Leadership is a Conversation

Whether you’re trying to develop, correct or simply better understand your team – leadership is a conversation! It is critical that we as leaders recognise the nature, purpose and impact of our conversations with team members.

For the majority of the time one way, top down communication is no longer fit for purpose. “Telling” can generate compliance but often demotivates and causes confusion. On the other hand, “Asking” empowers and generates commitment.

There are three key types of conversation that if mastered can have a beneficial impact on relationships and performance at work.

Connection Conversations are about connecting more effectively with your team members; conversations that help you understand each other better so you can build stronger relationships and work even more successfully together.

Courageous Conversations are about facing up to challenging conversations with staff members and peers. Giving corrective feedback, or managing poor performance are the sorts of conversations you can’t afford to put off!

Coaching Conversations are about developing your people, and improving performance.

The key is to be consciously competent in choosing the most appropriate type of conversation for the situation and desired outcomes. The clearer we are about the purpose, the easier it is to choose the process, and get the payoff we’re looking for.

Mastering which conversation - connecting, courageous or coaching, would help you to become a more effective leader?

There are various models and tools that you can use to help you become more comfortable, confident and competent with these leadership conversations, for instance the popular GROW coaching model. One that you might also find useful is our EEC (Example, Effect, Continue or Change) model for guiding courageous conversations.

Here are some actions you can take to become a better conversationalist!:

  • Practice role playing the conversations you find most challenging with a buddy

  • Find and use some appropriate tools to help plan and guide your conversations

  • Over the next week, proactively look for opportunities to conduct each type of conversation with your team members

And, if you’d like to find out how Peak Performance can help develop your managers into better leaders or arrange a time for a ‘connection conversation’ please email me.


Posted: Friday 28 February 2014

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