We all love to win. We get upset with any set back and perceive it as failure. We fail to realize that some failure is inevitable. It is simply part of the process to achieve results! Instead, we take these perceived failures personally and blame ourselves, bosses, co-workers and clients. We fail to listen to others, falsely listening to our own ego at the expense of the company. So instead of learning from others and moving through the “issue,” we halt new ideas, projects or long overdue resolutions. (Think: slamming shut an iron door!) Many times, we keep failing over and over, yet hope for different results. It’s time to move out of this quagmire.
Get others on the same page. Allowing others to cause you frustration is not being responsible for your own inadequate interpersonal or project management skills. It means you need to help others get on the same page with you. Enable them to be part of the solution. At times you will sound like a parrot, saying the same thing over and over! It’s your job to include team members, even if they don’t behave in an ideal fashion. If your boss or co-worker(s) has a tendency to thwart your progress, keep him/her apprised of your plans and the actions taken to-date. Unfortunately, if you have a boss who is fearful of failure, he will listen more closely to the nay-sayers. If it’s a co-worker with an “ax to grind,” you may need to reconfigure his/her input with the team. Regardless, you are responsible for selling the project‘s intended outcomes, financial results and impact on the company. The key? Be clear. Be consistent.
Step outside your comfort zone. We falsely believe working beyond our usual comfort zones might give others power or the ability to win over us. We hold on dearly to attitudes, behaviors and other destructive patterns that ultimately limit our winning effectiveness. The truth is, in order to gain and retain a competitive edge in the marketplace, we must repeatedly achieve results outside the norm. The key is to simply acknowledge discomfort, and be accountable for your role in achieving the results. If you focus on the end results, yet still keep your eyes on the current situation, you will find the answer. Communicate often with your team members. Then they are more likely to join in and help create a winning outcome.
Have you reached your Peter Principle? “Every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” (Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, The Peter Principle, 1969.) Unfortunately, if we lack the depth and bandwidth to effectively do our job, we will blame others for our lack of skills and lack of results. The key is to hire a coach. Use a validated 360-degree tool to help clarify inherent strengths and weaknesses from others’ perspectives. A good tool will also provide additional training and coaching information to develop key leadership skills. Develop three-month goals and Focused Action Plans. Do the work; there are no short-cuts! If a project’s results are less than expected, take it in stride; you will plan differently next time. Remember, failure is a great opportunity to learn successful skills we otherwise would have ignored!
©Jeannette Seibly, 2011
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