On this episode of Creating Disney Magic, I answer two listener questions, but they both tie together.
With the first question, someone asks about working with a mentor. He is a young man who wants to know how to approach someone about working with them in a mentor type relationship.
It is not uncommon for people to ask me to be their mentor. I decline, though. If I am going to mentor someone I need to see them work and have a personal relationship with them.
But I am willing to give advice and to let you know how I did or would handle a situation.
You will find many people are willing to answer your questions and give advice. All you have to do is ask.
Before you ask, read their books or articles. Listen to their podcast interviews. Attend their events. As you do this, your question may be answered and you can ask a better question.
Working with a mentor or having someone you look up to give you advice can help you build confidence.
But what do you do when something happens that takes a knock at your confidence?
There are times when you will get rejected. Or something you expected doesn’t go your way. And it may knock at your confidence. Keep going. It is all you can do. Usually, when you get rejected, it has nothing to do with you. Keep moving. My entire career was not magic.
When you fall off a horse, get back on right away. Your best days are ahead of you. Get started on having those better days sooner by getting back up.
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Having difficult conversations is one of the toughest aspects of being a leader.
Terminating someone, in my opinion, is the hardest thing. But having difficult conversations is second, and avoiding these conversations can often lead to having to terminate someone.
If you can’t make hard decisions or have hard conversations, don’t become a parent and don’t become a manager.
Most managers are not living up to their responsibility of having the tough conversations.
Tough conversations are about a variety of topics; performance, attitude, coming to work on time, poor communication, all are topics that are difficult to talk to people about. And so many managers avoid having the conversations they should have.
The power you hold in your hands as a leader is tremendous. Depending on how you role model, how you develop, and how you handle difficult conversations can determine if an employee becomes good or if they become great. Avoiding tough conversations is hurting people who look to you to help them succeed.
Being clear and upfront when you hire an employee can cut down on the difficult conversations you have to have. But even if you do a great job with clarity when you hire, you will still have to have difficult conversations with people.
When someone is doing something that needs to be improved, you don’t have to save up a list of transgressions. You don’t have to be historical.
You can have the entire conversation in 90 seconds. Here are the steps:
Bring up the current incident.
Be clear about what is happening.
Be clear about expectations.
Leave it that. It is that simple to let someone know they need to come to work on time or stop being rude in meetings.
Make sure you are having these conversations. Don’t avoid it. You know which conversations you need to have. You know what you have been putting off. You know what is happening that will eventually hurt people or cause a problem if you don’t take care of it. And you know what other employees are talking about. If you don’t take care of the issue, if you don’t have the difficult conversations, it makes you look bad as a leader. Others are paying attention to how you handle the situation.
Often, when people are not told someone is wrong, they will take it as acceptance.
If you want to get better at having difficult conversations, consider reading these books;
Many people have a job they would consider a dream job, but they never go for it.
And if they do, they wonder how hard they should pursue it.
There can be more than one way to get your dream job. Sometimes you need to take a job just to get in the door.
Are you willing to take a gamble on yourself? Take a lower job so you can show them how good you are.
Or, know specifically what you are going after and find out what you need to do.
Most hard things take time. You have to invest in yourself to figure out where you need to improve and work on it. Stick with it.
And be willing to take a risk. It won’t fall in your lap. You have to be willing to take a risk.
People underestimate what they can achieve. Too often, I hear people reference their background, education, parents, the city they live in, or a number of other reasons they can’t pursue their dream job. None of that matters. Don’t sell yourself short. You can accomplish it if you set your mind to it and become deliberate.
Focus on what you want and figure out how you can get it. It may take you a year or it may take five years. You have to be relentless. Get up every morning and go for it. Be relentless. Wear people down until you get what you are after.
As you pursue your dream job, don’t let up on your standards for the current job you have. You are a professional. People are counting on you. Yes, go after your dream. But never let your performance slip when you are being paid to do a job.