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Exercising control November 14, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Achieving goals, Bronder On People, Getting what you want, Management, Performance issues, Self reflection.
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p5130012.jpg  It is difficult to be in charge. There are responsibilities and pressures to control. The Big Dogz know that if we push the control lever too far we become Domineering and the result is reduced productivity, increased costs and more stress. On the other hand, if we do not control what is going on, we will often fail to accomplish our goals.

 

I propose we look at two ends of the control continuum — Domineering and Dominant.  These words mean different things to different people, so I want to make this distinction for this discussion:

 

Domineering means pushing your personal agenda and wanting to control every action of others.

 

Dominant means exercising influence or control, usually through leadership.

 

Domineering managers rarely succeed. Of course, there are exceptions to this statement, but in general, if you use a Domineering style, you will always achieve less. What are some of the signs that you may be a Domineering manager?

 

  1. You are working excessive hours.
  2. You personally do the most critical jobs.
  3. You have frequent stressful conflicts (outbursts) during the day.
  4. You use micro-management as a way to make sure things get done.
  5. Morale in your group is low.
  6. You believe your people are “not up to the challenge.”
  7. You have to make all the decisions.

 

You get the picture. There are many things going wrong. There are only a few people you can count on to help you achieve your goals.

 

Dominant managers rarely fail! Again, there are exceptions to this statement, but in general, if you use a Dominant style, you will always achieve more. Besides the opposite of the Domineering manager signs, what are some other signs you may be a Dominant manager?

 

  1. People give you feedback on your performance as the manager.
  2. Your people are getting awards, recognition and promotions.
  3. People in your department are proactive in solving problems.
  4. People make suggestions to you on how the department can be more efficient or effective.
  5. Your people know exactly what result you expect of them.
  6. People are exercising creativity in developing processes that are streamlined.
  7. There is a waiting list of people wanting to join your department.

 

You get the picture. There are many things going right. There are many people you can count on to help you achieve your goals.

 

The signs are clear. The choice is yours.

 

Sometimes we do not achieve the results we want and we find someone or something to excuse it away. The problem may be in your style. I have created an assessment to help you determine if you are more Domineering or more Dominant. Please download it and take it yourself, then get three people to validate your self-assessment.

 

When you have a validated assessment, use it to create an action plan on how you can be more effective as a manager. If you send me your action plan, I will include your actions into a future blog on how to become a more Dominant manager.

 

rbronder@gmail.com

 

domineering-vs-dominant-style-continuum-assessment

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Take control of your hot buttons June 29, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Handling hot buttons, Uncategorized.
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p5130012.jpg  Want to maintain control in a heated discussion? The Big Dogz know how to do that.  Most of us encounter those times in meetings, phone calls or one on one discussion where we go off on tangents defending ourselves or an issue that is vital to us. Frequently these diversions cause us to lose effectiveness or to even look unprofessional. Why does this happen? Well, probably someone has pushed one of our buttons. This phrase is commonly used to describe a situation where we are thrown off track and lose our ability to influence. People are thinking “There he goes again, on that soapbox.”

Here is a technique the Big Dogz use to keep themselves from getting on that soapbox, and to keep themselves focused on the topic at hand.

  1. Be aware of your “button pushed” behavior. For some people there are definite physical indicators. We can feel our heart beating harder and faster. Our ears get red. We begin emphatic gesturing to emphasis points that do not need emphasis.  Get a friend to help you create this awareness. This step is the single most important step in taking control of your buttons. You cannot do anything about your buttons unless you know your behaviors when they are pushed.
  2.  When you engage in “button pushed” behavior, that is, either you or a colleague have discovered you are engaged in this behavior, stop, take a breath and think about what just happened. What did this person say or do that made me go into “button pushed” behavior? You can be sure the other person knows what your buttons are. They just pushed one because you were winning the discussion and they were unwilling to change. If they can divert your thinking, they can at least walk away with a “no decision.” You have just moved from the offensive to the defensive!
  3.  As soon as possible, focus back on the original discussion. You can say something like “That is an interesting point, let’s consider it later.” It is an effective technique to take a deep breath or if possible a short break. Of course, you will want to let the other person know that you know they tried to push one of your buttons! “As you know, that issue is very important to me, but in the context of this discussion does not move us forward in getting to a solution. I would be interested in exploring that issue after we have settled this discussion.”
  4. You now have complete awareness of this issue that causes you to engage in “button pushed” behavior. This awareness means you can take control! Try to spend some time analyzing why this issue is so important to you and can you really do anything about it. If the issue is some past wrong committed, let it go so you can move on. If the issue is a moral or ethical one, think deeply about how you can make the issue right. What is your plan to address the issue? If you do not let it go or work on fixing it, the issue will continue to haunt you as a button.
  5. If you are not able to eliminate this button, at least you can be aware that it is a button and those around you will also be aware of it. Even the most well meaning of us will push a person’s button from time to time. Expect that people will use this knowledge, not because they are evil and dedicated to your demise, but because they are human. When this button is pushed, take control — remain calm, acknowledge the importance of the issue to you, separate the issue from the current discussion and move back into being effective. If you really need to vent or talk about this button, schedule another meeting or discussion around the issue.

 

The Big Dogz take control of their issues. You can not expect to uncover every button you have; but you can identify the really big ones and develop a strategy for handling situations where your buttons are pushed,

 

In the next thirty days, start observing your own behavior to identify your specific “button pushed” behavior. Then put in place the rest of this process to be on your way to being more effective.