Thursday, March 19, 2009

4 Ways to Constructively Challenge Everyone You Meet

Challenged minds expand.
Challenged minds create lightbulbs.
Challenged minds mobilize resources.

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: When you challenge people (constructively, that is) several cool things happen:

1. You gain clarity on their motives, intentions and beliefs.
2. They gain an opportunity to restate, reform and rethink their ideas.
3. Which catches their attention.
4. Which causes them to stop and think.
5. Which causes them to clarify their remarks.
6. Which causes the REAL motives and beliefs to surface.
7. Which causes you to better understand where they’re coming from.

Here’s a list of four practices to become more challenging TODAY...

1. Exhaust people’s limits. Try pushing them a little harder. And a little harder. And a little harder. Don’t kill ‘em, but challenge people to create new edges for themselves. As my yoga instructor says, “Stretch their bodies and minds and souls to a point where they’re not in pain; but where pain is definitely possible. Go to the doorway of pain, but don't enter.” Whom are YOU stretching?

2. Practice negative thinking. Posing occasional questions underscored with doubt and skepticism is a healthy way to maintain objectivity and curiosity. What’s more, negative thinking - more specifically, negative questioning - is a protective measure. It’s challenging, counterintuitive and gives you permission to explore the downside. Human beings NEED to have (occasional) negative thoughts. Here are 22 ways to do so. Remember: Doubt protects us. Doubt gives us choices. Doubt is smart. Whose rationale are you willing to call out?

3. Train people’s eyes. Ever tried to show someone how to stare at a Magic Eye poster? You probably said something like, “Just relax your eyes, soften your gaze and don’t look at anything particular.” The same process goes for life. When you’re with someone, explain your thinking process out loud as you observe. Let them hear how you process your visuals. Explain your inner monologue. Let them hear how you ask yourself questions. All of these practices give people an insight into how you operate, which will challenge them to wonder about how THEY operate. Whose eyes are YOU training?

4. Tell people why. Never assume anyone knows your reasoning for doing anything. So, don’t DEFEND yourself; explain yourself. Make your motivations and intentions crystal clear. When you tell people why, they’re more likely to (1) believe you, (2) understand you, and (3) respond TO you. Are you constantly making people aware of your Why?

REMEMBER: Being a choirboy isn't helping anyone. People need to be challenged.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you constructively challenging everyone you meet?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "79 Questions Every Manager Needs to Ask," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can't come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott's new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.