Engaging Ideas Newsletter • Spring 2010 • Volume 7, Issue 2 Topic of the month: Leadership Development

Leadership Development
As the economy continues to gain steam, it is more important than ever to keep your leadership skills sharp. As a manager, it is your job to keep your employees engaged. Engaging your employees will help you and your organization prepare for and succeed during the eventual economic upswing. Leadership excellence and employee engagement can reduce turnover and foster innovation and productivity. This issue of Dale Carnegie Training's Engaging Ideas newsletter focuses on helping you develop the leadership skills necessary to engage your workforce.

Communicate to Persuade

One of the most common types of business communication is communicating to persuade. From sales representatives persuading customers to mid-level managers persuading workers and upper management, we spend almost every business day involved in some form of persuasive communication. No matter our role, improving our ability to persuade others is vital to our career growth. Effectively communicating to persuade requires us to be adequately prepared, clear on the action we want our listener to take, and able to provide a compelling reason to take the action we desire. Dale Carnegie recommended a simple three-step structure that can significantly improve our ability to persuade a listener. The formula provides the structure to capture attention, build credibility, eliminate nervousness, and call others to action, and it increase the likelihood that we will get results with others. The formula is as follows:

Incident: Relive a vivid, personal experience relevant to the point. Aristotle said, "The speaker's character is one of his most effective agents of persuasion." We must be credible in our example and evidence. We must have earned the right to share our example or give direction. A personal incident is a sure-fire way to grab favorable attention: It pulls people in, opens them up to persuasion, and provides evidence as to why our idea is worth considering. In persuasive communication, we spend most of our time providing the situation and evidence before asking the listener to do something.

Action: Call on the listener to take a single, specific action. Too often we assume our listeners will know what to do once we have presented them with evidence to change their thinking or direction. We fail to persuade them if we don't clearly explain what we want them to do. Other times, we may give a clear action but may ask them to do several things -- leaving them unsure about which action should be the priority. Effective persuasion requires us to simplify the message and recommend one clear action for listeners to take.

Benefit: Clearly emphasize how the listener will benefit from taking the recommended action. Again, this portion of the communication must be clear, specific, and direct. It also must be based in reality. If the benefit we provide sounds too good to be true, the listener will doubt us. If what we are recommending benefits us more than the listener, the persuasion will seem manipulative and self-serving. So consider the listener's point of view to be sure the recommendation is truly in his or her best interest. This balanced approach will be appreciated and will allow the listener to be more open to what we suggest.

Communicating to persuade is a critical skill to master in our daily business interaction. Dale Carnegie Training's three-step process -- Incident, Action and Benefit -- provides an opportunity to gain the results we desire from others.

By demonstrating that we have earned the right to give direction and are communicating from a position of solid character, not only will we be persuasive, but we also will be compelling. These two factors are a winning combination in our ability to communicate to persuade.


Leadership Styles & Tendencies

When we interact with someone whose leadership style is similar to our own, communication is relatively easy. However, when we work with people whose leadership style is different from our own, communication and cooperation can be challenging. Dale Carnegie said the most important element of working with different leadership styles is flexibility -- our willingness and ability to see things from another person's point of view. So how do we determine our own leadership style, and more important, how do we work effectively with others who have a different style?

No single leadership style is superior to the others. Effective leaders must find ways to work with all styles and accentuate the positive traits in others, while minimizing the challenges associated with the different styles.

The four main leadership styles are:

Visionary. Individuals with Visionary leadership style are comfortable with creative thinking, brainstorming, and asking open-ended questions. They are intuitive in their decision-making, preferring to base action plans on people, creative ideas, and opinions rather than on facts and analysis. They enjoy fast-paced environments, emotional discussions, and energetic people. They do not respond well to being bogged down with details, statistics, and minutiae.

Achiever. Individuals with the Achiever leadership style are results-driven and most comfortable taking a direct, no-nonsense approach to decision-making and interpersonal relationships. They view situations as challenges to be resolved and want to get things done as quickly and directly as possible. They are demanding of themselves and have high expectations of others. They do not respond well to speculation, wasting time, or getting "too personal."

Facilitator. Individuals with the Facilitator leadership style value relationships, dedication, and loyalty. They are motivated by a cooperative and supportive work environment that values teamwork. They thrive on encouragement and assistance, preferring a person-centered style over a strictly fact-based, "get down to business" approach. They do not respond well to being rushed or threatened.

Analyzer. Individuals with the Analyzer leadership style value systematic, formal approaches to problem solving and decision-making. They are more at ease with facts and figures than with opinions and emotions, and they are likely to be reserved and businesslike rather than warm and expressive. They do not respond well to aggressiveness or carelessness.

Rather than imposing our leadership style on others, we must think through our actions beforehand so that we can approach others in a manner that helps them feel comfortable.

Some key guidelines include:

Focus on outcomes- Focusing on outcomes rather than on personalities frees us up to appreciate the differences in others and the strengths they possess as team members.

Adjust our expectations- Others may do things differently than we do, and our way is not automatically better. We must let go of any selfish motives and adjust our expectations of the other person accordingly.

Go the extra mile- We cannot simply wait and hope other people will change their style. Chances are that they won't. To help bridge the gap between leadership styles, we must be willing to go further than the other person.

Are you on Facebook? Find out what leadership style you have. Take the Dale Carnegie Training Leadership Quiz.


Using Positive Reinforcement to Motivate Others

The economy is beginning to show signs of improvement. Although some industries have had tension eased by economic recovery, other industries remain under stress. When economic conditions are not entirely solid, it is easy for employees to become negative. To make sure employees do not become negative, all managers must help ensure their employees are engaged.

Engaged employees are more likely to be productive and less likely to leave as the economy continues to improve. One of the most overlooked and simple ways to engage employees is by expressing honest, sincere appreciation for their efforts. By expressing appreciation for the positive other people contribute, you will benefit as much as they will. The way you treat others is a direct reflection of the way you think about them. Train your brain in a positive direction, and you will find it increasingly easy to work cooperatively with others - even if they are negative.

Acknowledging other's strengths can also go a long way towards helping you get along with difficult people. Each individual's social effectiveness is rooted in his or her self-concept. When he or she is critical, hostile, or unkind, it is almost always because his or her self-concept is threatened. As a manager, you are responsible for fostering positive environments. This environment can require managers to work with employees and challenge them to change their attitude. So next time you give a compliment, instead of just saying "good job," offer a sincere strength comment that has the following attributes.

  • Identifies a trait that you respect, admire, or appreciate in the individual.
  • Expresses your admiration for the trait.
  • Supports your opinion about the trait with specific evidence - something you have observed the person doing.

By making strength comments, you can build or alter a person's self-concept for the positive. Your work environment will be filled with most positive and engaged employees.



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