Training Industry Magazine - Fall 2015 - (Page 53)

LEADERSHIP 2.0 ARE BAD COMMUNICATION HABITS HOLDING YOU BACK? - 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 CONVERSATIONALIST IS BEING AN EXCEPTIONAL LISTENER. 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 emotionally loaded. 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. 53

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
Anti-Social Learning?
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
Closing Deals
Company News
What's Online
Training Talk

Training Industry Magazine - Fall 2015