Photo Friday: Overwelmed

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Here is a picture of a gentleman who is convinced that one trip is much better than four! Do you feel a little like this guy? Carrying the weight of the world on your back?

Trying to be supermom, superdad, superfriend, superemployee…

The fact is: This never really works! There are consequences. You will suffer from problems like health issues. You will sacrifice other things like time with your loved ones. And many other things that are very important.

So why do we do it? Why do we take on so much stuff ourselves? Why can’t we give it up?

Generally its plain and simple pride and control. We can’t let someone else take care of things. Can’t give it up. Your convinced that you are the only one that can do it right. Can’t take our hands off the wheel and let go. You feel like disaster will happen if you don’t steer things in the right direction.

The fact is: It’s your problem.  Don’t blame it on everyone else. You are the only one that can fix this.

Say no sometime.  Off-load some stuff.  Learn to delegate.  Let others take over.  Let things run by themselves. It will be ok. The world will keep spinning. Your life will be better. You’ll see!

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How to Create a Drama-Free Workplace

Most of us love a good drama at the movies, but not so much at work.  Office drama can be draining.  It’s hard enough to keep the plates spinning without the added pressure of drama.  It seems like finding the right mix of folks is like a science experiment.  Unfortunately, in a drama filled environment, we often hire the person who is non-threatening instead of the best candidate.  Then one day you look up and wonder how in the world these folks ended up on the payroll!

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The root of most office drama is insecurity.  The problem is that it’s not easy to see during the recruitment process.  You may have a candidate that appears confident and assertive, yet they have social or personal issues that won’t appear until they are introduced into the mix.

Intent can also skew your thinking.  In a recent post in Forbes, (link here) Erika Anderson points out that staying positive with others intentions naturally diffuses drama.  All you have to do is believe their intentions are good.  Seems easy- but for some that live their lives in the negative zone, it can be very difficult to trust that other coworker’s intentions are good.

Many managers see drama as purely a result of immaturity.  But it often goes much deeper than that.  Many times there are wounds or events from the past that have shaped the person into who they are.  Don’t always dismiss poor behavior as simply a result of immaturity.

Many of the deeper issues that result in office drama are not easy to fix.  There is likely a long process involved and it may even require professional attention.  Aside from the complex cases, there are strategies to address some of the common office strife.  Here are a few of them:

Dump the Stupid Rules:  Drama feeds off of petty infractions of the rules.  As a manager you may think this is counter intuitive.  You may be tempted to add more rule when you have drama.  The fact is if you give more power to the “rules police” you will only add fuel to the fire.  Turn the conversation back to performance.  If the person is doing a good job, then give them grace on the rules.  Get rid of as much of the petty rules as you can and you will benefit in the end.

Choose Your Managers Wisely:  In the book “Managing for People Who Hate Managing”, Devora Zack divides managers into two categories, Thinkers and Feelers.  Both can be great managers but you have to understand that they see the world differently and will react differently.  Drama feeds off of emotion.  It is very important that your managers are emotionally intelligent.  They must understand there own emotions and how they are affected by the emotions of others.  Just dismissing drama as stupid or silly emotion will not solve the problem.  You can’t tell someone who is upset that they are just being a baby.  There are great management strategies on how to be empathic, yet not feed the fire.  If you have a manager that is unskilled they will react incorrectly and make poor decisions that will only continue to feed the fire!

Watch for Type A’s:  The talented and driven are often a target for the drama group.  They are threatening to the status quo.  They want more.  They are used to getting what they want.  I have witnessed “the pack” systematically run off talented folks.  You need to watch for this and address this as soon as you see it.  Find the leader of the opposition and discuss the situation objectively.  Reassure them that this person is not threatening their position and reaffirm that they are not going anywhere and they need to develop a good working relationship.

