Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


Developing Leadership Skills Early in your Career

Guest post by Caroline Ross

One thing that many young professionals don’t understand about the job market is that leadership plays a huge role in getting hired. As a former hiring manager and supervisor, I can say that the recent grads who have succeeded most in the workforce are those who’ve had intentional leadership experiences in college and after they’ve graduated. These are the types that succeed, so these were the types that I hired. If you’re worried about finding the right job early in your career, focus on leadership. Here’s how:

1. Don’t just join organizations; lead organizations
Many college students join various student organizations for the express purpose of padding their resume. They tend to do the same after college. When I see a laundry list of student or professional organizations on an applicant’s resume, this demonstrates to me that you aren’t very committed. Instead, join one organization that you’re truly passionate about, no matter what that organization is, and endeavor to become a leader within that organization. It’s much better to have one organization of which you were the president or chairman, instead of having several organizations on your resume that you were only semi-involved with.

2. Practice public speaking skills by joining Toast Masters or taking a speech course
Solid communication skills are important in every facet of the adult world, whether it’s during an interview, at work, or even in your personal relationships. A good, confident speaker, in my eyes, is a leader. As such, take the time to learn the basics of good public speaking. Most cities have at least one Toast Master’s chapter, and most schools also offer speaking courses, which you can still take as a continuing education course after you’ve graduated. Avail yourself of these opportunities to improve your ability to communicate and persuade.

3. Be involved at work and speak up
Every day, there are hundreds of hidden opportunities to develop leadership skills. One of the easiest ways to do so is to speak up during work meetings and be involved, even if you aren’t required to speak. Of course, offer your opinion in an appropriate manner so others will be receptive. You’ll not only learn the art of speaking, but you’ll also learn how to express your opinions in a clear and convincing manner, which matters a great deal in your future career. You can also practice leadership through greater involvement in other areas, like volunteering with a local organization.

Of course, you aren’t going to start your career off being the best possible leader that you can be. Leadership is an art that’s developed throughout your whole life. But if you take the time to practice early, you’ll be much more successful when it comes time to finding a job that suits your talents.  Good luck!

Caroline Ross is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She particularly enjoys giving students advice about their future careers and personal development. Check out more Caroline’s writing at www.accreditedonlineuniversities.com. Caroline welcomes your comments below!

The Product Management Perspective: Learning is (or it should be) a life-long endeavor. Make learning and leadership development a focus in your work as a product manager and you will find new avenues of success in your career.

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Leadership and balance

We all have more things to do in a day than the time needed to do them all. The key to moving forward without caving under pressure is maintaining balance in our lives. Effective leaders always find a way to meet the priorities of their life and their business. Here are three actions you can take right now to keep balance in your life:

Be realistic: To have balance in your life you have to be realistic. We all have more things we could do than we have time to do them. To maintain balance, look carefully at all the things that are important (i.e. “at the top of the list”) and then be realistic about what you can do given all relevant factors.

Be decisive: Don’t wait for things to happen. When you need to make a decision, don’t hesitate. After you’ve made the decision, put all you energy into getting it done.

Communicate: Make sure you communicate effectively with everyone involved. A big part of keeping balance in your life is making sure everyone is aware of your priorities. Don’t keep things inside; communicate openly with all the key people (family, friends, coworkers, etc.).

As you integrate these three actions into your daily life you’ll find yourself getting things done much more effectively. The anxiety that comes with having too much to do will give way to a bright outlook on life.

The Product Management Perspective: Product managers balance a lot of priorities. With the exception of the CEO/President, there’s not a functional role (in most organizations) that has to interact more with others in the organization than product managers. You need to be proactive and balance the demands that come from all over the organization.


Lead by Example

Five Ways to Be Influential and Succeed with Your Team

Guest post by Tess Pajaron

At my former job, I had a boss who would consistently tell people how important it was to leave the office on time and balance work and life. Then, he would text in the evenings, brag about how late he stayed after everyone had left and go into the office each weekend. He did not lead by example and it made the workplace confusing, uncertain and ultimately stressful.

Being a leader can be difficult. You may have some employees who communicate differently than others, conflicts to overcome within your team and roadblocks that can stunt creativity. But in the end, when you lead by example, you set the tone for your team and create a culture in your department and office.

