Leadership Mints Series Sampler On Treating Others With Respect

Aloha! What if you began and ended your one-on-one meetings with that evocative greeting — a greeting that also serves as a productive farewell — even if you don’t live or work in Hawaii?

Aloha from Hawaii

Then you’d be saying much more than “hi and bye.” With your “Aloha” you’d be invoking “the breath of life” both at the beginning and and the ending of your meeting. Who doesn’t need a breath of fresh air to freshen the workday at the start and at the end? Aloha stems from “Alo,” meaning presence and “ha,” meaning breath. The website  To-Hawaii.com, published by Eleakai Publishing, LLC, also notes:

  • Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.
  • Aloha means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.
  • Aloha means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.

How can you best spread the Aloha sentiment of mutual regard and affection without actually saying the word ALOHA and yet conjure up images of flowing palm trees and colorful leis?

Simply ask your staff member to set the meeting agenda. Fight off the urge to dump your in-basket into the lap of your direct report with the following provocative Aloha greeting question of another kind:

“What is on your mind today?”

In his book The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier says that key question reaffirms a trusting relationship and establishes a working environment of dignity and respect for both the staffer and the leader.

This agenda-setting question also quickly targets a pressing need and a more strategic problem solving discussion that leads to a more productive outcome.

But then the most effective leader confirms the decision-making process with the staffer BEFORE the meeting ends with the following Aloha farewell question of another kind?

“What was the most useful to you in our meeting?”

Those two bookend questions take your one-on-on meetings to the next level, and a establish a more strategic followup meeting well beyond the hi and bye opener and closer of most meetings.

The leadership lesson is clear: Breathe life into your meetings. Turn your how-are-ya’s into Alohas!

For more ideas on on celebrating the competition to enhance your performance consider purchasing a 300-page book now available on Amazon. com filled with 77 short stories (5-minute reads called Leadership Mints) on examples from business, sports and politics.

It’s titled:   LOVING Like a Leader with Empathy– one of three books in The Leadership Mints Series designed to help leaders refresh their feeling for leading. And as a bonus, the postscript titled– BUSINESS: A HUMAN EXPERIENCE — shares the impetus for this book on empathy impacting the bottom line.The two other books in The Leadership Mints Series -now available on Amazon.com — include THINKING Like a Leader with Clarity and SPEAKING Like a Leader with Civility

What ‘s a Leadership Mint?

Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a short story that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

Filling Up Your Fool Tank

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to clarify your decision-making skill. Reading time: 2:58.

           The chief executive officer (CEO) nodded approvingly as her strategic policy team reviewed the highlights of their careful research.

        a indecision  a diceTheir decision-making process —— imbued in detailed documentation and sprinkled with broad expertise and experience —- was right on target, especially after six months of very detailed review  and a meaningful consensus on the situation that seemed to counter  all objections. All agreed including the CEO: this was the direction to go.

        But then the CEO surprised everyone. She abruptly adjourned the meeting “to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain even more understanding of what this decision is all about.”

        Indeed, the CEO reaffirmed that the most effective leaders regularly pump high performance “fool” into their decision-making tanks: The CEO understood her responsibility to guard against the overwhelming power of group-think, citing the notion that:

                    ” When everyone thinks alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

        And that CEO saw first hand what psychologist William James once said, “What the whole community comes to believe grasps the individual as in a vise.”

         No wonder the most effective leaders break out of that vise-like grip. They realize the significance in first filling up their Fool Tank, lest their new path of decision-making  run out of gas.

       Continue reading “Filling Up Your Fool Tank”

Strategic Thinking: Controlling Your Assumptions

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to take more control over your assumptions. Reading time 2:07.

         The famed researcher on sexual human behavior, Dr. Alfred Kinsey posed an attention-commanding question to a young woman during one of his lectures: “Name a body part that can enlarge 100 times?” The young woman was offended:

       “You have no right to ask me such a question in mixed company.” The doctor demurred: “I was referring to the pupil of the eye and you my dear are going to be very disappointed.”

        Have you ever focused on the wrong part of your business whenever you were sizing up a situation? Did you jump to a plausible — but not possible –conclusion and miss an opportunity to lead more effectively? Of course, you have. So have I. No one is perfect.

        But all leaders become more effective leaders by consistently refining their focus, seizing strategically instead of sizing situationally.

        When you size situationally, you already have a frame of reference. You bring preconceived notions into your decision-making process. You assume too much (especially when a sex expert asks you to consider a body part that expands.) And your faulty judgment, results in making an “ass” of “u” and “me” in the parsed spelling of the word “assume” that has become a clichéd paen to our predictable – if flawed- behavior.

       Have you ever focused on the wrong part of your business whenever you were sizing up a situation? Did you jump to a plausible — but not possible –conclusion and miss an opportunity to lead more effectively. Of course, you have. No one is perfect. All leaders become more effective leaders by consistently refining their focus, seizing strategically instead of sizing situationally.

       When you size situationally, you already have a frame of reference. You bring preconceived notions into your decision-making process. You assume too much (especially when a sex expert asks you to consider a body part that expands.) And your faulty judgment, results in making an “ass” of “u” and “me” in the parsed spelling of the word “assume” that has become a clichéd paen to our predictable – if flawed- behavior.

       To stimulate your thinking on sizing up situations more strategically think of a red traffic light. That brightest color in the spectrum — RED — has the shortest light wave length. Size matters. Only situationally. Not strategicially.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Control your assumptions to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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Beware of the 8 Barriers to Thinking

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you enhance your ability to think. Reading time: 2:16.

The Titanic’s Grand Staircase

     It is logical and oh so wrong.

     A survey showed that 90 percent of accidents on staircases involved either the top or bottom stair. Therefore, the computer logically concluded:  to reduce accidents just eliminate the top and bottom stairs.

         Of course humans can factor into their thinking process more than a computer’s Ones and Zeros, either/or binary decision-making. And as a leader you regularly factor in so many other variables in the gray zone of complexity between the black and white number crunching that would eliminate the two key steps that would nullify the functionality of the entire staircase.

        To help you continue to sharpen your decision-making process beyond the classic seven-step problem-solving process: (1) Collection, (2) Selection, (3) Investigation, (4) Determination, (5) Inspection, (6) Execution and (7) Evaluation, let’s examine the eight barriers to effective THINKING. Continue reading “Beware of the 8 Barriers to Thinking”