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Leadership: Conversation Mastery

     Enhancing workplace leadership conversations   

Lately I've beed pondering essential leadership. What is being an effective leader really about? I've come to mastering conversations. In the age of apps and social media, conversations are much broader than one-on-one or even one-to-group. Conversations take place with you as leader and hundreds or even millions of people (depending on your following, of course. ) Let's start with a quick overview of the most common types of conversations that can have a huge impact on your effectiveness as a leader.

Conversation with your team are huge in terms of the results the team can produce. Are you inspiring? Motivational? Transparent? You will need to be all of these things and more when mobilzing the collective energy of your team. At times you engage your team in problem-solving, at other times in brainstorming and often in simple information sharing. Be sure the team clearly understands the diffenreces between different componets of team inter-action and the outputs expected from each. Otherwise the team will try to problem-solve every idea that comes up and get nowhere fast.

Don't forget to set aside space to inspire your team and encourage the heart of the team. You can be more inspirational than  you think you can. Plus, it's OK to ask for help. Invite a speaker or someone you think is inspiring. I recall lbringing in a magician once to underline points about how we can make things happen.

Another big bucket of conversations is one-on-one. Develpment, feedback, coaching, performance management, casual hallway conversations etc. Remember you can never not lead. Unless you are alone in the bathroom with no mobile device, the possibility exists that someone will take away a message about what you as the leader thinks and how that thought affects them. There are a plethora of models and techniques about effective communbication. Most of them helpful. One caution - be careful of reading a book, article, blog (LOL) and thinking "OK - I've got that." Leadership is a performance art - it's what you do and say.

In my many years in leadership, coaching leaders and studying leadership one gurantee I can make. Listening is the most powerful leadership tool we have and we are all bad listeners unless we are making a very strong conscious effort to really hear others.

I've given you a few basic concepts to gnaw on here. There will be more. TRi I is launching a leadership series based on mastering expression and I have an article and book coming out on the same topics. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you'll be amazed at what happens if you put your BIG EARS on. Hear, paprphrase, ask questions only to clarify. Make sure your person or team know you have heard them. Then move to reaction. 

Till we talk again.