Will you have leadership or management conversations this week? (Part I of IV)

Leadership vs management conversations.  One’s not superior to the other.  They are just different.  Knowing the distinctions between the two can help you coach and develop your high potential team members effectively and take you from good to great by knowing when to have each type of conversation.  Alan Berson and Richard Stieglitz wrote   Leadership Conversations:  Challenging High Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders helps us discover the difference between the two.  Here’s a great review of the book I found.

Leadership ConversationsFor this week, let’s focus on something the authors call “Baseline Conversations” which are defined as setting mutual expectations, defining ground rules and providing metrics to evaluate performance.  You must have these.  Without them the chances of you and your team delivering optimal results are pretty slim.

Set expectations.  Have this conversation early in the business relationship or as you are entering a new project.  This will help you set mutual expectations that will align belief systems and lay the foundation for trust and mutual respect.

Create and monitor performance standards.  Your definition of a good job may be very different than that of your direct reports.  It’s best to break down a “good job” into these categories during this type of baseline conversation.   What type of results are expected in the areas of financial, customers, production, relationships, social, and leadership and what type of personal growth are you expecting to see and in what time frame?

Build and manage relationships.  Coaching your direct reports on your expectations from them in regard to the roles they will play and their working relationships can be key in their success and the culture of your organization. Determine priorities

Set and manage priorities.  This is one we coach organizations, leaders and managers on frequently.  Many times the leader isn’t focused on the actions that will lead to their highest-level desired outcomes and therefore their direct reports aren’t either.  Check in often to be sure that everyone on the team is focused on what has been determined as the highest priority items and delegate with clear intentions, timelines, and expectations so that people know what actions they should be taking and how long it should take them.

If your boss hasn’t had this type of baseline conversation with you, why not forward this article to him or her and ask for an hour of their time to discuss it?

These questions I found in a video by a different source are a good place to start before you have the baseline conversations.  Establishing trust is foundational to having leadership conversations that coach others towards their best performance.

  1. Do you welcome challenging, emotional issues, or do you avoid them?
  2. Do you routinely invite feedback and coaching?
  3. Are you genuinely affirming and appreciative of others?
  4. Do you embrace diversity of thought?
  5. Do you readily embrace your personal responsibility in situations?
  6. Are you totally empathetic and present?
  7. Do you provide feedback to feed others or do you try to fix them?
  8. Do you have a positive bias or a negative one?
  9. Are you open, vulnerable, and seeking to learn?
  10. Do you seek to influence others or to sell?

I am lucky enough to see so many of you develop towards who you want to be and what you want to achieve.  It’s truly a blessing.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist in your growth as I develop my own sprouts as well.

Ok… now go out there and kick some serious business butt this week!


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