It Was Clear That The Two In The Next Meeting Room Were In Trouble…
Overhearing was inevitable from my adjacent room—and things weren’t going well for them!
Interestingly, when you only hear the voice it’s so easy to notice the underlying attitudes, isn’t it?
The flavor of their communication, especially the bad habits they’d both adopted, got me thinking…
How many leaders, like the two I overheard, make life this hard for themselves, and for those with whom they interact?
Pretty much their entire focus is on, adamantly, trying to get the other person to drop their own opinion about what needs to happen and adopt their view.
There were clear signs that the pair in the next room were uncompromisingly pushing their personal perspective. They were both:
- Using an authoritative voice tone, somewhat like a parent would when speaking to a troublesome child—I guess with the intention of convincing the other person that they were the authority.
- Regularly voicing their opinions as if they were facts, as evidenced by the way they used phrases like, “We have to blah, blah, blah.” And “You should blah, blah, blah.”
- Making definitive statements that ended with a downward intonation—which reeked of them defensively pushing their view—and that they don’t want any disagreement or argument.
Really, What’s The Upshot Of These Behaviors?
Here’s the thing: You might not even notice it—and when you behave as the two leaders in the next room did, you’ll create resistance.
The resistance can occur either consciously or unconsciously in the other person. They’ll push back. Then you’ll have big problems if you’re trying to get them to buy your thinking.
And then they closed the door—preventing my unintentional eavesdropping from continuing.
The way they were traveling in their conversation, I imagine that they’re still at it, trying to get things resolved.
If Only, If Only, If Only…
- They’d focused on understanding the other’s thoughts and feelings, before putting their own on the table. For two reasons:
- Perhaps the speaker isn’t actually THE authority on the topic, and
- When we want to convince another person, we’re well advised to start by understanding their current thinking on the topic.
Their conversation could have been short and sharp and not been responsible for the blood pressure of both parties rising.
Where Are Your Opportunities To Strengthen Your Leadership?
The big question for you, as a leader whom I assume is open to strengthening your leadership, is this:
How many of these sorts of conversational habits show up when you’re attempting to get buy in from your team members, persuade your peers or influence your boss?
As always, I look forward to hearing your thinking and receiving your contact if you’d like to discuss receiving coaching support with this or similar leadership behaviours.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.