Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Strategist Notebook

Strictly for personal development book summaries, practical business ideas, concepts, leadership and management strategies. With the occasional hints of humour and crap talks.

For Example: Be a People Person by John Maxwell

Title : Be a People Person
Author : John C. Maxwell
Publisher : Magna Publishing Co., Ltd. 2002
ISBN : 81 7809 128 3
Pages : 156

The Big Idea

Interpersonal relationships can make or break people. This is most true for leaders. Since leaders work with different kinds of people, developing the essential “people skills” will enable them to bring out the best in people.

Be a People Person is a book of help. Its life-enriching and life-changing ideas will be most helpful in your family, social, and business life. More importantly, the “people principles” shared by this book will help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and of other people.

I. The Importance of Being a “People Person”

People are the most precious of resources. Your success, fulfillment, and happiness depend on your ability to relate well to different kinds of people. This is why it is very important for you to become a “people person.”

A. The Golden Rule

The key to successful interpersonal relationships is to treat people the way you want to be treated. This is called the Golden Rule. Instead of putting people in their place, learn to put yourself in their place and see life the way they see it.

To become an effective leader, learn to tap and develop people. Make a concerted effort towards creating a positive change in the way you relate to others. The best way to go about it is to develop in yourself the same qualities that draw you to other people -- the very same qualities that you look for and enjoy in others.

B. The Qualities You Enjoy in Others
People, no matter what their station in life is, are mostly drawn to those who know how to:

-listen; and

These qualities make relationships right. Build on these qualities and you will surely help other people realize their potential, and ultimately help them excel and succeed. Moreover, regard people as assets. In so doing, you will become allies instead of adversaries in life.

C. The Qualities People Like About You

People are drawn to charismatic individuals. Charismatic individuals have a personality that makes people respond to them positively. To become a “people person,” you need to develop charisma.

Charisma is inherent in all people. Regardless of what most believe and think about charisma, all people have the innate ability to develop that appealing personality that bring about that special sense of loyalty or enthusiasm in others.

The key to developing charisma is to make other people feel good about themselves, rather than to make them feel good about you. The following are the outstanding traits of charismatic people:

C – ONCERN (The Ability to Care)

Charismatic people are truly concerned about people’s deepest needs and interests. They truly care and leave you feeling important.

H – ELP (The Ability to Reach Out)

Charismatic people help other people with their problems. They inspire them to face their problems, and offer creative solutions and hope.

A – CTION (The Ability to Make Things Happen)

Charismatic people are never boring. They are always creative and confident in the way they present ideas or solutions.

R – ESULTS (The Ability to Produce)

Charismatic people are other-centered and genuinely wish for other people to succeed. This trait inspires productivity in people

I – NFLUENCE (The Ability to Lead)

Charismatic people are natural leaders. They know how to influence people and make them follow their lead.

S – ENSITIVITY (The Ability to Feel and Respond)

Charismatic people are sensitive to changing situations. They are adept at responding appropriately to the mood, feeling, and spirit of any situation.

M – OTIVATION (The Ability to Give Hope)

Charismatic people are good motivators. They are good at encouraging, believing, and supporting people in the face of despair and adversities.

A – FFIRMATION (The Ability to Build Up)

Charismatic people are good at acknowledging the accomplishments of other people. They think the best, believe the best, and express the best in others.

D. On Becoming Confident with People

Confidence in oneself is the cornerstone of success. More often than not, a clear direction or goal is not enough to convince others to follow. Self-confidence is what makes others believe in a leader. It breeds confidence in others.

Confidence makes you strong and stable in times of great ordeals. Moreover, it enables you to grow as a person and face life’s uncertainties bravely. As a result, you exude a sense of security and contentment, which in turn brings about a positive change in people.

Conversely, insecure leaders have no confidence in themselves or in other people. They are incapable of causing positive change in people, much less lead them towards a common goal. Furthermore, they are incapable of giving encouragement. Thus, they only pull down people instead of lifting them up.

Six ways to develop confidence

-Establish your worth according to God’s value system
-Focus on God; not on your situation
-Develop friendship with confident people
-Put a few wins under your belt
-Become an expert on the one thing you’re good at
-Develop a knowledge of people and the product

II. Becoming a Person People Respect

Leaders must live and follow a higher standard than their followers. At the same time, the fewer options available to them the higher they go up the leadership ladder.

They are also judged differently because their gifts and responsibilities are different. They may be forgiven for their mistakes and trespasses, but they may not recover their lost credibility that easily. This is because leadership is a position that one earns by proving faithful to their calling and duties.

A. Be a Credible Leader

Credible leaders lead a disciplined life. A disciplined life is the best protection against sin. Moreover, be a person of integrity. Effective leaders establish a system of values that is consistent with God. At the same time, make yourself accountable to people in authority. Effective leaders understand that no good ever comes out of authority without accountability.

