After hundreds of coaching sessions we’ve had with clients at Cortex Leadership Consulting and survey results with leaders that we obtained through our www.goMonti.com training system, the data would indicate that successful growth for organizations boils down to leaders having the right conversations, with the right people at the right times about the right things. The right blend of creating a safe environment to give and receive feedback through a healthy mix of evaluation, coaching, appreciation and recognition is a key factor that the majority of leaders like you need to constantly be focusing on in order to obtain the desired outcomes of growth and market agility.
The “right blend” won’t happen unless there is a foundational level of trust that allows people to communicate safely with one another and most importantly their managers and leaders. What do I mean by that and how do you accomplish it? Here’s some things to consider based on concepts from Judith Glaser’s newest book Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust & Get Extraordinary Results:
KNOW THIS: Nonverbal communication trumps words that you say 100 percent of the time. Studies show that when we are communicating we allocate 7% to words, 38% to tone of voice, and 55% to nonverbal behaviors. From our www.gomonti.com studies, the number one element team members base their trust on, in most organizations, is sincerity. You can say whatever you want, but if people don’t believe you by the way you are saying it and your actions they don’t believe and trust you.
TRY THIS: Focus on and answer the 5 questions that people need for you to answer to start and build trust with you.
- Am I safe with you or do I need to protect myself?
- Do you like me?
- What role do I play on your team and how do I fit in with you and others?
- Do I need to know something to be successful with you?
- Am I creating some type of value to you and the team?
For instance, if I was meeting with a team member to review their work and issue any level of evaluation feedback, I might start by saying, “Sarah, I am really glad you are on our team and I can see the effort you make to always do your best. I like the work we do together and you are a good fit for the job you’ve been assigned. As I review this project we’re working on, one thing that you will want to do to work more effectively with your team members is to take the time to get to know them, their experiences, and the strengths they bring to the team.”
By answering these questions at the beginning of the conversation (ones they may never actually be articulated to you by the person or team member) you will help them feel safe and trigger their higher level thinking. When someone does not feel safe they show it by shallow breathing, justification of their actions, and defensiveness.
DO THIS: Focus on the processes, not the person as much as possible. Make sure to discuss what processes might be contributing to the failure to reach your desired outcomes rather than creating an environment of blame and issuing accusations. Look for patterns within your conversations to find cues that lead to team members feeling that they have to defend every action they take. Recognizing the effort that people make will inspire them to serve you and the team. Your support and encouragement will unlock a set of neurochemical patterns that flood the brain with dopamine that motivates them. Being sincere is key to this process.
The desired outcome of practicing conversational intelligence is connection. Connection breeds engagement and engagement results in growth. A growth mindset is all that you and your leaders need to keep moving forward. I know you have it or you wouldn’t even be reading this. Congratulations for being one of the few that will make it. You rock!