It’s very easy to get sucked into potential conflict situations by arguing about the facts and who is right. But the real issue, according to Douglas Stone et al, is the notion that the heated conversation is generating emotions and threats to one’s identity. It takes skill to step back and listen for the emotions in the situation and even more skill to reflect upon how the conversation is threatening both yours and the other person’s identity.
We are preparing to debrief a group of leaders about their 360 results and I find the impact, intention concept a powerful one to help them make sense of feedback. We judge ourselves by our intent, but others judge us by the impact we have. Self-aware leaders practise curiosity to understand and close the resulting gap. Great leaders are clear about their intent and ensure their words and actions match that intent.
I was chatting with a colleague the other day about appreciative inquiry (AI) and his desire to put abstract drawings into concepts. I took that as a challenge and here is one of the first principles of AI, that our words create our worlds. This is such a timely reminder for me, as I have been struggling with a few things lately and the way I talk about it is doom and gloom which has led, quite frankly, to me feeling pretty crappy and not really creating what I would most like. If I talk about what’s going on that’s good, I can always find a step forward. If we all talk together about what’s right, we construct a whole new reality.
To fess up or not? That is indeed the question. In my experience, leaders often underestimate just how closely they are watched for inconsistencies and so if you are trying to promote a culture of honesty and openness (and why wouldn’t you want that?) then put your ego aside and fess up. You may feel vulnerable but ultimately you will build trust with people. And, added benefit, you are setting an example for others to follow. How much better would your business run if mistakes were surfaced and dealt with immediately?
We high achievers tend to think we can do it all, all the time and continue making great decisions, engaging others and so on. Actually, we can’t and the irony is that we will be the last to know it. If you haven’t had a day off in a long time and are working 10-12 hour days, you are probably convinced of your own invincibility. Take a moment to REALLY observe the reactions of those around you. Is your busyness showing and what is it costing everyone?
We leaders, trainers and consultants need to watch our language. I was horrified to discover how many cliched words I use. Check out Barbara Moses’ excellent article for more details!
I’m taking a great online coaching course called The Power of TED and one of the initial takeaways is that the way we think and talk about our situations really does contribute to the outcome. What are your “favorite” stories and how do they help or hinder you?
We can become entrenched in our attitudes and beliefs. Change viewpoints … assume you are one of your team members and watch your energy shift. If you are having difficulty with this one, find a pair of shoes that are quite different and walk around in them for a while. Symbolically this might help you shift your perspective and energy and communicate differently with your team members. Today’s blog is based on the 4 of diamonds, a communications teamwork tip from our Teamwork Explorer.