React Well:  Be very careful how you react to the situation.  Strong reactions feed the drama fire.  If there is a situation that needs to be addressed, do it quietly and without fanfare.  Be very careful about getting both parties together to “hash things out”.  I have done this in the past and have had both good and bad results.  Try to respect the position of the person who is upset, but be very careful that you don’t add emotional fuel to the fire.

Watch For Alliances:  The office can be similar to an episode of  “Survivor”.  There are alliances that will naturally form, and you must be aware of who is where.  Sometimes you can break up problem workgroups.  The main thing is to see through the drama and find the alliance.  Seek out the leader and discuss the problem directly with them.

Don’t Let It Smolder:  Drama tends to naturally escalate.  If you are aware of a problem, it is best to address it quickly.  The longer it smolders the group will internalize and the issue will become fact.  This is human nature.  Find a confidant on the inside and try to pinpoint the issue.  The quicker you address the problem the better.

Make Changes:  If the drama is always centered around one person, maybe it’s time to make some changes?  Office drama is damaging.  Don’t be afraid to dismiss a person who continues to cause trouble in the ranks.

Have Fun:  Office outings and fun environments can help lessen office drama.  When you provide opportunities for interaction with someone outside of work you may find that you have things in common and actually like to hang out together.  It’s not uncommon to find out that the person you have a problem with is actually just like you!   Don’t forget to do some team building by having fun with your group.  This can pay off big in diminishing drama.

The business world is hard enough without having to deal with office drama.  Dealing with drama is difficult as it involves people, personalities and emotion which is a pretty scary mix for anyone.  As you become more skilled in sensing what is really going on you will be better equipped to address the situation.  Devora Zack cautions to be careful in how you address these issues in asking questions.  By asking the questions in the wrong manner you can actually reinforce the toxic thinking.  Ask questions about the outcome not the problem– i.e “What do you want?”  “What will this get you?”  “How will this benefit everyone?”  The fact is that keen management skills are often the key to killing office drama.

See- we all want to have “peace in the valley”.  Work is hard enough- right?  So…let’s leave the drama for the movies!

So what do you think?  Do you have other strategies that you have used to address drama and agitators?  Do you have a story to share here?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!  Click “Like” if you can relate!

The Dangers of Meddling

“I can do whatever I want- I’m the boss!”

Have you heard this before?  This is a true statement for the most part.  If you are the boss you can do whatever you want.  But is it healthy?  Is it the right thing to do?  Will it do more harm than good?

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Meddle: 1. to become involved in the activities and concerns of other people when your involvement is not wanted.  

               2.  to change or handle something in a way that is unwanted or harmful

When you think of meddling you probably think of a mother-in-law giving advice on child rearing or your father lecturing you about your personal finances.  Meddling is not a typical way to describe a management and leadership problem, but I believe that meddling is much more common in business than you might think.  And- I believe that it can be very damaging.

When I typically visit one of our construction sites I will call ahead and talk to the Project Superintendent and give him a heads up that I am on my way to the site.  This is a call out of courtesy and respect.  I am not really obligated to call them- I out rank them.  Others like to show up unannounced to do a “stealth” visit.  I really fail to see a good reason to come unannounced.

The reason I call is that I believe that I am going out on their project site.  Yes- I outrank them, but we have put them in charge of the site.  It’s their domain.  Their responsibility.  Even though I am a company executive, out of respect and to align with responsibilities, I feel that I need to notify them and ask to be out on “their site”.

I believe this theory holds true with most areas of management.  If you put someone in charge of a particular area, then you need to respect their authority and stay out of the day-to-day operation.  You hired this person for a reason and you have given them specific duties.  There is a chain of command for a reason.  If you fail to respect the responsibilities and you drift in and out of issues as the wind blows it can be very damaging.  Here are a few of the problems that can develop:

