Expanding Your Leadership Style

Great post by Dr. LeslieBeth Wish.

There’s no single technique that fits every leadership situation, but there are some guidelines to help you expand your skills in motivating Vector-Background-LightBluepeople and nurturing their best self. I discovered these approaches through my decades of experiences and the people-management wisdom from the books of David J. Lieberman.

Concentrate more on using techniques that incorporate valuing people so you can reduce nonproductive behavior. Here are some tips that can work. You’ll need to experiment with them and sharpen your people-reading intuition.

I’m guessing you might find these ideas “manipulative.” I had some of those thoughts at first when I read Lieberman’s books. But then I put those thoughts aside and said to myself:  “We all need to feel valued and treated fairly. And I like learning.” So, I tweaked his ideas and methods and then used them repeatedly over time. I was shocked at the great results.

I’m also guessing that you have a mind open to learning, too! The first and second ideas are the foundation, but they’re worth mentioning again.

1. Get proactive by clarifying your goals and outcomes for each person or team.

2. Establish a way to measure the achievement of these outcomes. You might, for example, set a time line or number of calls made or money raised.

3. When you see that the person or team is not effective or is problematic, give feedback as soon as possible. Here are some tips that incorporate techniques that meld increased productivity and nurturing of the employees’ best self. If you do have to fire someone, then you will not only have the peace of mind from using effective techniques, but you will also have a measurable record of their underperformance.

a. Begin first by saying words of thanks and appreciation for the person or team’s effort or time or brainstorming or dedication or whatever is appropriate and true. People need to feel valued.

b. If possible, state one or two things you like or agree with. This style lessens their defensiveness that you dislike or reject them. Now say that you’ve done some thinking about their work so far and that you’d like their help in fine-tuning your ideas.

This approach allows the person or team to view your feedback as you not only valuing them but also seeing them as contributors to your thinking, changes or refinements. You now come across as recruiting them to help you and the company.

People like to do favors for you when they feel that their opinions, efforts and ideas are valuable and when they feel included in something larger. Set a time limit to revisit the progress.

4. If the employee has a difficult personality, you aim to reframe it in ways that will be more effective to you and your company. Let’s say that an employee is always the first to criticize others.

a. Begin by reframing their negativity as positive and then recruit them to do you a favor by helping you to help others.

For example, let’s say that Cindy usually says in meetings that someone’s idea is wrong or crazy or stupid or won’t work. You say to her privately:  “I like your passion for excellence.” (You’ve now reframed her negativity.)

b. Now praise her for already having the future behavior that you desire.

For example, you say to Cindy:  “You know, I’m sure that you see that some of the others don’t think as quickly as you do. I know you can help me in making them feel as valued as I value your input. I’m going to be in listening mode, and I could use someone else on the team to support me in that.”

5. Give the team or person a way to “save face” and then work to disprove your negative impression. Let’s say that Maria is not following up on people’s phone calls to sign up for events.

a. Say:  “I’m hesitant to mention some thoughts I’ve been having lately because I don’t think I’m seeing things correctly. I trust that you’ll tell me if I am wrong. But I think you’ve been missing following up on signing up people for our event because (fill in the blank—you’ve been preoccupied with your child, divorce, mom’s illness, etc.)

You’ve now invited Maria to make you wrong. She might say, “Oh no, everything’s fine. I’ve got things under control.” You’ve now signaled her to be more mindful. You could add:  “Thanks. Everyone has something in their life, and I know that you’re one of the persons who can manage it.” That sentence repeats the tip above about praising for what you want the person to do.

Hope these tips get you thinking!

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