As businesses evolve and face new challenges, the pressure on leaders to steer their teams toward success intensifies. But what if there was a way to ensure that teams not only met these challenges but also thrived in the process? Enter leadership coaching. This transformative approach goes beyond traditional training, offering leaders a personalized roadmap to amplify their leadership skills. Consequently, it has a ripple effect, cultivating an environment where team dynamics flourish and high-impact results become the norm.

 

Understanding Leadership Coaching

Venturing into the domain of leadership often comes with a steep learning curve and unique challenges. Leadership coaching serves as a beacon, illuminating the path to effective leadership and providing tailored strategies for success. Let’s delve into what it entails and how it stands apart from other professional development avenues.

 

Definition of Leadership Coaching

Leadership coaching is a collaborative partnership between a coach and an individual (usually a leader or manager) that focuses on the personal and professional development of the latter. Through tailored sessions, the leader gains insights into their strengths, challenges, and areas of growth, and is equipped with strategies and tools to enhance their leadership capabilities.

Distinction from Other Professional Development

Unlike traditional training programs that often follow a one-size-fits-all curriculum, leadership coaching is highly personalized. It addresses the unique needs, aspirations, and challenges of each leader. While workshops and seminars provide broad overviews of topics, leadership coaching dives deep into individual-specific issues, ensuring that the learning is directly applicable and immediately beneficial. Another distinction is the ongoing support offered by a coach; instead of isolated events, leadership coaching involves consistent feedback and reflection, fostering long-term growth and development.

 

How Leadership Coaching Impacts Team Dynamics

how leadership coaching can impact team dynamicsNavigating the complexities of team dynamics can be like threading a needle—delicate yet crucial. Leadership coaching serves as the thread, providing leaders with the necessary tools and insights to seamlessly connect team members and foster a harmonious work environment. Let’s explore how it achieves this transformative impact.

 

Improved Communication

Leadership coaching hones a leader’s ability to convey ideas, visions, and feedback clearly and constructively. As communication lines become more transparent and open, misunderstandings decrease, leading to a smoother collaboration among team members.

Conflict Resolution

Every team encounters disagreements and conflicts, but it’s how these challenges are managed that determines a team’s success. Leadership coaching equips leaders with the skills to address disagreements head-on, using them as opportunities for growth rather than points of contention. A leader proficient in conflict resolution not only minimizes disruptions but also strengthens trust within the team.

Boosted Team Morale

A positive and motivated team is often a byproduct of effective leadership. Through leadership coaching, leaders learn how to recognize individual strengths, celebrate achievements, and create a supportive environment. As a result, team members feel valued and motivated, leading to heightened engagement and commitment to shared goals.

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Leadership Coaching on Team Performance

Benefits of Leadership Coaching on Team PerformanceAs the ripple effect of leadership coaching touches various facets of a team, its impact is palpable in various performance metrics. From the spark of increased productivity to the clarity of decision-making, leadership coaching offers tangible results that elevate team potential. Here, we will uncover some of these measurable benefits.

 

Increased Productivity

A hallmark of efficient leadership is the ability to guide teams towards optimized performance. Leadership coaching empowers leaders with strategies to streamline processes, allocate resources wisely, and motivate team members effectively. The result is a noticeable uptick in productivity, with teams achieving more in less time.

Enhanced Creativity and Innovation

Leaders equipped with coaching insights cultivate an environment where team members feel safe to express their ideas and think outside the box. By valuing diverse perspectives and encouraging brainstorming sessions, leaders can harness the collective creativity of their team, leading to breakthrough innovations and novel solutions.

Better Decision Making

Decisions, big or small, form the backbone of any project’s progression. Through leadership coaching, leaders sharpen their analytical skills and develop a keen sense of judgment. With a more holistic view of situations and a greater understanding of team dynamics, leaders can make decisions that align with both immediate needs and long-term goals.

 

How to Choose the Right Leadership Coaching Service

choosing the right leadership coaching services.Embarking on the journey of leadership coaching is a significant step. However, the vast landscape of coaching services can be overwhelming. To truly benefit from this transformative experience, it’s essential to select a coaching service that resonates with your unique needs and organizational goals. Let’s discuss the key considerations in making this pivotal choice.

 

Identifying Needs

Before diving into the sea of coaching services, introspection is key. Reflect on the specific challenges your team faces and your personal areas of growth as a leader. Are you looking to improve communication, enhance decision-making, or something more niche? Identifying these core needs will act as a compass, guiding you towards a coaching service that addresses them directly.

Researching and Evaluating Options

Once you have clarity on your needs, it’s time to explore the available services. Prioritize those with a strong track record, credible credentials, and positive testimonials. It’s also wise to consider the methodologies they employ; a technique that worked wonders for one leader might not resonate with another. Thus, finding a coach or program that aligns with your learning style and leadership philosophy is vital.

Ensuring Alignment with Organizational Goals

Lastly, but crucially, the chosen coaching service should mirror the ethos and objectives of your organization. If a coaching service proposes techniques that contradict your organization’s values, it can create friction. Instead, a harmonious alignment ensures that the lessons from coaching not only benefit the individual leader but also seamlessly integrate into the broader organizational framework, fostering holistic growth.

 

Leadership Coaching is a Beacon

Leadership, while inherently challenging, possesses the potential to mold teams into high-performing units that consistently deliver results. Leadership coaching emerges as a beacon in this endeavor, providing leaders with personalized tools and insights to amplify their impact. When leaders are equipped to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and motivate their teams, the entire organization reaps the rewards. By choosing the right coaching service and integrating the lessons learned, leaders can not only elevate their personal skills but also set their teams on a trajectory of sustained success.