Here are five ways you can lead by example and influence your team to innovate and succeed every time:

1. Communicate Effectively

Open communication is one of the most important aspects of solid team cohesiveness. Solid communication starts by listening. When you as the leader listen to your team members, you in turn lead by example and demonstrate them the importance of listening each and every time. This skill of listening can be a challenge for some teams, but when you set the example and create a culture of listening to various opinions, ideas and feedback you give your team a forum to feel comfortable expressing their ideas. This has been shown to improve innovation among teams. When each person shares their opinion openly, ideas come together and everyone plays an important role in the outcome of the project.

2. Practice What You Preach

Great leadership is done with integrity and honesty. When you practice the same good habits that you preach to your team members, you show integrity in your actions and become more trustworthy. Walking the talk goes a long way with employees when it comes to how much they respect what you have to say. When you do the opposite of what you request of them, for example not leaving the office on time and working weekends, your employees begin to doubt your leadership and wonder if they should be doing as you say or as you do. This can create a sense of confusion and quickly drive a team apart.

3. Empower Through Delegation

You brought your team together because you, or someone else in your organization, trusted in your employee’s ability to help your organization. Delegating out tasks hands over this trust and shows your team that you believe in their capabilities. If you do everything yourself, you are not leading by example but instead you are sending a signal that their input does not matter and that it is your way or no way. To have the most success, engage your team by providing them tasks to accomplish and lead by being a resource of information to help them accomplish what they are capable of.

4. Share Responsibility

A certain sense of humility goes in to leading a team well. When you discuss openly, you may find that you are wrong. Being able to admit that you are wrong for the greater good of the project and team success is a prime case of leading by example. When you can do this, you also allow your team to feel as if it is acceptable when they are wrong on an idea making them feel more comfortable with their creativity and idea generation. These ideas help fuel innovation, so sharing responsibility and being proactive in coming up with the best solution for the project as a group is essential.

5. Set Goals

Finally, having an end goal in sight that every member of the team is working toward will help you to lead toward that goal. This will allow you lead by example as you work hard toward the end goal. When your team sees you working hard toward the end goal, they in turn will do the same.

Leading by example can be difficult but using these five tips can make you a more influential leader. This is what will make you and your team a success.

Tess Pajaron is part of the team behind Open Colleges. She graduated in Business Administration with a major in Management. When not working, she loves to travel and discover new places and cultures. She can also be found on Cerebral Hacks, where she regularly contributes articles about psychology.

The Product Management Perspective: The five ideas above are all important aspects of successful product management. One of the key ideas from my perspective is building trust. Product managers who trust the other teams to do their job, and work/act in ways that allow others to trust them, have much more success with their products.


Guest Post: 3 Tips for Building Trust on your Team

By Susan Wells

Get to know your employees.

“People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – an old axiom, attributed to Theodore Roosevelt.

Showing your employees that you care about their well being is more than providing great benefits and insurance coverage. The corporation provides benefits, while individuals develop trustful and caring relationships.

People want to be inspired, and to really tap into the passion and enthusiasm that drives your employees, you will need to get to know them. Focus on uncovering their passions and goals. Even if these goals are unrelated to work, this knowledge will provide insight into the activities and skills that captivate your employees’ free time and energy.

Be active in your engagement. Don’t manage from behind a desk, but instead get out there and mingle with people when possible. If you think this could disrupt people’s work patterns, you can hold “office hours” in which your employees can chat with you about new ideas or problems.

Take the backseat.

When communicating ideas, the most important thing for a leader to do is listen. Speak last when possible. Provide a brief summary of what everyone has discussed, highlighting the key points. This will show everyone that you have listened, that you understand and appreciate their words and thoughts.

When it is your turn to speak, you will be able to compare and contrast your thoughts with what has already been said. This is a tactic that will allow others to be opinionated, and it will make them feel more involved in the decision making process. This is also known as letting other people think the decision was their idea.

Recognize when an idea is better than you own.

When I was in college, I worked as a customer service representative at a family-owned furniture store. It was a multi-million dollar business that was growing fast, and we often encountered problems that we weren’t sure how to solve. My boss gave me a lot of responsibility and a lot of credit. Sometimes, when I would get overheated with a problem, I would go to him for advice.

