  • Then there are those who have a big ego or influence in the organization. They expect everyone to be praising them and looking up to them. These employees often come with a baggage.
  • Sometimes people you are leading are far more senior than you and they could have a hostile attitude towards you. They don’t want to be led by someone they consider their junior.
  • I also came across some under-confident employees that were good at their work but they were equally interested in what others are doing. They would discuss at length about why they are better than their peers.

Leading Tough Employees

Terrible EmployeesThe reality is that one could come across such people in any group or organization and one cannot turn their back to them. The job of a leader is not always easy; it is certainly not a cake walk. But it does become more taxing when you are leading difficult employees.

So the question is this:

Which quality of a leader works in these cases?

One important leadership trait that works is tough empathy. These leaders empathize passionately but realistically. Blind empathy will not work. Leaders should care about employees but also about the work they do.

Leaders toughen up when they need to and give people what they need, not necessarily what they want.

Making Tough Decisions

This sometimes involves making tough decisions that are best for both people as well as business. Tough empathy combined with authenticity is what is required of a true leader.

By authenticity, I mean, the leader is not simply fulfilling job obligations but instead cares about it. His actions would almost always reveal the presence or absence of authenticity.

Because we don’t always get to choose who we lead, what other choice do we really have as effective leader but to make the best decisions, with the best available plan, in the most empathetic and constructive way. Even if we don’t want to.

So, have you experienced having to lead someone you would rather not? How did it go? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————
Aditi Chopra
Aditi Chopra is an experienced leader in the software industry
She is a consultant, writer and a leader
Email | LinkedIn |  Web | Blog | Twitter | Books

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Leadership Congruence: Do You Walk the Talk?

walk the Talk

A foundational behavior in effective leadership requires demonstrating congruence between what one says and what one does.

Unfortunately, many times the behaviors of those in charge reflect a philosophy of “do as I say not as I do” rather than one of congruence.

Creating Distrust and Disagreement

Incongruence at both the personal and organizational level often results in distrust and disengagement by the people who have experienced or observed the incongruence. While the data on disengagement and its impact is alarming, the good news is that we are actually dealing with the behaviors that cause the issues.

And when dealing with behaviors, there is a better chance to create better outcomes.

  • We can often think of those managers who hold themselves to a different standard than they hold everyone else to.
  • These are the managers that consistently expected others to stay late but leave the office early themselves.
  • They are the managers who stress transparency. yet would not relay important information to their people. Maybe they are the managers who stressed integrity. yet are unethical in their own behaviors.

These actions often created environments of distrust and disengagement by those who see or who are the recipient of this behavior.

Talking, But Not Walking

As well, we can all recall the organizations that might have done this:

  • State their commitment to their employees or customers, yet don’t behave that way.
  • Claim that their people are their most important asset, yet they do not invest in their development.
  • Or, they are the organizations that conducts a survey on employee satisfaction, yet do nothing to address the issues that may have surfaced from the survey.

Again, these behaviors often create a sense of employee distrust toward the organization.

Creating Dissonance

In these examples, this incongruence often results in disconnection, disengagement and distrust toward the manger, the organization or both.

In the past, the social and financial impact of these negative behaviors was often overlooked.

However, today ample data exists which demonstrates the adverse impact that disengagement has on an organization as it relates to turnover, absenteeism, injuries and profitability to name a few. Much work has been done by organizations such as Gallup to expose the negative consequences of disengagement.

Changing Minds, Changing Behaviors

The good news about the high levels of disengagement the surveys have uncovered is that it can minimized, through behavior changes.

The first behavior involves acting in a congruent way.

As leaders, we must “walk the talk.” In order to create an engaged workforce, those in positions of authority and organizations themselves must become aware of the negative impact that incongruence has on people, the organization, and its customers.

This behavior involves taking inventory of your actions and asking, “Would I see my words and actions as being congruent if I observed them in someone else.”

Another suggestion would be to find someone who would be committed to providing honest feedback on your behaviors and their level of congruence.

This is the first step toward increasing engagement in those around you.

Take the challenge and regularly ask yourself: Is you approach to walk the talk or do you expect others to do as you say but not as you do? What behaviors might you be exhibiting that are incongruent? How might this behavior have caused disengagement in someone in your workplace? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Patrick Veroneau, MS Organizational Leadership

Patrick Veroneau, MS is CEO of Emery Leadership Group
He inspires Others to Develop Effective Leadership Behaviors
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

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