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Tag Archives for " communication "

The questions about leadership

The questions about leadership.

What are the right questions for leadership?

I was with a woman many years ago who shared with me that she thought I wasn’t asking the right questions.

I thought “How bizarre is that?”.

Self-aware leaders continually ask themselves questions and they ask others questions. They are curious, they seek out information and welcome the answers. So, how can someone ask the wrong question?

This confounded me and I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t asking the right questions for her and her needs.

Where do our questions come from?

But where do our questions come from?

Where do your questions come from? From what part of your thinking?

Do you ask questions for solutions?

Do you ask questions to explore concepts?

Do you seek clarification through your questions or perhaps you ask for confirmation?

When do you give yourself enough time to consider answers to your questions?

Exploring concepts

When Affectus works with you we are exploring concepts so that you will ask yourself questions. Questions that help you understand yourself at a deeper level and the environment around you.

Don’t we?

We are hoping you will discover newness – about you and your direction.

We are not interested in directing you. We are assisting you develop great self-direction.

Don’t we?

Sometimes this drives people mad. That we are not often answering machines. But, we believe we have the process right - getting you to find your own answers.

Questions about leadership

What are your questions about leadership and your direction?

At Affectus, we focus our thinking beyond the individual and consider leadership. Why? Because we know that using leadership as the framework ensures that any person is able to step in where they see it is needed.

We call this stepping into your leadership space.

Chinwe Esimai (Forbes Women) talks about great leaders. She says that knowing yourself is essential. “Self-awareness is empowering because it arms you with knowledge and enables you to make better choices — to change or grow.”

Have you asked yourself enough questions to get a clear sense of self and leadership and direction? How often do you pause?

The Big Five

We use Big Five to commence the self-knowledge journey.

Have you thought through the five areas assessed.

What questions arise from Big Five.

Are you wondering about the value of understanding the five key areas?

  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Confidence
  • Openess

It is so valuable to understand this about yourself. It is also empowering to know how your personality and the using of your strengths will impact on those around you.

It is powerful to use these five areas of your personality with insight and self-knowledge. Using your strengths and understanding your weaknesses to ensure that the team around you has great impact (affect 😊)

Two Leadership Questions

Here are two key leadership questions around personalities worth considering…

  • What is my impact?
  • Do you have deeper insights into me and my personality?

And finally, the critical questions about leadership.

What are your values and how do you identify them?

Self-assess what is important to you. Wander around some values cards and think through those patterns of your life. Seek your values.

And what about your passions? We can’t always be working/earning money in our personal area of passion. But as a minimum we need to know what lights us up and what drives us.

Leadership is all about asking questions – your questions. Start asking questions and seeking answers. Listen carefully and weave this new knowledge into your increasing self-awareness.

Sometimes the questions you ask may irritate but they will also illuminate.

It is all about our questions – the ones we mull through quietly on our own minds and the ones we seek answers to in the public realm.

How do you ask questions?

Why do we ask questions?

I spent a week in Canberra recently with our latest group of seafood leaders.

I have reflected on that week of passion and pressure questions were a common theme. But even looking at the photo I have questions.

  • What did Jeremy say to make 4 of the 18 look at him?
  • What was it about Matt that made him make that confused face in the front row?
  • And against all our pleading, how come Laura and Scott kept their sunglasses on?
  • And why did we ask them to do a silly photo?

These are the questions that run through my head all the time.

And if I pause just now there will be questions. Very quite questions in the background, that my mind is sorting with me barely conscious of that activity.

There will be more pressing task-type questions and more strategic why questions that sometimes the task questions push away from my brain power.

Where do those strategic questions go that get ignored go I wonder? Bloody hell – there’s another question!

But…

Have you ever wondered about questions and the impact they have?

Have you ever paused and thought about how you are constructing your questions to get the answers you are seeking?

Now that might seem like what? But it is important to spend your brainpower brownie points on thinking about how to construct questions.

So back to our champion graduates last week in Canberra.

We spend 6 months working with these wonderful people. Honing their skills, stretching their capacity, supporting their activities, providing them with leadership opportunities.

On the second day of the six months we shared with them some of the theory of questions – the how . And we encouraged them to ask the question for the answers they were seeking.

Now that might seem a little manipulative on first reading and it may sound like ask the question you already know the answer. But that is not the case.

Interpreting knowledge

Interpreting some knowledge shared by MaryJo Asmus it would appear that if we ask open thought provoking questions this happens.

  1. 1
    Neuroplasticity of our powerful brain kicks in and we start making sense and have expanded insight.
  2. 2
    The whole brain gets involved as we reflect on what has been asked and we move forward the answer (or potentially another question).
  3. 3
    We get a hit of serotonin (a rush of energy) as our brain sees that we should be moving and doing something new.

So, ask an open-ended, insightful question. Why? Because the brain lights up and expands and will find new pathways and meaning to discover the solution.

