Through the transparent safety screen at the grocery store, I shared a joke with Jack who recently removed his medical mask to reveal his face like the mythical swordsman Zoro.
Jack chuckled in an ironic tone and was extremely pleased society was progressing back to normality. To his left was a colleague with concern painted across her face. Angela proceeded to explain that no country in the world has been able to cope with covid and that Australia is not ready for the second wave that will be even more deadly than the first.
I probed softly and then offered some comforting words. She reluctantly agreed. Angela’s body langue told me otherwise as she seemed uncomfortable with my care and optimism.
Reflecting on this exchange highlighted for me just how contrasting people can be in response to the same situation. While Jack appeared to be relatively buoyant, Angela on the other had was suffering and deeply troubled about her future.
Let’s think about how this example reflects society and the transition back for your teams, business and customers. As we all attempt to shift to post covid normality, those you are leading or dealing with will have different expectations and safely levels.
Moving quickly will empower some and equally terrify others. A balance of empathy and direction, facts, flexing your communication style and asking Masterful Questions are all essential to ensure maximum buy-in and traction.
Is Angela’s mindset cowardly? Is Jack attitude courageous? Neither are true, they just have a difference in views and different requirements to feel safe, supported and in control.
The same principles that apply to sales apply to effective leadership. To move people to a place of trust in order to take action requires an understanding of them as people, first.
What genuinely moves people is empathy, not logic. Even the most well thought out argument will suffer a quick death if it is not aligned to the recipient’s values and core Drivers. Forcing people to step up and demonstrate bold behaviour when they are concerned predominantly with their safety is futile. By the same token, forcing caution on those consumed with financial survival and feeding their family may also be in vain.
Before selling others on what you think, feel and believe…
Seek first to understand, before being understood.
This will enable all those affected to share and collaborate equally and take the next steps forward together as apposed to moving sideways or even backward in disharmony.
U Are Important – TL