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“Yes” is a positive word. Saying “Yes” opens the door to new possibilities and allows us to explore options.
However, saying “Yes” in the office all the time can become a problem, especially if you are a leader. A leader sits in a very precarious position between his/her staff and senior management. Saying “Yes” to one group means saying “No” to the other. Balancing the needs and priorities of both groups is no simple task. Let’s explore the following situations:
Management says that there will be no increment/bonus for this year regardless how well staff performs.
In this situation, will you simply tell your staff not to expect any increment/bonus and be happy that he/she has a job or will you discuss with your senior managers what other incentives can be offered to reduce stress and increase your staff motivation? If senior management does not have any clear direction/guidelines on the matter, what actions are you willing to take?
Your staff tells you that he/she is planning to leave the company due to the lack of career development options.
Assuming that your staff is a top-performer, are you willing to let go of him/her because there are no options currently available? Will you convince your staff to stay and work out an interim-solution that would make them happy while working with key-decision makers in the business to develop a long-term plan based on their demonstrated capabilities? In other words, if a door isn’t readily available, will you create one for them?
A Senior Manager asks you to do a piece of work that clearly should be the responsibility
of another person/team (ahem Tai Chi)
Will you accept the work blindly as to not upset the senior manager (mainly because your job, promotion, and increment are all in his/her hands)? Will you challenge the Senior Manager and ask why the task is being handed over to you? Will you share your point of view assertively?
If you are leader in the workplace, the above situations are inevitable. These are defining moments where your leadership skills will truly be tested and called-out. Are you willing to get yourself into difficult conversations knowing that you may not necessarily emerge on top? Are you willing to fight the good fight, make sincere efforts, and go the extra mile for your staff?
Now, are you a “Yes Man”?
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