  1. Undermining Authority: By getting involved in the day-to-day activities, you are blurring the lines of authority.  This adds a layer of confusion to who is really in charge.  The employee will be able to take the path of least resistance.  If you are trying to discipline an employee or work out a particular strategy, your efforts can be completely destroyed by a meddler.
  2. Mixed Messages: By getting involved, you will invariably be sending a different message to the employee.  It is extremely unlikely that your message will be identical to the manager who is their direct report.  If you follow the chain of command, the employee will hear only one voice and this will eliminate confusion.
  3. If Dad Says No- Go Ask Mom: We all know this tactic used by children to get what they want.  This also occurs in management.  If you meddle, you are setting yourself or your manager up to be manipulated.  By getting involved, you have added an additional person to the equation and you may be used to wiggle out of a responsibility.
  4. Nice Guy: If you are the big boss and you want everyone to like you, it will be very difficult for your manager to keep the employee focused on areas of improvement.
  5. Turns Down The Volume: If you are meddling and constantly giving direction instead of following the chain of command then the voice of the manager becomes secondary.  Due to your position, the meddler’s message will always drown out the voice of the manager.  Their voice becomes secondary.
  6. Mr/Ms Everything: You have now set yourself up to be involved in everything.  You will now field questions and problems that you really don’t want to deal with.  You can’t get away.  You can’t take a vacation without anxiety.  You loose your trust in your managers.

These are just a few examples of the damage that can occur when you neglect to follow the lines of authority.

You believe that you are better.

You just can’t stay out of things.

You can’t trust anyone to get it right.

You have to get involved in everything.

You want everyone to rely on you.

You have no real confidence in your managers.

Your opinion is the only one that really counts.

You may be telling yourself that you are just “helping out”.  Well, if that’s the case, then ask them if they really want your help.  Remember, if you truly want to help and be productive, then you need to take complete control of the issue and follow it through to the end.  You can’t have one foot in and one foot out.  You can’t bail out when it’s not fun anymore.

Be very careful.  Being a meddler is addictive. When you are involved in everything and you drift in and out of things responsibility suffers.  Who really has the ball?  Should you really carry everything?  Push everything back through the chain of command.  It’s there for a reason.

Empower your managers.  Support them.  And, most importantly, stay out of their business!

So what do you think?  Have you witnessed this behavior before?  Do you believe that you are entitled to do whatever you want when you are the boss?  Click on “Leave A Comment” and tell me what you think! 

Steering Through The Storm

Every year I tell myself that the construction business can’t get any harder.  But every year it does….  

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It’s a crazy business.  Added code requirements, crazy hoops to jump through to get approvals, complicated designs, unrealistic expectations, volatile material and labor costs and availability are just a few of the issues.  Getting a project finished in today’s construction world is a major accomplishment.  I am very thankful for this fact:  Our staff is the very best in the business.  They never give up.  When it gets tough, they just buckle down and work through it.  They are an extremely tough and dedicated bunch.

Yet, sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming.

You can only take so much abuse.

You begin to loose sight of the finish line.

You begin to doubt if you will ever finish.

I visited one of our sites recently during “crunch time” and our field staff appeared exhausted and defeated.  You could see it in their eyes.  It was a combination of overwhelming fatigue and shame.  I know their hearts are right.  I know they are engaged in the battle.  I could sense that they felt like they were letting me down.  They made commitments to me that they were not going to make.  This put the company in a bad position and they knew it.  So what did I do in this circumstance?

I encouraged– When they can’t see the end of the tunnel you must help the group to visualize the path so that they can see the way out.  Even though things were not good, I was upbeat and did my best to pick them up.  It would have been much easier to come in like a tornado, completely change the program and whip them harder.  But I knew this would not be good for them and it would not help the situation.  Yes, mistakes were made and we can talk about them later.  For now we needed to dust ourselves off and keep going.  I encouraged some of the younger employees by telling them that it’s always a struggle and this was not unusual.  They were blaming themselves and it helped that they know that the mad dash at the end was part of the business.  It’s normal.  Not at all fun, but normal.