 

Leadership, in its purest form, is not merely a position of authority; it represents the capacity to inspire, influence, and establish an environment where every team member can attain their fullest potential. At the heart of this leadership ethos lie the C-suite executives, whose skills and competencies steer the trajectory of the organization. This pivotal role underlines the importance of effective leadership development techniques that can empower these executives to drive organizational success. This article will delve into these innovative training methodologies, exploring the transformative potential of experiential learning, immersive simulations, and personalized coaching.

 

The Changing Landscape of Leadership Development

As we delve deeper into the age of technology and globalization, the 

traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to executive training is becoming

increasingly irrelevant. Today, training is viewed as a personalized journey,

tailored to meet the unique needs, aspirations, and challenges of each leader.

This paradigm shift has given rise to innovative learning methodologies that

are immersive, experiential, and focused on real-world application. These

techniques are carving a new path for executive development, offering

environments that facilitate practical learning and stimulate critical thinking.

 

Experiential Learning: The Cornerstone of Modern Leadership Development

Experiential learning is at the forefront of these transformative training techniques. This approach, as the name suggests, is based on the principle of ‘learning by doing’. It seeks to engage executives in activities that mirror real-life scenarios, thereby enabling them to extract knowledge from their own experiences.

 

In experiential learning, leaders are often presented with scenarios where they must make decisions, solve problems, and lead teams under simulated conditions. This hands-on approach allows them to understand the nuances and implications of their decisions, thereby fostering a deep comprehension of leadership dynamics. This, coupled with reflective practices, instills a continuous learning mindset, empowering leaders to evaluate their actions and learn from their successes and failures.

 

One commonly used model that aligns with experiential learning is the ’70-20-10′ model. This framework advocates that 70% of learning should arise from real-life experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and the remaining 10% from formal training programs. This blend of learning sources not only amplifies knowledge retention but also encourages leaders to apply this knowledge to their professional context.

 

Immersive Simulations: Training in the Digital Age

Immersive simulations represent another significant leap in the realm of C-suite leadership development. These high-tech, VR-based environments emulate real-world scenarios, offering a platform where executives can experiment, learn, and grow without fear of real-world repercussions. 

 

In these virtual scenarios, executives might find themselves managing a major crisis, leading a difficult negotiation, or strategizing a product launch. The beauty of immersive simulations lies in their capacity to replicate the uncertainties and pressures of real-life scenarios. Leaders can experiment with different strategies, assess the outcomes of their decisions, and receive instant feedback, all within a risk-free environment.

 

Immersive simulations not only foster critical thinking and decision-making skills but also promote adaptability and resilience, traits that are invaluable in the face of the ever-evolving business landscape. 

 

Personalized Coaching: Harnessing the Power of One-on-One Guidance

 

As we shift our focus from group training to individual development, personalized coaching emerges as a potent tool for C-suite leadership development. Unlike traditional training programs, personalized coaching is less about instructing and more about guiding. The focus here is to empower leaders to introspect, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and chart their unique path towards effective leadership.

 

A personalized coaching relationship is characterized by a one-on-one engagement between the coach and the executive. The coach, acting as a facilitator, nudges the leader towards self-discovery, offers constructive feedback, and helps in strategic goal-setting. This personalized guidance ensures that the leader’s developmental journey aligns with their individual needs and the strategic objectives of the organization.

 

Harnessing Data for Tailored Leadership Development

Another factor revolutionizing C-suite leadership development is the integration of data analytics. With the advent of big data, organizations are now harnessing data-driven insights to assess leadership competencies, identify skill gaps, monitor progress, and measure the effectiveness of training interventions. 

 

The use of psychometric assessments, 360-degree feedback systems, and performance data can provide a holistic understanding of a leader’s strengths and development areas. When used strategically, this data can inform the design of personalized training plans, ensuring they align with the leader’s growth trajectory and the organization’s strategic goals.

 

Embracing Change for Resilient Leadership

The evolution of C-suite leadership development signifies a broader shift in the corporate world’s perception of learning. Today, organizations are moving away from static, one-off training programs and embracing a culture of continuous learning and growth. Experiential learning, immersive simulations, and personalized coaching aren’t merely buzzwords; they represent a commitment to developing resilient leaders who can navigate the complexities of the business world.

 

Implementing these innovative techniques requires flexibility and openness to change. It requires creating a learning environment that values diversity of thought, encourages feedback, and fosters reflective practices. By embracing these transformative training techniques, organizations can offer their C-suite executives a dynamic, inclusive, and engaging learning journey that not only elevates their leadership capabilities but also drives the organization’s success.

 

Effective leadership has never been more critical in these complex times. Organizations that invest in these transformative training methodologies stand to benefit from a cadre of skilled and resilient leaders who can steer them towards success. As we forge ahead into an uncertain future, these innovative training techniques will undeniably play a significant role in shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

Often, diverse thinking is a major key to a successful team. By bringing in diverse perspectives, a more comprehensive picture of a task or problem can be painted, allowing for innovation and collaboration. However, to create a diverse perspective on a team, leaders must first create a safe, inclusive workspace. This is where inclusive leadership training comes into play.

What Is Inclusive Leadership Training?

Inclusive leaders must be humble, empathetic, vulnerable and resilient to be effective. These can be difficult traits to learn on one’s own, which is where inclusive leadership training comes into play. This may take the place of workshops, classes and training sessions on topics such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) or cultural competency and identifying unconscious biases.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Training

Inclusive organizations seek to promote three key values: Diversity, equity and inclusion. By supporting several groups, including race, religion and gender or sexual orientations, teams can be more effective than homogenous teams. Emphasizing equity and inclusion allow for people of all walks of life to have an equal opportunity to be on the team. Organizations struggling with DEI can participate in inclusion and diversity courses to further develop.

