Posts Tagged ‘Effective communication’

Intentional Leadership

August 20th, 2015 • by Laura Scott •

railroad tracksThat didn’t go as planned…”

I was speaking to a colleague about how leaders come to feel the gap between where they are and where they want to be in terms of leadership.

They can usually point to one or two incidents when they were not at their best or things got a bit out of control and the outcome was short of what they hoped.

Self-aware leaders will take some responsibility for the less-than-ideal outcome. They will reflect on what happened and perhaps identify the point when the train started to go off the rails. They said something or did something, people reacted in unexpected ways, the morale or the mood shifted, and suddenly a well-planned engagement or meeting took a turn for the worse.

The reflection is important. That’s how adults learn and grow. But the next step is harder. How do you repair the damage? How do you ensure that it doesn’t happen again?

Repairing the damage may be as simple as a public apology. I know, it’s harder than it sounds. How do you ensure it doesn’t happen again? You can’t. We are human. We make mistakes. But we can make less of them if we are self aware and intentional and strategic about how we show up as leaders.

How do you do that?

It starts with a personal leadership inventory. An inventory that includes your vision of an ideal leadership style that reflects your values and personality and then identifies the blocks to achieving that ideal more consistently. That means having a greater degree of awareness around:
-Your triggers and hot buttons
-Your values and how you typically express them
-The quality of the energy you bring to a space
-The most effective way to earn trust in your organization

This awareness exposes where we might be vulnerable, how we can stand strong and be authentic as leaders, and it informs our choices around how we respond and how we engage positively.

It won’t guarantee that we will never again go off the rails but it will ensure that there is an engaged and conscious decision-maker at the wheel when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Learn how to craft your personal Leadership Inventory by joining us at the Emerging Leaders Development Seminar at the University of Tampa  Saturday October 10, 2015. The public is welcome!

Is Your Communication Style Crippling You?

June 28th, 2012 • by Laura Scott •

woman talking with hand 
Often when I work with clients to repair a relationship, whether it’s business or personal, we uncover a skill gap – the skill to communicate.

Effective communication is a large part of what builds successful relationships and well-being. Unfortunately communication skills are not taught in high school or even in college so most of us go through life learning our communication skills through trial and error, or from the influencers in our lives. Unfortunately those influencers have no clue how to communicate either. Sitcom and screen writers have a heyday showing us how bad communication can create loads of drama.

When you look at where people fail at communicating it typically falls into two categories–judging and sending solutions, according to Robert Bolton’s groundbreaking book People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts.

This book was written in 1979, but I still see evidence of these blocks in modern communication. Judging can be as simple as offering your “two-bits worth” of advice, or it can be more stinging like criticism or labeling. Sometimes we feel we must be critical in order to help people change for the better but instead we diminish them, or we label them a “nag” or an “idiot” and they are suddenly reduced to a type instead of a person. Rarely is our advice constructive because it communicates that we know better than the other person. To that other person advice feels like a form of judgment, or an affront to their intelligence.

Judging and sending solutions typically means you’re doing most of the talking. You’re likely not listening in a constructive way. One cool trick to improve listening is to invite the other person to speak by saying “Tell me more?” or “What’s on your mind?” and then to resist the impulse to interrupt and just remain silent giving the other person the time and space to formulate a meaningful response. If we give in to the urge to interrupt, comment, or editorialize we are in fact wallpapering over what they are saying with our own judgments and opinions or comments. And in doing so we have failed to listen in a constructive way.

Bolton says effective communication always shows respect, empathy, non-possessive love, and genuineness. Think back on one incident where you felt your communication was lacking. Which one of the above was missing in that communication?

Flickr photo by Art Freak