Tag Archives: Trust

The Ultimate Determinate of Trust: Are They Friend or Foe?

file00090469702“I can trust my friends; these people force me to examine myself and encourage me to grow.” —Cher

 By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Trust is the foundation of all relationships and of good leadership. This applies to both our personal and professional lives. Whether you are a leader or a follower; a client or a supplier; a neighbor; or an acquaintance, on an unconscious level you are continually trying to determine whether another individual is a friend or a foe. When we trust, we feel that it is reasonable to expect kindness and concern from others and that they will look out for our best interest. When we distrust, we expect that they will act with cruel intentions and in their own best interest. When we trust, we feel safe. When we distrust, we feel the need to protect ourselves. So, what it the ultimate determination of trust? One simple question: are they friend or foe?

Inclusion or exclusion

It’s human nature to fear being excluded. We have succeeded as a civilization by banding together. In the times of our ancient ancestors, individuals who were shunned and left on their own would have been unable to thrive. Things have not changed as much as we sometimes think they have. We still rely on teaming together with other individuals with a common purpose. With friends, we always have a sense of inclusion and working together toward shared goals. With a foe, we often feel we are being excluded and left on our own. When we feel included, we start developing trust.

Safe or fearful

We all want to feel safe. Immediately upon meeting someone we unconsciously start to make judgments about if we feel safe, or if we feel threatened. Friends make us feel safe. We know we can be ourselves; we can share our thoughts and ideas. Foes make us feel fearful. We feel the need to protect ourselves; we keep our thoughts and ideas to ourselves out of fear of judgment and ridicule. When we feel safe, we start to trust.

Honest or deceitful

Friends are transparent. They are open and honest. You know what to expect from a friend and are never blindsided by dishonest motives. Friends share your goals and vision of success and the future. Friends handle disagreements fairly. Foes are deceitful. They twist the facts to meet the needs of their own agenda; an agenda that is self-serving. They are manipulative and resort to trickery and bullying when conflict arises. When others are honest, we feel we can trust them.

Authentic or fake

Friends are authentic. The friend you got yesterday is the same friend you get today and, the same friend you will get tomorrow. Friends respect you, they are always there for you, they are good listeners, and genuinely care about your well-being. You can count on friends to do what they say they are going to do. With a foe, you never know what to expect; they are fake and disrespectful. You can’t count on them, they listen only to respond, and they are only concerned with how they can benefit from the situation. When people are authentic, we feel good about trusting them.

Friend or Foe?

Are we included or excluded? Do we feel safe or fearful? Are they honest or deceitful? Are they authentic or fake? Subconsciously we are always evaluating the behaviors of others to determine if they are friend or foe. If the answer is friend, we trust. If the answer is foe, we distrust. In turn, others are looking at our behavior to signal whether we are friend or foe. Learn to embrace the behaviors and develop the friendships that allow for trusting personal and professional relationships.

 

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Are You Creating Supportive Partnerships with Your Employees?

DSC04777“It is probably not love that makes the world go around, but rather those mutually supportive alliances through which partners recognize their dependence on each other for the achievement of shared and private goals.” —Fred Allen

 

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

We can accomplish nothing notable alone. We need, as Fred Allen states in the quote above, to form mutually supportive partnerships. This applies both to our personal and our professional lives. In your organization, as the leader, these partnerships must start with you. You must create an environment where support can thrive. You must show your team that you have trust in their abilities and encourage them to develop trust in each other. You must build strong relationships inspire relationship building in others. You must focus on being of service and teaching others to also be of service.

Culture matters

In order to create supportive partnerships, you must establish a firm foundation that is embedded in the very culture of the organization. This culture must encourage and nourish mutually support partnerships at every level of the organization. Employees must know that they are part of a larger vision, that they matter, and that supporting each other is the secret to success.

Trust your team

Trust is a necessary component of supportive partnerships. One of the best ways you can show your support is to make sure everyone knows that you trust your team. When employees see that you have trust in team members, it gives them confidence in each other and allows them to learn to trust both you and their colleagues.

Build relationships

You can only create supportive partnerships if you truly know those who you should be supporting. You must build relationships with your employees on both a personal and a professional level. In turn, they must understand the importance and benefits of building strong relationships with each other.

Be of service

In order to create supportive partnerships, as a leader, you must set the example for your employees of the importance of being of service. You must provide for the needs of employees and serve as a coach, mentor, and cheerleader. Make sure they have access to the resources that they need. And, provide them with ample opportunity to be of service to others in the organization.