“I trust you to make the right decision,” he would say. “I’m only successful because I hire people smarter than me.”

Of course, he was a great businessman; but he recognized that he needed a team full of people who were better than him in certain areas. He recognized that his people were assets.

Preserving your ego can make you seem untrustworthy. Strong leaders don’t fear being proven wrong and they aren’t intimidated by the success of others. An ego that hoards credit will destroy trust, but generosity of spirit will strengthen it.

Susan Wells is a freelance blogger who enjoys writing about automotive and health news, technology, lifestyle and personal finance. She often researches and writes about automobile, property and health insurance, providing consumers with access to a trustworthy insurance quote guide and unbiased advice on purchasing. Susan welcomes comments.

The Product Management Perspective: Not new to Lead on Purpose is the adage that people are assets. Product managers who remember that one thing and act accordingly, have great results with their team and their products.


5 steps to remembering names (the first time)

Leaders interact with scores of people every day. Whether in company meetings, at conferences or on a plane, meeting new people and new faces is part of the game. For some, the sheer quantity of interaction with people can seem overwhelming.

One of the best ways to make an impression and gain the confidence of other people is to address them using their name. On the importance of using a name, Dale Carnegie said: “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Here are five steps to help you remember the name of everyone you meet:

  1. Hear the name: When you meet people for the first time, listen when they state their name – really listen and hear what they say when they say their name.
  2. Spell the name: Take a split second and spell their name in your mind after you hear them say it. This important step locks the name in your mind in a powerful way.
  3. Comment on the name: Make a brief comment using the name shortly after you hear it, such as “hi [name], it’s nice to meet you.” Depending on the circumstances you may want to do this non-verbally.
  4. Use the name during the conversation: Use their name once or twice during the initial conversation – this is an important step in remembering a name. It can be something very simple like “so [name], tell me a little more about….” Don’t go overboard or sound too obvious, but look for ways to repeat their name while you become better acquainted.
  5. Restate their name when leaving: Close your conversation using their name. For example, you could say “it was great meeting you [name]” or “[name], I look forward to working with you on the … [project, etc.].”

As you meet someone new and go through these steps, look carefully at the person’s face and other features that will help you associate the name with that individual. You will see noticeable improvements in your relationships and your ability to positively influence people.

The Product Management Perspective: As a product manager you work with a lot of people. Make the effort to know them by name. It’s especially important to remember the names of customers you meet. Using these simple steps will help you establish positive relationships and work more effectively.


Guest Post: Managing Your Manager

By Heather Green

Even managers have managers. Our bosses don’t always make our work life easy. A bad boss can impede the ability to work efficiently, can foster a negative work environment, or can be an obstacle to career advancement. Effective leaders understand how to manage these relationships in order to take charge of their own success. If you feel that your manager is making it difficult to do your best work or to enjoy your job, here are some ways that you can better manage the relationship:

Pinpoint the Issue

What exactly is it that is causing the problem for you? Do you feel undervalued as an employee? Do you feel that your manager changing decisions is undermining your work? Do you have a personality conflict? Getting to the root of your frustrations can help you understand how to solve the problem. Next, look to understand your manager. What are his personal values? What is her work philosophy? Understanding how your boss approaches management of the company or department and its employees can help you understand how approach him.

Improve Communication

Communication is key to every relationship in business. The type of communication you have with your manager can make or break your relationship and the success of your job. Start improving communication by having regular meetings with your boss so that you are both on the same page about the work you are doing. Take the opportunity to inform your boss about your current projects, issues with any employees you manage, client needs that you are addressing, and any other work you are doing. Even if you don’t have a formal meeting, make sure that you are keeping your boss in the loop. This kind of communication can reassure your boss of your competence (in case questions about your abilities were causing micromanagement or other problem behaviors) and can help you build a strong relationship over time.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Your boss didn’t e-mail you with the information you needed when you asked. Maybe he showed up late for a meeting that you were running. Bosses are people, and people aren’t perfect. Decide what’s important, and forget about the things that aren’t. If you get upset about every little annoyance, you’ll never be happy. Learn to prioritize what’s important, and find ways to resolve issues.

