Positive Leadership

9 Powers of Positive Leadership - Lesson 6: Communicating Your Impact Positively

March 20, 2024 Jean-Philippe Courtois
Positive Leadership
9 Powers of Positive Leadership - Lesson 6: Communicating Your Impact Positively
Show Notes Transcript

Positive leaders help others find meaning and purpose in their work. To do this, they need to build authentic, positive connections with people at every level.

In lesson 6 of the 9 Powers of Positive Leadership, JP explores why positive communication is so important and shares some practical tips you can bring to your daily interactions.

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JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Leaders do all kinds of things for other people to consider them as positive leaders. In previous lessons, we've looked at how to build trust based relationships and the importance of coaching for development. While each of these are essential. There is one power that, without question, causes someone to consider you a positive leader. The skills you use of communication to connect, inspire, and empower others. In this lesson, we'll explore why positive communication is so important and offer practical tips for incorporating it into your daily interactions. 


RANJAY GULATI: [I think, and you know, I will quote your colleague and friend Satya Nadella, who said that I want to work at a place where people find meaning in what they do. Or Kathleen Hogan, who says you only work for Microsoft when Microsoft works for you. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Having pride in what you do is central to our sense of well-being as leaders. It is part of our job to help others find meaning and purpose in their work. Harvard Business School professor Ranjay Gulati studies leaders who inspire extraordinary performance. His research shows that those who perform best of a strong sense of values and a clarity of purpose. 


RANJAY GULATI: I mean, there's an old, cliched story about the janitor at NASA, and Lyndon Johnson says, what do you do here? Mr. President, I'm here to put a man on the moon, and I'll tell you why that story is telling. It taps into something bigger. I'm not a transactional machine to pay for performance when I'm not even engaged. I'm a learning machine. I want to learn and I want to grow. I want to be inspired at work. I want to feel that what I do is having an impact. And tapping into that sense of pride elicits a whole different person showing up to work. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Use your purpose as a North Star to set your priorities and to get your actions in situations where trade-offs need to be made. Positive leaders lean into these kinds of difficult deliberations with stakeholders. Looking beyond short-term solutions for ones that promise broader benefits in the future and to communicate their thinking behind those decisions. To build support you need to talk to people in a way that creates a sense of security and strengthens bonds. One perceived leader who is incredible at doing that is Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and president at Arial investments. 


Mellody Hobson: I'm a very, very strong communicator. I can do it in a way that doesn't create a fighting words kind of environment. So I'm very strong in my point of view, but I'm also the give and take is very exciting to me. Some people have a strong point of view, and then winning at all costs becomes the the way that they want to engage with you. And they're actually there waiting to speak just to tell you why you're wrong. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Be assertive without being aggressive. If you have an opinion, say it firmly. Own your thoughts, but bring people in. Don't give a speech, have a real discussion and be flexible. Recognize that having different opinions and perspectives is not a problem but an opportunity. 


Mellody Hobson: I stay open to perspectives. I'm looking for better ideas. I often tell people my board when we go to them for presentations, etc. I bring the idea to them and I say, shred it. You know, like destroy this idea. Tell me why I'm wrong. I'm open to that kind of feedback. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: One thing that many people find tough is delivering negative, critical feedback in a way that builds the relationship rather than diminishing it. It's something that Professor Kim Cameron has written about a lot. 


KIM CAMERON: Most of the time when I give somebody negative feedback, critical feedback, it creates defensiveness or or of what's called this confirmation, I feel worthless, I feel unimportant, I'm no longer valued so well, how do I deliver it in a way that helps? Step one describe objectively with no evaluation. Describe objectively what you just observed. That is, I just saw you interrupt folks in the meeting. Step two here's the consequence of what just happened. Everyone else stopped talking or disrupted the flow of the meeting. Step three, which is often the most difficult but very helpful. Step three is here's a suggested alternative that would be more acceptable, that would avoid the negative consequences. 


JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: So for example, I really want to get your opinion on this, but would you mind waiting until Bob's finished speaking? That's the suggestion. Step three. Objectively describe what you've observed. Outline the consequence of what just happened then offer a suggested alternative. 
 You've been listening to the nine Powers of Positive Leadership Lesson six. If you've enjoyed this lesson, share it with a friend. Leave us a comment and maybe even a five star rating. Yes, that would be great. Thank you. And please subscribe to the Positive Leadership and You newsletter as well. And if you'd like to know more about any of the guests featured, then head to our archive to hear their full length interview. 
 I'm Jean-Philippe Courtois. Thanks so much for listening. Goodbye.