Nurture Supportive Partnerships

We are dependent on others for our individual success and the success of the whole. As the leader, you set the example. Entrench supportive partnerships into the culture of your organization. Develop a web of trust throughout your organization. Encourage the building of strong relationships. Be of service and offer opportunities for employees to serve others. When you, as a leader, nurture the creation of supportive partnerships within your organization you set everyone up for success.

 

 

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Are You Earning Employee Commitment?

Client“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” —Vince Lombardi

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Vince Lombardi nailed it. But, your employees don’t owe you their commitment. As a leader, it is your responsibility to earn the commitment of those in your organization. Looking out for your employees and earning their commitment is not only good for them, it’s good for you, and it’s good for business. When employees are committed to you, as a leader, and the organization, they work willingly in the best interest of the whole. It eliminates the ‘I’m only in it for me’ attitude. Employees are willing to give their ‘all’ to a leader, a cause, and a vision that they believe in. So, how can you earn employee commitment?

Relationships

The relationships you build with your employees are going to be key in earning their commitment. These relationships cannot be merely superficial; you must develop them on an individual level. This means not only being interested in them professionally, but also personally. Your relationships have to be real, no faking. Employees will see straight through your façade. Be yourself with employees; let them get to know the real, imperfect you. Show them that you are interested in their well-being and personal growth. Meaningful relationships earn commitment, boost productivity, and inspire employees to give 110%.

Trust

There will be no commitment from your employees without trust. The loyalty you need from your employees requires trust that goes both ways. No games; no tricks. Your actions and words must be honest and consistent. Show your employees that you have their backs. Create and share key learning moments with them. Be open about your failures and weaknesses. Also, you must provide them with a safe place to fail and learn from their mistakes. Give them control over their own work tasks, showing that you trust and have confidence in their abilities.

Communication

Earning commitment from your employees takes a whole lot of open and ongoing communication. Communication is a tool for sharing the organization’s stories in a way that brings employees together to be part of something important. Communication allows you to convey how employees’ work contributes to the overall success of the organization. Communication is also a two-way street. Listen more than you speak. Pay close attention to what is being shared and make sure you are on the same page. Communication helps you to remove the barriers to trust, which helps build the relationships that earn employee commitment.

Engagement

People simply work harder and are more committed when they are allowed to use their talents. When your employees are engaged in their work, they are more likely to be motivated, to remain committed to your organization, and to stay focused on achieving shared goals. Engaged employees have a sense of purpose and know they are making a difference. When you engage your employees in their work, you challenge them, bring out the best in them, and offer them the opportunity to grow and develop.

Acknowledgement

And finally, if you want to earn the commitment of your employees, acknowledge their contributions and value. Your employees are your greatest resource, don’t take them for granted. Show them that they are part of something bigger than themselves, something meaningful and important.

Earn Their Commitment

To be successful you need every employee to be committed to the group effort. They do not owe you this commitment; it is yours only when you have earned it. So, build strong relationships, develop mutual trust, cultivate open and honest communication, create an engaging workplace, and acknowledge the value and contributions of every employee. That’s how you make it work.

 

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

 

Six Reasons Why Your Employees Don’t Believe a Word You Say

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By Doug Dickerson and Elizabeth Stincelli

“Don’t believe what I say. Believe what I do.” —Carlson Ghosn

Two psychiatrists meet at their 20th college reunion. One is vibrant, while the other looks withered and worried. “So what’s your secret?” the older looking psychiatrist asks. “Listening to other people’s problems every day, all day long, for years on end, has made an old man of me.” “So,” replies the younger looking one, “who listens?”

That humorous story reminds us as leaders of not just the necessity of listening but of the importance of how we communicate. It’s not so much what we say that’s important but that we are leaders who understand why our people should listen to us in the first place.

If your people are tuning you out and not believing what you say then your leadership is on life-support. Knowing the symptoms is the first step in turning things around. If your people don’t believe a word you say then here are six reasons why.

You are self-centered

If you are a self-centered leader your people will not believe you because you are only looking out for yourself. When decisions are made based upon what is best for you –what makes you look good- then you are using your people. Self-centered leadership tends to be manipulative and puts what is best for you above what is best for the team. If you are a self-centered leader you’d better wake up before it’s too late. One day you will look around and you’ll discover that not only are your people not believing you – they are not following you either.

