THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - C

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP

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Which C words come to mind?

The Language of Leadership

Conversations, Climate, Conflict & Confidence

There are so many C’s in my Leadership Language: conversations, climate, conflict and confidence are at the tip of my tongue!

What are the C’s in your leadership vernacular?

I’m playing a game to facilitate ideas, thoughts and beliefs on leadership. And, I’m curious to hear what people hear themselves saying about leadership or how others describe their leadership.

I’m sure many will say communication – it’s a gorgeous broad term and I carve it into so many components.  To begin with, I believe leadership is all about Conversations.

Conversations bring people together; they formulate relationships and craft futures. Conversations come in various forms; they can be brief (feedback) and endure for hours (meetings, mentoring, coaching).

The more time you spend having conversations with people, the more opportunity you have to gain respect which then creates trust. For some, conversations come naturally whilst others it’s a challenge. My tip do your research on people and be curious to explore what you’ve discovered – ask great questions as the conversation is all about getting to understand the people.

Climate is the vibe I feel when I walk into a workplace. It’s the gut feeling I have when I have conversations with people. It tells me more than the culture as it’s the unspoken words – it’s the litmus test for the words on the wall in the reception area. A mission and vision statement might try and sell me what an organisation does whereas the climate will tell me if the people feel happy and respected where they work. Take the temperature of your office today!

Conflict tells us what is important to people. Leaders need the capability to know when to intervene and help people move out of conflict or better still, know people so well that they know what drives them to conflict – the triggers, the situations and the behaviours.

We all experience threats to our self-worth, it’s characteristic of the cause of conflict. And this threat can be real or perceived. Managing conflict is a critical capability (double C!) to lead teams to success.

Confidence is what I hope all people can grow in their lives. Leaders need confidence to successfully do their role and leaders need to foster confidence in their people. Confidence is like climate – you can’t quite put your finger on it. I am reminded by family friends of how shy I was when I was younger, and it took effort and energy to focus on manipulating this confidence. I still work on it and sometimes I am too confident – so it’s always an area I am shaping and developing.

What C’s have I missed? What C’s are important in your life; in your role of leadership?

Have you read my two recent posts - catch up on the A’'s & B’'s of Leadership? You’ll find these under the THOUGHTS section of my website.

ARE YOU ACHIEVING EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS?

 

ARE YOU ACHIEVING EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS?

If you are achieving extraordinary results, I suspect you trust and are trusted by others. No matter what you are doing in life.

If you have the interest and agility to increase your results, consider the conversations you’ve had today; yesterday and the day before. If you deconstruct these conversations, what would you uncover about yourself? And, if you placed the results on a dashboard would the dial point to connected, productive or creative? Or would the dial move to the opposite side of this gauge – pointing to sceptic or resistor?

Judith E. Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence – How Great Leaders Build Trust & Get Extraordinary Results, advises her readership and clients over the past 30 years that we’re probably speaking to and from the wrong brain – the Primitive Brain. (Who would have known?!)

By using your Executive brain, you’ll notice that this connection will alter everything: the way you phrase your greeting, ask your questions and how you offer or make comments. Rather than create distrust, this newish brain will build trust. And trust is the anchor in your relationships to weather all situations.

Whilst some of us might think our conversations are powerful, we may be failing to see the impact these interactions have on others. We need to heighten our awareness and increase our use of the Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ) skill which connects intentions with impact.

Judith’s goal is to help you move from operating at C-IQ ‘Level I – transactional’ (how to exchange data and information) and make the quantum leap to the learnable C-IQ ‘Level III – transformational’ (how to co-create conversations for mutual success). Put simply, change to a listener rather than a teller.

Your Conversational Dashboard ... where's your dial pointing?

Your Conversational Dashboard ... where's your dial pointing?

The new language is co-create – working together, cutting through bureaucracy, hierarchical levels, removing the need to be right all the time, in an effort to build a successful culture. This is done by influencing each other’s neurochemistry, while we express our inner thoughts and feelings to strengthen relationships while making sense of the world. Too easy!

Which brain do you operate from?

We have five brains according to the research which Judith shares liberally – each brain having an influence on our conversational ability. The Primitive brain, which hosts the fear mongering Amygdala, operates differently to our Prefrontal Cortex (Executive brain) which is activated when we feel we can trust others.

 

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As leaders, we unconsciously drip-feed our teams with ‘conversational cocktails’; resulting in the team being drunk with happiness, excitement and enthusiasm, or, all too often, they start acting like angry animals.  The ‘cocktail’ is a mixture of biochemicals triggered by what you do and say. The chemicals, oxytocin (bonding), dopamine (when you’re right) and serotonin (happiness) are released if your conversation is at ‘Level III’ – when you and the team are working to achieve a mutually successful outcome.

When what we say, what we hear, and what we mean are not in agreement, we retreat into our heads and make up stories that help us reconcile the discrepancies.

So, when what we say, what we hear and what we mean are not in agreement, we retreat into our heads and make up stories that help us reconcile the discrepancies. We make “movies” and generally fail to connect.

