Let’s continue to LEAD, albeit backwards…The other day I wrote about Delegation. Today, let’s focus on Act and Encourage. Sometimes, a little fog is good for team climate…No matter what you say as a leader, your actions will always say more. Rapport exists when two people develop a feeling of harmony, well-being and security. Rapport is about meeting people on their own level and making them feel at ease. It is based on mutual respect and agreement. When relating with other people, you can choose one of two standpoints from which to establish synergy. You can concentrate on the differences between you, or you can emphasize the similarities between you. This is particularly important when leading teams which include a mixture of aggressive, assertive, and submissive behavior.
Regardless of how another individual acts or behaves, it is important to reflect the same feelings and moods as the other person; at the very least show an appreciation for how they are feeling. Even when those feelings are negative, for example, the other person is tense or angry, you need to acknowledge and respect this in order to build rapport and to move the conversation forward.
When dealing with aggressive behavior, breathe evenly, keep calm and stay quiet. Think, “This person is behaving aggressively, I’ll deal with it in an assertive manner.” Ask open questions: Who, What, When, and Which. Do not ask Why; this will often place someone exhibiting aggressive behavior into a defensive mode, resulting in more aggressive behavior. Asking Why appears to question motives rather than gather information. Level with the person, explain how their behavior feels aggressive and describe how it is having an adverse effect on your and/or the team.
When someone is behaving aggressively, they tend to expect disagreement. Why not slow them down by giving an unexpected response? Fogging is a technique used to sidestep their issue while retaining your viewpoint and integrity. For example, if someone said to you, “That was a pretty stupid way to behave in the meeting.” You can respond in an unexpected manner by saying, “Yes, I can see that you think it was a pretty stupid way to behave.” The word “yes” takes them by surprise, slows them down and can reduce the tension. You are not agreeing that you behaved stupidly, only that you can see that that they think so.
We all see better when the fog lifts.
Lisa DiTullio, Principal, Lisa DiTullio & Associates, www.lisaditullio.com