How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas and Other Difficult People

ihwx.fc9b05df-dddb-4c29-a399-330c78377c64.200.175The control-freak, the narcissist, the slacker, the cynic… Difficult people are the worst part of a manager’s job. Whether it comes from direct reports or people above, outbursts, irrational demands, griping and other disruptions need to be dealt with –– and it’s your responsibility to do it. Leading the Unleadable turns this dreaded chore into a straightforward process that gently yet effectively improves behaviors. Written by an insider in the tech industry, where personality issues routinely wreck projects, Alan Willett reveals a core truth: Most people actually want to contribute results, not cause headaches. Once you realize the potential for change, the Willett’s simple steps and examples explain how to right even the most hopeless situations. You’ll learn how to master the necessary mindset; explain the problem calmly in a short feedback session; get a commitment to change and follow up; coach others to replicate the process; and develop the situational awareness required to spot trouble even earlier in the future. Every manager has “problem people.” What sets great managers apart is how they turn them into productive team players. Prepare to transform the troublesome into the tremendous.

• What it means to accept the call of exceptional leadership.
• How to take action and follow through with troublesome employees.
• Key criteria for deciding whether to remove or improve an employee.
• How to prevent problems by setting the bar high.

Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking

Image result for winning the brain gameEach day, a game of mind versus matter plays out on a field defined by the problems we must solve. Most are routine and don’t demand a more mindful approach. It’s when we’re faced with more difficult challenges that our thinking becomes vulnerable to brain patterns that can lead us astray. We leap to solutions that simply don’t work. We fixate on old mindsets that keep us stuck in neutral. We overthink problems and make them worse. We kill the ideas of others as well as our own. Worse, we keep doing these things, over and over again, naturally and instinctively.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In Winning the Brain Game, author and creative strategist Matthew E. May explains these and other “fatal flaws” of thinking, revealing seven observable problem-solving patterns that can block our best thinking. Calling on modern neuroscience and psychology to help explain the seven fatal flaws, May draws insights from some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. He then blends in a super-curated, field-tested set of “fixes” proven through hundreds of creative sessions to raise our thinking game to a more mindful level. Regardless of the playing field, mindful thinking is the new competitive advantage, and the seven fixes are a magic set of tools for achieving it. Winning the Brain Game will lead you to better decision-making, higher levels of creativity, clearer strategies and overall success in business, work and life.

• The seven fatal flaws of thinking and the fix for each one.
• The importance of reframing and generating the right questions.
• Concrete ideas and strategies for practicing each cure.
• How neuroscience can help solve problems.

A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results –– Without Losing Your Soul


Winning Well by Karin Hurt and David Dye

It can feel like a rigged game. Executives set aggressive goals, so managers drive their teams to burnout trying to deliver. Or, employees seek connection and support, so managers focus on relationships . . . and fail to make the numbers. The fallout is stress, frustration and disengagement, and not just among team members –– two-thirds of managers report being disengaged. To succeed, managers cannot choose between results and relationships. They need both: They must get people to achieve while creating an environment that makes them truly want to.

Winning Well offers managers a quick, practical action plan. They will learn how to stamp out the corrosive win-at-all-costs mentality; focus on the game, not just the score; reinforce behaviors that produce results; sustain energy and momentum; correct poor performance without drama; build productive relationships; and be the leader people want to work for. Today’s hypercompetitive economy has created tense, overextended workplaces. Keep it productive, rewarding and even fun with this one-stop success kit.

• Why Winning Well doesn’t mean perfection.
• Why you should emphasize behaviors, not the metrics scorecard.
• The four principles of managers who win well.
• How to lead meetings and make decisions that inspire your team.
• To help your team solve problems, double productivity and own their results.


Deconstructing a Problematic Workplace

42956656Manage Resistance and Drama

You may think the real drama at home is about the fight you had with your spouse, but it’s really about all the times you avoided having the difficult conversation, failing to listen or speak your truth to others or even yourself, Marlene Chism points out in Stop Workplace Drama.

Drama impacts all of us –– both at home and at work. It hampers productivity and inhibits personal effectiveness. And the worst part, of course, is that if you can’t spot the drama, you can’t stop the drama. Nonetheless, most of us try to fix the symptoms instead of identifying the core issues. The drama is the situation. Your drama is how you react to it. Therefore, while you may not be able to stop the drama, you certainly can stop your drama. In other words, you may or may not be able to control or change the circumstance, but with some training, you can learn to manage –– and alter –– your response.

When trying to identify the common elements in drama, you will always find at least one, if not all three, of these core components:
1. A lack of clarity.
2. A relationship issue.
3. Resistance. Leaders face resistance on a daily basis.

Teams resist working together. Individuals resist change. Perhaps you even resist the most difficult parts of your job. The core of resistance is you avoid because you don’t want to face whatever it is that you don’t want to face. You complain because you can’t deal with a certain situation, or you justify an angry outburst because you cannot accept the hand that has been dealt to you. Complaining denotes an unwillingness or inability to let go of what can’t be controlled, or to face and act on what can be changed.

The premise of releasing resistance is this: You cannot solve a problem until you accept the situation. When you jump into a solution before releasing resistance, you will just experience more drama. The solution only comes after you let go of your resistance. The four main energy patterns of resistance are blame, resentment, justification and judgment. Resistance is always a state of nonacceptance and an avoidance of responsibility. Non-acceptance starts as a thought impulse such as, “I don’t want to go through this (fill in the blank).” That thought triggers an emotional response such as frustration, dread, irritation or guilt, then quickly materializes into more observable behaviors such as angry outbursts, finger-pointing, blaming as well as subtle behaviors such as avoidance and procrastination.

In the end, resistance boils down to an unconscious avoidance of responsibility, which spirals into negativity, then finally into full-blown drama. Managers or business owners frequently know and even admit that drama is present in their workplaces. Denial is the drug of choice for many of us when we face difficult choices.

Awakening from the drug of denial can be painful. When you shed light on another person’s incompetence, rude behavior or pattern of which the person was unaware, the person will become defensive. Your staff member may feel attacked or belittled, so make sure you approach these issues with kid gloves.

Observe these two rules:
• Never catch anyone off guard.
• Always correct in private, and do it within a positive, team-oriented approach, with the intention of bringing out the employee’s best.

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