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spacer " Ole delivers the goods. He is engaging, refreshingly irreverent and tuned into the challenges of small business. You can appreciate why he was named the 2006 Impact Speaker of the Year by the world's largest CEO membership organization – Vistage."

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spacer Kurt Chilcott,
CEO/President
CDC Small Business Finance


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You Aren't A Mistake, You Are Just Making One
By Ole Carlson
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Not every day of business goes perfectly, and not every person always performs at their top level. There are times that you are going to get frustrated and let it out. What you need to do as a successful leader is make sure when those times happen that you are not damaging your team, their morale, or your own reputation.

Let's take a look at two similar situations, with very different outcomes. Steve led a team of sales people, and in one Monday morning sales meeting he became cross, he yelled at his team, told them they were unproductive, and excused them with the threat that they better be more productive or else.

Jeff was also a leader of a meeting. He also became irritated at his team, and yelled some, slammed his books down on the conference table, told his team they were not being productive and excused then with a threat that this better not happen again.

Both Steve and Jeff became frustrated. Both accused their teams of being unproductive. And both threatened their teams as they left. So, how could their outcomes be different? Steve's team went back to their respective places licking their wounds, and trying to recover from the verbal beat down they had received. Jeff's team, on the other hand, left the meeting with a clear understanding that they had been unproductive, and with the intention to try harder next time.

So, with the same actions, why were the outcomes so different?

In the case of Steve, these verbal beatings were a weekly occurrence. He was constantly belittling and embarrassing his team. He reinforced daily how unproductive they were, and threatened them until they ran around like scared rabbits, and did not get any more productive. While Steve may have been trying to better develop his team, his actions came across as punitive.

In the case of Jeff, he made constant positive reinforcements to his team. His team respected him, and could see that when he became frustrated that not only was he right, but that his intentions were purely developmental, not punitive. When Jeff would occasionally get upset with his team, they saw his humanness, not a person trying to make them feel worthless.

Steve made his team feel worthless. Jeff made his team realize they could do better. Jeff reinforced through his consistent actions that the people that worked for him were not mistakes, they were just making them.

You need to constantly be making positive deposits, so that when there is a negative withdrawal (such as a moment of humanness where you let out some frustration), you aren't putting your team so far in the negative they can't get out. Those moments happen, your task is to make sure that when they do, you have been a positive enough influence to not significantly damage the spirit and esteem of your team.


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