Don’t Try to Change Your Boss

People are who they are, and unless they are abusive or destructive in some way, you shouldn’t try to change them. You’ll only become more frustrated and unhappy in the process. Instead of trying to change your manager’s behavior, work on finding ways around your boss to do the job you need to do. If you know he is often late, plan to start a meeting with less important business or with socializing briefly with clients. If you know that your boss is bad about responding to e-mails, make a habit of stopping by his office or giving him a quick phone call. You’ll be able to get your work done, and you can move past the frustration of trying to make things different.

Know When to Leave

Sometimes, a bad boss is just a bad boss, and dealing with that person can keep you from the job satisfaction and success that you desire. Learn to recognize when the situation is just unmanageable, and don’t be afraid to move on and find a better situation. While it is important to know how to work with every type of personality, it is also true that compatibility can be critical to career success. Don’t be afraid to look for a boss and a work environment that is a better fit for you and that will inspire your best performance.

Even if you are a manager yourself, learning how to manage relationships with your boss and other superiors is a critical skill for career success. Ensuring a good relationship with your boss will help you to do your best work and to advance. If you have a difficult or counterproductive relationship with your manager, these steps will help improve the relationship.

Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for onlinenursingdegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research on online nursing programs and online nursing schools.

The Product Management Perspective: The nature of product management organizations often leads to loose-knit teams where each PM spends more time with other teams (e.g. development) and where team members are less engaged with each other than in most other disciplines. More than 81% of product managers report to a director or higher, which explains why PM teams are often “loosely coupled” (as our dev friends like to say). If you are a product manger, applying the ideas above will help. Whether he’s the CEO or more like a peer, you will benefit by strengthening the relationship with your manager.

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Guest Post: Begging For Leadership Won’t Get You A Pocket Full of Change

By Kaity Nakagoshi

Change is inevitable and so is the resistance to change. People are often not welcoming of change unless it is implemented by leadership correctly. It’s natural that people become complacent with the status quo and perform rote tasks without giving their actions much thought. Change brings about fear of the unknown, which creates an atmosphere of unnecessary anxiety. That doesn’t have to be the scenario if employees understand the change, the strategies that will be used, and their role in accomplishing the goals.

Effective leaders need to understand that their primary responsibility is to infuse confidence in employees and ensure that they also have the ability to assume the new responsibilities. Equally important is that employees are instilled with the mind-set that they are capable of successfully executing the change strategies for themselves and their organization.

A successful leader who leads by example and keeps his promises will gain the trust and loyalty of his employees. Valued employees are more willing to contribute to the organization’s success when they believe they have a stake in it and are motivated by their own accomplishments. Toyota is a prime example of this mindset – their engagement approach gets employees involved via quality control improvement at all levels of the organization.

Toyota Case Study

The president of the U.S. based Toyota Corporation was reminded of the importance of employee engagement to organizational success when a factory dilemma occurred. Although Toyota’s leadership style promotes employee involvement, the working environment of one of their factory sites was not motivating its front-line workers. They failed to suggest quality control improvement that is inherent in “Kaizen.”  Kaizen is the Japanese philosophy of continuous incremental improvement in life that Toyota has incorporated into its leadership style.

The Toyota president’s decision to hold weekly meetings with the front-line workers to openly discuss their concerns demonstrated his leadership commitment. He learned that the lack of motivation was attributed to various workplace inadequacies; some of them as basic as poor lighting in locker rooms. As the meetings continued, the workers became more vocal and their grievances more complex. It was revealed that a critical factor for the lack of motivation was the absence of encouragement to participate in quality control improvements for the products they created every day. When the changes were made to remedy the workplace inadequacies, the result was a success, due in part to appropriate business process management practices, and an overall acceptance of “Kaizen”.

Train. Evaluate. Repeat.

Thorough training in all phases of the workflow process and an understanding of the purpose drive organizational change success. Once processes are in place, continuous evaluation is necessary to verify that workers are following procedures as designed, proficiency levels are monitored, and accountability is present based on clearly defined expectations. An exemplary leader immediately assesses any glitches with feedback from his staff and re-evaluates the process to implement improvements A.S.A.P., upon which further assessment is necessary so that additional adjustments can be made if necessary.

Basic economics: Supply and Demand

An effective leader successfully executes her organization’s processes to ultimately meet the demands of customers by focusing on what they really want and providing those goods and services. A product that is of high quality, delivered on time, with quick and effective handling of customer complaints, will enhance customer satisfaction. What matters to the customer should be incorporated into the change process and measured for its effectiveness by customer feedback, retention rates, and growth.