I made suggestions– I viewed the situation and gave input on several problems that were hurting progress.  A fresh view can be very helpful.  I provided this in a way that was not condemning.  In fact, I left it up to them to decide what was best.  They have superior knowledge of the situation- even though I outrank them.  The suggestions showed that I cared.  It showed that I was looking for a way to help and not criticize decisions or strategy.

I provided extra resources– We made some personnel moves to provide more help.  They needed help.  They were running out of gas.  New faces and fresh attitudes help to pick up the entire team.  It’s like the cavalry riding over the ridge to save the day.  A new influx of energy.

I defended them– Questions were swirling about decisions and processes.  For the time being, I defended our personnel.  I respect them and for now, they need to be supported.  Strengthen what you have and support the weak areas and get through the battle.  Avoid the whispers and gossip.  The team needs to be cohesive and separating and pointing fingers will only divide the team.  For now we need to be united.

I believe the worst thing you can do when leading through a storm is to come in and try to shake things up.  There are times when immediate moves need to be made, for instance, if there is a person who is a cancer to the group.  Generally, the best moves are to provide support until things begin to smooth out.  There is plenty of time to analyze and criticize, but the first order of business is damage control.

Guard your tongue.  Stop the bleeding.  Get the energy level back up.  And get the boat pointed in the right direction!

So what  do you think?  Have you been in a situation where you had to get through the storm?  Do you my approach is correct?  Click on “Leave a Reply” and tell me what you think!

 

Maybe A Smoke Screen?

John is a real charmer.  He is good at getting what he wants.  First it was a cookie from Mom.  Then an extension on an assignment at school.  Then a date with the homecoming queen.  A promotion at work.  You get the picture.  He was attractive and engaging.  He found it easy to win people over.  It was his “go to” when he was in a tough spot or if he really needed something.  It was John’s secret weapon.

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So are charm and good looks the keys to influence?

A big smile and just the right witty responses and we can be rewarded with instant engagement.  I have watched it over and over again.  Some people are simply masters at it.  They have a way of pulling you in.  They have a special power that you just can’t explain.

I have never been much of a charmer.  I am more of a “tell it like it is” kind of guy.  There are times that I wished I had this mysterious power over people.  I think it can be a gift.  I also think there are dangers here.

People who use charm to get what they want often abuse the power.  They begin to believe that they have the ability to get whatever they want.  They have seen it work over and over again.  They begin to feel invincible.

Leaders can fall into this trap.  The smile.  The endearing comments.  Charmers make you feel important and valuable.  Soon you find yourself doing whatever they ask.  Eventually, however, you will begin to see through the charm.  You will get a glimpse of their heart- either good or bad.  Charm can be a real smoke screen.

Just like that date who has only one thing in mind- the truth will come out.  If you truly care for your team, employees, friends…. they will figure it out.  It’s a heart issue.  You simply can’t hide it for very long.

If you are a charmer- be careful!  You may have honed your skills when you were young and the stakes were not all that important.  You were a popular kid.  Captain of the whatever team.  There is nothing inherently wrong with being charming and engaging- unless the goal is to manipulate to get what you want.  Unless the goal is not the common goal.  Maybe it’s just your goal?

Sincerity is built through action.  You will have a difficult time convincing someone of your sincerity with just talk.  The fact is- they are watching you!  They know where your treasure lies by your actions.  You are not fooling anyone.  The smoke will eventually clear- it always does.

So what do you think?  Have you been charmed and later found out the truth?  Have you seen this in action before?  Click on “leave a comment” and tell me what you think!

5 Ways That Processes Protect You from Losing!

Years ago, I coached boys and girls middle school basketball.  We would run structured offenses and defenses and set plays that we practiced for hours over and over again.  Girls, for the most part, ran the offenses with surgical precision.  Boys, on the other hand, typically were sloppier.   It took time for me to get “buy in” from them- to see that the plays really worked and the power in following the rules of the offense.  See, most of the boys felt they were already basketball stars, so when they had an open shot, they took it.  Three point line, even further!  We worked hard to get them to make the extra pass and get the lay-up or easy inside shot instead of taking the long shot from the outside hoping that it goes in.

