Enough said? You can stop here if you get it. If you need more convincing here are 451 more words to get some clarity.
In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey said We judge ourselves based on our intentions. We judge others based on their actions. Never is that statement more true than in the relationship between a leader and follower. Do any of these examples ring true?
1. A leader cancels a one on one because of a customer issue. Does not reschedule it because he/she just talked to the person as they walked around the office yesterday.
Leader intention: Customer is critical and everything stops when they call. Plus we just talked yesterday and you know I care about you.
Leader action (as interpreted by follower): Here we go again. Your issues always trump mine and this issue could have been handled by the field service team with just a little support from us. This is the 6th time this has happened in the last 8.5678 months (slight exaggeration on the number – but do not be surprised at the human mind to keep a key measure like this).
2. A leader has the one on one and interrupts the conversation three times because of calls from home.
Leader intention: Apology issued before each call, and since it was his wife on all three occasions and it was an emergency it was okay because family comes first. Family is a core value of our organization. (Emergency = at the mechanic with their new Audi A8 and the repairs were not going well)
Leader action (as interpreted by follower): Would it be okay if I did this? His/her spouse is a great person, but can’t this wait 20 minutes? Isn’t this my time? I will just cut my time/agenda short and let them deal with their issues. Afterthought – A8? I wonder why my evaluation/increase is six months overdue?
3. Leader leads the time with two things that went wrong last week and they want to know what happened and why.
Leader intention: Accountability. If we cannot have the hard conversations then I am not doing my job.
Leader action (as interpreted by follower): What a jelly fish. There have been four days to talk about these things since they happened, plus I owned them and fixed them. What about the bad decision he/she made yesterday that kept me here until 8pm to fix? Can there be accountability there?
Being a leader is tough. It is tougher when priorities are not clear and the tyranny of the urgent rules over the one on one time. Never break this rule – and if you do point back to the last date/time/location/reason that it happened so they know you are keeping score too.
Talent management is about great conversations. Follow these three rules for one on ones and you can have some great conversations.
Links related to this post:
- Rule 1: Be in the same room
- Rule 2: Individual (not leaderr) owns the agenda
- How does the One on One fit into my other leadership habits? Take the Talent Scorecard and get some free feedback.