Cultural Competency Training

Cultural competency courses can provide teams with the information and skills they need to better interact with coworkers of various cultures, thus improving the rate of inclusiveness and encouraging a welcoming environment. This typically involves taking a course focused on the five cultural competencies:

  • Cultural awareness
  • Cultural understanding
  • Cultural knowledge
  • Cultural interaction
  • Cultural sensitivity

Upon completing cultural competency training, individuals should be capable of:

  • Working in a culturally diverse setting
  • Integrating cultural competencies throughout the work process
  • Engaging in strategies that allow for intercultural communications that boost success

Unconscious Bias Training

Everyone has unconscious biases that play into their day-to-day interactions with teams and organizations. These biases can become roadblocks to productivity and success. Unconscious bias training helps employees to identify their unconscious biases and manage them to improve DEI success within organizations.

The Benefit of Being an Inclusive Leader

By training inclusive leaders, organizations can develop settings that promote diverse thinking and respectful teams. As a result, innovation is increased because the best of everyone is brought out and communication among the team is increased.

Inclusive leaders and environments also tend to create happier employees who know that they can come and be their true selves rather than trying to fit in with the company culture. A positive company culture also increases employee retention, productivity and engagement.

Creating an Inclusive Environment

Creating an inclusive environment is often as simple as adjusting small habits and providing the appropriate training. Some simple ways leaders can bring inclusion to their teams include:

  • Using inclusive language, such as greeting a group with words like team, folks or other gender-neutral terms.
  • Identifying exclusion when it occurs and making an active effort to include those who were left out.
  • Create a mission statement that emphasizes inclusion and prioritizes inclusion in company culture

Leadership Coaching for Inclusivity

Leaders struggling with inclusivity can benefit from receiving leadership coaching. At Leadership Choice, we offer a range of leadership training, coaching and communication workshops designed to help leaders improve their skills and create happier, more inclusive workplaces for their employees.

Those with decision-making powers often wonder whether it’s worth investing in leaders if they soon leave, taking their knowledge and skills to seek out new pastures.

However, what happens if you don’t train leaders? Your workforce is led by people who could be much more efficient and effective if they only had the proper training. And your leaders won’t leave — resulting in untrained staff members heading your company — if they know they’ll receive ongoing training and a good incentive package.

People aren’t always born to lead — teaching the necessary skills to create a great leader is also possible.

This article discusses why leadership training is essential for your company, even if individuals will ultimately leave.

 

Skilled Workforce

Investing in leadership training helps your team to develop a range of transferable skills that benefit your workplace. For example, trained leaders often make better and faster decisions, communicate effectively, have excellent problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills, and think outside the box to find innovative solutions to any issue. In addition, you’ll have the advantage of a team with a positive, can-do attitude. Furthermore, leadership training is beneficial for any team member, even those who don’t directly supervise or manage other staff members.

 

Company Growth

Inefficient leaders can’t motivate or train their subordinates to perform consistently at their best, meaning your company is potentially losing out on sales, connections, opportunities, and profits. On the other hand, training your leaders can result in a more dedicated and competent team, which supports the growth and success of your company.

 

Job Satisfaction

Vital components of job satisfaction are feeling valued, empowered, and useful. Providing training and career development is a significant way that employers can invest in their staff members, both for the company’s and the individual’s good. Employees who feel like a valuable asset to their company and can see that their managers genuinely want them to succeed are more likely to feel loyal toward their company and remain in post. Conversely, those who feel undervalued tend to seek out new opportunities eventually.

 

Internal Advancement

Leadership training often opens doors for people to develop and move up within the company rather than needing to look outside for promotion opportunities. This can help retain your top staff members while also ensuring that you have the right people in post for a particular job.

 

Turnover of Staff

Failing to train your leaders effectively can lead to a higher staff turnover. According to the Harvard Business Review, a significant cause of people quitting their jobs is not liking their superiors. Therefore, leaders who don’t have the necessary people skills to lead their workforce can directly impact the job satisfaction levels and retention rates among those they lead.

 

Talent Acquisition

When your company becomes known as one that actively invests in its staff members and helps people to develop, you won’t only be better placed to retain good staff; you’ll also likely find that you start attracting even more top talent. Reputation spreads, and people are naturally drawn to working for companies and managers who are known to offer opportunities and good conditions.

 

Take the next step toward a more effective and confident workforce and contact Leadership Choice to learn how our expertly designed program can benefit your company and support your leaders.

by Patrick Bosworth

Managing Brilliant Employees

Even an outstanding team of engineers, computer programmers, developers, or systems designers will only be as effective as their leader allows them to be.

After nearly two decades of experience working alongside brilliant (and nerdy) professionals in technology companies, it’s become quite clear that an organization’s success is less dependent on the skills of individual contributors and more dependent on the skills of the team lead. This is because regardless of the talents of each key player, a team lead sets the tone for the entire organization.

In every team, the leader significantly affects the engagement, performance levels, and output of their team – but perhaps in no team is this truer than in brilliant (and nerdy) technology-based teams. This is because teams in fields such as engineering, systems, or programming are typically contributing to a specific detail-based whole that relies on a consistent language and mindset to successfully complete.

I recently spoke to a CEO of a quickly-growing internet-based service company in Salt Lake City who told me how his team of extremely talented engineers and programmers saw a 30% increase in performance and output after they successfully addressed some of the leadership shortcomings in their head of engineering.

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Why do brilliant technology teams often struggle with leadership?

