Day 2: The Conversation
This day two of the strategy that I’m sharing with you to engage your veterans and other direct reports as well as develop their leader skills and loyalty. The first thing you’re going to do is sit down with your direct reports for a face-to-face empowering conversation. A phone call is good, but they need to see your face and hear your voice. If your organization doesn’t have video conference, you can do this on Zoom.us, Free Conference Call, or UberConference. This is only going to be a 15-20-minute conversation.
If you have a very large team, delegate this task to two or three or more of your higher potential candidates. Start developing their leadership muscle by giving them this task. You will develop them, as they develop the other team members. This is going to be powerful for you, as this is going to show your direct supervisor and other leaders in your organization that, again, you are confident in your leadership. Not only are you taking the intuitive to develop your team, but it isn’t costing the organization.
When you have this conversation, you are going to ask empowering questions that allow you to learn more about who they are and what they want in life. Earn their trust and get them talking. This might take a couple of conversations. They may have trust issues at first but have these conversations more often and get them talking to you. Understand how they are thinking, what really matters to them. Empowering question start with Who, What, When, Where, How and sometimes Why. Be careful with Why questions? Why can sound judgmental or accusatory.
Next you are going to acknowledge, validate and champion. You want to acknowledge what they’re saying, validated without using “I” statements, and champion their positive efforts and achievements.
Acknowledging and validating is huge because it lets your direct report understand that you are listening, and you do care. Avoid using “I” statements because you may not agree with what they did or how they feel, but you want to want to normalize that feeling. Usually if one person feels a certain way about a situation. 1 million people are feeling the same way about the same situation. You want to normalize their feelings.
When you champion, you are providing positive reinforcement. This is important to understand. Regardless of what your direct report says or believed; they want to know they are pleasing you. Over time, this provides a sense of security and trust. This also develops genuine motivation, within your direct reports, to do more without reciprocal reward.
Tomorrow I will share with you the 3rd step in developing engagement and earning loyalty with your veteran direct reports.