Basketball Hoop

I remember calling for time out during the games when the boys would get out of the offense over and over again.  I would tell them if they continued to freelance outside of the offense and play “streetball” that I could not help them win the game.  They were on their own.  I couldn’t tell what the defense was doing or how to attack the other team’s weakness when they were out of the order of the offense.  They might win or they might not.  The only thing I knew was that I couldn’t help them. 

I became a spectator, instead of a coach.

Anything could happen and all I could do is watch.

The same is true with business processes.  As you may have guessed, I am a big believer in solid business processes.  Following a structured process will keep you out of trouble and give you dependable results.  In the construction business, we follow strict processes in most areas.  We have written processes and procedures to guide our projects and what we do as a company.  Processes provide the following advantages and protections:

Filters out Most Common Pitfalls:  A good set of processes and procedures will help to avoid most common problems and issues.  The design of the process forces you to think through the needed steps and formulate a plan that addresses all of the common problems.

Plug and Play:  Solid processes allow you to easily switch up personnel.  If all of your work is accomplished in the same manner, you can move personnel from one project to another and they can pick up the work without loosing a beat.  You can use your bench!

You Can Watch The Weak Areas:  Strong processes will identify areas of weakness where you need to place your focus and resources.  Instead of watching everything, you can concentrate on the areas of weakness and let the process do the work on the majority of the work.

They Give You Power:  If you follow the prescribed process then you have the power of the entire company behind you.  You are not on your own.  If the process does not provide an acceptable result then the issue is the process, not you or your efforts.  Failing to use the process puts you on your own, without support.  You are playing streetball!

Provide Expected Steps and Results:  With structured processes you never have to question what is next.  You follow the plan to the finish.  At every step you know where you are and where you are going.  The process is familiar.  You do it over and over again.  You notice problems.  You make changes.  You are a coach not a spectator!

Don’t overlook structured processes as a method for improving your business.  Every part of your business process should be examined and documented.  I have had great results through the years making the effort to solidify our construction and management processes.  If we make a mistake it costs us big!  We rely on systems and processes to protect us. 

Standardizing processes and procedures will make a powerful impact on your business.  Get in the game!  Guide your team and stop being a spectator.  You will see that, with strong processes, everyone is a winner!

So what do you think?  Do you have a time when processes protected you?  Press “leave a comment” and let me know what you think!

 

The Boring Banquet

Have you ever had to suffer through a boring banquet?  The kind of event where you listen to someone blow their horn and share statistics and personal accomplishments-

Sales increased 150%!

My new product line was a huge success!

My products have entered the European market!

Revenue increased 83%!

Numbers, dollars, percentages.  All great things when measuring your business.  Measurements and statistics are an important way of judging your effectiveness and efficiency.  And let’s face it- we need success and money in business and making money in itself is not a bad thing.

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But it makes for a boring banquet!  Numbers, charts, graphs, yawn…  And it’s not really measuring life- is it?

Contrast this with this true story banquet-

My son recently attended an 80th birthday party for a business partner and friend named John.  Now this was a pretty lavish affair held at the Ritz Carlton and included friends and family that flew in from all over the country.  The ballroom was fancy, and the food and music was great- but that was not the amazing part of the evening.

The highlight of the banquet was the stories that were shared by family and friends about the way that John touched their lives and made them better.  Stories of how he went out of his way and helped them get started in business.  Stories of how he risked his own money to help them.  Stories of a man who mentored and served others without obligation.  Stories of a man with an amazing heart and the capacity and courage to lift others up.

One by one, the stage was occupied by family and friends who shared true stories of how John changed their lives.

No statistics.

No list of personal accomplishments.

No inventory of things earned or gathered.

Just stories of changed lives.   Many of which were not family members.  Just folks that John met along the way, providing confidence and resources to get them started on the path to success.