You are inconsistent

Inconsistent actions produce inconsistent results. The flow and continuity of your leadership is essential to your success. If you say one thing and do another then those very actions will lead to mistrust and will marginalize your leadership. Flexibility is a must for any team moving forward. Unexpected things happen and your people will have to learn to go with the flow. But if you are inconsistent in terms of what you communicate or how you treat them it will be impossible for them to move forward or have faith in your leadership.

You don’t have their backs

Nothing will empower your team faster than having the backs of your people. A good leader knows this. But your people will not believe you if your message to them says “I have your back” yet you are nowhere to be found when they need you. When you empower your people and have their backs you create a momentum that can take your team to new levels of success. Don’t squander the drive, motivation, and ingenuity of your people by failing at this one critical element of your leadership. If you have the backs of your people they will have yours.

Your ego is front and center

If, as a leader, your ego is front and center, your employees won’t believe a word you say. Your ego can prevent you from seeing the world as it really is; you begin interpreting reality through your own biased lens. When your ego is front and center you send the message that your opinion is the only one that matters. Soon your employees, tired of hearing about how you know everything, will stop listening to you at all.

You lead with fear

If you lead with fear you will never earn the trust of your employees and they won’t believe a word you say. Fear stimulates the fight or flight response. In this state of mind, there is no higher-level cognitive thinking. When you lead with fear your employees disengage and become more focused on protecting themselves than what you are saying. Your attempt to control your employee’s behavior through fear will result in distrust and will undermine your ability to share your message and vision.

They don’t feel valued

Our success is deeply intertwined with our ability to collaborate. When your employees don’t feel valued they lose interest in continuing to try to contribute to the team. They withdraw and you lose the value of their unique skills and knowledge. Your employees need to have a voice and to have their individual contributions recognized and valued. Communication is a two-way street and when your employees don’t feel valued, you lose their respect which has a negative impact your ability to communicate and influence as a leader. When your employees don’t feel valued they won’t believe a word you say.

The key to leadership is trust and influence. If your people don’t believe a word you say, you have lost your ability to lead. It’s time to evaluate your leadership. Is your leadership self-centered or inconsistent? Do you have your employee’s backs? Is your ego front and center? Are you leading with fear? Do your people feel valued? Answer these questions honestly, make a change, and start leading today.

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© 2015 Doug Dickerson and Elizabeth Stincelli

Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, columnist, and author. For more information about his books and speaking engagements visit Dougdickerson.wordpress.com

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Relationships: Strategy or Trust?

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“Friend, there’s no greater investment in life than in being a people builder. Relationships are more important than our accomplishments.”—Joel Osteen

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Why Relationships Matter

Relationships play a role in every area of our lives; every experience, every lesson learned, every accomplishment. Our businesses are built on relationships, our friendships, our communities, and our families are all dependant on our ability to develop strong relationships. Relationships serve as a barometer, telling us if someone is a friend or a foe.

When it comes to your relationships, are they based solely on strategic positioning, or are they built on trust? Are they authentic? Are they rooted in looking out for each other’s best interests, or are you each in it only for yourselves?

Built on strategy?

Ross Perot believes, “Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships.” Are your relationships focused only on the deal? Relationships based solely on strategy are usually one-sided; they are manipulative and unsupportive. Are you focused on what’s in it for you? If you find yourself only doing for others because you expect something in return, you are in a strategic relationship.

Built on trust?

Albert Einstein told us, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Trusting connection is what brings relationships to life. Are you treating others the way you would like to be treated? Relationships built on trust are open and welcoming. In these types of relationships you are seeking to create win-win situations. Your communications are transparent and honest, and your intentions are clear. If you are each looking out for the best interest of the other, you are in a trusting relationship.

Build Strong Relationships

Strategic relationships are like a game of chess, except no one wins in this game. Mona Sutphen said, “Most good relationships are built on mutual trust and respect.” When you build strong relationships you create shared successes. You feel comfortable in these relationships knowing that your communications are honest, that they are not self-serving, and they are mutually supportive. Relationships are the vehicle with which you gain influence, create situations in which everyone wins, and achieve your goals. Building strong relationships which are based on trust, not strategy, is the key to success in your business, in your community, and in your home.

