Picture this: it’s Monday morning and you’re holding your weekly team meeting. You’re brainstorming how to improve lead capture on your website, and as Natalie is sharing an idea, Tom jumps in with his thoughts, steamrolling right over her.  

You can see Natalie bristle with frustration and then go quiet the rest of the meeting. Tom’s idea was a good one, but now you’re missing out on Natalie and likely other team members’ contributions. A little self-awareness on Tom’s part would go a long way here – and the worst part is, you’ve addressed this issue with him before. What are you missing? 

Here are our keys to more effective conversations – so you can have them once, not several times. 

First, make the conversation safe and minimize anxiety by setting it up as follows. 

You: Hey Tom, do you have a few minutes to talk? Can we do a quick 15-minute zoom?  

Tom: Sure, what’s it about?     

You: I’ve just been reflecting on something, and I want to pick your brain.

Then, start the conversation by gauging the person’s self-awareness around their behavior. 

You: So, I wanted to pick your brain about how our team meetings are going. What are your thoughts?  

Tom: They’re fine, I guess. Why do you ask?

At this point, do two things:

  1. Get alignment on the problem.
  2. Share your perceptions and observations using I statements. 

You: The reason why I asked is because my perception is in meetings sometimes you tend to interrupt. (Pause) And I was just wondering, does that surprise you that I’m saying that? 

If your employee becomes defensive or starts listing excuses, provide a tangible example of their behavior. 

Tom: Kind of. No one has ever given me that feedback before.  

You: No problem. I understand. So, I’m going to give you an example if that’s okay, just so you can understand my perspective.  

Tom: Okay, sure.

You: Yesterday, when Natalie was sharing during our brainstorm on lead capture, you jumped in before she had a chance to finish speaking. I noticed she seemed frustrated and didn’t share much after that. 

Tom: Yeah, I guess I could see that.

Now, here is where many leaders get it wrong because they make an ask, and given the hierarchy of leader and team member, of course the person will agree.  

Common Leadership Response: So, I am asking you to be mindful of not interrupting when someone else is sharing their thoughts. 

In addition, leaders who go this route:

  • Haven’t taken the time to understand the root cause of the problem
  • Don’t know if their team member is motivated to change their behavior
  • Don’t know if their team member has the skills to change their behavior
  • Are seeking compliance instead of collaboration 

Why is Tom jumping into conversations at inappropriate times? How long has he had this habit? Does he see a compelling reason to change his behavior? Does he know how to go about changing his behavior? 

Without the emotional and conversational intelligence to address these questions and challenges, most leaders end up having the same conversations and making the same requests repeatedly without results. 

At MindsetGo, we build confidence, develop skills, and shift mindsets to create lasting habits and behavior change. If you’re ready to develop the emotional and conversational intelligence you need to stop having repeat conversations, contact us today. It never hurts to talk!

Enjoy this post? Contact us at MindsetGo to empower your leaders and teams to build confidence, develop skills, and shift mindsets and habits for lasting change.

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Tags: Change Management & Motivation, Coaching, Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Communication, Collaboration, company culture