The door to the conference room was wide open and I heard the sound of a fist landing on a table as Stan said "You will do it by Friday or there will be consequences."

Stan didn't realize that his direct report, who sat quietly, was already dialing up a recruiter in his mind.

And Stan was caught off guard when same direct report, yup, the same guy who handed the report in by Friday was handing in his resignation one month later.

That model of telling and expecting had a long run. It won't work anymore. The world has changed and if you don't change with it, well, expect a short list of those who stay around to work with you.

Look over this list of the old way, four methods that are embedded in our nervous systems from the time we are kids. Then pay attention to the only way that has a long term advantage to keep you from becoming a dinosaur like Blockbuster or Woolworth's.

First the ways to avoid getting people to follow you:

  • Forcing: formal authority without regard for concerns of others (remember Stan from a minute ago)?
  • Accommodating: allowing the other person to satisfy their concerns while neglecting your own (Polar opposite and just as deadly).
  • Avoiding: not paying attention to what is going on and removing yourself from the situation so you don't have to take any action.
  • Compromising: attempting to resolve a situation by going with a solution that leaves both parties feeling discounted and disappointed.

The only way to make relationships at work viable is by collaborating. This is more complex and yet, is the only way that creative and trust worthy relationships can be built.

Co-operation with another, no matter how frustrating, means staying with it even when you want to tear your hair out (or theirs). It's a give and get. You listen to them and ask questions while still standing your ground to express your concerns.

Is this foolproof?

No! However, if you learn to stay in the middle, where it gets hot and steamy, and not run, you will find mutually satisfactory win-win solutions.

You have a choice. The old way will work short term and then fall apart. Learning to stay in the uncomfortable zone and guide others to stay along with you, yield better long term results.

Published on: Oct 18, 2016
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