Your managers’ main job is getting work done through others.
Excelling at that responsibility relies on the quality of the relationships they build, which is largely driven by the quality of the daily interactions and conversations they have. In fact 91% of employees say communication issues can drag executives down, according to results from Interact/Harris Poll, which was conducted online with roughly 1,000 U.S. workers.
What experiences are your leaders creating with every conversation they have with each employee and each other? We know these experiences can be pleasant and uplifting, negative and disempowering, or even neutral and simply blah.
If you agree that every conversation has the potential to engage and spark productive action, then it makes sense to fully equip your leaders to diligently and consistently raise their ability to interact well through each conversation.
Our experience shows that the quality of conversations depends on at least four simple, yet challenging, skills to master. I call them the 4 Ups!: Bring it Up! Talk it Up! Wrap it Up! and Follow it Up! Obviously, Listen Up! is vital to every leader’s success. In a series of posts I will delve deeper into the 4 Up skills of Communication Mastery.
First, executing on the 4 Ups! is largely dependent on every leader taking ownership of the experiences they create during conversations.
Your managers all come to their leadership positions with a distinctive background. A combination of unique childhood, cultural and work experiences, a host of differences in how they see the world and operate within it, and their different personality preferences shape their leadership too.
They all have certain strengths and weaknesses that they bring to the table. All this and much more affects how your managers Feel. Think. Act. and Talk. in their very own unique way. They also respond to their environment, changing circumstances, specific situations, and to people with uniquely individual approaches. In every conversation your managers express their natural and learned preferences, but not necessarily in the most effective way every time.
The foundational skill necessary for effective, persuasive, and compelling communication is to help your managers understand their own preferences and their impact on others, embrace its power, and address the drawbacks that come along with it. My Leadership Attraction model is based on the premise that we all have natural strengths. I call the strength preferences powers, specifically Attraction Powers. I call the drawbacks, Repellent Forces.
Just like a magnetic field attracts and repels, your leaders’ conversations either attract superior performance and foster an environment of high engagement or they can repel people away from being productive and committed to their work.
When your managers use their Attraction Powers and Repellent Forces during conversations, they have an impact. The result? Your managers create employee experiences that range from hugely negative experiences all the way to extremely positive experiences and everything in between. These reactions have a huge impact on the way employees engage in their work, make decisions, take risks, innovate, collaborate, and perform.
We boldly assert that unless your managers are self-aware, responsible and accountable for their natural Attraction Powers and actively manage their innate Repellent Forces, they will inconsistently demonstrate the values, behaviors and competencies, communication practices, and collaboration mandates of your organization.
What can you do, today, to create empowering employee experiences? Here are four ways your leaders can embrace their Attraction Powers and advance the leader they already are:
- Identify your strengths. Let’s just take two of my Attraction Powers. What are you best at? Do you communicate in a way that drives high levels of accountability? Not aggressively or passively. Express empathy? Not in a cool aloof way or syrupy sweet, rather authentic care.
- Isolate the strength you overuse. When we extend our strengths it can become a liability and perhaps even our worst asset. Are you a task master? Do you accept too many excuses?
- Recognize the powers you underuse. Develop one action you can take to learn more about that power.
- Adapt using the style most appropriate for the situation. Reflect on how you might adapt your behaviors and communication.
Psychometric and other assessments can provide a great starting point and offer qualitative analysis into how your managers’ preferences play into their distinctive leadership style. I invite you to offer your leaders a free Mini Leadership Attraction Profile and receive a complimentary one-on-one consultation on the results that will outline their natural Attraction Powers and potential Repellent Forces.