Being diplomatic without sacrificing the message.Q My manager has told me that I am too assertive as·ser·tive
Inclined to bold or confident assertion; aggressively self-assured.
as·sertive·ly adv. and that I border on being aggressive. She said that I need to be more diplomatic. I am very effective in getting positive outcomes from my team. How can I be more diplomatic (and, therefore, less assertive and aggressive) without sacrificing the message? I asked my manager this question, and she said, "Just try harder."
A Good communications skills are essential for the successful manager. You must be able to get your message across and empower the receivers. You also need to be diplomatic. Deliver your message in a manner that honors the person receiving it. Honoring means being sensitive that you are dealing with a person that someone loves (e.g., someone's mother, father, son, or daughter). It does not mean that you have to like the person.
Alton Sturtevant points out, "It sounds like you may have a 'dominant' personality trait as defined by some trait-evaluation models. The owner of this trait tends to be very straightforward with little or no sugar coating applied when approaching most situations. I am one of these types and tend to get right to the point. Our interactions tend to skip pleasantries pleas·ant·ry
n. pl. pleas·ant·ries
1. A humorous remark or act; a jest.
2. A polite social utterance; a civility: exchanged pleasantries before getting down to business. in conversation. We are not malicious, just to the point. This does come across as being pushy push·y
adj. push·i·er, push·i·est
Disagreeably aggressive or forward.
pushi·ly adv. or aggressive. I have been 'trying harder' for 30 years as a manager. One thing that helped me was a one-day training course our lab conducted. The purpose of the training was to recognize the management/personality traits of each manager and supervisor. The managers were tested using the trait test, which categorized cat·e·go·rize
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.
cat us into one of four types: dominant, influencer, steadiness, and conscientious. The training helped us to recognize our own traits, as well as those of our fellow employees. We also learned how each of the four types best receives incentives and disincentives to perform. The study sessions involved group discussion and case studies to help us learn this valuable management tool."
Dr. Sturtevant adds, "Perhaps you should suggest training along these lines to your manager to help you and your fellow workers. If training is not available through your institution, you should avail yourself of it on your own time and expense to polish your management skills. This will make you a better manager and person, and will pay off in promotions and satisfaction."
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Larry Crolla, "Since I do not know your style of business, I will guess and say that being more diplomatic may mean being more participative in your approach to your team. Instead of saying this is the way I want it done, you can ask for suggestions on how to accomplish a certain task or project. Also stand back and review your actions after a meeting (e.g., analyze your gestures, actions, and speech to see if they were aggressive). You may have to practice toning down your assertiveness assertiveness /as·ser·tive·ness/ (ah-ser´tiv-nes) the quality or state of bold or confident self-expression, neither aggressive nor submissive. and give others a chance to participate. You will find the truth of your actions from this personal analysis, if you do it honestly."
Marti Bailey points out, "Simply put, diplomacy is the verbal art of pleasing--or at least staying on good terms with--most people most of the time. This does not mean misrepresenting the truth in order to keep people happy. But it does mean communicating in such a way that people feel like their interaction with you has been respectful re·spect·ful
Showing or marked by proper respect.
re·spectful·ly adv. and positive. The word 'verbal' in the definition clearly conveys that communication is basic to diplomacy. With this in mind, you might think of diplomacy as the packaging for what you need to communicate. Your manager is not alone in expecting more than just positive outcomes. The road leading to the positive outcome is just as important as the outcome itself. I believe your manager is asking you to build and maintain positive relationships with your staff. Like it or not, it is not enough to be skilled at everything except relationships. When your boss uses terms such as 'too assertive and aggressive' to describe you, I would take this very much to heart. I think she is looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. a softer, kinder you that still gets the effective outcomes needed. Learning diplomacy skills will be beneficial not only in the short term but also for preparing you to move to the next level--if, indeed, you are interested in advancement.
