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How Being Gracious Makes You A More Successful Leader

How Being Gracious Makes You A More Successful Leader

Everyone can lead, but not everyone can be a successful leader. There are certainly traits and characteristics that many great leaders have in common, and it would be easy enough to list some of the qualities we traditionally associate with successful leaders.

But leadership, like everything else in the world today, is being reinvented. It’s time to take a new look at what you need to do to be a successful leader.

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According to Margaret Callaway of the Callaway Leadership Institute:

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The social, political, and economic conditions of the 21st century have forever changed the roles and responsibilities of today’s leaders. In these changing times, leaders can no longer rely on traditional, historical leadership constructs based on simple hierarchical authority and concentrated decision-making power.

Old school is just that: old school. The skills needed for you to become a more successful leader in this century are skills that fit with today’s brave new world.

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9 Keys to Being a More Successful Leader in Today’s World:

  1. Humility: You can be confident and strong while retaining your humility. Humility comes not from having a low view of self, but in having a deep understanding that every single person brings different skills, talents and abilities to the proverbial table. The greatest leaders celebrate those differences and know that no one skill makes any individual better than another.
  2. Gratitude: There is no such thing as a great leader who does not have a supportive, invested team or tribe. Being gracious to your team, praising your tribe, expressing your gratitude and thanking those who support, contribute and help you, is vital to being a successful leader. People who feel appreciated for who they are will work more and better for you. Expressing gratitude is a way of honoring each person and what they offer.
  3. Be yourself before and after your big “win”: Nothing calls a leader’s intention more into question than a leader who seems to suddenly change who they are, midstream. When this occurs it smacks of being a tactic, rather than something genuine. You should be humble and gracious before you are a known leader, and you should continue to be that way even if you lead great numbers of people. And if you’re a leader who switches midstream to get more votes or volunteers, then boo on you.
  4. Embrace change: The ability to be dynamic in decision-making and goals and outlook is not just kind of important in today’s world: you can’t lead without this ability. If you as a leader resist change, then so will your tribe. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a leader at work, at home, or of a country; to succeed today, to stay in business or to stay strong economically, you must have the capacity to embrace change because as a world we are moving at an unprecedented pace.
  5. Creative team tapping: A great leader has an innate sense of how to best tap into the creative skills of each person they work with. Tapping into all those yummy talents and skills of each team or tribe member will allow everyone to grow, move forward, become stronger and so achieve more – as individuals and as a group. Gone are the days when a leader could demand that people mindlessly obey. Now a successful leader should inspire people to bring their unique creativity to the team.
  6. Cooperation: Cooperating with those around you and leading your team/tribe toward cooperation should be a primary goal. The cooperative approach is in essence the process of working together toward the same vision. We can use cooperation as a solid base for a strong family life, a successful business and a vision-inspired world.
  7. Intuition: Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without having to analyze or reason. All successful leaders have, and use, their intuition. You might think of it as your gut feeling. But no matter what you call it, there are moments in time when a leader must make a quick decision based on instinct. Successful leaders trust their intuition.
  8. No fear-based decision-making: It takes courage to acknowledge your fears and then not let them control your decisions. Fear-based decisions take away power and abundance. They are, in effect, a way of running from something rather than moving toward a greater vision. It isn’t that successful leaders have no fears, it’s that they understand their fears so they know when and how to keep those fears from ruling the roost.
  9. Transparency: Let’s face it, there are no more secrets. Honesty and transparency allow your team/tribe to maintain their trust in you. Without trust, a leader simply cannot lead. And let’s be honest: today, whatever you hope to keep in the dark will just be dug up and displayed all over social media so it behooves you as a leader to be transparent. If you make a mistake, admit to it, make amends and move on.

You can develop your skills to become a more successful leader in today’s society. We need great leaders, leaders who are willing to stand up and stand out who can lead us forward in positive ways. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a leader of one other person who calls you mom, or you lead a nation, leadership today is all about moving us forward as a whole, while honoring each and every individual.

Featured photo credit: Cool Bird Formation/ DeaPeaJay via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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