Blog Post

Leading Is Talking

Published: Saturday, March 10, 2018

But talking is much more than making conversation.
Think of your workplace and count the astounding number of conversations, debates, disagreement, negotiations, and feedback discussions that take place daily, monthly, or yearly. Each conversation offers a leader opportunity to lead.

Are all your leaders taking full advantage of every opportunity? What about difficult conversations? Do they fear conflict, when it can actually have positive outcomes?

The statistics are compelling! According to the CCP study, in the U.S., 81% of workers report having seen positive outcomes from workplace conflict. 41% said they had emerged from conflict with a better understanding of others.

  • 33% report improved working relationships.
  • 29% found better solutions to problems.
  • 9% even saw a major innovation.
  • 21% saw higher performance in their team.

In a series of posts on my 4 Ups! model (Bring it Up! Talk it Up! Wrap it Up! and Follow it Up!) I dive deeper into each.

Now, Talk it Up!


Once we open up a conversation, we are responsible to manage dialogue flow effectively. What gets in your managers’ way? They can easily get tripped up when they Talk it Up! for a variety of reasons. The other person may actively discount elements of what is being discussed, emotions may run out of hand, too many topics may be introduced leaving them talking about things outside of the original objectives, and so on.

It doesn’t take much for a conversation to go array — a confusing comment from a boss, a strange glance from a colleague, a little smirk, some uncertainty. When a conversation doesn’t go well, what do most leaders tend to do?

Adapting the work of Karen Horney helps explain how one’s fear response gets activated by even the slightest threat, psychologically and physiologically, and leads to four reactions. I call them the 4 Approaches in conversation.

  1. Avoid Moving away, i.e., managing by avoiding others, situations, or specific topics.
  2. Attack Moving against, i.e., managing by dismissing, defending or attacking others or their information.
  3. Appease Moving aside, i.e., managing by giving in to the demands and requests from others in order to maintain relationships and minimize the threat of criticism.
  4. Attract Moving together (the preferred way to effectiveness), i.e., managing by agreeing a clear objective, actively participating in two-way conversation, great listening, recognition of differences, inclusion of points of views, and all parties working towards resolution.

How do these 4 Approaches affect us physiologically? Each causes the production of hormones such as adrenalin — a take-flight hormone, testosterone — a fight hormone, cortisol — a threat hormone, and oxytocin — a feel-good hormone.
Talking it up effectively means managing a host of skills and the mind-body connection.

Each of the 4 Ups requires a separate and distinct skill to facilitate REAL dialogue.


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About the Author

A savvy, street-smart leadership development consultant, Helanie Scott is CEO of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas. Her tenacious spirit and passion for excellence make her unsurpassed as a change agent, transformation specialist, keynote speaker, and successful entrepreneur. She is energetic and straightforward with the experience and commitment to deliver. 

Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action. 

She has developed a number of proprietary leadership development processes, tools, and foundational approaches, including The Magnetic Power of Leadership Intimacy, the Six Attraction Powers, and a very successful CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach program. 

Leadership Excellence recently ranked Helanie and her company number 25 among Independent Consultants/Trainers/Coaches based on seven criteria, including: content, curriculum, and take-home value. 

With many successfully executed alignment assignments to her credit—in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and South Africa—Helanie has developed a riveting and enlightening presentation style. 
Backed by solid psychological research, all of her easy-to-use and profoundly effective leadership development tools can be put to work immediately. 

Her experience working and thriving in many different cultures has made her particularly adept at understanding the nuances of how leaders of all ages and from around the world can rise to the heights of extraordinary performance. She is able to capitalize on this unique point of difference by engaging those perceptions within multicultural companies as well as multicultural markets and strictly domestic organizations. 

Raised in a small, South African mining town, by the age of 21 Helanie had set out on her own in Johannesburg, learned the ropes of the big city, and purchased the business that hired her. She emigrated to Canada and then to the United States, researching and studying leadership and organizational development, and growing her Align4Profit consulting firm. 

The culmination of her life experience, years of business consulting, and colorfully diverse background manifests itself in her deeply personal Leadership Intimacy® philosophy, which serves as the foundation of her CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach training program and all of her development solutions. 

• 25+ years providing Human Capital development: South Africa, Canada, United States, and the Americas, including Puerto Rico, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil 
• Developed and actively facilitates CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach program and train-the-trainer sessions 
• Developer and author of The Magnetic Power of Leadership Intimacy® 
• Developer of Six Attraction Powers 
• Frequent speaker at conferences and for Fortune 500 companies, with an impressive client list 

• Adult Learning Principles Certification, University Oklahoma 
• Certificated in EQ, Emotional Intelligence and Master Mentor with EQMentor 
• Certificated in DISC Behavioral Assessments, HBDI, TA, Myers Briggs, among others 
• Working knowledge of The Organizational Lifecycle, Dr. Adizes and Whole Brain Learning 
• Presentation and Media Skills, training actors and presenters for TV commercials and film 
• Serves on the Executive Education committee for Women’s Business Council Southwest 
• Helanie serves as special advisor to the board of My Possibilities charity 
• Mentor with SMU, Cox School of Business 

• Conversant in three languages: English, Afrikaans, and Fanagalo (Based on Zulu, English and Afrikaans). 
• Received pre-teacher’s certification in ballet, supporting actress in a movie, experienced the longest, fastest and tallest zip line in the world and lives with her two children in Dallas. 

Giving Back Committed to supporting organizations and activities whose primary goal is to give back to the community through the development and enhancement of peoples’ lives. My Possibilities is an organization that offers a first-of-its-kind program for adults with special needs.

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