Furthermore, effective leaders understand that the dangers of structuring their lives and their leadership style according to the “Lone Ranger” ideal. People tend to develop a distorted perception of their selves and their organization, as well as of other people, when they live according to this ideal.

B. Be Aware of Your Weaknesses

Effective leaders must be aware of their weaknesses. This helps them become vigilant against the things that could lead them astray. Remember, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

III. Becoming a Person People Trust

Trust is very important in any type of relationship. It depends very little on the person’s name or station in life. When there is trust, a strong, positive relationship is built.

Principles in Developing Trust

-Demonstrate what you want to instill and be consistent about it. Be what you teach or ask others to do, especially when disciplining them.

-Encourage people, and hold faultfinding to a minimum. A person, no matter what his or her station in life is, performs better under a spirit of approval than criticism.

-Believe the best in people. By believing in them, you encourage them to do their best and help them realize their potentials.

-Help others succeed. Their success is also your success.

-Give people the tools and skills they need to grow and develop. By believing in people and helping them to believe in themselves, you establish a relationship in which everyone wins.

IV. Qualities of an Effective Leader

Leadership sets the standard in any organization. The higher the standard, the more effective the leadership is. Also, the kind of leadership in an organization has a tremendous bearing on group relationships.

An Effective Leader Must Feel a Sense of Calling

Effective leaders feel a strong calling to lead and have a deep sense of responsibility. They are driven to declare an idea, point people in some direction, or lead others on a mission.

They don’t quit. They also have the right answers. They stand out and tend to reproduce other “called leaders.” In addition, called leaders have the ability to speak to the times and issues.

An Effective Leader Must Be Able to Communicate

Effective leaders are able to visually and verbally communicate their message or vision to the people. They have a clear picture of that vision and are able to convey it creatively to the people. Moreover, they are able to constantly remind people of that vision and confidently lead them toward its attainment.

They have a strong belief in people, and they are able to find ways to help them grow and become better with each passing day. They understand the necessity of sharing their message or vision with others who can help them make their visions a reality.

An Effective Leader Is Creative Handling Problems

Effective leaders know how to use a crisis or problem to their advantage. Instead of throwing their hands in defeat, they are able to use a crisis as an opportunity for change.

An Effective Leader Is a Generous Contributor

True leaders are servants. Effective leaders are great givers and they give freely.

An Effective Leader Acts Consistently

Effective leaders must be consistent in three areas: people, principles, and projects. They must be consistent in their dealings with people –- this helps build security. They must be consistent in their principles –- this provides direction. Last but not least, they must be consistent in their projects -– this builds morale.

V. The Art of Motivating People for their Benefit

An effective leader must learn to motivate and persuade people. They must learn to speak to the heart, not only to the head. At the same time, an effective leader must learn how to draw out the best in people.

A. How to Establish and Accomplish Goals

To persuade is to use “sweetness” to get people to do things for you out of their own volition. However, you need to know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish before you can persuade others. You also need to determine what you are willing to give up in achieving your goal. Finally, you need to implement your plans and work hard in achieving your goal. Keep in mind the Five “C’s” when trying to motivate or persuade people:

1. Consideration – What is the needed response?
2. Credibility – What must you do to get it?
3. Content – What must you say to get the needed response?
4. Conviction – How should you convey the message to other people?
5. Conclusion – What steps do you need to take?

B. Place Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes

If you want to persuade people to your view, start where they are and work from that position. By putting yourself in their “shoes,” you develop a sensitivity to their needs. This allows you to better address the issues concerning them.

Ask people about the things that are important to them. Also, take into account their feelings about an issue. On top of that, inquire into their needs and expectations. Remember, you can get everything that you want in life if you help people get what they want.

C. Focus on the Problem

Always deal with the issues only; try to get all the unwanted emotions out of any issue. This establishes a base of trust which is crucial in any relationship. Failure to recognize and handle problems at the outset only creates credibility gap and negative feelings.

Equally important, proceed bravely when advancing a point of view persuasively. Remember, effective-risk taking leadership happen when there is conviction and confidence in the persuader.

D. Appeal to a Higher Vision

Make people understand and empathize with the human values represented by your position. In doing so, you will be able to arouse the crucial emotions in people that will give birth to the kind of response you are seeking. You simply help people become what they really want to be whenever you appeal to a higher vision.

D. Be Enthusiastic When Persuading

Approaching an issue objectively is usually the best way to convince people to your view; however, when all else fails be enthusiastic in your arguments. Nevertheless, know when to stop. The number one reason why most people lose an argument is that they do not know when to quit. Incessantly hammering the person you are trying to convince will only produce resentment toward you.

VI. Loving Difficult People

Learn to understand and help people with difficult personalities. Be responsible in the way you treat others. More importantly, be responsible for how you treat or react to those around you. You cannot choose how people treat you, but you can choose how you respond to them.

Understanding the Different Personality Types

The “Sherman Tank”

These people intimidate others because of their “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude. They are often aggressive and hostile in their relations, and people are apt to fight with them because “tanks” are insensitive and hard to reason with.

