We recently came across a great article by Rick Hanson, PhD, titled Try a Softer Tone. This is a great follow up to our leadership posts from last month on influence and communication.
As a reminder, our definition of leadership is that,
Leadership is the willingness
to influence your world
and the willingness
to be influenced by your world,
regardless of your role or title.
When we talk about influencing your world, we don’t mean shoving your opinion down someone else’s throat, or doing whatever is necessary to get someone to agree with you. It takes a willingness to share what you know, all the while remaining open to learning what others will share with you.
Why? Because together, you can be more innovative, generate more ideas, and be more successful. And, as Hanson mentions, it’s important to be clear and compassionate in your communication – especially when things are tense.
We love the seven suggestions he gives, and we’ve got 3 of our own to add. You’ll notice that some these look familiar and that’s because they’re from our ACT with POWER (the third step in our Leader in You®) framework:
1. Start with the end in mind and think about your goal.
If your goal is to show up as a collaborative leader that seeks genuine connection, then it’s important to PAUSE and make sure that you’re communicating both verbally and non-verbally, in a way that invites the other person to want to engage with you.
You could say something like, “I know we’ve been on opposite sides of the fence on this topic. We both have great experience and background. What would it look like if we brainstormed various ideas together?”
2. Seek to make a connection.
Remember, the other person is, well…a person! Before launching into your opinion or thoughts, ask the other person how they’re doing (and really listen to their answer).
You can also make a connection by being vulnerable and saying something like, “I appreciate this time together and I’ll admit, I’m feeling a bit nervous. This is an important topic for us and the company, and I’d love for us to roll up our sleeves and figure this out together.”
3. Breathe and lower your volume.
Lowering your volume not only signifies to the other person that you’re ready to engage and collaborate, but it also signifies to your own mind and body that “things are okay.”
Often when we’re stressed, we speak loudly, with an edge in our tone. To create a softer tone, slow down and think about how you speak to someone you deeply care about.
We encourage you to take a look at Hanson’s post along with our suggestions, and see if you can create a welcoming space for both you and the other person to have a satisfying and successful sharing of ideas.
Let us know how it goes!