Be a Leader People Love
Conscious Communication Coaching by Leader·ly
It all boils down to communication. No matter what situation is, the fate of every leader depends on their ability to communicate with clarity and mutuality.
Establishing great communication so you can be a leader people love has an emphasis on awareness, empathy and compassion. Conscious communication has helped hundreds of professionals improve their skills.
What Does Conscious Communication Sound Like?
- Will you get your work done this week?
- What do you need to hit your deadline this week?
The first is an example of a closed question. It requires a “yes” or “no” answer. There is a right answer and a wrong answer here and it takes nothing into consideration other than answering the question correctly and then meeting the expectation.
The second is an open question. It says I know you are working and I want to make sure your needs are met to hit the mark of completion. It also asks YOU for your input and also offers assistance in meeting your needs. There is not a right or wrong answer – there is not a one-word reply. There is the life energy of respect and appreciation in this question.
Anxiety changes the way leaders speak to people. Rather than making requests of others they mistakenly make demands. (I say mistakenly because leaders who have been given titles of authority may think it is their job to demand work be done) Demands cause resistance in your team and when you have resistance it causes leaders to be fearful of unaccomplished goals. Then when you lead from fear you get nowhere with your team.
Words have a huge impact on what you can get done. Words have meanings in the workplace that can be destructive or transformative. Words can tear teams apart, words can get you fired as a leader and words can destroy any business. Words are violent.
Conscious Communication is anchored in Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication. It lets leaders reframe how they express themselves and how they hear others,” Machelle Lind says. “It allows us to speak in terms of OFNR: what we observe, feel, need, and how leaders make requests and respond to others’ requests.
The aim of Conscious Communication — sometimes called Compassionate Communication — is to breathe life into radical giving and receiving in the workplace. If done correctly, it can replace robotic reactions and habitual patterns that are not working.
Conscious Communication can be built like any habit.
There are four basic steps to know:
- Observation: Just notice and just the facts, please.
Step back and just watch what’s happening in the situation. What are you hearing others say? What do they physically do? Record these observations in your mind without assigning value to them. Hold back from judgment or evaluation.
- Feelings: We are all familiar with a business audit, this is an emotional audit.
Check in with yourself and identify adjectives that describe what you’re feeling.
Are you feeling disgruntled? Pressured? Disconnected?
The word choice is specific to what you are experiencing. Words that hint or insinuate at what another is doing like: attacked, invalidated or overworked all suggest that someone else is doing something to you and won’t promote understanding. Do your emotional audit very carefully.
- Preference/Value/Need: List the value or need that is connected to the feelings you’ve identified in the audit.
What is missing, that if present would make you feel better? Is it Consideration? Contribution? Community?
- Requests: requests make the workplace wonderful for everyone and will make you a leader that everyone loves. To create change in our workplace we aim to foster a culture where full consideration of everyone’s needs are met – including our own. A request is doable, specific, happens now, connects to a need or preference and here is where the rubber hits the road for you to be a leader everyone loves: the person making the request must be willing to hear no.
Conscious communication removes the storytelling or the narrative people automatically tell themselves — that opinion based on not enough information that you might be rehearsing about a person or situation, rendering you less than your best as a leader. Rather than blaming, the first step is to become self-aware first and share your emotional audit with others.
Managing Workplace Conflict Strategically
When conflict arises in the workplace, people have two tendencies:
- To hide from it and hope it just goes away
- To hit it head-on and saying the first thing that pops up
Neither response is correct. Avoiding conflict allows it to become infected and as a result, it makes more people sick, while excessive speed in response without a strategy can turn a battle into a war.