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Category Archives: Leadership Development

Using Avoidance to Deal With Conflict

Whether you realize it or not, you are probably employing one of five main strategies when dealing with conflict.

  1. Avoidance
  2. Accommodation
  3. Competition
  4. Compromise
  5. Collaboration

Let’s talk about the first strategy – avoidance – when conflict arises in a meeting or a small group setting.

Avoidance is a style that allows you or the person running the meeting to remain neutral and stay out of the conflict. Choosing this strategy is choosing non-involvement.

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Dealing with Conflict

Conflict is inevitable in any organization. Part of the responsibility of the leadership team, or any individual rising in the ranks, is to effectively resolve issues. One place where conflict can readily appear is in meetings.

Conflict in meetings is not necessarily bad. It can serve to stimulate new ways of thinking, new ideas and better solutions; however, there are times when conflict can be less than productive. You don’t want conflict to impede the productivity of a meeting. Everyone’s time is too precious to waste in meetings that get derailed.

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Does Your Team Have a Shared Context?

Does your team have a shared context? If they don’t, they may fall short of achieving their goals (both individually and collectively).

Leaders must own the context by which their teams operate. (The context is the general that lends meaning to the specific.)

Owning the context doesn’t allow you to change people, but it does allow you to shift the way they approach their work.

Shared Context

When teams have a shared context, their individual work has meaning and each individual can thrive. The team will have greater success. Remember, you can’t change another person’s mind, but you can help shift their perspective. Owning or setting the context is the key to that influence.

'Remember, you can't change another person's mind, but you can help shift their perspective.' Click to Tweet

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We Are Guilty of Our Training, And That’s OK If…

Our Trained Minds

We are all guilty of our training.  What I mean by this is that our past experience combines with the area of our expertise, and together they guide how our minds will consider problems and solutions. If we can be aware of this tendency we can free ourselves to think more creatively about problems and solutions. If not, our minds may not consider the problem in a manner that will lead to the optimal solution. In other words, the way you define the problem will limit the number of available solutions.

[From Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar]

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The Paradox of Freedom II: A Cage in Which To Be Free

Since we’re talking about freedom, I wanted to share another paradox of freedom – a cage in which to be free. It’s a concept I’ve been sharing as part of my Success Strategies for years. And it’s directly connected to how our minds work, and how we simply cannot behave to a story that is inconsistent with our driving truths. Great leaders understand the paradox of the cage in which to be free not only for their own success, but for the success of those they lead.

Each of us lives according to our own specific myths (stories), contexts, and definitions. We choose these myths, contexts and definitions for ourselves. Some we choose consciously and some subconsciously. This is why I continually remind the leaders I work with that our perception is our reality. Not only do our perceptions determine how we live, but they also determine the limitations we place upon ourselves.

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Developing Your Leadership Team

The Importance of Leadership Development

Does your leadership team listen to each other? Many companies I work with have very bright, smart, and motivated people in leadership positions. Many of these leaders advance in the ranks due in part to their subject matter expertise, whether they are product, finance, industry, sales, customer service, or operations experts.

In order to get the most out of your leadership team, you need to set the vision, and frame the context by which your leaders and employees reach their goals, always with the vision first and foremost. In other words, it is difficult to be innovative, productive, and profitable in a company where the leadership teams focus first on their own individual subject matter expertise, and lose sight of the vision.

Learn more about Caruso Leadership’s services in Leadership Development>>

In this video, Joe Caruso addresses Entrepreneurs on the topic of developing their leadership teams, with a powerful example to drive home the point.

Get your Leadership Team to the next level.

Book Joe for your next Leadership Retreat or event. Contact us today.

Listen to What’s Coming Out of Your Horn

I learned many life lessons from my dad. At the time I learned them, they helped me on a certain level. As I’ve lived my life, I have come to appreciate the depth and fullness, yet also the simplicity, of what he taught me. Here is just one example.

One day I was practicing my clarinet, working on a particularly difficult passage in preparation for my high school soloist competition.

“Hey Joe! Listen to what’s coming out of the end of your horn,” my Dad yelled down the stairs.

Lost in my efforts to learn and perfect the proper fingering and phrasing of the passage, I had stopped paying attention to the sound that I was creating.

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The Best Press Secretary of Modern Times?

Success Strategy # 11: Openly and sincerely compliment that which you admire and respect.

Last week I had the chance to meet Mike McCurry, the former Press Secretary for Bill Clinton’s administration. It was nice to be able to tell him in person what I’ve told hundreds of people and leaders that I’ve worked with over the years.

What did I tell him? That he was the ultimate example of grace under pressure during the Lewinsky scandal, and is probably the best press secretary of modern times.

Never miss a chance to openly and sincerely compliment that which you admire and respect in others.

You can download all the Caruso Success Strategies here.

A Presidential Speech to a Nation Divided

On this President’s Day, let’s take a minute to reflect on the words of a President who knew how important it was not to divide, but to unite this country. Here are the words of the Gettysburg Address:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

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Real-time Leadership Lessons

So the Congressional supercommittee fails to reach an agreement on deficit reduction. You heard it here first. Stay tuned for more predictions we don’t want to come true, but will. How do we know? Because we understand that people’s natures and cultures drive their behaviors more than their desires to have what is actually good for them

Here’s the deal—we all lie to ourselves about ourselves. We tell ourselves stories that aren’t true and we rationalize and justify things that happen so they validate how we think.In some ways it is part of the human experience. Sometimes we are in denial of certain realities. Sometimes we just have blind spots that we can’t see no matter how hard we try.

The essence of our work here at Caruso Leadership, and where we have the biggest impact, is to help leaders with denial and blind spots—whether it’s on their part, the part of their leadership team, their organization, or even their target market.

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