Options – When you have them you play by your rules; when you don’t you play by their rules.
Burn this into your brain and don’t fight it. It is a hard cold truth that will help you Thrive on Conflict. You are going to be in both situations so let’s start by figuring out what to do when there are no or very few options.
Many of us don’t have a lot of options today because of the difficult economy. We can all identify with this situation. What else might take away or reduce our options? Well here are some typical situations:
- You are new on the job and you have a lot to learn.
- Down-sizing, out-sourcing and competition are taking work away
- Your boss doesn’t like you.
- You don’t like your boss.
You can quickly add to this list. The bottom line is our options are greatly reduced when these items occur.
Here’s the greatest advice I received that helped me through these situations. I was just promoted to sales manager. My district manager was Dave Williams. He didn’t fit the stereotype of a great manager. He was short and soft-spoken. But his wisdom made him one of the top performers in the company.
After he got me promoted he called me into his office and said he was going to give me the key to being a successful manager. He said “get the pressure off your group.” I replied, “how Dave?” He told me I would have to figure out the specifics myself but here was the idea. Figure out what they want and give it to them quickly.
He was referring to upper management. When you do that they will leave you alone. If you fall behind they will come out here to “help” you and you may never make it. So if they want; contacts per day, sales per contact or something else give it to them. Once you do you have options to try your ideas.
Also you don’t have to be afraid of failing. If your ideas don’t work right away you have time to learn and recover. Your people will be inspired when you give them freedom to try their ideas and participate in the team’s success.