 

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Five Toxic Leadership Behaviors that Poison Culture

 

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“Live or die, but don’t poison everything.” —Anne Sexton

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Leadership Behaviors

What you, as a leader, do everyday has a ripple effect throughout your organization. This ripple impacts the culture of the organization and determines how things are done and the level of performance you get from your employees. Are you, as a leader, nurturing or poisoning your culture? Do your behaviors give the impression that you are micromanaging everything? Are you communicating effectively? Are you so focused on what needs to be done that you forget why you are even doing it? Have you developed relationships built on mutual trust or are you fostering distrust? Are you tearing down silos in your organization or are you reinforcing them? Learn to recognize and avoid these five toxic leadership behaviors that poison culture.

Micromanagement

Kris Carr tells us, “Sometimes our need to control and micromanage everything erodes our confidence in ourselves and others. The truth: people are much more capable than we think.” Micromanagement is the result of a lack of trust and a need to feel in control. When you micromanage, you undermine you employees’ confidence in their own abilities and stifle any growth or progress they have the potential to make. Employees who are being micromanaged become frustrated and begin wasting time and resources rather than delivering exceptional performance. This type of work environment destroys morale and engagement and poisons culture. Help your employees develop their skills and gain the experience necessary to become the best they can be. Learn to trust their abilities and allow them to do their jobs. When employees feel respected and appreciated they will become more productive, more loyal, and more engaged.

Poor communication

Yehuda Berg said, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair.” Communication is at the heart of how you, as a leader, achieve your goals. The way you communicate can create strong connections and inspire trust or it can destroy trust, morale, and engagement. Are you using your communication to build others up or to tear them down? Be transparent in your communication. You can’t know everything; ask questions, get clarification, and listen openly to the answers and suggestion your employees have to offer. Be collaborative, consider the perspective of others, and frame your communication to fit your audience. When your employees know there is open, two-way communication throughout the organization, they will be better informed and more inclined to share their knowledge and ideas.

Focusing on what instead of why

John F. Kennedy believed, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” Are you focusing so much on what you do that you have forgotten why you are doing it? You can have a vision of the future that tells you where you are going but you and your employees need a purpose that tells you why you are going there. There is more to your purpose than the bottom line; it’s not just about money, it has to be about making a difference. As a leader, you must make your purpose come alive for those who follow you; focus on the impact you want to have on the world. Your employees want to know that their work has meaning, that they are part of something bigger than themselves, something that matters. If you want a resilient organization that can stand the test of time you need a strong culture; this culture must be based on why, not what. Does everyone know why the organization exists? Where it is going? How it is going to get there? What role they play?  Focus your energy on the why and allow your employees to help you figure out and implement the what that will get you there.

Lack of trust

Eric Hoffer explained, “Someone who thinks the world is always cheating him is right. He is missing that wonderful feeling of trust in someone or something.” The most important attribute you can develop as a leader is the ability to inspire trust. Without developing mutual trust you cannot lead effectively; your culture will suffer and your employees will never reach their full potential. You must create a safe space for discussion, debate, and collaborative problem-solving. Learn to welcome the challenges, criticism, and conflicting opinions that employees have to offer. Let them know that you always have their back. Show that you are authentic in all your dealings. The level of trust you develop in your organization will either add to your ability to influence others of subtract from your authority and poison your culture.

Us vs. them mentality

Sharon Salzberg said, “We can learn the art of fierce compassion – redefining strength, deconstructing isolation and renewing a sense of community, practicing letting go of rigid us-vs.-them thinking.” An us vs. them mentality divides your team, undermines your strength, and destroys your culture. You are a team; don’t let your position of authority lead you to believe you are better than anyone else. This mentality builds the silos that lead to ineffective collaboration, distrust, and a breakdown in communication. Be humble and recognize that none of you could do it on your own. Get rid of the us vs. them mentality and build trusting relationships and a sense of community throughout your organization.

Nurture Culture

What type of culture is your behavior as a leader developing? Have you developed your employees enough that you trust them to do their jobs without being micromanaged? Are your employees comfortable and even encouraged to challenge or question you? Does everyone in your organization know why they are doing what they do? Have you developed mutual trust throughout your organization? Do your employees work and collaborate as a cohesive team or have you allowed silos to be built? Pay attention to your behavior on a daily basis, I can guarantee that your employees are watching. Make sure you leadership behaviors are nurturing rather than poisoning your culture.