These kind of stories are never boring.  This is the story of a person who truly serves.  Who understands that living a life of success really provides a responsibility to serve others.   It’s not about accumulating stuff, money and personal accomplishment. Or maybe this might be your banquet?

I broke the 8 handicap on the golf course or I caught a 200 pound tuna or a 12 point buck.

I made a million dollars in the stock market and bought a vacation home in the mountains.

I travelled around the world twice.

In my industry, I was the greatest….

All fine and admirable accomplishments- but they make for a boring and self-centered story.    Could you see others taking the stage and sharing how you touched their lives or would your story be about your personal statistics?  To avoid the boring banquet concentrate on giving and leading with your heart and learn to forget the numbers.  Focus on what is really important and eternal.  Focus on leaving a legacy of love.  And this way, your banquet will be AMAZING!

So what do you think about this- did it get you thinking?  Or am I way off on this one?  Don’t be a stealth reader- Let me know what you think!  Click on leave a comment and share your thoughts! 

Copyright © 2013. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

There is no safety in safety

I have been confronted recently with the reality that safety is really an illusion.  We gather, save, protect, reinforce, double up, and anticipate in an effort to be safe and secure.  Yet, with all our planning and protecting- life will still throw the curve ball at us.

Africa 2009- Sunset on the Zambezi River

Africa 2009- Sunset on the Zambezi River

I have a friend who just found out her mom has cancer…again.  She fought breast cancer years ago and she just found out that its back.  I’m sure her mom has “insurance”.  So what?  Does health insurance, life insurance, annuities, trusts, or savings really help her situation much? She still has cancer.  And it hurts.  Really bad.

So what if you just said- the heck with it!  Live for the day and worry about the problems later.  Irresponsible would be the typical response- right?

I remember hustling downtown to an inner city friend’s house to make a meeting after work.  I was late.  Crazy busy day.  Continual chaos, giant problems and burning wreckage- the day of the construction manager!   Driving into the neighborhood, I immediately see life.  Men relaxing playing checkers on the porch laughing and enjoying the day.  I see a woman talking with her neighbor smiling and enjoying the company.  Kids playing outside with their siblings.  These are people we would say are “in need”.  So who is really the smart one here?  The folks in the neighborhood have little “safety”, however, many live with less stress, less clutter with stuff, and have the opportunity to enjoy a simpler life.

So where are you?  Are you on the porch enjoying the beautiful day or are your running 100 miles per hour trying to save, store and protect?  Are you filling up barns or living life to the full?

Here are a few ways to regain some REAL safety in your life:

Quit your job!  I read recently that the worst thing that you can do for your health is to sit at a desk all day long.  Maybe its time to abandon the big career dream that may be slowly killing you?  Go back to something that makes less money that you enjoy and keeps you more active.

Sell your house!  How much does a four bedroom house weigh?  I think most breadwinners would be able to tell you.  Trying to provide the “dream” is a tremendous thing to carry.  Maybe its time to downsize to something more manageable?

Dump the assets!  Put your money into building the next generation.  Start a trust, pour into young people, give until it hurts.  With wealth comes responsibility and headaches.

Don’t store up stuff!  We are brainwashed consumers who are obsessed with buying things on sale.  We eat way too much.  Food gets old and spoils.  Buy fresh food as you need it and eat healthy.  Buy organic when you can and use the higher food cost as portion control.  Live simply and stay away from the mall.

The pursuit of wealth and safety can cost you your life.  REAL life.  It’s not worth it.  Take care of your body.  Don’t dwell on the accumulation of stuff and live a life free of clutter.  Gather things that matter- friends and family.  Dump the junk that holds you back.  We start with nothing and leave with nothing.  Store up YOUR treasure in heaven!

Do you have strategies to simplify and streamline your life to give you real safety?  Do you think I’m crazy?  Click below on “leave a comment” and tell me what you think!

Copyright © 2013. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

Ambushed!

