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While training "Dealing with Difficult People" for Pryor Learning Solutions this past month, I have had many discussions with students on how soft skill development is critical to be a successful leader of productive teams. Soft skills, which include positive and proactive communication, a focus on teamwork and a problem-solving mindset, help us work through conflicts that are created by differences in people's values, beliefs, needs and communication styles. This is what we discuss and practice during this class and end with students creating an action plan to improve their communication skills to work on resolving conflict.

We discuss how to turn destructive or dysfunctional conflict into constructive or functional conflict by identifying task vs. relational issues and communicating to others in the style that they use and in a way that the other would want to be treated. This is using the Platinum Rule of doing unto others as they would be done unto, instead of the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have done to yourself. When leaders try to understand followers' perspectives, they create relational motivation for teams to accomplish tasks.

To keep conversations constructive when dealing with emotions, leaders should manage emotions in conversations, their own and that of others, to calm down destructive behaviors and convert conversations into problem-solving efforts. This is using a relational approach to accomplish tasks, dealing with human emotions to constructively communicate all of one's perspective, to enable working toward conflict resolution.

Once different perspectives are communicated and understood, common goals and interests can be identified to develop a path toward problem-solving that focuses on mutual gain and positive outcomes. Failure to understand another's perspective or to treat someone as they want to be treated, requires a leader's apology or empathy to get on common ground with followers. Shared goals enable the leader to lead by motivating others to want to do what needs to be done, instead of managing them without motivation, therefore, not creating followers that you can depend on to get work done.

Contact me for more leadership and team development information or attend when I train this public seminar in your area.

Collaboration Communication

January is National Mentoring Month. For mentoring to be successful, it is important for the mentor and mentee to have alignment in experience and a mentoring agreement with the following:

1 - GOALS of what you want to get out of the mentoring

2 - TIME FRAME, not to exceed one year, with your desired start and end dates

3 - DAY preferred to meet for mentoring for 30 minutes once a month

4 - LOGISTICS of mentoring meeting including your time and location (not too public) preferences (Skype is an option if in-person is not possible)

5 - MEETING RULES agreement, including being prepared for each meeting mentally and allowing adequate time to meet and extra time after each meeting to finish all issues; Rescheduling a meeting is allowed with at least one hour's notice if preparation is not possible

6 - MEETING FORMAT will be followed that notes are taken at every meeting on discussion of mentee issues and questions, as well as, what went well, what could be done better and what will continue to be done in the mentoring meetings

7 - CHECKPOINTS - agree to conduct at the third month meeting to verify that you are getting the process that you need/expected and at the sixth month meeting to verify if you are getting the results that you want.

8 - FORMAL WRAP-UP - give written agreement at the end of one year to determine if the mentoring relationship will continue or end

9 - CONFIDENTIALITY agreement that information shared during mentoring will be kept confidential unless permission is asked and agreed to be shared by mentor and mentee

10 - SIGNATURE will be given to a documented mentoring agreement by mentee, as completed by mentor, reflecting items 1-9 above provided by mentee and as mutually-modified

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Mentoring Program

Team Coaching Methods

I am training "Leadership, Team-Building & Coaching Skills" for Pryor Learning Solutions this month through January 2019. We explore coaching methods to meet the different needs of team members that maximize team effectiveness and balance individual strengths and weaknesses. Two main factors in analyzing team members are their skill level and attitude about their work.

A team member who is high in skills and low in attitude, like those anticipating retirement soon, is best coached by relating to them and what they have accomplished, encouraging them to do what they are passionate about to improve their attitude at work, such as training less-skilled teammates to impart their knowledge and create a legacy before retiring. Someone who is high in skills and attitude is best coached by empowering and mentoring them to develop themselves while also benefiting the team with more work output. A teammate who is new to the job will be low in skills and high in attitude, they grow their work knowledge through training and development from team members. Lastly, a team member who is low in skills and attitude needs counseling from the team leader to perform at the expected work level.

A team leader needs to be aware of where all of her team members are in skills and attitude at all times, as they can change and require alternate coaching methods in different situations. Effective team leadership is a dynamic practice, attend this class or contact me for consulting in your specific situations.

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