If you were to replay ‘the movie’ of a recent staff meeting, what would you see and hear? Would you see the same people sitting in the same spots, hear the same people speak and see the agenda following a similar pattern? To make a change, Judith recommends commencing with a ‘Rules of Engagement’ activity which talks to the Amygdala, calming it down to be more fully engaged with the meeting intent. Similarly, when we host a workshop or conference – we break the ice with this style of activity to build trust in the group – we talk to the Amygdala!

The term ‘intelligence’ was brought alive with the advance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ); which is differentiated by Judith: “Emotional Intelligence is about self-regulation whereas conversational intelligence is about co-regulation”. I get this and it will be the EQ leader who will ease into becoming a C-IQ leader. One who will masterfully observe their inner world of desires whilst observing the impact of their actions on others.

I am currently reading Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s my 30th book. I’m a little behind with reviews as I found writing about Conversational Intelligence a challenge. I’m not totally sure why, the content isn’t new to me – it’s probably deciding what to share with you and what not to include!

Please take the opportunity to read this book. It’s a definite ‘must read’ to learn how to train your brain and ultimately achieve extraordinary results in your endeavours.

I have been inundated with questions about my reading project, in particular, my ability to read so many books. Well, I do read, I don’t listen to the books and I know that I am a disciplined person who enjoys learning what others are learning. I believe you must keep ahead of the amazing information and practices which others are successfully applying in their Leadership Practices.

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

Which Conversations have you Planned?

"I wish you would just shut up!"

If this statement is in a thought bubble or a speech bubble it's too late. Our mind will think it's said and our body language will give our game away.

No matter which situation you're in, if you're a leader you need to plan the necessary conversations rather than allowing the unsaid to stymie the power of the dialogue.

In this particular situation, you need to give the person direct feedback. If the impact on others is negative then raise the conversation. Plan it. Write it. Practise it. Whatever it takes to make your conversation have the desired outcome ...maybe it's to 'shut up' or behave differently.

It should be a quick 3 minute conversation. It should be private. It doesn't require a meeting room. We waste enough time in meetings, postponing important conversations or procrastinating in our role as a leader. This is not a 'coaching' conversation - far from it - I call it a 'Yell' conversation and sits at the other end of the conversation continuum where coaching sits.

If you're unsure how to plan, practise and play out this conversation, I recommend you use the SBI technique. Google it or check out my example below.

If you lack confidence in having direct conversations, connect with me and we can arrange a session to enable you to Lead Confidently in your Conversations.

 

CONVERSATION EXAMPLE:

Situation: John, yesterday at the morning's project X meeting, during the update agenda item.

Behaviour: Your verbal report was repetitive, you actually spoke for 7 minutes and didn't ask anyone for their input - especially when we had all read your report.

Impact: I'm not sure if you noticed, almost everyone switch off, started fidgeting and checking their devices, there was zero engagement from our key folk. 

And what's even more effective is an additional piece of the conversation ....

Behaviour: John, we're reporting into the senior stakeholder's meeting tomorrow, what could you do differently? (Pause, leave void for John to report in with a change to his behaviour. Have your thoughts ready to roll if John has no idea.)

Behaviour: Louise, I know, I get nervous and I don't want to forget to share any information. Tomorrow I'll highlight the top five points and then ask specific questions to Mary and Tom.

Impact: John, that's a good start. If you do that, what impact will you have within the group?

Impact: Louise, I'll be able to check if my messages are clear and if there is an understanding and any concerns with our progress.

 

What do you expect as a customer?

I bit my lip and counted to 10 yesterday while visiting an iconic Melbourne store. It was busy on the floor, there was a queue forming and one person serving - luckily it was me being served. Well, lets say me and four other people who telephoned the store and who were politely attended to immediately they rang ... and made me wait ... four times!

Am I mad? Yes. Should I be?

Back in the good 'ol days ... did I say that?! Let's just say when I was 'serving' and then training people to serve, we tried, we researched, we observed and we learnt that the action which most irritated customers when serving them is to start serving another person ... on the telephone!

That was some time ago, so I'm happy to be brought up to speed on the 'latest' on customer service. 

I appreciate customer service but oddly enough I go out of my way to look after myself rather than be in the hands of someone else. I prefer to cook for others than dine out, I shop on-line for loads of our goods, clothing and travel and these days I shop at the supermarket, use the register and pack myself!

I'm struggling at the moment using a travel agent to manage our OS holiday. Last year I spent too much time on the holiday project so I challenged myself to allow someone else to do all the work. We've not met, just communicated using email (very slowly) and its been over a month and we still haven't booked anything! I know I should have just done it myself.

As a customer, I expect:

  • attention - on me, no one else (absolutely focused)
  • answers - to my questions, queries and concerns (within an acceptable time frame)
  • additional information - more than I expected or asked about (the value add equation)

Am I asking too much?

I liken this service to being a leader. When you're leading, you're serving your people - you give them your full attention, you don't answer your phone in the middle of an important conversation - you answer their questions and offer ideas and approaches or just the reassurance that you're their to support them.

Rant over!