business career entrepreneur success

Preparing for Difficult Discussions

As a leader, you have an opportunity to help others solve their problems. You can provide support and direction by paying attention and offering helpful guidance. Good listening skills are a critical part of effective leadership.

When you listen, you can provide support for employees during difficult times. The simple act of listening can be a big help to a stressed-out person. Listening can also be a development tool. When you listen and respond, you’ll be able to help employees learn from their experiences.

The supportive listening process

By using a process for listening, you’ll ensure that you’re making the most of your interactions with employees. There are three steps in the supportive listening process.

1. Paraphrase what you think the person really means

When you paraphrase, you help the other person clarify his thoughts. You restate in your own words what you think the person is saying. You might say, “It sounds like you’re saying that you feel overwhelmed with the new project.” You then give the person a chance to verify what he’s said.

2. Share your perceptions of the situation

Let the other person know what you think she’s feeling. You’ll get feedback about your perceptions. You may think someone is angry, when she’s really feeling hurt. You’ll also let her know how she appears to others.

3. Ask purposeful questions

Ask questions that help you better understand the situation. You may ask questions like, “What are your thoughts about…?” or, “What do you see as the pros and cons…?” or, “What information do you need to make a decision?” These questions will also clarify the other person’s thoughts. (Read more on

business career entrepreneur success

Developing a Goal Plan

Planning and Achieving Goals

As an emotionally intelligent manager, it’s important to develop your staff members. You can help your employees by working with them to set goals and achievement plans.

Developing a goal plan

This plan will break large goals into manageable steps. It will also detail the commitment both you and the employee are making.

Goal plans are appropriate only for large goals that will be accomplished over long periods of time. These plans aren’t a good match for smaller tasks. There are four steps to developing a goal plan:

Detail — Detail the goal. Use only one major goal, such as “moving into a supervisory role,” or “switching to the customer service division.” These should be goals, not tasks.

Effort — Set the steps involved in reaching the goal. Some may sound overwhelming to the employee, but he’ll see that you’re making an effort toward his development. The steps might include, for example, attending training or achieving a 95 percent error-free rating.

Action — What actions does the employee need to commit to in order to reach this goal? Which steps are the sole responsibility of the employee?

Support — What can you, the manager, do to support the employee? Which steps in the development plan are your responsibility? What commitments do you need to make? You might, for example, need to commit to give your employee some free time for working on department projects.


business career entrepreneur success

Resolving Problems and Motivating Teams

Resolve problems effectively

Your ability to resolve problems effectively is key to your success in management. Employees will look to you to set a strong example. When a problem arises, you must take the following steps.

business career entrepreneur success

Intellectual Shortcuts

You do not totally control your brain. It develops its own methods of processing information, with or without your approval.