Humans have a conscious and unconscious need to engage beyond the head – the logic; they benefit deeply from heart and soul connection through bringing emotion into their conversations. Although many leaders sit in denial claiming there is no place for emotion in business; every single one of us “feels” and it is usually these feelings that get in our way of being the best leader we can be. Leadership improvement is assured by developing the courage and skills to engage in better and more actionable conversations. Conversations that are real, completely truthful and result in actionable outcomes.
Here are FIVE practical insights useful when seeking leadership improvement – are you:
- Reviewing the “signs” that prove you are being a better leader?
- Acknowledging people want to feel significant?
- Recognising the impact of “chaos and loneliness”?
- Unleashing the courage to be REAL when engaging in these better conversations?
- Answering your WHY questions: why become a better leader and why do better conversations achieve this?
The signs proving you are a better leader
There are critical signs that demonstrate you ARE being a better leader – look for them, measure them, search them out in your business. At a simple level look for and measure:
Performance – achievement of KPIs expected by critical stakeholders
Engaged people – engagement scores resulting from surveys, culture surveys, productivity, retention, referrals of others into the business, people going above and beyond their defined job roles because they are intrinsically motivated
Agility – people are navigating changes with confidence, courage and speed.
To be a better leader start by setting aside time to think about “what makes you feel significant”, as a leader in the business. Be prepared to share this with the people who report directly to you in a “heartfelt conversation” and invite them to share with you when they are ready – what makes them feel significant? This is the kind of real and very human conversation that makes you a better leader.
Recognise the impact of chaos and loneliness
As we continue to experience VUCA we see more and more people being thrust into chaos and research tells us this also means increased loneliness in the workplace as people bunker down trying to “survive”.
What is VUCA? In case you haven’t already read about it – an acronym coined by the US Army to describe the current environment in which we are working and living:
V = volatility
U = uncertainty
C = complexity
A = ambiguity.
As people struggle to come to terms with the chaos being created by VUCA we are also noticing increased feelings of loneliness as people do their best to “survive”. To be a better leader you encourage them to “thrive”, to find ways to work in and through this chaos. Conversations to support people in this kind of chaos create human connection and result in more highly engaged people.
To be “real” in your conversations takes courage; the courage to be authentic and to share what you are really thinking and feeling. The courage to step into conversations where you don’t have the answers is all about developing your leadership! Being real is also about being vulnerable – start conversations to explore this chaos and work at creating better context for the future, even though as the leader you don’t have the answers. This is the new kind of workplace learning “human leaders” are going to encourage others to embrace. Stepping away from control and the old adage of “knowledge is power” – the better leader plays in the truth where there is no protection, no pretending to know, no politics, no secrets just pure honesty, truth and vulnerability!
Answer your WHY questions to create your personal buy-in, your burning platform for change – why become a better leader and why do better conversations achieve this?
Think about what is happening and changing in your business right now and then think about the kind of leadership capability you bring – is it enough:
- Does it bring the flexibility required?
- Is it encouraging the “distribution of power” amongst the whole of your team?
- Does it bring the kind of transparency that has everyone feeling valued, significant and purposeful?
VUCA means past experiences and wisdom are not always relevant to the future and human leaders are going to engage in better conversations that create better actions and deeper learning so people are more engaged and ready to thrive in the future.
Talk to us today about the Actionable Conversations tool – helping leaders and their teams to have better conversations