Weekly Leadership Reading

Developing others and ongoing learning are in our DNA here at Braithwaite/Get Your BIG On, so we’re doing research all the time. It might be fact-finding for something we’re writing, creating content for a development session or speech, or working for a client. We get to see lots of worthy material while doing our work (what a wonderful perk!), so we share the highlights via our weekly leadership reading, a short-cut to information you may not have the time to look up but might be interested in knowing. Enjoy!

“I have the power!” (I/O at Work)

The BIG team is on mission to educate people that power in and of itself is neutral. We believe it becomes positive or negative depending on how people choose to use it. The research cited here affirms that power doesn’t corrupt. However, the researchers found that power “allows corrupt people to express their inner ‘corruptness’ more freely (or allows the virtuous to express their goodness).”

Brainwashed: Seven Ways to Reinvent Yourself (Seth Godin on Change This)

A sweet little manifesto geared to get you thinking about why you believe the best way to make a living is having a job.

Where in the World is Aaron Greenberg? Unconscious Bias and Cultural Diversity (Jonathan Segal on We Know Next)

We love Jonathan’s poignant story that underscores how we get caught up in thinking patterns that get us into trouble.

It’s Okay To Say… (Lolly Daskal on Lead From Within)

As individuals, as leaders, as moms or dads, we feel the pressure to be perfect, to be the answer guy or gal. It isn’t cool to be vulnerable. The BIG team believes it takes strength to be vulnerable and love how Lolly encourages people to acknowledge the dark side and then move on.

Listening in Color (Neil Harbisson on TED Talks)

Neil was born with the inability to see color. Listen to his fascinating story of how a brain implant has allowed him to listen to color…and how that has changed his life. Inspiring and thought-provoking. too.

Danger, Marissa Mayer! (Wally Bock on Three Star Leadership)

Wally cuts right to the heart of the matter regarding Marissa Mayer being named the CEO of Yahoo! It’s her abilities that matter.

A quote reminding us that it’s all about awareness. Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. ~Emily Post

Step into your power and use it for the collective good this week!


5 Ways to Defuse Unruly Others (and Yourself, too)

No one in the coffee shop could doubt that the fellow in the three-piece suit was having a bad day after hearing him berate the barista for the poor quality of the crema on his espresso. Then it got really outrageous when the barista slammed him back. Had both individuals been a little more self-aware, this public ugliness could have been avoided.

Customers, co-workers, and bosses can, and will, be angry, demanding, rude and short-tempered. (Hopefully, not all the time!) Yet giving in to the urge to respond in kind results in a battle of wills that goes nowhere – fast.

So what should a hard-working guy or gal do when faced with these situations?

5 Ways to Defuse Unruly Others (and Yourself, too)

Recognize but don’t respond to the anger. Seth Godin offers some great advice. “Acknowledge the anger. You don’t have to agree with it, but in order to have a chance at making it go away, you need to empathize with the person’s anger. You cannot negotiate with an angry person.”

Manage your responseThe Mayo Clinic suggests taking ”a break from the person you’re angry with until your frustrations subside a bit.” Go to that happy little place in your mind for a moment. (I have a friend who pictures cuddly puppies when dealing with irate customers.) Walk away. Ask a colleague to finish the transaction especially if you’re at the breaking point.

Don’t fan the flames. If leaving the situation temporarily isn’t an option, speak slowly and softly to the upset individual. Be friendly, not condescending, so the situation doesn’t spiral out of control. Bacal & Associates, specialists in customer service, says, “Escalation doesn’t have to happen. It is important that you be aware of your own behavior in contributing to this cycle, particularly because you will suffer any fallout that a crisis brings. When the situation moves to crisis, probability of violence increases, as does the probability that the person will cause unpleasantness after they leave.”

Avoid the urge to offer advice. Resist your desire to tell the upset individual to “just calm down.” Angry people aren’t looking for or willing to listen to advice. Your well-intentioned help could actually escalate the already difficult situation.

Monitor your body language. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, notes that our facial expression accounts for 55% of how our spoken message is communicated. Avoid activities like frowning, making a fist, placing your hands on your hips or sighing as they can send negative messages which further irritate an already angry person.

What other things have worked for you when confronted with angry customers or colleagues?



This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

Lots of good material and insights for your holiday reading…enjoy!

Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals (Angela Duckworth, Christopher Peterson, Michael D. Matthews, Dennis R. Kelly)

There are those who dream dreams and those whose dreams become reality. Into which group might you fit? According to this report, how much grit you possess is a key factor. The authors define grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress.” Interesting stuff.

Why Discomfort Is Good for You (Michael Hyatt, Intentional Leadership)

Before you know it, your comfort zone becomes so comfy you really stray beyond its borders. Yet it is beyond those borders where your growth and development lies. Michael offers three good reasons why we should seek discomfort.

No one ever bought anything in an elevator (Seth Godin)

Seth is the master of bright, brief and pointed posts. If you’re struggling with understanding the purpose of an elevator speech, this 75-word post defines it beautifully.

Are You Too Nice to Lead? (Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach)

To effectively lead and manage, one must master being both tough and tender. Too tough…and no one wants to work with or for you. Too tender…and you’re doomed to fail. Personal and professional success balances on knowing when to be both, and Kate offers up some good food for thought here.

On Personal Power (Dan Oestreich, Unfolding Leadership)

Power is simply the capacity to bring about change. It’s only in how one chooses to use power that it becomes positive or negative. Unfortunately, all together too many people shy away from thinking of themselves as being personally powerful. Dan makes a number of compelling arguments about why you need to embrace, not avoid or ignore, your personal power.

A dose of inspiration: For all those who said I couldn’t do it, for all those who said I shouldn’t do it, for all those who said it’s impossible, I’ll see you at the finish line. ~Christopher Reeve

Here’s to using your head to manage and your heart to lead!