I often chuckle when I hear people say they could never take on a leader or manager role.. When I ask why, they state all that push-back, rejection and dealing with people’s resistances is too hard.
It hit me, that’s why so many people actually fail at leadership or management because they bump into “people problems” so often.
Yes, fact is dealing with people can be challenging.
You have to continually develop your people competencies as well as your own Emotional Intelligence and Behavioural Intelligence.
Here are three simple steps that will melt away a lot – not all – of employees’ resistance to your influencing them:
- Ask (open-ended questions & these usually start with “what” or “how”).
- Clam Up & Listen for understanding.
- Address what the person said while looking for a way to help or solve her/his problem.
Asking people questions to see how we can or maybe cannot help is a key leadership skill.
Most leaders/managers have preconceived notions of what they are going to say or do in a job related conversation.
Here’s video to illustrate the point.
This puts you in the frame of mind of “Telling” and not exploring.
This is the big mistake I see when working with leaders/managers – they know what they are going to say before hearing a word coming from the follower.
Mistakes in people management are usually very subtle, which I think are a result of low “people skills” competencies.
From my 37 years experience I’ve come to recognize that people, in their behaviours and words, are always telling us what they need.
Developing one’s leadership/managerial competencies involves six steps:
- Get clear on “The Deal” – this is what we offer and this is what we expect.
- Communicate the company’s values, vision and mission.
- Identify, what is the task or goal that the person or group is to work on.
- Diagnose the task/goal-specific Competence and Motivation levels – based on the follower’s behaviours.
- Match the leader style to the person’s or team’s Competence and Motivation levels.
- Negotiate For Performance – which means having two-way conversations with people so they can perform their job well.
These six steps cure the top mistakes leaders/managers make with their followers:
- They ask close ended questions (questions that require a “yes” or “no” response).
- They have no planned or defined sequence for developing people.
- They rarely listen to what a follower says because they are already thinking of what they want to say next.
- Their objectives are usually centred on the notion of what they want to do versus seeking information to help their followers understand the “Why” “What” and “How” of what needs to be done.
This mentality pigeon-holes the leaders’ thought process which usually results in negative opinions about their followers – and vice-versa.
- The biggest mistake I see with experienced leaders/managers is that they believe they know what they are doing. The attitude is centred on the perception that they have mastered their leader/manager skills simply because they’ve been doing it for a long time – experience is no measure of competence.
Leadership is NOT an event you simply master.
It is a process you can always get better at.
So how do we help leaders/managers succeed?
How can we get followers to perform better?
The first thing we need to do is break down the basics of people’s development into its six essential components.
Being a leader/manager is relatively easy if we focus on people’s behaviours while following the six steps.
The intent is always to focus how we can solve/address the followers’ issues.
Leaders/managers often have their own way of doing things, but rarely is it done well.
Dr, Jim Sellner, PhD., DipC.
Leadership for Einsteins: How Smart Leaders Bring Out the Genius in People
Account-Ability: The Science of Human Performance — The Skill &Will of Getting Things Done
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