Last week I met with a woman on our team at work.  This meeting was long overdue.  We have been very busy lately dealing with problems and putting out fires.  This was a meeting to discuss process improvement, which seems to take a back seat when you are busy doing “the work”.  I had several items that I knew that we needed to work on.  None of my stuff was really dramatic.  Mainly just tweaking what we were doing now.

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I reviewed my items and she also shared some things that were helpful in refining our processes.  After we completed our review, she turned to me and said, “I have a couple more things that are not on the list”.  Then she started to share how she felt that our on-boarding process has been poorly executed.  She also shared that she felt a disconnect between the field staff and the office staff.  She shared that the office didn’t have the feeling of family that we had before the recession.

Ouch!  This caught me a bit off guard.  I was ambushed!  Yet, after considering her observations, I was in complete agreement.  And, it was exactly what I needed to hear.  Things are different, and not necessarily in a good way.  And most disturbing- I have always championed team building.  My boss calls me the cheerleader.  This is what I do.  And I have been seriously neglecting this role.

Isn’t it funny how we will often overlook something that is one of our strengths? Like it will just take care of itself? 

We wrapped up our meeting and I realized that the process improvement stuff was really minor compared to the things she shared.  I was very grateful that she had the courage to call me out on these items.  It was exactly what I needed.  A wake up call.  A reminder to refocus.  Get back to what I do that really matters.  Get back to serving and quit worrying about “feeding the beast”.

The reality is that problems will come and go.  They rarely make a lasting impression in your life.  What really matters is the story that you are writing as you touch the lives of others.  It’s so easy to let the activities of life cloud your focus.  Every so often it’s good to stop and assess where your at and where you are focussing your efforts.  If you ignore what is good, healthy, and lasting-  be prepared.  You are likely to get ambushed!

What do you think?  Have you been “ambushed” before?  Click on “Leave a comment” and tell me what you think!

Copyright © 2013. Leading by Serving- Leadership is for Everyone!. All rights reserved.

Truth Hammer

I had a contracting problem on one of our jobs recently.  The project manager asked me to review the documents and his response to the dispute to confirm that we were correct according to the terms of our contract.  I reviewed both documents and concurred with his determination.  We were 100% right.  This contractor had no right to do what he was threatening to do- stop material shipments due to increased costs after the terms of our agreement.  His contract binds him to hold his pricing for the entire project.  He simply did not have a leg to stand on.

Hammer

Hammer (Photo credit: homespot hq)

As I considered this further, I began to contemplate his reaction.  Most likely he will abandon the project and the project would suffer a significant amount of lost time while we find a replacement contractor.  In the meantime the project will sit in the weather and potentially sustain damage.

I directed the project manger to hold on the response.  Even though we were completely right, the response would almost certainly be catastrophic to the project.  We decided to see if we could negotiate a settlement instead of rejecting his claim and exercising our contractual rights.  We had no obligation to do this, yet we really had no choice.

Being 100% right isn’t always enough.

You need to consider the circumstances and the reaction.

Truth is a funny thing.  We tend to dwell just on the right and wrong of it…

I must tell them that they are living in sin!
He is worrying so he obviously isn’t trusting God!
She keeps hanging around with that guy from prison!
He drinks every night so he is an alcoholic!
She is so reckless with her spending.  She has huge credit card debt!
He never spends any time with his family!

Sometimes we use truth like a hammer.  We just have to tell them!  It’s our duty.  There’s no denying they are wrong.  I need to straighten them out!

So you reach for the hammer and, potentially, say bye-bye to your relationship.  Then, how can you help them?  And who is this really about?  Is this about them or is it about you?  It’s likely that your self-righteousness is at work here.  Maybe you grab the hammer cause your ego has got the best of you!

Next time you feel the urge to set someone straight you may want to walk out the probable outcome.  If you don’t get the desired result, then what good is it to grab the hammer?  A softer and gentler approach may be the ticket!

Have you ever chose an option that was too harsh for the situation?  Have you grabbed the hammer?  Click on comments and tell your story!  Or if this is something you can relate to- then click Like!