Conversation techniques and tools that can help strong managers become great leaders
Often the very same skills and traits that enable rising stars to achieve success "tenacity, aggressiveness, self-confidence" become liabilities when promoted into a leadership track. While managers' conversations are generally transactional and centered on the task at hand, leaders must focus on people, asking great questions and aligning them with the vision for the future. Leadership mindsets and skills can be developed, and Leadership Conversations provides practical guidance for connecting with others in ways that transform each interaction into an opportunity for organizational and personal growth.
- Identifies four types of conversation every leader must master: building relationships, making decisions, taking action, and developing others
- Provides an action plan for boosting your personal leadership potential, as well for developing leadership skills in others
- Draws on the authors' rich experience coaching and working with leaders at a wide range of organizations, including NASA, the U.S. Navy, intelligence agencies, Boeing, Gillette, Bausch & Lomb, and Georgetown University
Leadership Conversations is required reading for both high-potential managers looking to make it to the next level and leaders looking to develop their people.
Q & A with Alan Berson and Richard Stieglitz, authors of Leadership Conversations
Every day, people engage in four types of leadership conversations, those that: build relationships, develop others, make decisions, and take action. As people rise to higher positions, the challenges they encounter require communication skills that few leaders or managers instinctively possess and that are only now being taught in top MBA and executive training programs. Leadership Conversations shows people how to engage in conversations that create connection and alignment, integrate multiple viewpoints, and produce superior results.How is a management mindset different from a leadership mindset?
Those having conversations with a leadership mindset address possibilities, encourage the exchanges of ideas, and create learning experiences--they focus on the bigger picture, strategy, and long term vision. Those having conversations with a management mindset process information, evaluate alternatives, complete tasks, and meet deadlines--they get things done. As an example, if the completion date for a project was today, a management mindset would be most effective--the conversations focus on finishing the job. On the other hand, discussing strategic possibilities is best done with a leadership mindset that encourages creativity and free-thinking. People speak with bosses, peers, direct reports, and other stakeholders frequently, but too often their conversations use one mindset when the other is appropriate. Leadership Conversations shows how to blend the two mindsets in ways that are appropriate to both a person's position and the situation at hand.Why are leadership conversations important?
People whose careers get stuck or suffer bumps tell us they wish they could go back and do things over. Leadership Conversations is about succeeding the first time, helping you and the people who work for you to prepare for the future and get things done today. The book presents concepts, case studies, and practical tools to show people how to hold better, more effective conversations that align followers and leaders. It also provides an assessment that measures your leadership and management strengths and guides you to prepare a personal action plan. The book is designed for those looking to advance into top leadership roles, as well as those looking to mentor rising stars.What would you recommend to a high-potential manager looking to improve leadership skills and conversations?
Engage three perspectives in your leadership conversations. (1) Exchange ideas: Each person presents their ideas, states their positions and intentions clearly, and provides pertinent facts for others to consider. (2) Understand others: Each person asks questions to understand the points that others have made, as well as the context and emotions behind them. (3) Explore possibilities: People consider the what-else-is-possible aspects of a topic in context with the bigger picture. Conversations with the third perspective frequently combine ideas in bold, innovative, and valuable ways. Few people consciously use all three perspectives, yet the ability to employ each of them is a shared trait of great leaders.