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Leader Lens: Four Very Simple Rules to Being a Better Leader

12/6/2021

ByMike Ubl

I have been asked many times about my quirky, sometimes catchy, rules for how I like to operate as a manager.  I’ve never really put them down into words, until now.

R-E-L-A-X (Ok, A-Rod said it first, but it works)

What I mean is, when you’re dealing with conflict, take the time to break the conflict into root causes, if the situation allows for slowing things down.  Early on in my career my springs were wound tight, and I reacted to EVERYTHING. When I did, sometimes it was positive but most times it wasn’t.  I was certainly headed towards stress related issues, if not worse, if I didn’t change.  My manager explained that everyday work (and life) will present me with hundreds of crosses.  He explained that a well-balanced person picks wisely which cross he is willing to climb up and hang himself on.  My manager was convinced I carried a ladder with me 24/7 and was hunting for crosses.  Once I learned this lesson albeit much later in life, I gave away my blood pressure cuff that I had in my desk and was able to find more career-based harmony.

Never wrestle with pigs.  You’ll get muddy, and the pig likes it.

What this means is that basically, you will encounter people who thrive on conflict (see the younger me above).  Watch for the bait to engage, and then, don’t take it.  Nothing irritates these kinds of people more than simply NOT taking the bait. 

If you are mad at somebody, 95% of the time they fall into 2 categories:  either they don’t know you are mad, or they don’t care.

The second case is a tough one and normally has many facets in personality conflict that I can’t go into in a short blog.  But it’s also the smallest part of the group.  It’s the first one that fits most of the cases and that is the one you can do something about.  My advice? Let them know.  Simple.  I’m not saying to search for conflict, but if somebody has wronged you or made you angry, talk to them about it.  Now.  Right away.  Letting it fester, while temporarily easier, does nothing except make it worse.  Deal with it head on.  You’ll feel much better much sooner.

There are 2 things you oversee that can’t be altered, taken, or changed by others: Your honor and your attitude.

You can’t dictate an attitude to somebody.  Either they have a good, positive one or they don’t.  And there is NOTHING you can do to change it.  They oversee that one.  It is the same with honor.  If you don’t lie, can’t lie, and won’t lie, you have great honor.  And NOBODY can take that away.  Ever.  If I am in a situation where I can’t answer without being truthful, I will simply say “I can’t answer that”.  It may mean I really don’t know the answer, or I simply can’t answer it.  Either way, it’s the safe answer sometimes.


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