Communication is key

Successful communication means that dialogue must flow in all directions in order to build trust at all levels – between senior level management, middle management, supervisors and frontline workers. As noted in the Toyota example, bottom-up communication is equally important as top-down communication in preventing dissension or the perception of favoritism and distrust.

Management and leadership are not synonymous

Well managed organizations do not necessarily perform at an optimum level. Organizations that are high performing have a successful leadership structure in place that is committed to the business process, change management, and the traditional functions – budgeting, organization, planning, problem solving and staffing. Effective leadership establishes the organization’s vision and sends it in a clear direction. It also inspires and motivates its employees, aligns key personnel for collaboration, and creates an atmosphere that is conducive to cooperation. Priceless leadership is the “heart and soul” of the organization and the management system is the “brain.” Both are essential for optimal performance.

There are many different leadership and management styles, some of which are arguably better than others. More importantly, a successful leader must be able to “morph” their leadership style into the most effective for the given situation, while continuing to guide the organization toward successful change.

The University of San Francisco, in partnership with University Alliance, has provided this article. The University of San Francisco offers higher education opportunities through a variety of online master certificates, including business process management. To see additional information please visit http://www.usanfranonline.com


Guest Post: 10 Secrets of Effective Leaders

By Maria Rainier

If you’re like most managers, you know how hard it can be to inspire and motivate your employees. What’s more, with so many different personality styles on your team, finding leadership tactics that work across the board can be a challenge. Fortunately there are a huge amount of resources out there that can help you become a more successful leader. Here are ten of the most proven tactics that have helped countless managers inspire their team to achieve greatness each and every day:

  1. Be a positive thinker. Every great manager knows that it’s impossible to create a positive work environment if they aren’t positive themselves. No matter how much pressure you feel as a leader, always make sure you think positive and visualize success. That way your team will be inspired to follow suit.
  2. Set clear goals. Making sure your employees understand what’s expected of them is your first step toward success. Set goals that are clear, reasonable and attainable. And stay committed to helping your team members achieve them.
  3. Grow your skills. Just because you’ve reached the management level doesn’t mean you’re done with your training. In fact, by keeping your skills fresh you’ll be able to engage more effectively with your employees who are out in the field. Take classes, attend seminars and join discussion groups to make sure your skills stay up to par.
  4. Be innovative. Following the crowd and being a “yes man” is one of the worst mistakes a manager can make. Be true to yourself and present your own ideas confidently. You’ll be seen as an innovator and not just someone who goes along with the group.
  5. Take responsibility for your failures. Yes, even managers are known to make mistakes. Never blame your failure on your team – you’ll lose integrity immediately. By showing that you’re just like everyone else, you’ll build trust with your group.
  6. Be analytical. As a manager, it’s vital that you have the facts before you make any big decisions. By analyzing the details, you’ll have the right amount of knowledge to set and attain achievable goals.
  7. Learn to communicate. Since there are so many different types of people on your team, it’s vital to know how to bring out the best in everyone. Learn who the introverts and extroverts are, and adapt your communication style to theirs.
  8. Lead but don’t manage. It’s vital to inspire your team to perform by example and not tell them exactly what to do. By enthusing and motivating your group, they’ll be passionate about achieving success on their own.
  9. Respect your team. A good manager always puts the needs of his or her team first. When you do this your team will know that you have their back and will go above and beyond to work hard for you. If there’s a performance problem with an individual, never call them out in public – and never pit employees against one another.
  10. Focus on the client. Since serving your clients is the most important part of your business, be sure you always put their needs first. This will help create a customer-driven organization and will help build longevity between your company and your client’s business.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, where recently she’s been researching different social work degree programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

The Product Management Perspective: The ten actions above are important for successful product leadership. If you are leading a team of product managers, pay special attention to the following: #2: Goals point you and your team to the future. Product management focuses on releasing the right products to the right markets at the right time; set both financial and operational goals for your product line. #4: Being innovative ties closely with understanding your markets; be the market expert for your product line. #9: it’s all about relationships; your team needs to know, without any hesitation, that you have their backs and will do everything you can to help them succeed. Build relationships of trust.