Ask questions that open people to new thinking. And construct your questions in ways that will give everyone that brain activity. What a gift!

Asking questions that evoke responses

Back to the leadership graduates.

Although they had spent time asking questions it was not until the second last day that they really fired. Asking questions of industry leaderships that evoked the above responses.

How did that happen?

Well, firstly because we kept at them about getting their questions honed. And it also happened because, as a group, they got organised and mapped the questions they would ask.

  • What they wanted to know
  • Who they needed to ask
  • How they would word their questions

It was magic.

Create brain magic with your questions. Ask the questions that you want answers to that make all our brains expand. 


PURE Breakthrough

Are you interested in further developing your leadership space?

Affectus is heading to Sydney in November to spend two days giving people the insights you need to step into the leadership spaces that you see.

Find out more and register your expression of interest. 

What does careful communication look like

I have a desire to constantly be stretched. I love that feeling in my brain when I can feel new understanding happening and deeper insights being grasped. Do you?

In my desire to be stretched regularly I plan out activities and events in my calendar. I d so that each year I do one or a number of things the keep my brain expanding.

In 2018 I did a number of things but during November I put all of my in-kind community volunteering hours into assisting a young woman in her attempt to secure a seat in the Victorian parliament.

Not only did I know that the values that would drive the campaign would align with mine I had also spent enough time in her presence to know that she was making this run at the Victorian parliament with the best of intentions.

I cleared my calendar for the whole of November and dived into being her campaign manager.

What did I learn about careful communication during this intense month?

Mostly I learnt about myself, of course. But I also learnt about the power of communication to connect. I learnt this for myself and I watched it happen with Jacqui.

Pascal  Molenberghs, in an article about inspiration and leadership, talks about language and the use of we and I when involved in communication. He also talks about developing a vision and creating outcomes. These were such essential elements in the campaign. However, Molenberghs’ article needs to include more detail. Specifically about the importance of how to carefully communicate around these apparently simple concepts.

What are the tips for careful communication for a hectic election campaign?

Here are my top five.

1. Make the time to communicate

If you are rushed for there is significant pressure that hearing the message is hard and important ideas are missed or misunderstood.

2. Make a space to communicate carefully

If it is noisy find somewhere else or ask to revisit the communication at a better time.

3. Make a space to communicate carefully

If you are distracted or pressured find another time.

4. Stick to the point

If there is angst and confusion attend to the issue but continue to paraphrase as the communication continues so that the messages remain focused on the issue.

5. Ensure you are listening

If you feel yourself distracted reapply your careful listening skills.

Julian Treasure gives a terrific short talk about listening and what our brain does to assist us with listening. He talks about how much harder it is to “pay attention to the quiet, the subtle and the understated”. However, this is exactly what I saw during the campaign. The importance of listening and making the time to listen meant that Jacqui almost did it. She almost won the seat. And she did it because she carefully communicated with everyone she came in contact with.

What are your top tips for careful communication?

Careful Communication Stretch Series

Affectus will be launching our Online “Careful Communication” Series which will allow you to enhance you skills. These two 2-hour workshops will provide you with the Kickstart for your careful communication.

The workshops will provide you with the following:-

  • A thorough overview of the theory of communicating – speaking, listening and formulating your key messages.
  • A clear understanding of the communication environment you can create
  • The development of Careful Communication processes
  • Traps to avoid to ensure your ideas "get through".

The session will be jam-packed with theory, tips and practical knowledge to move you towards being a Careful Communicator.

Get a kick-start to your messaging for 2019.

If you are interested in engaging through careful communication with your children, your partner and your co-workers. Register here for Affectus Careful Communication Stretch Series.

The art of listening

Have you thought about how you are communicating with those around you?

What about rethinking your day-to-day communication? Especially now that the start of the year “catch-up” is over.

And not wanting to jump the gun because for some holidays are still on but, what about your children as they head back to care and school?

Let’s start by making a bold statement.

The importance of communication can’t be over stated.

We hear statements like “keep communicating” and “take time to it communicate” but what is communication and how can you up your prowess?

What is communication

Communication is the skill we all employ to move our thoughts from our mind into another’s conscious thought.

Don’t you wish it was that simple?

It is a simple concept. An open mind connecting with another open mind through speaking and listening.

However, what we know, day-to-day is communicating isn’t that easy. We continue to work under the assumption that “I am talking and so the person I am talking at is listening”.

From my experience and observations it is clear that we all try to communicate effectively but “life” gets in the way of us communicating well.

So, let’s start with the element of listening.

The element of listening

How would you rate your listening on a scale of 1 to 10?

Are you an 8 or somewhere near a 10?

How do you know this? How have you developed your self-awareness?

Or do you figure you are closer to the middle or the lower end of the scale?

When have you been given this feedback and by whom? Have a think and explore your understanding of “me as a listener”.

It is important to understand the components of this communication element.

Can we make a commitment to listen better in 2019? I wonder?

