Asking for help isn’t easy for some of us. I can put myself right into that category. It is something that only recently I’ve been learning to do more.
Asking for what we want as a speaker or leader isn’t always easy, either.
I was invited to put together a workshop for leaders of a nonprofit board of directors where everyone is accustomed to being the “chief.” A few days earlier, a client had requested help making the managers of various departments take on more leadership roles. He wanted them to get the production and customer service work done more cost-effectively, with less downtime due to petty and pointless internal competition.
“What do you say to someone when they agree to do something – and then they don’t do it, or they miss the deadline?” That issue is plaguing both the nonprofit board and the client’s management team. “And what can you say to try and motivate them to do what’s needed in a timely way with a positive mindset?”
My answer: How you reply depends on the individual’s communication style and attitudes. And some key questions:
- What is your goal? What is the outcome you’re seeking?
- How clear were you on the instructions in the first place?
- Do you really want to keep that person on your board – or on your team?
- Do you want to keep them as a member of your group or in your company?
Dealing with the in-your-face extravert who won’t let anything pass without a challenge is totally different than how you have a conversation with the non-confrontational or fact-focused introvert. When there’s conflict, from my experience, it doesn’t matter what your own communication style is as a leader or speaker. Our job is to create a platform for ideas to be exchanged and real listening to occur – no easy feat.
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