Dealing with people you just want to strangle … great leadership advice from Jez Rose.

Guest blogger Jez Rose, is a behaviourist and ‘accidental’ motivational speaker who has some advice for leaders who are still seeking a leadership ‘label’.

Some people I meet, or coach, who are in leadership roles, seem a little lost.

When I ask them if, deep down (if they were really honest), they feel lacking in all the necessary skills as a leader and at times could do with more confidence and techniques to best manage those they lead, almost all of them say: “Yes!”

There’s a commonality in leadership, in that the vast majority of people in leadership roles are there as a result of someone seeing something in them, promoting them and they accepted it for development and financial reasons, but then – literally overnight – they became a leader and were expected to have all of the answers and skills.

Conflicting advice

Over the past eight years I’ve worked with and trained literally hundreds of thousands of leaders.

Many of those I speak with get conflicting information on what to do, how to behave and on the most effective strategies, because they set out on a journey to discover what type of a leader they are. And I believe that journey of self discovery can be a very slippery slope.

Whichever direction you look, someone else has a different opinion on leadership styles: are there 5, 6 or 10 types? Is the Myers Briggs and Jungian theory better than the Lewin’s styles (of which there are only 3)? Which one are you and what does it matter anyway? Will it make you a better and more effective leader for knowing?

Behaviour profiling can be interesting, however, it is just one of many tools.

Don’t get bogged down!

My advice is to avoid getting bogged down with finding out if you’re an “A” or “blue” because the very nature of human beings means that we’re actually never only one thing.

The real danger is that when identified, you grow to become that style or type in an extreme version, because you don’t allow yourself the freedom to identify with specific needs and resources if they don’t “fit” with the style.

Instead of trying to work out which one you are, spend your time more wisely on developing skills that will help nurture others and effectively manage behaviour …

  • How will you motivate and inspire your team?
  • How will you maintain momentum?
  • What are your priorities, targets and how will you communicate these to them?
  • How will you handle challenging behaviours or problems?
  • Where will you seek help, support or guidance?
  • Have you set aside time to read, watch, listen or otherwise engage with resources that will help you develop key skills such as time management, clarity and goal setting?
  • Do you understand the importance of regular team meetings and communicating regularly and have you ensured this is happening?
  • How do you cope with those people that you just want to strangle?

Take a step back

Firstly, remember that many people react quickly with little thought or planning.

Sometimes it needs a pair of outside eyes to help guide decisions, behaviour and responses and that’s where instead of reacting yourself to the difficult situation, taking a step back and analysing the best course of action can be especially helpful.

As well as reacting quickly, we are all influenced by external factors and of course the environment we find ourselves in, so be mindful of things which may have affected the other person’s behaviour: family circumstances, an especially stressful day or poor time management, for example.

All behaviour happens for a reason.

Start by asking what their main concern, challenge or objection is to get to the root cause of just why their behaviour is so difficult.

Spending some time talking around this main issue is worthwhile so as to explore the barriers to effective working practice. Don’t ever be afraid to take control of the situation, without being threatening, suggesting, for example, that they take some time out to reflect or step back from the situation.

Calmly and practically telling them that their behaviour, point of view of attitude is not helpful or conducive to the environment you wish to harbor is often the reality check many need to stop, self-assess and repair. The bottom line though is that you should also provide assistance and support in helping to improve their behaviour, where possible.

Magic wand

We are all, even those in a leadership or management tier, guilty of looking for the magic wand; the next shiny thing that will help us achieve our goals and make us better people: the shortcut or the thing that will do it all for us.

We’re all busy, right?

We don’t really have time or the desire to be thinking through complex systems to make things work.

Do yourself a favour and stop reading this, take a walk to the toilet and look in the mirror. The answer is there staring right back at you.

There’s no shortcut, no magic pill, no secret system.

It’s just you.

You’re 100% responsible for your actions and the consequences of those actions. And in turn, you’re 100% responsible for the actions of those in your team because an effective leader will ensure that they operate as an extension of you.

Changing the behaviour of others is simple – it’s not necessarily easy but it is simple. However, it always begins with changing your own behaviour … and that isn’t going to happen by simply sticking a label on.