The biggest reason many technology-based teams struggle with leadership is because of the typical path to management

  1. Management spots a bright light on the team—the best coder, the sharpest mind, the fastest pathfinder—someone making an amazing individual contribution.
  2. “Bright light” continues to make a great contribution, perhaps even helping others on the team out a bit on their problems.
  3. The existing team leader gets promoted out of the team leader position and into a Development Manager, VP, or Engineering Lead position.
  4. Bright light gets picked to take the seat as the new team leader.
  5. Bright light is excited for the promotion but is unsure about what he or she is supposed to do differently in this new role and how.

This line of promotion is not uncommon—sometimes it occurs as a “battlefield promotion,” or a promotion that occurs when a transition or shift within a company leaves a big hole that needs to be filled asap; and sometimes it occurs because that’s simply how an organization chooses to reward top performers.

In our decades of experience accelerating leaders in a variety of industries, we’ve found this story to be true for most organizations regardless of industry, but especially when there are technology-based teams involved.

Regardless of the reason behind the internal promotion, the organization typically expects the individual to hit the ground running since he or she already has pertinent company and team knowledge. However, what many organizations may misjudge is that strong individuals may not necessarily have inherent leadership skills (in fact, according to a recent study by Gallup, only 1 in 10 of these leaders will have the skills needed to successfully drive profitability, productivity, and engagement within a team).

Would you like to learn more about our Award Winning Team Communication Program?

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What’s the solution?

Many organizations (understandably) rely on internal promotion as part of their company culture. It gives team members a trajectory to promotion within an organization, provides incentives for hard work, and assures that new leaders have organization and team knowledge and relationships prior to the promotion that enables them a shorter learning curve. For these reasons and more, hiring from within is often more attractive than hiring external leaders. But how can you ensure these internal promotions go smoothly and that the individuals selected to impact entire teams through leadership are qualified to do a good job? The main consideration, say leadership experts, is to empower new leaders to develop top leadership habits early on with support, training, and coaching that will yield much more positive (and deliberate) leadership habits.

Done With Just Reading About It — Ready for Action?

Consider the breakthrough approach Leadership Choice has delivered to hundreds of team leaders to equip them with management essentials and beyond. Good management skills can be learned, acquired, and mastered. From there, regardless of where you started, you will end up joining the ranks of the highly effective leaders.

Explore Our Award-Winning Leadership Program

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About the Author

Patrick Bosworth Leadership Choice
Patrick Bosworth

Patrick effectively coaches leaders at all levels and across a number of industries with a pragmatic, consultative approach. Previously, he was vice president with Right Management and held other senior OD and development positions in manufacturing and the professional services Industries. He holds an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Lamar University.

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by Patrick Bosworth

Why Communication is Important

Organizations understanding that each team member has a different communication pattern and that each of these communication patterns is “good” and is primed for success.

You can’t conduct business without words. That’s not a miraculous discovery–we’ve known communication is important to business for centuries. We know that when we communicate better within an organization we have improved conflict resolution, better interpersonal relationships, and more engagement with clients or customers. We know that it leads to more effective delegation and happier employees, and that it increases trust and confidence between employees and leaders.

But does that manifest into measurable business impact? More and more studies are showing that effective communication and communication-related skills contribute to some of an organization’s most important KPIs, including profitability, productivity, and client engagement.

If your team doesn’t consider communication a priority, you may be missing out on more than just “feel goods.”

After decades of experience interacting with thousands of teams in hundreds of industries, consulting with some of the best leadership development minds in the industry, pouring over thousands of pages of research and studies related to organizational psychology and leadership, and years of corporate experience in a multitude of industries, we’ve experienced first-hand the impact that team communication training can have as a transformational tool within an organization.

In fact, effective communication and its application in skills such as motivating employees to take action, driving outcomes, and building relationships with trust and transparency, can contribute to as much as a 22% increase in productivity, a 48% increase in profitability, and a 19% decrease in employee turnover.

What’s the problem?

What’s slowing down your progress or causing contention in your workplace?

  • Do your leaders feel like they get let down when they delegate important assignments?
  • Do your employees prefer working individually instead of in teams?
  • Do you sometimes feel shut down by higher-ups, or like they’d rather run a dictatorship than listen to contributing ideas?
  • Are there people in your company that you or others avoid because they are “strong” personalities or “too chatty?”
  • Do you get frustrated when employee reports or leadership direction is too anecdotal/qualitative as opposed to numbers-driven/quantitative (or vice versa)?

The problem likely isn’t a lack of effective delegation or a need for team building workshops or stricter report guidelines.

Symptoms like these are typically due to a lack of understanding team members’ personal communication patterns, and using that information to communication more consciously and effectively within the organization.

What are personal communication patterns and why do they matter?

Most of us have taken a personality test at some point in our lives. The results of these tests usually give us a “personality type” or other identifier (think Myers & Briggs).

A communication assessment is no different. The assessment is usually a collection of questions, usually taking no more than 5-10 minutes to complete, that tells you what type of communicator you are. It typically takes into consideration two important communication factors: your assertiveness (high vs. low) and responsiveness (high vs. low).

Knowing your communication pattern can give you personal insight into your interactions. For example, perhaps your pattern will reveal that you are “Amiable,” and therefore like to know how certain actions will benefit your team as a whole or how your work is contributing to the organization. This information might help you be more aware that your enjoyment of a project increases when you ask questions about how it will affect the team/organization. Or perhaps you realize you’re “Expressive” and feel frustrated or put-off when meetings or one-on-ones get straight to business instead of allowing for a little small-talk and personalization. This would help you communicate your needs more effectively to leaders in your organization.

Would you like to learn more about our Award Winning Team Communication Program?

Learn more about Connecting With People    →

While it’s important to know how we communicate, it’s even more important–especially in business–to be able to identify how others communicate. This powerful information drives understanding, expectations, and trust. Even more importantly, it puts all team members in a position (with the right support) to use the information on a daily basis to complete projects more efficiently, resolve challenges more effectively, sell or market more powerfully, utilize each other’s skills more actively, and ultimately drive an increase in efficacy, productivity, and profitability.

