In a time of organizations and teams we are seeing companies reward executives for doing more with less. As a consequences, we are seeing managers and bosses focus on doing rather than leading. They are caring about the moment rather than the culture. Leading is about building relationships within and outside the organization.
Meaningful conversations are the essential tool to building relationships.
I recently read a book by Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz called Leadership Conversation.
In this book the authors set out to make a case that conversations are critical for avoiding mistakes and wasting time correcting them. In short, meaningful conversations can make you a better leader.
The Four Conversations
1. Conversations to build relationships
The more relationships and conversations you have the more you will know whom to trust for the right perspective on problems and opportunities. You'll also learn how to complement your strengths with other's abilities. It is important not to rely on emails and texts here, talk to someone on the phone and ideally a face to face conversation will go a long way.
2. Conversations to develop others
To succeed as a leader you need to invest, develop, and recognize those you lead. You will gain their loyalty and they will then work for you. These conversations can provide formal and informal feedback regularly. Be open and direct. Part of meaningful development is humbly accepting criticism from someone you trust. This trust can be achieved by always recognizing people's big and small achievements.
3. Conversations to make decisions
Leaders make better decision when they draw on a multiple of perspectives. Gain an understanding from others that you are unable to foresee. Instead of concentrating on problems, have conversations where you ask questions that open up possibilities and empower everyone in the group.
4. Conversations to take action
A culture of conversations create a place where action will take place. Use conversations to plan your actions. Through this process, you will develop ideas and build concurrence. Soon after you act, use an "after-action review" invented by the US Army to talk with your team about what worked, what didn't and how to improve.
- Successful leaders use conversations to get things done with and through others
- Leaders spend their time building others, crafting strategy, building alliances, and position the organization for success.
- Leaders ask astute questions and listen well; managers only answer questions
- Leaders focus on balancing their and others strengths
- Keep an open mind: Embrace diversity and differences in individual thoughts, ideas and experiences
- Do not make assumptions. Have discussions to gather opinions and informations