To deal with them, first consider this person’s influence and the issue at hand. If the issue is not worth fighting over, do not confront them about it. Nevertheless, if a confrontation is unavoidable, be direct and meet the specific issues head-on.

The “Space Cadet”

These people live in their own worlds. They do not respond to motivations and frustration is the normal feeling which you get when working with these people. Typically, they are people you label as “weird.”

If you have to work with them, do not evaluate your leadership by their response. In fact, do not even ask their opinion about something because chances are, you will just get an off-the-wall answer. Similarly, do not place them in teams or positions of leadership because they are incapable of determining the heartbeat of others.

Nonetheless, do not consider them a lost cause. They are often extremely intelligent and creative, and they usually work best alone. Just find the key to their uniqueness and capitalize on it.

The “Volcano”

These people tend to be unapproachable because of their explosive, unpredictable personality type. It is stressful working with them for you cannot predict what might set them off.

In dealing with “Volcanoes,” calmness is the key. Try to get the facts straight and minimize exaggerations or eliminate hearsays from the conversation. Then, give them a soft, clear answer and hold them accountable for the things they say and the people they hurt.

The “Thumb Suckers”

These people are full of self-pity. They are often moody and pout to get what they want. They also use pouting as a leverage to manipulate people.

To handle “thumb suckers,” make them aware of the fact that moodiness is a choice. They can change all that if they choose to do so.

It may also help if you expose them to people who have real problems. It may cause them to see themselves in a different light and create a positive change in them.

Above all, never give them the opportunity to exhibit their negative attitudes publicly. Ignore them when they are pouting.

The “Wet Blanket”

These people are the classic negative thinkers. They are always down and find problems in everything. Likewise, they do not take responsibility for their negative attitude and behavior; instead they just keep making excuses.

To help these people, it is important that you do not provide them the opportunity to make excuses. Kindly, yet firmly tell them that their attitude is hindering the group’s progress.

In addition, point out to them that you are confident in their abilities, but if they do not change their attitudes and behavior you will have to let them go.

The “Garbage Collector”

These people have totally surrendered their lives to negative emotions. They love to rehearse and replay the injuries they suffered from other people. They hold on to their injuries and nurse their wounded spirits like it was a sick puppy.

In handling people with this personality type, confront them about the way they try to represent other people. When they tell you about the many people who feel that way too, ask them to name names. This one question takes out the “stink” in their declarations because it usually boils down to one or two individuals who share their affinity for garbage.

This generally makes them realize that their statements are mere generalizations and exaggerations. In some extreme cases, it may be necessary to destroy their credibility to the decision-making body.

The “User”

These people manipulate others for their own gain. They avoid responsibility, while demand time and energy from others. They often use the “guilt trick” to get what they want.

Set a predetermined limit on how far you are willing to help them. What's more, require responsibility from them and make them answerable for some job. Most of all, never feel obligated to them or guilty for not feeling obligated. If you let them push your guilt button, they will definitely take advantage of your weakness.

VII. Learning to Handle Criticism

Leaders and change agents are the two kinds of people who are most susceptible to criticism -- leaders because they stand apart from the crowd; change agents because they bring unwelcome and uncomfortable change in people’s lives.

Develop a positive attitude towards criticism, so you can be more relaxed when confronted with it. Surround yourself with positive people. Also, learn to laugh at yourself. Remember, the best of people also gets criticized.

Moreover, learn to look beyond the criticism and see the critic. Sometimes knowing who the critic is will help you determine whether to pay the criticism its due attention or not. However, be wary of crowds behind the critic. It might be more prudent to take heed of them.

Furthermore, when receiving criticism concentrate on changing your mistakes, and not your mission. If you run from your task each time you are criticized, you sz will never accomplish anything.

On the other hand, when it is you who is giving the criticism check your motives. Never attack the person. Always focus your critique on the problem. Be specific and be sure to confront people when the time is right. Above all, always sandwich criticism between praise at the beginning and encouragement at the end.

VIII. Developing a Winning Team

Unity of purpose is the glue that holds teams together. It is the key to successful teamwork. To build a successful team, all members must share a common goal, which must be communicated to each and everyone in the team.

The Major Attributes of a Winning Team
-They play to win.
-They take risks. One must risk failure to win.
-They keep on improving. They become better persons in the process.
-Each member cares about the success of every other member.

B. Three Key Areas that Determine a Team’s Success

Hire the Right People. It is the leader’s job to ensure that only the right kind of people gets hired. Bear in mind that the quality of an organization’s staff is its most important feature. When hiring staff, use this formula to RATE individuals: Relationship + Attitude x Talent + Expectation = Production

Dismiss/fire workers only after careful and prayerful consideration. Do it tactfully and be sure to have strong, solid grounds for dismissing workers. If possible, assist with their transition towards their new life.

Inspire your people to work together as a team and to aspire for a common goal. Motivate the team by continually reminding the team of the overall vision and the importance of accomplishing that goal.

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