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September 17, 2013 / Ask Mariposa

Ask Mariposa: Empower and Develop Your Team

Mary-Lou asks: I was just promoted to a senior director position. In order to get to know my direct reports better, I want to schedule 1-1 meetings with each of them. Can you offer some suggestions of  questions  I should ask them?

Anne Loehr, Executive Leadership Coach responds:

Congrats on your promotion Mary-Lou!

Since your job is to empower and develop the individuals on your team, scheduling 1-1 meetings is a perfect start. During this time, you want to get to know each other personally and professionally so you can establish a great working foundation and understand what motivates them to do their best. Here are some example questions that will achieve both. Stay truly curious and open, and as you ask questions and listen you want to be picking up on what’s important to them in the way they describe themselves and their team. Some sample questions, in no particular order:

  1. Tell me about yourself – your strengths, your learning edge, how you like to work.
  2. How do you get to leverage your strengths in your role today? What do you like most about it?
  3. What is your definition of success in this job?
  4. What’s life like outside of work? Activities? Interests?
  5. Tell me about your team – what’s going well and any current challenges.
  6. How can I support you to be working at your best?

Of course, you can share similar information about yourself as well – you don’t want the conversation to feel like an interview, and they are probably quite curious about you. Depending on how this meeting flows and how much time you have, you may be able to dive in to talk about specific business items, or set that up for a following conversation.

Let us know how it goes!

 

 

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May 31, 2013 / Ask Mariposa

Ask Mariposa: Distracted Or Do I Need Listening Training?

James asks:  I’ve received feedback several times in the past that listening is one of my strengths.  However, a colleague recently suggested I attend listening training.  I have a lot going on at the moment, but is listening training the answer?

Tawny Lees, COO responds:

If you are like most of our clients, you face a great deal of pressure and demand on your time.  Perhaps you have taken on a new role or have been tasked with an important initiative. Without realizing it, you might be encountering moments of distraction that prevent you from being fully present and listening as well as you would normally. Before you pursue listening training, try these tips before your next meeting:

  • Become present.  Before your meetings, take 5-6 deep belly breaths. Take a moment to get clear on the focus areas for the discussion.
  • In the conversation, keep your focus on others as you listen. Try to match their pace, tone and energy.
  • Repeat back key words said to demonstrate you are listening.

These resources might also be helpful:

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February 19, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management

Ask Mariposa: Team Listening Skills

ask-mariposa1

Drew asked:

The CFO of our company is technically fantastic at her job, yet I am hearing from her team that morale is down because she is not that open minded and doesn’t listen well. What are some things she can do?

Barbara Baill, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

Drew,

It’s great that your CFO has the technical component of the job down.  Next, she needs to understand that the leadership components of her role are equally important. This is a common challenge for many who come to a leadership role through their technical expertise.  Daniel Goleman, famous for his research in emotional intelligence, has identified that emotional intelligence is critical to effective leadership (refer to HBR, “What Makes A Leader”, Daniel Goleman, November-December 1998).  He has identified five components for emotional intelligence for effective leaders:  self-awareness, self-regulation,  motivation, empathy, and social skills. It sounds like your CFO could benefit from developing the capacity to show more empathy and build more rapport (social skills) with her people through active listening.

Your coaching of her will be key to her continued growth as a leader. Specifically, first give her straight and compassionate feedback. Appreciate the value of her technical expertise to the business. Second, explain her next opportunity for growth is as a leader of her team. As part of this, she will need to spend more team listening to her team in a way that they feel heard and appreciated. “Expert” executives often feel that their job is to have all the answers. You will need to coach her that her job as a leader is broader than that. It begins by having an engaged and empowered team.  The first step in that process is listening to the team, building rapport, and only then, will she be able to motivate them towards a common goal. Through your coaching, you will be increasing her self-awareness as you help her to develop the leadership part of her role.

This is a great opportunity for the two of you to work together to enhance her contributions to the overall business and become an more effective leader.

For more resources on developing leadership skills, refer to previous Ask Mariposa blogs.

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