Turbo Leadership Systems

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Issue 60 To our clients and friends October 4, 2005
Don’t Let The Pot Boil Over
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Being an empowering leader takes courage

Ranae, merchandising manager for a major wholesale food distributor in Boise, Idaho, told Session 7 of the Leadership Development Lab:

“We have one particularly boisterous salesperson on our team who occasionally decides he is not getting the service he needs from the branch staff. When this happens he seems to always take it out on the merchandisers. When he has had his fill and trips over the edge to major frustrations, it is impossible to please him. A couple of weeks ago, I could feel the familiar tension building; volume up, clipped, curt, short sentences, steaming and about to boil over.

I went to Patty who is his supervisor and whispered in her ear, “The tension is building between him and the buyers. What should we do?” Patty said she would talk to him, but that has not stopped the train in the past. We needed a new approach. We decided to take him to lunch. We approached him in a completely non-confrontational manner. We told him we wanted his input as to what the merchandising department could do to serve him better. We also talked about what sales could do to make merchandisers lives easier. The theme of our informal brainstorming was communication, communication, communication. Through the process, we came up with several quite usable, practical, very specific ideas on how to improve communication and teamwork.

The amazing thing is that the

tense situation disappeared immediately. It became very apparent that all he really wanted was to feel listened to, to feel like his concerns and ideas were being heard.

The lesson I learned from this experience is to think outside of the box, to practice active listening (Leadership Principle #6 – Be An Active Listener) and the importance of validating the other person’s ideas (Leadership Principle #8 – Validate Their Ideas). I feel very positive about the outcome of this experience.

The action I call you to take is to approach old problems in a new way. Pay attention to those who are frustrated ask for their ideas, their input, and make them feel important. Practicing these fundamental leadership principles will keep situations from blowing out of proportion from becoming problems that make you lose ground in your progress. You will create a stronger, in formation team on a firm path to your performance improvement and profit goals.”


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