Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 9 To our clients and friends August 3, 2004
Have a Great Steak In Your Future – Don’t Argue
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Empowering leaders know there is too much at steak to get pulled into petty arguments over little matters, they focus on the meatier issues.

Teri, a hardboard manufacturing plant administrative specialist for a mill in Southern Oregon told session 6B of the Leadership Development LAB:

“The day after the hardboard plant’s barbecue, the office staff was trying to decide what to do with the 34 remaining steaks. The idea of donating them was suggested and I mentioned the local food bank as a possible recipient of the steaks. I agreed to investigate the “how” of donating and would report back to Mike, our plant manager, with the results of my finding.

After making the phone calls, taking the required measures, and getting all the necessary information, I patiently waited for Mike to return. It goes without saying that steaks are perishable. I went ahead and delivered the meat to the food bank. When Mike finally returned he had concerns regarding the food bank’s distribution requirements. Mike’s tone of voice and mannerisms were in the confrontational mode when he began asking me about the food bank’s policies. I refused to argue with him, stated that I didn’t know the answers, and went back to my desk.

The next morning as I was passing by Mike’s office, he called me in and said quite unexpectedly, ‘Thank you for taking the initia- tive on the steak donations. You did a great job and I appreciate it.’ In the past I would have become defensive, tried to prove myself, told him if he was going to question every detail of a project he assigned me to he should do it himself.

The lesson I learned from the experience is that when I don’t take the bait; when I refuse to let the other person pull me into an argument, I feel more empowered and have more influence than when I become defensive and allow myself to get pulled into arguments. I have really learned that I can’t win, that no one wins an argument.

The action I call you to take is to avoid arguing, especially when dealing with extraneous issues where you can lose so much ground that you will have no footing when important issues arrive.

The benefit you will gain is a sense of personal power you may be amazed at the control and influence you have just by not arguing.