 

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Become an Exceptional Leader

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“One rare and exceptional deed is worth far more than a thousand commonplace ones.” —Saint Ignatius

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Exceptional Leadership

Exceptional leadership is not about you, it’s about those who follow you. It is the responsibility of the leader to steer the ship. But, an exceptional leader goes beyond just setting the course, they help their team to shape their ideas into something meaningful and then empower and encourage them to see their ideas come to fruition. Exceptional leaders focus on helping others achieve success. They have a strong sense of purpose and communicate that purpose to others through their words and actions. They develop strong relationships built on trust and respect. And, they engage others in their purpose by providing meaningful work and opportunities that inspire others to become the best they can be. Start working on becoming an exceptional leader today.

Communication

Rollo May believed that, “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing.” Exceptional leaders understand the value of open communication in building a trusting, safe environment where employees feel their ideas and contributions are valued. This type of environment fosters as sense of community and the collaboration necessary for true innovation and success. Exceptional leaders use conversations to build connections by giving others their undivided attention. They use conversations as a means of provoking questions not providing answers. This allows them to incorporate the contributions from a variety of sources into one, awesome idea.

Trust

Stephen Covey tells us, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Exceptional leaders are authentic, approachable, and compassionate. They empathize with others on a deep and personal level. We trust people who share our values, who do what they say they will do, who authentically invest in our relationship, and who treat us as they wish to be treated. Exceptional leaders understand that without trust they have little or no influence.

Engagement

Ian K. Smith said, “I think happiness is a combination of pleasure, engagement, and meaningfulness.” Exceptional leaders understand that everyone wants to feel engaged and of value. People want to know there is a purpose to their tasks, to be given control over their work, and to be encouraged to make it their own. Exceptional leaders see the value of the skills, experience, and knowledge that employees throughout the organization have to offer. They provide meaning and create opportunities for employee to engage in contributing to a purpose that speaks to them on an individual level.

Become an Exceptional Leader

Exceptional leaders bring people under a common purpose and then allow them to create their own ideas and provide the support they need to flourish. People will follow an individual in a position of authority because they have to; they will follow an exceptional leader because they want to. Commit to becoming an exceptional leader; build open communication, earn trust, and encourage engagement. You will make a difference in the lives of those who follow you and they will reward you with the loyalty and support you need to bring your leadership vision to life.

 

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

The Foundation of Leadership: Trust

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“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” —Stephen Covey

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Trust

The most important leadership characteristic is the ability to inspire trust. Without it, teams will never reach their full potential and relationships will suffer. As a leader you must be intentional about building trust in your organization. Trust has to be a two-way street. Set the example; be trustworthy yourself and show others that you trust them. A culture of trust boosts motivation, increases job satisfaction, and results in greater productivity. So, how do you build a foundation of trust?

Speak freely

Frederick Douglass said, “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” Employees, customers, and suppliers should know that they are welcome to speak freely with you. This will result in the sharing information more readily. What valuable information might you miss out on if others do not trust that they can speak freely with you? Provide a safe space where discussion, debate, and problem-solving can happen. Build employee confidence in knowing that you have their best interests at heart. And, always communicate directly with employees; don’t let them hear it from someone else first.

Act without fear

Charles Stanley explained, “Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation.” Employees must know that you trust them to make the right decision and must feel comfortable enough to act without fear. When you develop a solid foundation of trust in your organization, employees will move outside of their comfort zones, feel confident exploring new ideas, will act freely, and be more willing to take on risk. Instill the courage in your employees that will encourage them to make the decisions and share the new ideas that will continue to move your organization forward.

Control over work

Margaret Wheatley tells us, “Even though worker capacity and motivation are destroyed when leaders choose power over productivity, it appears that bosses would rather be in control than have the organization work well.” Pixar is so successful because they have developed a culture that believes that everyone possesses a slice of genius. Your employees have skills and knowledge specific to their work; seek their input in areas where they have the knowledge and experience you are lacking. Delegate as much responsibility and control over tasks and projects as possible to employees and teams. Respect and value the diversity of ideas that employees have to offer. Show that you trust them to have control over their work and then reward great ideas and innovation.

Build the Foundation

Trust builds a strong foundation of leadership that is able to stand the test of time. This foundation supports motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity. As a leader, you must create a culture where employees can speak freely, act without fear, and have control over their own work. Trust begins with you; start building the foundation.

