In my last blog, I passed on some sage advice from my leadership mentor, Marshall Goldsmith. I promised you more from Marshall, and here it is. Paraphrased below is additional valuable advice about influencing the decision-makers from one of the world’s most recognized and lauded leadership thinkers.
- Realize that powerful people also make mistakes: It is realistic to expect decision-makers to be competent; it is unrealistic to expect them to be anything other than normal humans. When your manager makes mistakes, focus on helping rather than judging;
- Always be respectful: Treat decision-makers with the same courtesy that you want from them. When in doubt about whether or not your remark is respectful, hold back. Don’t share it;
- Support the final decision: Even if the final decision is not the one that you recommended, treat it as if it is. If you do less by distancing yourself from the result, you will be perceived as a messenger not a leader. People are watching. When you get to be a decision-maker, you want them to model your good behavior;
- Make a positive difference: Don’t just try to “win” or “be right.” Keep your focus on what you are doing correctly instead of what others are doing wrong. Influencing “up” requires dedication to making a positive difference for your organization; and
- Focus on the future and let go of the past: Do not whine about the past. No one wants to hear it. Keep your eye on the future and how you can influence others to become a decision-maker yourself.
I am sure that you will agree that this is great advice. Follow Marshall Goldsmith on his blogs, and you will be prepared for the challenges of business and law. Read his most recent book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful. I have read it, and it definitely is a MUST READ.
Good luck with these new career and leadership concepts. Apply them liberally!