Leadership development and corporate research organizations everywhere regularly analyze the traits of effective organizations, cultivating an understanding for what makes teams and leaders great. While there is some variety in which traits/skills, exactly, are the most important to organizational success, one analysis is clear: almost every trait related to high-performing organizations corresponds with effective communication between team members.

How do team communication skills help achieve higher profitability (up to 48%) and higher productivity (up to 22%)?

The short answer is that when people understand each other and communicate better, they perform better. There is less guesswork and interpretation, fewer hurt feelings or misunderstandings, and better informed interactions.

The longer answer can vary between company to company. For instance, a SAAS company may have tension between analytical programmers and expressive salespeople that could be mitigated if expressives understood that the analytical communicators need a little time to consider information/problems before discussing resolutions. This allows them to adjust their expectations accordingly. Similarly, analytical programmers would recognize that processing time doesn’t come naturally to high-assertive, high-responsive expressive and would communicate their need for time.

There are some benefits of greater communication skills that affect every company, regardless of industry:

More effective delegation

One of the greatest assets to a companies is their leaders’ ability to delegate. This is important not only because it frees up leaders to do higher level strategy and projects; it also helps develop team members into higher performing individuals with skills that continue to advance and develop into higher performing teams.

When leaders are aware of each of their team members’ communication patterns, the leader is better able to draw out the talents these team members possess. It helps the leader understand which qualities may not yet have had an opportunity to surface, and which skills may have been hidden because a team member is “low assertive.”

Higher employee engagement

Better communication within a team means there is less conflict, improved understanding, and greater trust and confidence. In an environment like that, it’s no wonder employees begin to feel more engaged in the team’s performance. Employees also feel they have more buy-in within the team and are more eager to elevate the team to success.

Customer engagement

When a team takes part in a group communication training program, they apply those communication skills not only within the team, but also with interactions between clients or customers. Whether your team includes customer service or sales, this means customers feel more understood and like their needs are better being better met. It also means reduced conflict, stronger connections, and increased confidence in your team members.

Tactical influencing

In every organization, it’s important for ideas to be explored and progressed to make way for innovation and growth. However, as anyone who has experienced the “too many cooks in the kitchen” stage of innovation can attest, it sometimes takes skills of influencing and compromise to achieve progress. When teams understand each others’ communication patterns, this knowledge becomes a decoding tool or magic key empowering more effective means for influence and change management.

Whatever your communication pattern is, it’s the “best” one.

Organizations understanding that each team member has a different communication pattern and that each of these communication patterns is a “good” one are primed for success. This information helps high-performing teams find greater profitability, productivity, and employee engagement than those organizations that try to standardize communication or interactions.

Every communication pattern comes with unique strengths that, when understood and utilized, can help your team become more well-rounded and achieve higher performance and success.

by Dave Boizelle

Leadership & Employee Development

The secret of leader-led development and how to make it work for your organization

For a lot of companies, training and development has become that one week out of the year where employees disappear for a day or two to learn a few new skills and come back pumped up and ready to take on the world–only to see that gusto evaporate within a month or so.

There are a lot of reasons traditional training programs end with this “evaporation” of skills and mindsets so quickly after training is complete, but one of the most well-known (and most often ignored) reasons is lack of involvement from leaders and executives.

You have probably heard the spiel before about how involvement from higher-ups in the employee development process leads to better alignment between individual goals and company goals and helps shape employee performance to accelerate company progress.

You probably also know that this practice develops long-term company support to reinforce lasting change and measurable on-the-job application. Not to mention it creating cohesiveness and a community of progress within the company.

We’ll spare you the pep talk

Most organizations know the importance of syncing higher-ups with employee development but most overestimate the amount of effort that is required to reap the benefits.

In all actuality, there are a number of easy ways you can include leaders and executives in employee development without an excessive amount of time or effort.

Doesn’t that take a lot of work and planning?

Many leaders automatically resist becoming part of the employee development process because they already feel stretched for time. Being a part of employee development feels like a massive undertaking. Are there supposed to be reports and graphs involved? Do they need research and examples to back up their claims? Shouldn’t they receive an employee performance analysis or some metrics first?

The answer is no.

While a formal review may have a time and place in your organization, the best and most effective feedback can come from smaller, more informal interactions.

Involve your leaders from day one

One of the most effective ways to involve your leaders in employee development is to ensure they have a role in the process from day one.

Ask your executives and leaders to be part of the process for designing learning goals. The best development programs don’t work in a vacuum; they’re integrated with company goals and values. Make sure the leaders in your company understand how aligning learning and development goals with the skills and mindsets can fast track your company to more strategic success. Ask them to help be a part of the alignment process.

If your employee training and development program is already in place, use this as an opportunity to refresh it. Your executives and leaders shouldn’t need to review the whole process, but a 30-minute conversation about overall goals and values can be an invaluable tool for both the executive and the learning process.

Make the executive’s role in coaching less formal

If regular coaching—understandably—feels like too big of a commitment, ask your leaders and executives to be a part of the development process on the ground level. There are huge benefits to on-the-spot coaching (as long as the leader is in tune with the overall development goals of the company).

On-the-spot coaching means your leaders and executives tune in to daily interactions and find small moments each day to use as teaching opportunities.

One executive I talked to who has grown multiple multi-million dollar companies from the ground up and is currently the chief executive officer of one of the fastest growing technology companies of the Western United States says that his modus operandi is to be a “walking manager,” meaning he cruises the floor multiple times a day to engage in conversations with all levels of employees. He also holds informal weekly “stand-up meetings,” where he goes to each team—such as his call center or engineering floor—for five minutes each week to ask members of the team to stand and discuss wins, losses, and areas of improvement.