"So, how do you go about developing diplomacy skills? I suggest you begin by realizing that working around, over, or through people to get things done is no longer state of the art. Instead, you need to work with people, letting them participate in the problem-solving process, helping them to understand the viewpoints of others, and moving them toward common ground so that everyone can buy into the solution. Diplomacy requires treating people with utmost respect. This can only be accomplished by mastering tact. Tactful tact·ful
Possessing or exhibiting tact; considerate and discreet: a tactful person; a tactful remark.
tact people do and say things kindly so that no one is offended of·fend
v. of·fend·ed, of·fend·ing, of·fends
1. To cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in.
2. . But tact is not just saying things the right way. It is also practicing the right behaviors. You can start yourself on the way to becoming a tactful person by practicing the following: (1,2)
* Get to know your staff and the jobs they are doing. Know their strengths and weaknesses. Build on their strengths and help them grow to overcome their weaknesses.
* Be a team player. Help others who need assistance. Make sure credit goes to everyone who deserves it.
* Be open to new ideas "New Ideas" is the debut single by Scottish New Wave/Indie Rock act The Dykeenies. It was first released as a Double A-side with "Will It Happen Tonight?" on July 17, 2006. The band also recorded a video for the track. . Manipulating people or simply using the authority of your position to get them to accept your point of view may achieve the end result but will not build trust and understanding.
* Avoid spreading gossip and negativity. Never send an e-mail to anyone that you would not send to everyone.
* Do not criticize publicly. This is never acceptable.
* Work through the chain of command. Always keep your boss informed. Do not solve important problems in a vacuum.
* Use humor humor, according to ancient theory, any of four bodily fluids that determined man's health and temperament. Hippocrates postulated that an imbalance among the humors (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) resulted in pain and disease, and that good health was liberally to soften your image, but never make light at someone else's expense. Making fun of yourself occasionally makes it a lot easier for people to warm up to you."
Bottom line. There will be a direct correlation Noun 1. direct correlation - a correlation in which large values of one variable are associated with large values of the other and small with small; the correlation coefficient is between 0 and +1
positive correlation between the investment you make in building relationships with your staff and your diplomacy skill level. Building these relationships will take time. Do not ever consider being diplomatic a sign of weakness. Becoming an office diplomat can add a whole new dimension to your performance and effectiveness as a manager. Always show respect for the other person when you talk with them, no matter what the message is.
1. Accountemps. Practicing Diplomacy in the Workplace. Available at: www.smartpros.com/x36740.xml.
2. London, Manuel: Principled prin·ci·pled
Based on, marked by, or manifesting principle: a principled decision; a highly principled person. leadership and business diplomacy. Journal of Management Development. 1999; 18(2):170-192.
Edited by Christopher S. Frings, PhD, CSP (1) (Certified Systems Professional) An earlier award for successful completion of an ICCP examination in systems development. See ICCP.
(2) (Commerce Service P
MLO's Management Q & A department provides practical, up-to-date solutions to readers' management issues from a panel of laboratory management experts. Readers may send questions to Dr. Chris Frings at 633 Winwood Drive, Birmingham, AL 35226; fax, (205) 823-4283; or e-mail, email@example.com. The following panel of laboratory directors, managers and supervisory technologists have provided their input in the answers given in this column: Marti K. Bailey, MT(ASCP ASCP American Society of Clinical Pathologists. ), Work Unit Leader, Pathology, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Milton Snavely Hershey (September 13, 1857 – October 13, 1945) was an American businessman and philanthropist. He is famous for founding The Hershey Chocolate Company and the "company town" of Hershey, Pennsylvania. Medical Center, Hershey, PA; Lawrence J. Crolla, PhD, Consulting Clinical Chemist, Departments of Pathology and Respiratory Care, Alexian Brothers Hospital, Elk Grove Village Elk Grove Village, village (1990 pop. 33,429), Cook and Du Page counties, NE Ill., a suburb of Chicago; inc. 1956. With a population of c.100 at the time of its establishment on open farmland, the village has grown dramatically and steadily, largely because of its , IL, West Suburban Medical Center, Oak Park, IL and Northwest Community Hospital, Arlington Heights Arlington Heights, village (1990 pop. 75,460), Cook county, NE Ill., a residential suburb of Chicago; founded 1836, inc. 1887. Its manufactures include machinery, drugs and medical equipment, and metal fabrication. Arlington Park racetrack is there. , IL; and Alton Sturtevant, PhD, Vice President and General Manager, LabCorp, Birmingham, AL.