Leadership Training: How To Plan And Conduct Meaningful Conversations
Your most basic responsibility as a leader is to connect with those around you. You are listening and talking with people; you are having conversations. Ideally, those conversations are powerful, influential and meaningful. Are your conversations creating the outcomes you desire?You can learn to achieve results by following four basic but important steps:
1. Establish mutual objectives and purpose. An effective leader goes first and gets the ball rolling, especially if the topic is emotionally charged or laced with conflict. The critical success factor in the step is sincerity. Be open, approachable and transparent. Your candor and authenticity create an emotional connection with people that in turn gives them the green light to open up and express what they want to accomplish.
2. Express mutual needs and wants. The second step — the critical success factor — is seeking understanding. An effective leader seeks to understand the other person; to gain clarity by probing for his or her wants and needs. The second part of step two is clearly stating your own wants and needs. In advance of meeting with the person or group, clearly define your own desired outcome in your own mind.
3. Explore new possibilities. The key success factor in step three is curiosity. All too often, leaders skip this critical stage. Their results-oriented personality urges them to jump directly into an action plan. It’s critically important, however, to invest some extra time to imagine all the possible options and alternatives. A great leader challenges his or her team to stretch their thinking and go beyond textbook answers.
4. Commit to mutual action. The key differentiator between powerful conversations and the ordinary run-of-the-mill variety is measurable outcomes. Action is the critical success factor in this step of the process. It’s critical that all action items are clear and explicit, and that each person commits to his or her to-do list.