Do You Keep Score?

In any relationship we are building, we keep an internal score sheet.  In the healthiest relationships, both sides strive to keep the score even. No one wants to feel like predators or prey. We subconsciously or even consciously keep track of the exchange of favors in relationships.  Being conscious of this can help you going into any relationship, personal or business. If we are mentally keeping score, making sure we aren’t in the red, or too far in the black, you come across as a more likeable person and can build better and more balanced relationships. People hate feeling guilty and they also hate feeling taken advantage of.  When we are keeping track of the internal score card of our relationship, we can be assured that neither party will feel out of sorts. Walster, Walster and Berscheild in their 1978 study proposed the theory of equal relationships, showing how our
Continue Reading

Validation Is The Key To Winning Every Argument

Disagreement is a part of every day life.  Whether in your personal life, business life, social life – disagreements happen.  I came across an interesting article, The Mistake You Make in Every Argument, that gave an interesting perspective on how to make the best of the often times unavoidable argument. How do you respond when someone says something you disagree with? Do you calmly tell the person why they are mistaken, do you jump right in to defensive mode and yell or do you retreat and let them have their way?  In his article, Dr. Liane Davey makes the argument that all of those responses are wrong and the only way to get results in an argument is to first validate the other’s point of view. The first thing you have to do is validate the other person even though you completely disagree with them! See, when you validate the
Continue Reading

Do’s and Don’ts of A Good Listener

Listening is an essential skill in business and life. We could all improve our relationships by improving our listening skills. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you brush up on your listening skills.   Do – Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smiles) Ignore distractions   Don’t – Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone’s sentences  
Continue Reading

What Type of Thinker Are You?

  Our mindset, the way we approach life, the way we think about the world around us dictates so much of our happiness. In the book, Supercoach, author Michael Neill outlines three different types of thinking – Acquisition-based thinking places the power outside us in the visible physical world. If we want some of that power for ourselves, we need to go out and get it. When we don’t get what we want, it’s either because the world is rigged against people like us or we just aren’t trying hard enough. Attraction-based thinking places the power outside us in the invisible metaphysical world. If we want to tap into that power, we need to align our thoughts, feelings, intentions, and desires. When we don’t get what we want, it’s either because God/the universe has a higher plan for us or we just aren’t thinking positively enough. Creation-based thinking recognizes that
Continue Reading

The Three E’s of Great Conversation

My wife Sarah is a great conversationalist. She connects well with others; people love talking to her and they often describe her by saying, “it feels like I’ve known her my whole life.” Those are goals we should all strive for – especially as leaders. Over the years, I have watched her in conversation with others and I’ve deciphered that great conversations require 3 E’s: – Engagement, Energy & Empathy A great conversation first requires engagement. How often are we distracted in a conversation? With texts, email or wandering though processes. When we are engaged both physically (through body language & eye contact) & mentally (through concentration & focus) we make the other person feel important. The second part of a great conversation is energy. Think about how you show up for a potential client or a friend you haven’t seen in years. There is an energy you bring to
Continue Reading

A Sobering Thought for Leaders

Yesterday I spoke to 100 Power Plant Managers in Minnesota. We had an engaging conversation around leadership and influence and how to gain the commitment of our people. After my speech one of the leaders shared a lesson he always tries to keep top of mind. Years ago when he was first promoted to manager, his boss pulled him aside and said, “Now that you are someone’s boss, I want you to always remember that the children of your people will know who you are and what kind of leader you are.” He said he automatically remembered that his Dad’s boss was Greg Anderson and although he never met him he knew he was a terrible leader because his dad complained about him every night at the dinner table. He determined that he would be known to his team’s children as a great leader. He would be known as a
Continue Reading

A Common Mistake That Destroys Leadership

There are many mistakes that leaders make that undermine their leadership and influence. Most of them are based in self-interest, ego and apathy, but there is one common mistake that destroys leadership on a regular basis. Too many leaders are guilty of hypocritical expectations – meaning they expect their people to behave one way and exempt themselves from the same expectations. We just a large remodel of our house, so I have had the good fortune of dealing with a lot of different contractors. The truth is some were amazing and some were horrible. One of the horrible ones was the group who built the basketball court in the backyard; it seemed like a fairly easy project. They said it would take a few days. I gave them a 50% deposit and they got to work. After a couple of days the court was about 80% done and they disappeared.
Continue Reading

10 Tips for Being Nonjudgmental

We are all judgmental.  It’s just human nature.  Even though it’s in our nature to judge, it’s not always helpful and often turns into a hindrance. There is a definite difference between making judgments and being judgmental. Being judgmental can keep us from building relationships, harm those relationships we already have and keep us isolated.  As Walt Whitman said “Be curious, not judgmental”. These 10 tips for being nonjudgmental from Sheri Van Dijk can help make the distinction. Remember that being nonjudgmental isn’t about turning a positive into a negative; it’s about being neutral, neither positive nor negative.. Reducing your negative judgments will reduce your level of anger and other painful emotions. Keep in mind that judging is like adding fuel to the fire of your emotion; it only increases your painful emotions. You can often reduce a behavior just by counting how often you’re engaging in that behavior. If you get overwhelmed
Continue Reading

101 Words and Phrases to Praise Your Kids

  Everyone, especially children benefit from a boost in self-confidence. Kids need words of praise. Children face situations regularly with which they have no experience dealing and words of praise go a long way.  Everyone needs to overcome self-doubt and build confidence in their own abilities, appearances and personalities and words of praise are a fantastic way to add reassurance.  Add some of these to your daily conversations. Wow Way to go Super You’re special Outstanding Excellent Great Good Neat Well done Remarkable I knew you could do it I’m proud of you Fantastic Super star Nice work Looking good You’re on top of it Beautiful Now you’re flying You’re catching on Now you’ve got it You’re incredible Bravo You’re fantastic Hooray for you You’re on target You are on your way How nice How smart Good job That’s incredible You rock Dynamite You’re beautiful You’re unique Nothing can stop you now Good for
Continue Reading

101 Ways to Relieve Stress

We all have stress. Too much, or prolonged stress in not healthy. It often leads to both behavioral and physical ailments. You first must be conscious of your stress level, then make a concerted effort to deal with it. Add some of these to your defense mechanism against stress – you’ll be happier for it!   Get up 15 minutes earlier Prepare for morning the night before Avoid tight fitting clothes Set appointments ahead Don’t rely on memory Write it down Practice preventative maintenance Make duplicate keys Say “no” more often Set priorities Avoid negative people Use time wisely Simplify meal times Always make copies of important papers Anticipate your needs Repair things that don’t work properly Ask for help with the jobs you dislike Break large tasks into bite-size portions Look at problems as challenges Un-clutter your life Smile Be prepared for rain Tickle a baby Pet a friendly
Continue Reading