Leadership and Product Management

The key to successful product management is working well with other teams. Product managers hold a unique position in the company: they depend on people from other groups, but they do not have managerial authority over those people (in most cases). Their success depends on their ability to build consensus and inspire the other team members to do great things. Therefore, a product manager must earn the trust of people in the organization and influence them to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Product management — at every level — is a leadership role within the organization.

Here are the key roles that are crucial to your success as a product manager, and why they are important:

  • Engineering/QA: The relationship with the engineering/development team is paramount for product managers. Product managers need to provide direction for how a product should be built, and through your understanding of the market, give them assurance they are building the right product. Give them what they need, then take a step back and trust them to deliver.
  • Customer support: They form the front line to the customers and are always the first to know when things go wrong. They get the most up-to-date, critical information from customers of any group in the company. Work closely with the support team to assure your products meet customer needs.
  • Marketing: When most people hear the word ‘marketing,’ the duties of PR and marcom are how they usually interpret it. It’s crucial for product managers to work with marketing to ensure they understand the new product and know what it’s capable of doing. With this information marketing communicates the product effectively to customers and the market in general. Their questioning and probing of a product’s value is important to its success.
  • Product Marketing: This group is responsible for outbound product communication — i.e. they tell the world what the product is, the features it has and the reasons for making the purchase. Product marketing helps product management understand how the product will be received. Working together, product marketing and product management understand the market, build the right product(s) and effectively communicate to the people in the market.
  • Sales: Without a solid sales team the company will not succeed. The relationship between sales and product management is important (though somewhat difficult a times). The sales people who “get it” will feed critical information back to product management to improve the products, but they will not expect things to change overnight or for their next sale. When the PM makes a concerted effort to have a strong relationship with sales, their product success will increase.
  • Accounting/Finance: This group is often completely ignored by product management. Smart product managers know the value of having allies in the CFO’s office. At the end of the day, if the product doesn’t make money, nothing else matters.
  • Executives: A product manager’s relationship with executives varies depending on the size of the company; the larger the company, the more removed. In big companies product managers need to work effectively with the directors and VPs of the groups listed above. They should know these leaders personally and be able to walk into their office and have a discussion. The same holds true for the CEO and executives at smaller companies. The PM needs to work closely with them and provide solid evidence regarding product direction. You need to evangelize product management to executives and show them — with data and continual successes — the importance of sound product management practices.
Product managers who can work successfully with these (and other) groups in their companies will release great products and have success throughout their careers.

What other roles are important for success in product management? What have you found to be important in your organization? Please leave a comment and let me know about your experience working with other teams.

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The power of influence

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the UPMA meeting; the keynote speaker was my former professor and mentor Eric Denna who gave a presentation titled “The Influencer: An Executive Look at Product Management.” The presentation was great and I want to share a few of the key discussion points (in my own words and subject to my personal biases).

At the heart of most problems that occur in business settings you find the following:

  • Lack of influence
  • Poor teamwork
  • Mediocre productivity.

At the core of the problem lies a lack of effective communication, which tends to show up in one of two ways: silence or violence. Silence means you turn quiet and stop communicating; you shut the other person(s) out and withdraw your efforts to solve the problem. In this context, ‘violence’ usually means you verbally attack the other person(s) and say things with the intent of deflecting blame. Neither of these reactions solves the problem at hand.

When you find yourself in a situation where the reaction is either silence or violence, you may face what Eric calls the succor’s choice – “I can be honest or I can be nice.” Those who tend towards being honest often say things that come across as mean or otherwise hurtful — violence. Those who favor being nice end up lying to the person to avoid hurting his or her feelings — silence. Either response leads to problems.

How do you avoid the silence/violence dilemma? Talk openly and candidly with the person about the problem. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings and views about the issue at hand. Take the time to clearly state how you feel about the behaviors the other person is exhibiting; be honest and do it in a nice way. Have the conversation and do it in a way that invites the other person to solve the problem with you. Use positive influence to drive to a mutually beneficial result.

Any time you are stuck, if you look closely at your situation you will find a crucial conversation keeping you there. Don’t let silence or violence trap you; take control of the situation by making the other person feel safe talking with you. There is not a conversation you cannot have. There is not a disagreement you cannot overcome.