ABOUT CONVERSATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Building a Community of Leadership Abundance

I take part to several think tanks on leadership, and I always try to contribute from the angle and perspective of seeing empowering conversations as a leadership accelerator. In this article I will explore the importance of practicing on conversational leadership in actionable ways to develop an environment that naturally nurtures reciprocal respect, manages stress, dissipates fear and encourages each person to expand their own comfort zone.
Andrea Laus
SkillGym CEO
7 min read

 

Recently, I was discussing three ideas that are quite fascinating from a conceptual point of view, but also much more practical than one could expect.

Here they are:

  1. Leadership is not a badge that we can just pin on our own jacket. Instead, it’s something that we get recognized for by other people, typically members of our community or, if we are well known enough, even by people we don’t know directly;
  2. Others start recognizing your leadership footprint through several types of signals. Among them is a prominent role in the way you manage communication, and empowering conversations specifically. People need Leaders, people search for Leaders, and they love to recognize leadership through the way you treat them;
  3. Leadership, in its purest form, generates new leadership. This is an age old saying. But it makes a lot of sense to me right now. A true Leader is capable of igniting the light of greatness in other people. This can happen in many ways of course, and certainly conversations are one of the “highways” for this type of ignition.

Starting from there, in this article I invite you to reflect on a couple of powerful questions: how does leadership training, and in particular conversational leadership training really contribute to the development of a more abundant leadership? What can we do to help to develop the idea that, at least in this field, “scarcity” can be defeated, and leadership can be seeded, nurtured and finally harvested without limits?

 

Seed communication, harvest leaders

While reflecting on these intriguing questions, I came across to an interesting article (you can find it here) dealing with the never-ending fight between scarcity and abundance. I totally share the point of the Walt Institute and the angle they suggest in the article about the correlation between mindset and leadership: “The way you think about the situation has a substantial impact on the way you handle stress, work with others, your level of resilience and the success you experience in the world”.

Specifically, one of the points they highlight in their five recommendations on how to cultivate an abundance mindset: “Appreciate your team and colleagues – let them know how much you value their contribution. The more genuine appreciation you give to individuals, the more positive influence you will have.This is where I focus every day and where I think leadership training can make a difference.

 

Somehow and from this perspective, the answers to the two above questions become quite straightforward: conversational leadership training, delivered in practical and actionable ways such as Digital Role Plays, can help on the development of a more abundant leadership by helping people improve on the way they appreciate, motivate, and drive their team through genuine and efficient communication.

Pursued consistently, this contribution can definitely support the virtuous development of abundance of leadership through a chain-like effect.

In writing this, however, I realize that some of you may raise some more, deeper questions that are worth considering:

  • How the mastery of conversations turns people into Leaders?
  • How conversations can help Leaders to develop new Leaders (a sort of “legacy of leadership”)?
  • Finally, how all this can lead to a whole new level of energy, to a virtuous ecosystem where leadership itself spreads through generations while simply helping people feel appreciated and energized (a “community of abundance”)?

So, our reflection today starts here, let’s try to answer.

 

Well managed conversations boost leadership

It’s a fact. Leadership is not a skill. It’s a recognition from others when they perceive you as inspiring, reassuring, motivating, driving and all the other adjectives you may want to add to the list.

People around you perceive your leadership by observing and judging your results, your example and the way you communicate with them. What matters to them is how you care about them, how you help them, how you inspire and motivate them toward results that can be shared as a team.

Leadership is the recognized result of your efforts to improve yourself and the world around you.

It’s at the same time a destination and an endless path since leadership requires maintenance and you can always become a better version of yourself.

 

On the other side, a “conversation” is also not a skill. It’s rather the place where certain skills can be applied and where part of your leadership can flourish. Conversations are very much connected to the concept of leadership in fact, because among any other leadership factors, they are the most suitable place where you get the most in touch with other people and where other people get close to your way of dealing with them and treating them.

The results of a conversation are almost always significant for how your leadership is perceived and very often such perception is so thin that you need a very high degree of self-awareness to understand the real results of your conversations and just as much level of confidence to be comfortable enough to deal with certain types of conversations,

But, in any case, a conversation transfers energy. Whether it is positive or negative energy is mainly up to you, to your confidence, to your communication skills and to your self-awareness in recognizing when it is time to adapt your approach. When the energy you transmit is positive, people start feeling better. And the better they feel, the more they will be keen to follow-up in a positive way. This is one of leadership’s most important footprints.

