When obstacles get you down
Do obstacles get you down when youre trying to get something done? An excellent book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, asks you to consider the following:
After Fred Astaires first screen test, a 1933 memo from the MGM testing director said: Cant act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little. Astaire kept that memo over the fire-place in his Beverly Hills home.
An expert said of famous football coach Vince Lombardi: He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks
Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was advised by her family to find work as a servant or seamstress.
Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving
his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.
The teacher of famous opera singer Enrico Caruso said Caruso had no voice at all and could not sing.
Walt Disney was fired by a news-paper for lacking ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he built
Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Bachs 10,000-word story about a soaring seagull before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. By 1975, Jonathan Livingston Seagull had sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone.
Source: Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit, written and compiled by Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen, Health Communications Inc., 3201 S.W. 15th St., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
How to deal with conflict
To handle conflict among your team members:
Ask those who disagree to para-phrase one anothers comments. This may help them learn if they really understand one another.
Work out a compromise. Agree on the underlying source of conflict, then engage in give-and-take and finally agree on a solution.
Ask each member to list what the other side should do. Exchange lists, select a compromise all are willing to accept, and test the compromise to see if it meshes with team goals.
Have the sides each write 10 questions for their opponents. This will allow them to signal their major concerns about the other sides position. And the answers may lead to a compromise.
Convince team members they sometimes may have to admit theyre wrong. Help them save face by convincing them that changing a position may well show strength.
Respect the experts on the team. Give their opinions more weight when the conflict involves their expertise, but dont rule out conflicting opinions.
Source: Making Teams Succeed at Work, Alexander Hamilton Institute, 70 Hilltop Road, Ramsey, NJ 07446.
What to ask your boss
Boost communication and build trust with your boss. How? Say what you need or expect from him or her. Be clear and concise, and the reactions may surprise you. Examples:
If you need more time, ask the boss for five minutes to discuss work progress.
Surprise: Chances are, youll get at least twice that amount. Also, the bosss interest in your work will grow, so youll receive more feedback and input.
When you need some relief from the bosss watchful eye, offer to provide a detailed report. Outline the tools youre using and say that youll ask for more help should you need it.
Surprise: This may turn a boss whos a hands-on hindrance into a delegation dream.
Source: Managing Your Boss, by John J.
Gabarro and John P. Kotter, cited in Harvard
Management Update, Harvard Business
School Publishing Corp., 60 Harvard Way,
Boston, MA 02163.
Communication Skills: Listening
Why we dont hear others
If you want to listen so you really hear what others say, make sure youre not a:
Mind reader. Youll hear little or nothing as you think What is this person really thinking or feeling?
Rehearser. Your mental tryouts for Heres what Ill say next tune out the speaker.
Filterer. Some call this selective listeninghearing only what you want to hear.
Dreamer. Drifting off during a face-to-face conversation can lead to an embarrassing What did you say? or Could you repeat that?
Identifier. If you refer everything you hear to your experience, you probably didnt really hear what was said.
Comparer. When you get side-tracked assessing the messenger, youre sure to miss the message.
Derailer. Changing the subject too quickly soon tells others youre not interested in anything they have to say.
Sparrer. You hear whats said but quickly belittle it or discount it. That puts you in the same class as the derailer.
Placater. Agreeing with every-thing you hear just to be nice or to avoid conflict does not mean youre a good listener.
Source: The Writing Lab, Department of
English, Purdue University, 1356 Heavilon
Hall, West Lafayette, IN 47907.