How do you handle suggestions from others?

There are different ways we handle suggestions. If we look at the figure above e can see 4 quadrants which depict the following:
  1. Quadrant 1-Low Thinking and low acceptance- here you outright reject a suggestion with little thinking

  2. Quadrant 2 - Low Thinking and high acceptance-here you outright accept a suggestion with little thinking

  3. Quadrant 3-High thinking and low acceptance-here you thoughtfully reject an idea

  4. Quadrant 4-High thinking and high acceptance-here you thoughtfully accept an idea

Both quadrant 1 & quadrant 2 are dangerous. You may either miss good suggestions or accept some suggestion with little thinking and land yourself in trouble. Quadrant 3 & quadrant 4 are good provided you weigh the pros and cons of the suggestion and take action. Quadrant 3 is good as long as you don't reject an idea because of ego or arrogance.

It is important for you to examine the way you handle suggestions; The way you handle suggestions could spell out success or failure to you.

Most of us take the way we handle suggestions granted; Sometimes the price we pay may be very high.

Which quadrant do you usually fall when you are given a suggestion?

Do you use the power word "NO"?

In life people place all kind of demands on us. Some of them we comply because we want to comply but a large number of them we just yield in because we said "yes" without thinking through or we did not have the heart or the courage to say "no".

The word "NO" is one of the most useful words we can ever have.

Here are some advantages of using the word "NO":
  • You will save a lot of time
  • You will save a lot of effort
  • You will build relationship and make it stronger because you are honest in the first instance
  • You will have power on your side in a negotiation scenario
  • You will save yourself from bad habits-Saying no to cigarettes is a good way to avoid the bad habit in the first place
  • You will have the power to change your habits. I said no to sodas (Coke, Fanta---) and completely stopped them since Jan 1st.
  • Saying "NO" enhances the power of your "YES"
  • People around you will take you seriously
  • A habit of saying "NO" will force you to think because you don't want to take your "NO" or "YES" lightly

I have listed only some of the advantages. I am sure there are a lot more.

What is important is to think through before we say "YES" and use "NO" whenever it is appropriate.

When was the last time you used the "Power of NO"?

Do you slacken your vigilance with respect to newly acquired good habits?

Sometimes we slacken our vigilance and let our hair down, so to speak, with respect to dysfunctional habits. We think that if we indulge in one bad habit just for once we can quickly get back to our new healthy & productive ways by refocusing and redoing the new habits that have just got installed.

Days pass by and we suddenly realize that not only do we have to deal with the dysfunctional habit we chose to do for sometime, but also we have related set dysfunctional habits to deal with.

We need to be very careful not go back to the old dysfunctional habits.

If we have careless then we will have to put in herculean effort again to get back to our good habits.

Do you set your expectations clear to others, especially in business transactions?

It is very important to set our expectations clear while we are transacting business with others. We may have a lot of expectations in our minds and we will evaluate the relationship based on these expectations; Sometimes these expectations are unspoken.
  1. You need to paint the walls of the apartment before you give your apartment for lease to us
  2. You need to fix and repair the apartment before we move in

Many a times we take these expectations as a given and expect the other party to fulfill them without any protest.

We may be in for a surprise.

It is better to be tough in our negotiation stand before a deal is done rather than later. The more clarity both the parties have on what is expected of each other, the more the chance of developing trust and respect.

Tough negotiation is the foundation to building trust.

What is your experience?

Do you tell white lies?

What are white lies? These are lies people tell each other to smoothen the social machinery.
  1. I tried to call you yesterday but your number was not getting through. Belated Happy Birthday. (She could have said that she forgot and apologized for it)
  2. We will hit our targets this month.(He could have said that he will fall short and could have shown his boss the plan to bridge the gap)
  3. Wow! Your new dress is beautiful(She could have told her the truth that the new dress doesn't look good on her)
  4. I will definitely come to your party.(She could have apologized and said that she cannot go for the party as she will be out of town.

These are just a few examples. I think millions of white lies would have been uttered all over the world even before you finish reading this post.

We need to be assertive and tell the truth, while being sensitive to others feelings. The line between white lies and harmful lies is really thin.

If you tell white lies it will be easier for you to tell the real harmful lies because you will get a lot of practice day in day out.

Telling the truth is the best approach.

What do you think?

Do you wear a mask? Does the mask you wear paint an illusion of yourself even to you?

Recently I went for a series of meetings with other leaders. As usual in such meetings, some of the leaders were excellent, professional, and more than anything else, very sincere. Their words matched their body language; Many of the leaders present there, I knew them personally.

There were also leaders whose words did not match their body language nor did their behaviour.

I have seen this happen time and again. People portray a false image of themselves to the world outside;especially leaders, they wear a mask of professional leadership and spew out well rehearsed jargons about being proactive, being open to criticism, being collaborative, being kind and showing false concern for their subordinates.

The problem of wearing a mask and putting on a make up on it produces only transient effect; In the heat of the moment, the masks and the make up melt down rapidly and the leaders are exposed as they are.

It is possible to fool people for sometime, but not forever. A leader may think that his people are getting caught in the web of his illusion and he may actually succeed for a while, but not for too long.

Circumstances and events will destroy that illusion and suddenly everything about the leader will become crystal clear to everyone.

What is more dangerous is that the leader himself getting illusioned by his mask and make up. He may come to believe that he is truly all that he portrays to the world and much more, while he is the stark opposite of the play act.

To speak metaphorically, it is a situation where the actor who acts out the role of the Great Emperor Akbar thinking that he is Akbar himself.

Do you wear masks? Are you spinning an illusion around you? Are you getting illusioned by your own play act?
These are hard questions to ask yourself. It takes courage to unmask yourself and see yourself as you are.

You need courage to strip the mask you are wearing and the compassion to look at yourself as you are; For this is the first step to change the inner forces that are making you an "ugly" person.

If you want to be a true leader be one; It takes a lot of inner work to accomplish that.