Wag More, Bark Less

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This is a bumper sticker on my car. Yes, we love dogs. Moreover, I love when people work to get along instead of engage in conflict. And, of course I have a workplace connection.

I am working with a company that has an ongoing conflict between the top two roles in the company – the CEO and the CFO. This conflict is impacting the morale of the organization and could also have the ability of separating two lifetime friends in the process. Lots more barking than wagging going on.

I find the core of this conflict, like most in the workplace, comes down to these three challenges, all about some missing education:

  • All talking, no listening. Communication is the movement of information, which requires both a speaker and a listener. When both sides are talking (or one side is constantly talked over), no one is listening. And when both sides are talking, they naturally escalate the volume to be heard. I don’t know about you, but the louder someone gets, the less I listen. A refresher in a communication program is a wise investment.
  • Check the egos at the door. Sometimes more senior positions (or positions with more responsibility) encourage larger personalities. In today’s intellectual/service workplace, all successes happen through building quality employee and customer relationships. There is little room for ego, hubris or attitude at any level – it interrupts relationship building (and both employees and customers become loyal by building strong emotional connections). Get a coach or attend a leadership course to learn how to check the egos at the door and get reconnected to the people that matter.
  • One or both sides are outdated in their understanding of solving challenges in a constantly changing environment. Most of us are so busy during the workday that we rarely stay caught up on information and learning. As the world changes, and we don’t, we quickly become outdated in our solution tools. Solutions become more difficult and the tempers rise. Invest in books or programs that share how today’s successful organizations have integrated change thinking into their culture. Work on it as a department or company to help reduce the shock of change.

In today’s service economy and workplace, the command-and-control (bark) approach is ineffective. Instead, use today’s engage-and-inspire (wag) approach with both employees and customers – it actives loyalty. Wag more, bark less – not only a life lesson but a workplace lesson.

I think I’ll share this post with these two and buy them each the Wag More Bark Less bumper sticker. Maybe they can put it by their office nameplates for a reminder. …

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Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of “Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition” and “The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World.” Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association. follow him on Twitter.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user digital_image_fan, CC 2.0)