 

Conversation after conversation, you will not only improve your fundamental communication skills, including the paramount self-awareness and confidence in dealing with critical conversations, but also expose your approach, your intimate core beliefs, your decisions, and your example.

You will expose yourself to the judgement of the people around you in a more intimate way, of course. Putting your effort in mastering the art of critical conversations will help to boost the way you are perceived, but also the impact of your work.

And if you do a good job, your leadership will grow in the eyes of the people you engage.

 

Energized people can become the next leaders

Let’s raise the bar. It’s not just a matter of how other people perceive you. As a leader or not. It’s not a beauty contest. It’s an opportunity for a higher aim. Being recognized as leaders offers the opportunity to amplify your message, whatever it is. At the same time, it carries the responsibility of working hard to seed and nurture the next generation of Leaders.

To make an organization really great, leadership must generate and spread in every role from every employee, every manager, every staff member. Great Leaders are those who have the highest responsibility to leverage their skills and influence to develop all the people around them as well as help them to become new Leaders.

 

Once again, this responsibility must be met with several ingredients, but helping to spread the culture of empowering conversations by being a living example of it, is one of the most important.

In this way, you will not only nurture better-energized team members, but you will also inject into them, by your example, the best approach of all: listening and supporting others through conversations.

People around us continually judge the importance we give to the things we say by observing the things we do. Leading by empowering conversation as the peak and moment at which any decision is made and of any action required is a great way to put conversations at the center of collective leadership development.

You will be surprised by the chain effect that generates from here. Those that are considered “critical” conversations will turn into nurturing and energizing moments, where everyone will be happy to stay.

And the collective mindset will move much faster from the “scarcity” to the “abundance” side of reality perception.

 

You may think of developing a conversation culture as a higher aim of getting recognized as a leader. As Maya Angelou said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Developing a culture of empowering conversations is the ultimate way to develop your leadership’s legacy.

 

The next level

What can generate from this revolution – did you think even for one second about a revolution while reading these lines? Just imagine.

A world where “critical” (and avoidable) conversations turn into “empowering” (and enjoyable) conversations creating a world where Leaders develop new Leaders and where collective energy flows throughout organizations and teams.

A new community made of people who feel better by energizing other people through their communication skills and a well-maintained self-awareness; where Leaders can develop their legacy in a very practical, actionable and effective way for the benefit of the entire group.
A group of growing mindsets and Leaders supporting each other through intimate, clear, and consistent empowering conversations.

 

Our recommendation for you? Start now.
Start now to work on your skills that bring you closer to your employees.
Start now to ask yourself how self-aware you are about the way you manage what you may call “critical conversation”.
Start now to grow your confidence in this very important step towards true leadership.

There is a potential Leader inside each of us that can be discovered and recognized by others according to how much energy we are capable of conveying and igniting through conversations.

 

Conversations have superpowers

When Leaders start developing their skills around critical conversations, turning them into empowering moments, individual energy gets multiplied. Visions get shared and collective efforts are organized more efficiently to solve problems and leverage opportunities.
If we strive to think big and we imagine new ways to grow this potential, we start to talk about abundance.

Abundance of energy, of trust, of clarity, of influence. Abundance of better people.

People grow in an environment that naturally nurtures reciprocal respect, manages stress, dissipates fear and encourages each person to expand their own comfort zone. This is where each of us is naturally nudged to grow an abundance mindset.

Next time you think about growing the leadership of your organization, think about what type of investment you are pursuing toward encouraging the development of empowering conversation as a signature of your organization’s culture.

 

 

Next step

Wow, what a long reflection. Sorry if I went too long, but I think it was worth.

You may now be interested in learning more about ways to make all this possible in an efficient and measurable way. In this article, I discuss how practicing critical conversation makes all the difference between great Leaders and the rest of us.

If you are looking around to find the Digital Role Play solution that suits your needs, we explore some useful criteria in this article to help you select wisely.

Please take some time to peruse our website. There is plenty of inspiring content including pre-recorded webinars and articles. Of course, I would be delighted to continue this conversation with you, just schedule a free call with us here.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

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