We tend to see these gaps in our leaders as separate issues, believing that they require different skills – how to inspire others, how to give feedback, how to handle conflict, and so on.
But take the following situation. You walk into your manager’s office. He is having a bad-mood day. He tells you, “That report you left on my desk was so bad, I threw it into the trash bin.”
You nod your head and respond to him this way. “Bob, the writing in the report is not at your level, I get that. In fact, I am always so inspired by your writing – you make complicated ideas so easy to grasp. The writing may not yet be there, but the analysis and findings that we’ve done here in your group and shown in the paper are top-notch. I know you want to make sure the senior team gets timely access to our findings. So what if you coach me on my writing and then I make the appropriate changes and we can send the report out tomorrow?
Bob seems more open now, and half nods his head. You pull out the report from the trash-bin, and place it in front of him. He gives you some edits to do to improve the writing, and the report is shared with the executive team the next day.
In this situation, you were able to bring out the best in Bob. You were leading him instead of the other way around. But tell us, in this conversation, were you inspiring Bob? Giving him feedback? Coaching him, a bit? Building trust with him? Influencing him? Changing his behavior? Having a difficult conversation with him? Weren’t you doing all of the above? And that too, within about 35 seconds!
So are these really meant to be separate leadership behaviors? Or is it possible that behind almost all gaps in leadership behavior lies just one root cause – how can I bring out the best in me and the best in the other party?
At Mentora, we have found a way to radically simplify how to train leaders. Rather than training people one competency or behavior at a time – each with its own toolkit, checklist, model, and expert advice – we train them in using a small set of simple actions. The same actions help you deliver effective feedback, have a difficult conversation, inspire others, influence stakeholders, and build trust. Because all of these behaviors are about the same one thing – bringing out the best in oneself and the best in others in all situations. We call this activating the Inner Core in yourself and your people – the space of highest potential in us all.