When asked about this, the most common answers appear to follow in one or more of the following three ‘Management Myths’:
Myth Number 1
‘As a manager, I get the best results when I tell staff what I need or want’
Myth Number 2
‘By the time I have explained to people the results I am after, I often find I could have done it better on my own. So the following time I do not bother, I simply get on with it myself!’
Myth Number 3
‘What matters is the bottom line: numbers, not people’
Now, think of 3 people in your workplace who are successful at getting things done through others… If you were to write down their attributes and behaviours on a piece of paper you would probably come up with a list similar to the one that follows:
1. They invest time and effort in building relationships with others
2. They help others to become most effective by being supportive
3. They spend time listening and questioning others
4. They keep their minds open and do no pre-empt, assume or pass judgment
5. They accept and build on other people’s ideas
• Rapport building
• Active Listening
• Setting empowering goals
People listen and respond positively to the request of people they like and feel comfortable this. Making people feel at ease is one way to create a good communication flow. With our communication we can influence people and get the outcome we want – but our communication needs to remain authentic and the feeling we express genuine. Mirroring is one technique used to build rapport. This means using mannerism and body language that mirrors the one of the person you wish to influence. This has to be undertaken carefully and ethically to avoid the opposite effect and it needs practice, to ensure that not only your posture but also your facial expression, your pace and tone of voice are taken into account.
We listen at different levels. But when it comes to mentoring and coaching others, the only listening level that matters is what is called ‘Active’ listening. This is a combination of deep listening - one that enables you to focus on what is being said and to absorb all information provided by the other person, both verbally and non-verbally - and questioning. People who listen actively do not interrupt, pre-empt conversation or assume to know the content of the communication. They use silence to elicit further information as well as open, incise questions to develop further thinking. They take notes and paraphrase what is being said to clarify and confirm their understanding. They also use non verbal communication – such as nodding, smiling and making sounds - to empathise and indicate that they are following what is being said.
Setting Empowering Goals
Rather than telling people what to do, we can try to identify the outcome we want without suggesting the route to get there. If we give somebody the challenge to come up with what he/she thinks is the best solution, we often can observe him/her step up to the plate with innovative, smart new ideas. In team or group situations, brainstorming sessions will often produce best results because everyone feels able to contribute and eventually a totally new way of addressing an issue will be identified, building on a mix of old and new practices. Setting empowering goals require trust, patience and a willingness to learn. Sometimes it is not possible or practical to take this approach but whenever learning is more important than time, this modus operandi will produce the most rewarding outcomes.
Alessandra is an experienced mentor, business coach, consultant and strategist. She supports individuals - especially women - and organisations in achieving their potential through customised, outcome driven interventions . You can find out more about Alessandra here and contact her by email here.