Communicating as Leaders
The modern definition of leadership is that if you can think of an idea or vision, and then can work with your team to deliver that, you are a leader. In some years you’ll see that the search on Google for ‘great leaders’ will not just show the political and military personalities, but will also show people from all disciplines including software quality.
Though it takes a lot of skills to be a leader of the level mentioned above but one of the key skills is ‘Communication’. As a leader, if you are able to invoke the right feelings in the hearts of the people who work around you through your day to day communication, you are able to build teams that are more engaged, more motivated, more productive and more innovative.
I was myself exposed to this idea last year during a personal Executive Coaching experience that taught me a lot including some topics in the field of psychology. I got to know the exceptional work of Daniel Kahneman and his mind changing book “Thinking Fast and Slow”. Kahneman talks about how two systems in us where one is fast and other is slow work in the process of decision making. My coach pointed out that we can make use of Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Cognitive Ease’ model below to aid in our communications.
The model says that if you are feeling true, feeling good, feeling familiar and feeling effortless that indicates a good mood and you will be in a state of flow where you’ll enjoy your most productive way at high rates. So here is the idea that we as leaders, communicate with our teams in a way that our talks give birth to these feelings in the hearts of our team members. It takes some practice but then it becomes natural.
For example if you are introducing a change in the Release Readiness Review process of your software, and a young member in the team starts arguing that it won’t work. It is easy to say things like: “you are new in the field, so shut up please” or “time will tell that I was right”. But think before you speak as how the person will feel? If you want that person to feel good and feel true at the situation, you can say: “your insight into the matter inspires me. How about we two work together to put this in a pilot program and see how this change works?” or “you have raised a very good point. Can you detail so as how it will fail and what ways you suggest to have even better process?”
Give this a try and you and your team will love it. I presented this subject at an Engineers convention over the weekend (yes, I still go to those places 🙂 ), it seemed everyone needs this advice.
What advice you have for these modern leaders?