He keeps the process friendly and quick to develop a positive rapport with the employees and to keep himself from dreading the interactions. However, these meetings without fail exhibit opportunities to coach individuals by discussing tools and strategies, realigning goals, or sharing stories or quips that illustrate lesson.

Informal executive involvement in employee development allows leaders to connect and coach on a one-on-one or team basis in a low pressure, convenient environment. It gives them an opportunity to share stories or personal experiences with employees which—especially in the case of millennials—significantly increases interest and engagement.

Keep it simple and short

Sometimes it’s good to formalize the leader or executive’s involvement in the employee development process, but in these cases, keep it short. At Leadership Choice, we like to involve leaders in the review of learning goals pre-training and in reviewing long-term development post-training to ensure alignment with company values and goals.

This also gives the leader or executive an opportunity to understand an individual or team’s specific goals and use those as benchmarks during informal on-the-spot training.

Still not convinced?

Do you think it will take a little more encouragement for your leaders and executives to take part in the employee development process? Make sure they understand the benefits of having these interactions with their “in the trenches” employees.

By asking questions and listening to employees on the front lines, leaders and executives are bound to learn heaps of information about their company that they wouldn’t otherwise be privy to. They will suddenly have direct insight into employee attitudes, customer issues, technology shortcomings, ideas for more effective processes, talents that might not yet been showcased, or brainstorms about new products or services.

You hear about it all the time because it’s important

Leader-led training is making a regular presence in conversations about effective training and employee development and doesn’t have to be overwhelming to start implementing.

The Importance of Team Communication in the Workplace

Leadership Choice begins each of our leadership training and coaching programs with an iConnect Communication Assessment and, in most cases, a Connecting With People workshop.

Entering into a training or coaching environment after attending a Connecting With People workshop means participants are in the mindset of understanding their personal behavioral and communication patterns. With this mindset, participants are better primed and prepared to be receptive to new deep thinking, information, and behavior-changing skillsets and mindsets

“Being able to apply slightly different communication tactics in leadership according to a direct report’s personal communication pattern makes for a more effective application environment for new skills, strategies, and influence.”

There’s more to it than personal communication patterns, however. Connecting With People helps each participant master the ability to identify and understand other people’s communication patterns. The participants are able to use this information to make temporary communication modifications that drive an impactful, more controlled outcome. Being able to apply slightly different communication tactics in leadership according to a direct report’s personal communication pattern makes for a more effective application environment for new skills, strategies, and influence.

It’s not just for leaders

Leadership Choice has seen the huge impact that communication pattern awareness can have on the synchronization and effectiveness of a team. It’s proven to increase productivity, connect more strategically, increase efficiency, and minimize inter-team conflict.

“A mediocre team perfectly in-sync with each other and their strategic goals is infinitely more powerful than a team of superstars who can’t work well together.”

That is why Leadership Choice also offers Team Connect, which identifies inter-team communication strengths and challenges, as well as how to better overcome inter-team communication barriers. This workshop also helps the team analyze how to communicate more effectively with other people of influence in the communication dynamic, including stakeholders and customers.

Learn more about Connecting With People and Team Connect by clicking here.

 

by Dave Boizelle

Training High-Potential Leaders

Individuals learn leadership lessons in unique and personal ways, often at unpredictable times.

I was facilitating a high potential leadership team program when one of the participants interrupted me and blurted out, “I get it! I finally get it!” The class came to a halt. I turned to him and said, “What is it you get?”

The participant, Ethan, started to explain that he now understood the implications of a communication principle we had covered months ago. He said, “I just realized that I am the problem in the group I lead. I never understood why my teammates could not process issues and make decisions as quickly as me. It drove me nuts, so I would take charge and start telling them what to do instead of asking what they thought we should do. They are nice people to work with, but so frustrating at times.”

The Enemy Within

Ethan had come face to face with his strongest opposing force—himself. It was an illuminating moment for him (and the class) as he realized his actions were getting in the way of being an effective leader.

I could see that he was processing years of needless frustration, so I seized the opportunity to create a coaching moment:

“Ethan, what have you discovered about yourself?”

He responded profoundly, “I realize now that I have been overplaying a strength that I thought would bring me faster results. I have a Dominant communication pattern. It’s who I am. I am really time- and task-oriented. I am not as interested in feelings and relationships at work.

“I also realize that most of my team members have an Amiable communication pattern. They are very different from me in how they solve problems and make decisions—I prefer to make decisions quickly with less data, but my team is not as comfortable taking that risk. They often fuss over things and don’t seem to have any time boundaries. When I see this happen, I can’t stop myself from stepping in and taking over. I feel like I have to keep the ball moving forward.”

“I realize now that I disempower the team with those actions. The sad thing is that most of our decisions are not urgent and certainly not life threatening.”

I urged him on: “What modifications can you make in that situation?”

His response was what I was hoping for. “I need to relax and have more patience. Instead of dominating a situation I feel isn’t getting resolved quickly enough, I need to lower my assertiveness. I need to get more comfortable coaching my team through a decision-making process using questions—I think this might help the team process faster and learn how to make quicker decisions. That would also force me to listen to their ideas and concerns. As hard as this is for me to do, I think it would empower the team to be more decisive and maybe more comfortable telling me the way things really are.”

The class surprised me with a round of applause for Ethan. Then I realized that they had just witnessed what they thought was an improbable transformation of a colleague. It was a very inspiring and satisfying moment for me and the group.

From Insights to Action

I was thrilled to see Ethan’s progress, but knew that these breakthroughs are most effective when they are supported by an action plan. I asked Ethan if he could take on an assignment to teach us further.