 

 

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Resolving Conflict-It’s Not about Winning

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“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” —Ronald Reagan

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

What Causes Conflict and How Do We Resolve It?

Conflict is the mental struggle that arises when our ideas, needs, wishes, or demands are in opposition to those of others. Conflict is inevitable when you bring people together from different beliefs and backgrounds. When we spend time in conflict with each other we are wasting energy and destroying any sense of camaraderie. Conflict does not resolve itself and only escalates if not addressed. Unresolved conflict can result in the loss of productivity, cooperation, collaboration, and creativity. Let’s look a little deeper at some of the factors that cause conflict and how we can resolve them.

Cognitive bias

Cognitive biases are thinking errors that impact how we interpret the world around us. These biases often occur when we try to over-simplify how we process information. Biases cause irrational thinking and affect our ability to make sound decisions.

Biases can influence in simple ways such allowing the way you currently feel to color the way you interpret the world around you. They can permit your judgment to become dependent on previously provided evidence with little regard for new evidence. You may have the tendency to listen only to information that confirms your preconceived beliefs or to interpret information in a way that confirms these beliefs. Your expectations could be unconsciously influencing how you perceive the outcome of interactions. It is also easy to let ourselves get caught up in group think and adopt the beliefs of others without proper evaluation.

When we experience a cognitive bias it impairs our ability to rationally interpret information and experiences. It is easy to fail to recognize and compensate for our own biases. We must be aware of these biases and how they impact our thinking in order to prevent and resolve the conflict they may cause.

Ambiguity

Conflict often arises when we assume all parties are talking about the same thing. Often we find that each participant to a conversation has their own definitions and meanings which are not in agreement with each other. In order to eliminate ambiguity we must come to the same understanding, with the same definitions and meanings by asking open-ended questions which you do not have preconceived answers for. Listen with the intent of gaining an understanding of how other parties perceive the situation.

Many times conflict involves the perception we have of the role we play in a group differing from how others see it. Conflict becomes more likely when we are operating under different assumptions about our roles and responsibilities than those we work with. Clear, written communication can be effective at keeping ambiguity to a minimum. Make sure you know what the conflict you are experiencing is really about. Work together to assign clear roles, define reality, and eliminate ambiguity.

Communication

The most successful approach to resolving conflict is open, two-way communication. In order to communicate effectively you must learn to listen without passing judgment. Each party to the communication will apply their own definitions and meanings; therefore, you can’t just listen to the facts. You have to ask probing questions and come to a consensus on the definition and meaning of the facts. Also, don’t just listen to others to figure out how you can get them to agree with your point of view. Listen to really understand and appreciate their reality so you can understand where they are coming from.

Be clear and consistent with communication from the very beginning of the relationship. Ask questions and keep an open mind. Talk through and test the feasibility of proposed solutions together. Prepare in advance for difficult conversations. Define how you see the problem. What points do you think are important? Come prepared to propose possible solutions. Make sure your message is clear and concise. When working to resolve conflict, watch the tone and language that you use and keep your emotions out of the discussion. Be an active listener and show yourself to be transparent and trustworthy. Focus on mending relationships before turning your focus to tasks.

Spanning boundaries

To resolve conflict we must learn to build bridges between management, employees, suppliers, and customers. We must develop strong relationships between people with differing beliefs, experience, and knowledge. By clarifying the role that each individual plays and the purpose of the team you can capitalize on the power that individual differences bring to the table.

Establish commonality by creating a shared vision, building trust, and coming together to achieve a higher purpose. Co-create something greater than could be achieved individually by combining a shared vision and strategy with the expertise, resources, and experiences of each individual. Span boundaries by accepting and appreciating the diversity that builds a great team.

It’s Not about Winning

Conflict is inevitable. It’s usually rooted in poor communication and the inability to control our emotions. When working to resolve conflict, listen with the intent of developing a connection, not to merely respond. Don’t communicate with the goal of getting the other person to agree with your point of view; communicate to bring differing points of view together to co-create something that is new.

When dealing with conflict, keep your emotions in check and maintain moral high ground. You do not have the power to change others so you may have to look at ways you can change your approach to managing relationships to avoid and resolve conflict. Conflict can be about bringing differing opinions together and co-creating something fantastic. Don’t think of resolving conflict in terms of winning. It’s not about seeking to defeat an enemy but about finding common ground for cooperation, compromise, and collaboration.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.