Training Industry Magazine - Fall 2015 - (Page 53)
- KE N B LANCH ARD AND S COT T BLANCHAR D
Enhancing the frequency and quality
of conversations that take place inside
your organization between managers
and their people is one of the best ways
to improve the overall quality of your
leadership. And with the speed of work,
the generational and cultural diversity of
the global workforce, and the variety of
day-to-day challenges leaders face, the
ability to communicate effectively with
direct reports may be the defining skill
that sets great leaders apart.
A BIG PART OF
BEING A GREAT
IS BEING AN
The need for better communication skills
is unmistakable. Research continues to
show that serious gaps exist between
what people expect from their leaders
and what they actually experience.
One way to evaluate a conversation is
by measuring it against two criteria:
clarity and positive regard. In an effective
conversation, both manager and employee
are clear about next steps. In addition,
both parties leave the conversation with a
positive regard for each other, even if the
topic of conversation was challenging or
A conversation that is not useful will
suffer from either a lack of clarity, a lack
of regard between the involved parties, or
both. Ending a conversation with either
factor missing or incomplete generally
means that the matter will have to be
addressed again in the future.
track, however; just let them know they'll
need to take up the separate issue with
you at a different time.
BAD CONVERSATIONAL HABITS
Poor listening or an inability to find
common ground. When leaders don't
listen well or are unable to reach a shared
understanding, they tend to focus on
only their side of the conversation. A telltale symptom of this bad habit is when
managers repeat themselves.
Managers never intend to have unproductive
conversations, of course, but bad
conversational habits can often get in the
way of effective communication.
Intentionality lapses. Sometimes leaders
can get careless. For example, you bump
into a direct report who has a question, and
before you realize it the dialogue touches
on topics that are potentially sensitive,
emotional or confrontational. Instead of
quietly framing the issue and planning a
time and place to continue the talk, leaders
sometimes plunge ahead in an inappropriate
setting with negative consequences. As a
leader, if you know an upcoming meeting
has the potential to become difficult or
emotionally charged, schedule it early in the
day and in a quiet place where you can have
a thoughtful conversation.
Staying focused on the topic at hand. As a
rule, leaders should focus on one subject
at a time. When a conversation is about
feedback or necessary behavior change,
it's only normal for a direct report to want
to divert the conversation by bringing up
another issue. Managers need to know
how to skillfully address one topic, and
if another topic comes up that threatens
to derail the first, to stop and say, "That's
a separate conversation." You needn't be
dismissive when the other person gets off
T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - FALL201 5 I WWW.TRAININGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE
The key to a successful conversation
involves listening intently and carefully,
not only to what is being said but also
to what is not being said. A big part of
being a great conversationalist is being
an exceptional listener.
TAKE A SECOND LOOK
Leadership is an influence process.
Progressive managers build strong
relationships with their people through the
quality and frequency of their conversations.
Are your conversations with your direct
reports as useful as they could be? Or are
bad habits keeping you from being the
communicator you want to be? Take a second
look at your intentionality, focus and listening
skills. With a little work in these three areas,
you'll make great strides toward becoming an
excellent communicator and leader.
Scott Blanchard is a principal and executive vice
president of The Ken Blanchard Companies.
Ken Blanchard is the best-selling co-author of
"The New One Minute Manage" and 60 other
leadership books. Email Scott and Ken.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - Fall 2015
Delivery: Is This Where Technology Changes the Game?
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: The Pendulums Swing
Access Trumps Knowledge: Changes for Training Delivery
Hardwired to Learn
Using a Blended Approach When Crafting a Training Delivery Strategy
Planning, Developing and Implementing Serious Games
Let's Get Serious about Live, Instructor-led Training
Just What Employees Ordered: Personalized Adaptive Learning
Training with Pictures, Not Bullet Points
Using Microlearning and Information Design to Elevate Soft Skills Training
How Improvisation Can Drive Employee Engagement
Accelerating Expertise with Simulations
Technology and Trends Driving the China Training Market
Helping Buyers of Training Services Become More Savvy
Are Bad Communication Habits Holding You Back?
Measuring the ROI of Social Media within Your Organization
Training Industry Magazine - Fall 2015