For many, the thought of detaching from the outcome seems impossible. Still, managers must be mindful of performance expectations while simultaneously listening to and respecting other people’s opinions. So, how do you continually push for results without being annoying? Here’s a strategy to defuse your frustration and keep your emotional reactions at bay.
“Forget about your agenda and seek to understand the other person’s point of view.” This is the part that practically everyone struggles with during a conversation, especially when you’re trying to get someone to agree with you, “get a clue,” change behavior or just do their job.
For managers, detaching from the outcome is challenging, especially when dealing with those people who frustrate you most. You lose patience with those who aren’t performing, refuse to listen or don’t agree with your point of view.
When discussing this concept, the first reaction I typically hear is, “So Keith, are you telling me to forget about my goals and the results I need from my team?”
Absolutely not! However, your goals, business objectives and sales targets are set; they’re not going anywhere!
Yet, managers seem to be on an endless quest to remind their people about their commitments, goals and responsibilities. They vehemently defend their stance, insisting this is the best way to support their team and hold them accountable.
- “You know you need to bring in another 2 million dollars of new business by the end of the year in order to hit your sales targets, right?”
- “We need to get that licensing agreement renewed. Otherwise, you’re going to fall short of your quarterly goal.”
- “There are two weeks left until the end of the month. You have to step it up and focus on closing deals.”
- “We can’t lose that signature account. It’s too important.”
The fact is, continually focusing on your numbers and reminding your direct reports about their goals and quota does nothing to accelerate their performance or help them achieve desired results.
Instead of demonstrating your support or inspiring your team to unleash their hidden talents, you’re just being annoying! How do I know this? Because that’s what your direct reports are telling me!
There’s No Room for Hypocrisy at the Winner’s Table
You may be familiar with the saying, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Conversely, in many cases we treat others the way we don’t want to be treated!
Think about it. Managers complain about how metrics driven and numbers focused their company is. They feel their boss isn’t coaching them or providing them with the support they truly need. They claim the company is only concerned about results and can even sense the frustration from their boss when trying to defend their stance.
Most managers would tell me that they are far from fond of the constant pressure from their boss to hit business objectives. And in that very breath, managers wind up modeling the same undesirable behavior for their team! That’s right; the very thing that they don’t like done to them, is exactly what they wind up doing to their team.
So then, how can we break this cycle and create a healthier environment, while balancing the pressure and honoring our demanding business objectives?
Park Your Agenda at the Door
Refer back to part one of this series. I said, the top sales leaders detach from the outcome when communicating.
You’re not abandoning your beliefs, ignoring your responsibilities or absolving your people of any performance expectations; you’re just temporarily suspending them.
Here’s a visual solution that may help abandon your need to control every conversation. Imagine this. It’s like any other work day. You wake up and go through your typical morning routine. Before you leave for work, you put on a coat.
You’re scheduled to have a meeting with one of your direct reports. When you arrive for the meeting, you take your coat off and hang it on the coat rack in the room where your meeting is taking place. When your meeting is over, you grab your coat, and leave.
You didn’t throw away your coat. You didn’t give it away. You simply put it in a spot where you know it will be when you are ready to leave.
Now, think about your agenda and expectations in a conversation. That’s your coat. When talking with someone, simply take your agenda and, just like you would hang up your coat, put your agenda and assumed solutions aside when engaging with someone in order to create a new and better outcome. When the conversation is over, and a new possibility has emerged, you can pick up your agenda, your goals and your opinions; and go.
In Order to Grow, You Have to Let Go
If you want to create greater results, it cannot be tainted or overshadowed by your preconceived notions, solutions or vision of what you expect others to do or where you want them to be. When this happens, the only thing you see and hear in that conversation is the outcome you want. And if that’s the case, you can’t recognize any new possibilities, nor are you creating the environment for others to be honest with you and self-generate ideas on their own; ideas that could very well be better than yours!
As you can see, you’re not abandoning your values, integrity, beliefs, goals or what you think is best and right. However, when engaging with someone, you need to remove your blinders in order to expand your peripheral view of what can be possible and recognize the talents and gifts in others.
I know this challenges the very core of many people and their relentless pursuit of achievement. But if you want things to change; if you want people to change, it’s critical to honor the paradoxes of leadership.
That is, in order to create the best solution; don’t focus on the solution. Instead, look for what others can contribute; what they see, what they believe and what they are willing to do.
Sometimes, in order to grow, you just have to let go. That’s when extraordinary things happen. Unless, of course, you just enjoy being annoying.
Photo Credit: ArtFamily