Coaching Wisdomby Hendre D. Coetzee Founder of the Center for Advanced Coaching
As leaders, we often think that if we are great communicators or use good presentations our people will surely follow. Someone once said, “if you think you are a great leader but no one is following you; you are just out for a walk!”
We often believe that being commanding in our leadership style will get people to follow and, although yes, this may be true for a short period of time, it is not a sustainable strategy for leadership. What you are looking for is ownership, not compliance. Buy in, not acquiescing. Here are three pointers to help you generate ownership in your team. People don’t listen to you, they listen to what they tell themselves. So find out what people are saying to themselves. Take some time to hear what people are saying, especially to themselves. It is key that you contextualize the conversation. Tell people you want to hear their ideas for their department. Make sure that, when people use the time to complain, you acknowledge the complaint and then ask for their ideas regarding solutions. This requires that you take the time to hear not only from those who report to you (what they think you want to hear). But go ahead and listen to what is going on at those people at the key levels of the organization.
Ask questions like: “What is the biggest possibility/opportunity here if everyone engages?”, “What is the best thing you have done in the last 3 months?”, “What is most important to the people on your team?”. And when you communicate, reflect back what you heard. Don’t ask, “What is wrong?”, “Who is responsible for this mess?” Listen. When people feel they have been heard you will be surprised how fast they listen.
For people to hear you they need hope and commitment - that is, your hope and commitment. This is your vision context. People who are hopeless do what they have always done with one singular outcome in mind – survival through the day. But people with hope do extraordinary things. Hope is generated when you not only share an outcome possibility, but you declare a clear Point B – where we are going – that is not too far in the future. Acknowledge Point A and show how you personally are taking Step 1. Before you ask for commitment declare your own. Invite commitment and then acknowledge it when you get it. Once you declare your commitment, invite others to do the same. An invitation is different from an order – it gives people the opportunity to be aware of their decision. It is not “I am doing this because ‘he said so’” but rather it is a much clearer personal commitment. An invitation asks for a decision by a certain time and requires a RSVP. Once you have received their commitment, thank your team members and then give enough details about the road ahead so that your people are clear about how to participate.
Coaching Skills for your Leadership... LISTEN, DECLARE, INVITE.