WISDOM

The power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action, based on knowledge, experience, understanding (Webster’s definition), and I’ll add age, if used to enlighten (free from ignorance, prejudice, or superstition) one’s self.

Wisdom quotes:

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.
Francis Bacon

Don’t follow any advice, no matter how good, until you feel as deeply in your spirit as you think in your mind that the counsel is wise.
Joan Rivers

Age was added to Webster’s definition because, for me, it was not a dimension I considered/thought about in my younger days (strange that I did not think about the potential for physical pain, surgery, etc. It gave me a new feeling of vulnerability since I expected an older age to be “free and easy” (since I had lived a healthy, almost pain-free life).

This new feeling of vulnerability has given me a new level enlightenment on those of all ages who suffer with emotional, and physical pain. Even a new level of enlightenment about by grandfather who spent most of his life in a wheelchair. Why? Because he never once complained about his situation, but went about making his life easier to tolerate by finding new ways to move from one place to the next.

Wisdom has been added to the discussion about leadership for without it one’s ability to lead is diminished. Wisdom is not one-dimensional. Wisdom requires thinking first, then putting yourself in your subordinates’ position before taking the next step. The number of bosses I counseled with about what they were asking of those who reported to them did not consider what it required of that person (e.g., telling a subordinate they can’t have a file cabinet to put their supplies and personal items in….just use a box…???

Wisdom and the next three topics (Perception, Discipline, and Commitment) need to be woven together.

Respect

Definition: Proper acceptance or courtesy; recognition of a person’s worth, personal quality, ability, trait.

This topic was not in my list of my original topics, but I need to address it after hearing a story about lack of respect in my family that was disconcerting. Some individuals think they have some privilege to demean, and degrade others. They engage in this behavior and don’t let facts get in their way.

Many of these disrespectful people:
• Do not treat others equally
• Are unwilling to consider others experiences, problems, or issues
• Are quick to judge without any consideration
• Are unwilling to listen, understand or accept others opinions, and/or facts
• Limit communication by their behavior (incessant talking, unwilling to discuss topics they are not interested in)
• Make fun of others who differ in opinion, behavior, and/or looks

My career was filled with disrespectful people at all levels; people with big egos, status conscious (belittled those considered beneath them), had poor manners, and many others too numerous to mention. I think movies, television and radio talk shows have had a tremendous negative impact on respectful behavior. Interrupting, talking over others, and increasing volume are a few examples of what we all see or hear on a daily basis.

A business related experience was so irritating that I had to resign from the organization. What happened? The situation involved a business networking meeting. There was an agenda which included a 15 minute segment for referrals and testimonials. The focus was intended to be on others in the meeting, and not on themselves. Incredibly some members just couldn’t resist talking about themselves during that time even though there was time on the agenda for that purpose. I spent over 5 years trying to get that accomplished, and sadly realized that some individuals can’t change their behavior.

Effective Meetings: Sixth and final section on the topic

Side note: I’m currently leading a group that is responsible for making recommendations on a proposed project. The group knows that the meetings will start on time, and end on time (60 minutes is as long as they have because participants have a lot on their minds besides my meeting with them). They also know that they will be asked to make comments so that all will have their input.

Now to the sixth installment on Effective meetings:

2 Drawing out contributions from specific individuals

-people need to feel safe so create a safe environment (accepting of

all questions and opinions)

-direct your questioning to allow everyone to contribute

-direct traffic and maintain order

-draw out the uninvolved

-recognize strengths and resources

-protect those with minority views

4 Acknowledging and reinforcing constructive participation

-Reinforce through verbal and non-verbal communication

-protect new ideas

-encourage expression of partial ideas

-collectively acknowledge the group

Finally it’s important to remember to generate action at the conclusion of

your meeting. A frequent mistake is that even though a decision has been

made an implementation plan is not put in place. In other situations

managers make assignments without thought of employee commitment,

ability or workload. To avoid these situation develop effective action

plans that include who is responsible, what are they to accomplish, by when.

Key steps:

1 Specify what action needs to be taken with group support

-Clearly identify action steps

-List steps if necessary

-Delegate tasks

2 Make specific assignments with clear completion dates

3 Agree on how to monitor progress and evaluate outcomes

-Assignment does not guarantee implementation

-The ultimate responsibility rests with the leader

Remember, effective meetings will happen with proper planning,

organization and follow-through. The leader who models effective meeting

behavior will increase efficiencies through more productive use of time and

greater results.

Effective Meetings; Part Five of Six

Another common pitfall or trap is lack of meeting participation.

There are two key factors that influence group participation. One is the

leader’s behavior and the other is participants’ expectations. How does

leader behavior affect participation (and unfortunately I’ve observed all of these)?

-When leaders demonstrate a high need for air time participants will

give it to them.

-When meetings are called to demonstrate power no one will ask

challenging questions
.
-If the meeting is called to demonstrate leader knowledge then

groups will sit passively.

-some meetings are called because there “on the leader’s schedule.”

Participants are there physically but not mentally.

How do participants expectations affect participation (and unfortunately I’ve been in meetings like these)?

-Experience is a strong teacher. If previous results of meetings

indicated participation was not expected, then that’s what they will

expect the next time.

-If the participants lack knowledge of the subject or don’t understand

the purpose of the meeting, then they will not expect to participate.

-When their ideas have created negative responses in other meetings

they will expect the same response the next time. So why would they

want to contribute?

-Some participants can’t be that assertive to contribute in meetings

because they are sensitive to other’s reaction
.
-Feeling insecure also affects participants ability to participate.

Behaviors and expectations do affect meeting participation so here are some

suggestions for improving participation. Effective leaders see their role as

coach, facilitator, and conductor. If meeting participation is your goal then

use the meeting time to improve your effectiveness by:

1 Creating a participative climate

-hold back and let others talk

-wait until last to voice your opinion

-explain your expectations (personal and meeting)

-create a positive atmosphere

-ask open-ended questions

-limit frequent contributor input to allow others to speak

Discussion concluded in Part Six in next week’s blog posting.