Last year I was told, in a particularly stressful environment, that I wasn’t listening. I found that a challenging comment as I thought listening was one of my skills.

On reflection, I realise I wasn’t doing all of the listening components at the time. And that was because I was juggling a number of activities at one time. So, what did I learn that will assist you?

The components of listening

  • You need to stop – physically. Stop what you are doing if you are going to listen. This “stopping” signals to the rest of your physicality, and the speaker, that you need to take up a listening posture.
  • You need to stop – mentally. You need to take a moment to compartmentalise what you were attending to and be completely aware of the other person.

These were steps I thought I was displaying. But I wasn’t signalling to the speaker that I was listening because I was not physically positioning myself. I hadn’t stopped walking nor had I turned my body in a manner that demonstrated I was listening.

And I also know, because it was at that moment that I was told “you are not listening”, that my eyes were not focused on the speaker. They were flitting around my environment as I tried to keep a handle on the activities that my attention had been taken from.

So, therefore, I needed to mentally and physically get myself switched on to listen. But I also forgot to shut down my other thinking, which was saying “there is something else (more important?) that you need to be attending to”.

How can you keep that part of your thinking under control? How do you keep that part of your mind under control so that you can be fully listening?

A lesson in listening

Well here is my learning.

I know I am truly listening when the speaker stops talking and I am able to reflect back what I have heard. AND that it takes me some time to add my opinion.

In moments of listening, really listening, I have managed to completely shut down the parts of my brain that think:

  • “what else is going on”
  • “oooo I can tell you about that”
  • “golly have I got an opinion about that idea”

It’s hard to do. But it is rewarding.

What are your personal processes that drop you into to ensure you are effectively listening?

In 2019, let’s listen. Let’s set up our behaviours and thinking so that we can slot into effective listening – as soon as we comprehend that listening is required.

The Art of Careful Communication

What is communication?

I suppose the importance of communication can’t be over-communicated. But really, what is communication?

A bit of a revision lesson here.

Communication is simply (wry smile)…transferring your thoughts into words (written or spoken). And then sharing them with the world. And trusting that the way in which you have transmitted those thoughts ensures that the people receiving your communication synthesise the content in a way so that closely resembles your thoughts. So that sentence wasn’t simple and we know, intuitively, that the practice of communication is not simple either.

On the other hand when we are in the presence of a skilled communicator that movement of “a thought to your thought” is easier.

Often when in a leadership learning experience, the entrance point to re-examining our communication prowess is speaking. This can give the impression that speaking is the most important communication element. Please don’t misunderstand me, nailing your public speaking, is important but listening is the first element to attend to.

I recently spent time in the presence of a focused woman. And I spent significantly more time in the car with her as we travelled our region of Australia, assisting her to understand the community issues. I was assisting. She was the key person in our team and it was a gift for my understanding to watch her and then reflect on what I had observed.

Now before I go ahead and provide you with my observations here is my challenge to you – ditch “great speaker = amazing public address” thinking, perhaps just this once, and consider someone you know who has listened to you as you spoke.

  • How did you know you were being listened to?
  • What was the interaction like when someone listened to you?
  • And how did you feel when you were being listened to?

The art of careful communication

The art of careful communication is getting yourself set to hear and understand.

Do you set yourself up to hear and understand when you are listening?

What does Careful Communication mean?

Careful communication could mean a number of things. Careful has one meaning which suggests caution and tentativeness. The other definition is more useful to my mind…done with thought and showing attention.


Let’s go back to remembering how you felt when you were listened to. When we are listened to we feel that the other person is giving us their attention and doing it in an open, thoughtful way. Are you listening in a careful way now? I hope so.

If we (definitely read “I” here also) commence our careful communication with careful listening as the starting action then all sorts of opportunities open up to us.

I think about all of you as I write, this our community all over Australia. And I see all of you heading...

  • back into your work tomorrow
  • your family room in 10 minutes
  • to your car with your teenager or your toddlers bedroom
  • your school starters classroom

and I think about you all in careful communication mode. And I see problems diminished and others being valued.

Doesn’t that sound like leadership?

So, what is the Art of Careful Communication?

The art of careful communication is, of course, not only about listening. It is also about speaking.

Consequentially, I would consider similar principles.

Talking extraverts - are they any other sort? I believe there is. As one, if I could also bring to my oral communication the same principles of thought and attention how much more effective might I be. I would be considering my words before I say them and I would think through the audience. And I would be imagining the transfer of the information into the persons' thought-processes.

What else would I be doing?

Well, I would also be attending and pay attention to the responses of those I am speaking with. Looking at their faces and unconscious reactions to what I am saying. Building on this feedback and adjusting all elements of my communication.

The careful art of communication is about thinking about the other…not thinking about self.

This doesn’t mean not having ideas and opinions. What it does mean is considering and acknowledging that communication is always two-way and for it to be two-way we have to do carefully.

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