Everyone says self-awareness is essential to effective leadership. It is, but there is another aspect to awareness that may be equally compelling and sadly overlooked. It’s self-management.
It’s one thing to know yourself. We know what we do well. Yay! That’s why we are so good at what we do. We may even know what we are not so good at it so we ignore it. Boo! That can hurt us.
Enter self-management. Self-management is a form of self-control. We do not control events; we merely control how we respond to them. For instance, I know I have a tendency to become short with customer service agents who, let’s face it, have the thankless job of dealing with people like me who think we have better things to do with our time than waste it with people like them.
So after much trial and error, I have taught myself to be more polite. (read more…)
I live in Washington, D.C., and go to about 15 Washington Nationals home games each year. I have an interest in the team’s performance and leadership, if only for all the hours and dollars I spend on the team.
As you may have heard, the team did not play well this year. Off the field, there were problems, and saying “the Nationals choked” had a more literal meaning than usual:
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After this disappointing regular season, The Nationals fired manager Matt Williams and all his coaches. Williams may be a decent fellow, but there is no one who says he was a good manager, and he too often made decisions that were wrong in terms of process and results. He struggled with in-game tactical situations, struggled to understand how his actions could have long-term repercussions, struggled in communicating with his team and struggled to explain his actions to the media and, by extension, the fans. (read more…)
The naming of Jack Dorsey this week as Twitter’s permanent CEO brings closure to the last quarter of leadership limbo. It allows the organization to begin moving forward, reinventing itself and its platform (perhaps even allowing us all more than 140 characters to express our deepest thoughts). It also offers several important and enduring lessons for organizations and leaders alike.
Lesson 1: Be careful what you wish for.
What organization doesn’t want highly engaged customers? What executive doesn’t secretly fantasize about a committed fan base? Who doesn’t wish they could get into their customers heads and get their feedback at the drop of a hat? But as we know from any number of fairy tales, when wishes are granted, they generally come with some baggage and at least a few surprises.
Twitter’s customers (and probably yours too) enjoy nearly effortless access to information and the ability to broadcast their reactions, experiences, opinions and advice — all day, every day, in an exponential fashion. (read more…)
The first thing you need to do to get an irrational person to behave rationally is to calm yourself down so that you don’t escalate the situation with your own irrational and emotional reaction.
If you’re viewing a person as irrational, it means they’ve already succeeded in getting you upset enough to take something they’re doing or saying too personally when you shouldn’t. When that happens, a part of your middle emotional brain called the amygdala will hijack you away from thinking rationally and responding accordingly. It does so by blocking you from accessing your upper rational brain to evaluate the situation.
Thinking of someone as irrational can mean you’re feeling as if they are intentionally acting in some way just to get you upset — and then you react by becoming upset. Alternatively, if you view them as merely not rational, and don’t take their behavior personally, you will be able to take your emotionality out of the equation. (read more…)