John was the senior leader of a 400-person business group. His direct reports were managers with wide-ranging backgrounds, proven capabilities, life experiences, and diverse cultures.
The Leader’s Profile
As the ranking leader –
- John took pride in his business experience and the depth of functional knowledge he brought to the table.
- There were very few subjects he did not confidently share his expertise first, even after verbally inviting collaboration.
- When one dared to express a viewpoint, John dismissed or openly challenged it without any good faith consideration.
- On the surface, personal preference, not objective analysis, appeared to motivate the action.
- John had a way of turning simple conversations into debates, creating clouds of doubt in one’s abilities and confusion about the next steps.
- Consequently, there was a tendency to give in to his views rather than prolong the agony of engaging in communications.
Do these John tendencies sound familiar?
A Leader’s Impact
Organizational scientist Sunnie Giles surveyed 195 leaders from 30+ global organizations (Harvard Business Review). The research suggested major themes of competencies that strong leaders exhibit, including those that promote open communications –
💫 “High ethical standards and providing a safe environment.”
💫 “Promoting a sense of connection and belonging.”
A leader’s behaviors can build bridges or erect walls.
Leaders who promote open communications are bridge builders. They establish a psychologically safe space where people can openly express their thoughts and ideas to the leader and one another. Individuals can freely share their perspectives, feedback, and suggestions – without fear of reprisal or ill-use of what they say.
What Can a Leader Do
Here are three quick “know yourself” tips to enable creating an open communications environment –
📍Determine how much space you occupy in conversations – too much, too little, or spot on.
📍Explore any conscious or unconscious bias that could influence how you welcome others into discussions.
📍Demonstrate a genuine interest in others’ views – be curious and listen.
Speaking of listening, that’s another topic. But, of course, it’s easier said than done!
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
I would welcome the opportunity to support you in establishing and sustaining an environment that promotes open communications.
Contact me for a complimentary consultation: https://www.endviewsolutions.com/contact/.
Reference: Giles, S. (2016). The most important competencies, according to leaders around the world. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/03/the-most-important-leadership-competencies-according-to-leaders-around-the-world