His assignment was to act on his revelation—to engage his team in ways that he had described—then to return to the next workshop and report the outcome.

Ethan did so and proved that “do it my way” leaders can modify their communication pattern and value the new perspectives that come as a result.

He reported that his more Amiable team turned out to be great problem solvers once he stopped overplaying his strength. His lower-assertive coaching approach helped his team open up. They needed more time and space to process—time and space he is now more willing to give them once he saw how effectively it empowered them to deliver results.

I asked Ethan one final question. “Was making small, temporary adjustments to the way you communicate to your team a waste of your time? Did it slow down progress, or slow down the ‘ball’ you were so anxious to keep rolling?”

Perhaps this was his greatest revelation. “It defies logic, but in many instances taking a bit more time to adapt to the communication patterns of my team actually saved me time and I tend to get better outcomes when I do.”

The Burden of Dominants

The reason I share this story is because Dominant bosses need to be self-aware with how they interact with others.

Until they recognize the impact they have on others through their communication, they’re failing to fulfill the potential of their leadership, and are missing out on maximizing important knowledge and talents from their team members.

Connecting With People

Great leaders have empathy. Empathy enables the leader to understand, relate to, and “connect” with a greater variety of people. Relating to others begins with seeing different sides of yourself and others.

The “connecting” process includes:

  • Self-awareness of how your communication strengths can become your weaknesses when overplayed at the wrong time.
  • Understanding the Communication Patterns of others.
  • Temporarily modifying your Communication Pattern to meet the needs of others.

Armed with this self-awareness, understanding, and the ability to make temporary modifications, the Dominant boss will become a more versatile and impactful leader with greater ability to truly lead.

Funny thing–when Dominant bosses figures this out, they typically get more of what they want from others: faster results and better outcomes!

About the Author


Dave Boizelle

Chief Learning Officer
Dave has unique capabilities in training facilitation and developmental coaching across mid-sized and global organizations. Previously, Dave was the chief learning officer with RSM McGladdrey. He also has extensive experience as a director of human resources and recruiting at Arthur Anderson, Inc. Dave has an M.S. in Instructional Technology from Utah State University.

Individuals learn leadership lessons in the most individual ways and often at unpredictable times.

I was facilitating a high-potential leadership team program when one of the participants interrupted me and blurted out, “I get it! I finally get it!” The class came to a halt. I turned to him and said, “What is it you get?”

The participant, Chris, started to explain that he now understood the implications of a communication principle we had covered months ago. He said, “I just realized that I am the problem in the group I lead. I never understood why my teammates could not process issues and make decisions as quickly as me. It drove me nuts, so I would take charge and start telling them what to do instead of asking what they thought we should do. They are nice people to work with, but so frustrating at times.”

The Enemy Within

Chris had come face to face with his strongest opposing force—himself. It was an illuminating moment for him (and the class) as he realized his actions were getting in the way of being an effective leader.

I could see that he was processing years of needless frustration, so I seized the opportunity to create a coaching moment:

“Chris, what have you discovered about yourself?”

He responded profoundly, “I realize now that I have been overplaying a strength that I thought would bring me faster results. I have a Dominant communication pattern. It’s who I am. I am really time- and task-oriented. I am not as interested in feelings and relationships at work.

“I also realize that most of my team members have an Amiable communication pattern. They are very different from me in how they solve problems and make decisions—I prefer to make decisions quickly with less data, but my team is not as comfortable taking that risk. They often fuss over things and don’t seem to have any time boundaries. When I see this happen, I can’t stop myself from stepping in and taking over. I feel like I have to keep the ball moving forward.”

“I realize now that I disempower the team with those actions. The sad thing is that most of our decisions are not urgent and certainly not life threatening.”

I urged him on: “What modifications can you make in that situation?”

His response was what I was hoping for. “I need to relax and have more patience. Instead of dominating a situation I feel isn’t getting resolved quickly enough, I need to lower my assertiveness. I need to get more comfortable coaching my team through a decision-making process using questions—I think this might help the team process faster and learn how to make quicker decisions. That would also force me to listen to their ideas and concerns. As hard as this is for me to do, I think it would empower team to be more decisive and maybe more comfortable telling me the way things really are.”

The class surprised me with a round of applause for Chris. Then I realized that they had just witnessed what they thought was an improbable transformation of a colleague. It was a very inspiring and satisfying moment for me and the group.

From Insights to Action

I was thrilled to see Chris’ progress but knew that these breakthroughs are most effective when they are supported by an action plan. I asked Chris if he could take on an assignment to teach us further.

His assignment was to act on his revelation—to engage his team in ways that he had described—then to return to the next workshop and report the outcome.

Chris did so and proved that “do it my way” leaders can modify their communication patterns and value the new perspectives that come as a result.

He reported that his more Amiable team turned out to be great problem solvers once he stopped overplaying his strength. His lower-assertive coaching approach helped his team open up. They needed more time and space to process—time and space he is now more willing to give them once he saw how effectively it empowered them to deliver results.

I asked Chris one final question. “Was making small, temporary adjustments to the way you communicate to your team a waste of your time? Did it slow down progress, or slow down the ‘ball’ you were so anxious to keep rolling?”

Perhaps this was his greatest revelation. “It defies logic, but in many instances taking a bit more time to adapt to the communication patterns of my team actually saved me time and I tend to get better outcomes when I do.”

The Burden of Dominants

The reason I share this story is because Dominant bosses need to be self-aware with how they interact with others.

Until they recognize the impact they have on others through their communication, they’re failing to fulfill the potential of their leadership, and are missing out on maximizing important knowledge and talents from their team members.

