As Managing Partner of Leadership Forum, I help organizations improve the quality of their conversations. Better conversations result in better relationships and better performance in every aspect from strategic insight, to talent, teams and individual capability. Find out more about my approach to work below.
"I spend 75% of my time working with leaders and teams in getting them to see that there is another point of view."
What Makes Great Leadership?
Watching leaders, asking countless people whom they admire as a leader and why, and coaching hundreds of leaders, I formed a few core opinions about what I think makes effective, great leadership – that is, leadership that gets things done and that inspires people to do more than they thought they could.
First and most importantly, I believe great leadership is like yin and yang. For every good element of leadership, there is the polar opposite. Great leadership is not about one or the other but about balancing the two - holding the two in the right tension.
Second, I think I spend 75% of my time working with leaders and teams in getting them to see that there is another point of view: an alternative interpretation of what someone meant, an alternative way to deliver a message that will get a different reaction, an alternative way to approach to a conversation. This is the heart of what makes for a great conversation. Let me give you a simple example. Hundreds of times I hear a person say of a colleague, “He/she is jealous”. That may be, but it’s only one plausible explanation of the person’s actions. There are several others such as being afraid of making a mistake or being worried that an opportunity isn’t going to materialize. Seeing an alternative view opens many other options for the next conversation, and the outcome.
Everything we seek to build in organizations (collaboration, teaming, innovation, inclusivity, influence) begins with seeing the possibility of a different interpretation. I don’t have to change my view, I just have to hear the alternative view. Only then can great conversations begin.
My Work Style
Most of my colleagues only want to work with the top of the organization. I like to work at many levels within an organization, partly because it allows me to see what is really going on inside the company. Also because having great conversations is just as important for young managers as it is for seasoned managers and the challenges are not that different. Their experiences will vary and their awareness may vary. The skills and tools are the same.
I work in every medium available: 1-1 coaching, small group coaching, team coaching, classrooms of 10 to 25 people, keynote talks of any size, webinars and classic consulting engagements.
The greater the level of interaction, the happier I am. So, I strive to have questions and debate in any format even in a webinar. Some are clearly easier than others to achieve. My worst groups are ones that don’t talk.
"The greater the level of interaction, the happier I am."