Tonight I got to spend a nice evening at a Torchbearers event. (Shameless plug: If you are unfamiliar with this organization, definitely check it out www.TorchbearersAkron.com.) For each new class we have specific leadership classes/seminars to attend and they are always very insightful.
Tonight's session focused on Communication, Negotiation and Conflict Management. I think these are three areas that most of us can agree are not at the top of everyone's "love to deal with this" list! Good communication, successful negotiations and effective conflict management are all hard topics to tackle as young professionals and up and coming leaders. Heck, they're hard for seasoned leaders to navigate.
We had three great panelists: Mary Jones, Dan Flowers, and Mike Moore from FedEx Custom Critical. The session went really well and all three speakers had wonderful information, tactics and experiences to share with us. I wanted to share some of the highlights with you too.
Mary Jones, VP of Administration and Legal Counsel at Oriana House Inc, spoke about building trust relationships. Just a few of her tips for us included: be accessible, listen openly, own up to mistakes, speak the truth, be a coach, and speak in a straight forward manner. Each of these pieces is key to our success. If you are open, honest, loyal and engage your team members, you will surely be successful in building your trust relationships and thus your success in your career and life will come.
Dan Flowers, President & CEO of the Akron Canton Regional Foodbank spoke about his top ten list for managing communication, conflict and negotiation. A couple take aways from Dan's list were these: be nice, use your boss, remain in the awkward moments, and run toward your fear. I really liked these. Part of Dan's message was to just let go a little bit, focus on what your mission is, treat your people with respect and don't let fear or insecurity stop you...get help when you need it!
Mike Moore, Managing Director of Finance and Controller at FedEx Custom Critical spoke on some of his life/career experiences that got him to the place where he is today. Mike shared some of his key points such as being sure to build a strong foundation of faith, hope, love, loyalty, honesty and integrity. Further your education, additional learning and continually add to your toolbox and do it early on before "things happen." And one piece that struck a chord with me was to enjoy the journey. We get very wrapped up, and I'm guilty too, of where's the next step, avenue, project, job, etc, that we don't take a minute to celebrate the now and how far we've already come. Don't miss that celebration.
We always hear that executives are "real people" and that we shouldn't be worried to approach them and ask questions. These panelists were just that...approachable, accessible, honest, straight forward and engaging. Thank you to Mary, Dan and Mike for spending your time with Torchbearers.
To everyone else - Sorry for a long one today! I hope you took something from tonight's session as I did. Are there other tactics that you have heard of or employ in these three big areas that would help others add to their toolbox? Please share! Your info can benefit us.
Parting quote shared by Mike Moore for leadership, and it comes from Zig Ziglar. "You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Good stuff!