Connecting With People

Great leaders have empathy. Empathy enables the leader to understand, relate to, and “connect” with a greater variety of people. Relating to others begins with seeing different sides of yourself and others.

They “connecting” process includes:

  • Self-awareness of how your communication strengths can become your weaknesses when overplayed at the wrong time.
  • Understanding the Communication Patterns of others.
  • Temporarily modifying your Communication Pattern to meet the needs of others.

Armed with this self-awareness, understanding, and the ability to make temporary modifications, the Dominant boss will become a more versatile and impactful leader with greater ability to truly lead.

Funny thing–when Dominant bosses figures this out, they typically get more of what they want from others: faster results and better outcomes!


LEARN MORE ABOUT DOMINANT COMMUNICATION PATTERNS:

Connecting Better with a Highly Assertive Leader

Do you think you may be a dominant communicator (or do you know someone who is)? This article by Leadership Choice President, Brett Walker discusses how to connect better with highly-assertive leaders.


by Patrick Bosworth

Communication in the workplace is one of the most influential aspects of business success or failure. A well-communicating team can move mountains together, while a poorly-communicating team can unintentionally (or intentionally) sabotage success.

Effective Communication in the Workplace

Improving communication in your teams is one of the most important changes your organization can take. Effective communication will not only produce a more positive work environment, it will also increase productivity, employee engagement, and profitability.

3 Steps for Improving Team Communication in the Workplace:

How can you improve team communication in the workplace? It starts with self-awareness. Each team member must first take a good look at how he or she communicates. Then, team members should take the time to understand each others communication patterns. With this information, team members can then learn to make simple and temporary communication modification that can skyrocket

1. Become self-aware of personal communication patterns.

Each team member must first develop self-awareness about how they communicate with others. This includes understanding how they think they communicate as well as how others perceive how they communicate. Most people’s communication patterns change under stress, so it’s also important for team members to understand how their personal communication patterns change under pressure.

This awareness is an important first step in improving team communication since it empowers each person with knowledge of their natural tendencies as well as their strengths and weaknesses. This personalization will be important when they’re making temporary modifications to communicate more effectively with a person or group of people.

2. Understand each team members’ communication patterns.

Effective communication isn’t a one-size-fits-all mentality. Every person communicates differently, which means a team can be most effective when they understand the communication patterns of their fellow team members.

With this information, team members can develop techniques to temporarily change their communication techniques based on the team member(s) with whom they’re communicating. For instance, perhaps Jenny has an analytical communication pattern and needs time to process information and make decisions; Mark is expressive and tends to work fast-paced, preferring knowing the big picture. Understanding these patterns gives you insights into how to communicate most effectively, get more results, and reduce conflict.

3. Develop an agreed-upon communication dynamic

Finally, the team must have a defined, predictable, easy-to-implement, and intuitive system for communicating. This dynamic should take consideration of the speaker and listener’s primary communication patterns (as opposed to treating everyone like the same type of communicator). It should also include both the speaker and listener making temporary communication modifications based on their personal communication pattern and the pattern of the person with whom they’re speaking.

Any communication program or philosophy is best implemented with regular reminders. It can often be helpful to incorporate a short communication discussion into weekly or monthly meetings – troubleshooting any communication problems, discussing observations about communication patterns, or taking time to praise those who have been effectively implementing effective communication.

 

Effective Team Communication is the Foundation of Business Success

Not only does effective communication affect company culture and interpersonal relationships; it also results in:

  • Better client relationships
  • Minimized conflict
  • Increased productivity
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Reduced turnover

How We Help: Connecting With People Team Communication Program

Connecting With People is a premier, award-winning team communication program. It transforms communication from just “talking” to being an actual high-impact tool for business success. The high-impact communication habits developed under Connecting With People will help teams get more done faster while creating a more engaged and positive team environment.

What Does Connecting With People Look Like?

Connecting With People is an employee communication program that includes a preliminary communication assessment, a workshop (available in-classroom or virtually), and follow-on exercises to maximize retention and application.

1. iConnect Personal Communication Assessment. Each participant will first take a communication assessment. This assessment is integral to the Connecting With People team communication method. It provides a detailed personal analysis of communication patterns, giving important self-awareness from which to build new communication skills.

From a series of questions, the assessment determines different aspects of an individual’s personal communication pattern, including

  • How the person sees themselves
  • How others see them
  • How the person communicates under pressure

2. Connecting With People Workshop. Available in a half-day classroom workshop, a live-virtual interactive online classroom, or as an on-demand virtual course, the Connecting With People workshop is the heart and soul of this program.

Connecting With People goes in depth to analyze personal communication patterns and the communication patterns of others. Participants are given recognition techniques to quickly assess the patterns of others, then learn to make strategic adjustments to communicate more effectively in any situation.

3. After-Training Retention Exercises and eCoaching. After training, participants receive weekly reminder videos as well as access to an eCoaching dashboard that reinforce skills and troubleshoot challenges. This integral part of the Connecting With People results in 3X higher application and long-term retention than traditional employee communication programs.

4. Optional: Team Connect™. This program is specific to your team and includes a facilitator to help the group examine each team member’s personal communication patterns, discuss current communication barriers, and implement weekly or bi-weekly Team Connect Huddles for a productive communication platform. Learn more about Team Connect here.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Communication in the workplace is one of the most influential aspects of business success or failure. A well-communicating team can move mountains together, while a poorly-communicating team can unintentionally (or intentionally) sabotage success.

How can you improve team communication in your organization? Read more about our team communication training program →

About the Author

Pat Bosworth

Founder and CEO
Patrick effectively coaches leaders at all levels and across a number of industries with a pragmatic, consultative approach. Previously, he was vice president with Right Management and held other senior OD and development positions in manufacturing and the professional services Industries. He holds an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Lamar University.