Communication Barriers – Video Guide
As leaders we spend a lot of time communicating with others. We communicate with the members of our team, peers, more senior leaders, customers and stakeholders. Effective communication is vital to ensuring that everyone on our team fulfills their role and accomplishes their part of the mission in conjunction with all the other members of the team. Even the most skilled communicators run up against communication barriers when they speak with other people. What makes these leaders such effective communicators is that they recognize these barriers exist and find ways to break them down.Perhaps an even bigger challenge is to notice when these barriers exist inside ourselves and prevent us from fully understand what others are trying to communicate to us.

Communication Barriers – Video Guide

As leaders we spend a lot of time communicating with others, whether we are trying to convey information, persuade others to support our position, or tell others about a decision we have made. We communicate with the members of our team, peers, more senior leaders, customers and stakeholders. Effective communication is vital to ensuring that everyone on our team fulfills their role and accomplishes their part of the mission in conjunction with all the other members of the team. Even the most skilled communicators run up against communication barriers when they speak with other people. What makes these leaders such effective communicators is that they recognize these barriers exist and find ways to break them down. Perhaps an even bigger challenge is to notice when these barriers exist inside ourselves and prevent us from fully understand what others are trying to communicate to us. Without the ability to recognize these communication barriers we run the risk of others misunderstanding what we are trying to communicate to them, or we may miss critical information or context that others are trying to communicate to us.

Communication Barriers

There are many barriers to communication and in this week’s video, Jason talks about a several of the most common barriers  that we might encounter in our day-to-day interactions with others. He’ll discuss each of the following communication barriers in detail as well as how they come to occur in our daily communications:

  • Language
  • Power Dynamics
  • Beliefs and Values
  • Age
  • Gender
  • State of Mind
  • Emotions

Jason also talks about the challenges of recognizing some of these barriers within ourselves and others, as well as practical steps we can take to overcome each of these communication barriers when they arise. Learning to identify communication barriers in ourselves and others can help us become master communicators that use our skills to lead others to achieve highly successful outcomes and accomplish our missions.

 

It's pretty clear to most of us that effective communication is essential to becoming a great leader. Whether we are the boss or just want to influence others on our team to contribute to a successful outcome, we need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely using a variety of methods.

Effective Communication – June Leadership Challenge

It’s pretty clear to most of us that effective communication is essential to becoming a great leader. Whether we are the boss or just want to influence others on our team to contribute to a successful outcome, we need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely using a variety of methods. Without effective communication we can find our team headed off in a direction different from the one we intended them to take, or we may need to give them much more supervision than we originally intended because we weren’t clear in our intentions for them.

Effective Communication Challenge

This month our challenge is to take a look at the ways we communicate with each other most frequently and to assess how effective our communication is. What is our most common method of communication? Face-to-Face? Email? Social Media? Phone? Something else? Do we think we are getting our message across clearly and concisely? Are other confused about what we are saying and have a hard time understanding what we want them to do? Do we often find that others come back to us with questions or need clarification? Sometime, does our team execute exactly what we said to do, but we maybe didn’t say clearly what we mean for them to do?

Our goal for this challenge is to consciously understand how we communicate most frequently with our team and start to determine if we are effective using that method. If we find that we might not have as effective communication as we would like, we can make adjustments and improvements now that we are aware of it. This month at Evil Genius Leadership Consultants we’ll be putting out more videos to help us address the areas we find from this challenge and become more effective communicators!

Photo Credit: By Nbostonstudio (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This week we're going to shift the focus to a way that we can act courageously to complement the mindset we've started to develop. Avoiding groupthink is a problem that every team faces and it takes courageous leaders and followers to point out when it occurs and correct it.

Avoiding Groupthink – Video Guide

I hope everyone had a peaceful Memorial Day weekend and got to spend time with family and friends as we all remember the sacrifices that great men and women made in service of our nation. We’re wrapping up our month discussing topics about being courageous leaders. So far we’ve mostly talked about how to get in a healthy frame of mind to help us act courageously so that we can solve problems and make decisions courageously. This week we’re going to shift the focus to a way that we can act courageously to complement the mindset we’ve started to develop. Avoiding groupthink is a problem that every team faces and it takes courageous leaders and followers to point out when it occurs and correct it.

Groupthink occurs when members of the team are afraid to speak up or hold back information that is critical to the discussion because there may be social consequences for speaking out against the group. It can be very challenging for many people to contradict a position that the group has arrived at, especially if we are new in the group or we think that what we have to say will be unpopular with the other team members. As leaders, our job is to watch out for groupthink on out teams and cut through it to make sure that we’re getting all of the relevant information to make decisions.

In this week’s video, Jason discusses why avoiding groupthink is important for every team and describes some methods that we can use to recognize and avoid groupthink.

Avoiding Groupthink as Team Members

  • Speak up!
  • Include all relevant information
  • Be respectful of others
  • Employ Intellectual Honesty
  • Encourage others to speak up

Avoiding Groupthink as Leaders

  • Be prepared and research the topic
  • Understand different stakeholder interests
  • Insist that assertions are supported with evidence
  • Ask probing questions
  • Actively solicit information and perspective from quiet individuals
  • Consider the decision carefully before implementing

It’s also true that in many cases a group can reach a decision with a consensus without getting caught up in groupthink. Just because our team might come to an answer quickly and unanimously doesn’t mean that we have encountered a groupthink situation. As leaders, what we really want to ensure is that the group arrived at the result through a rational decision-making process and employed intellectual honesty in coming to a resolution.

Photo Credit: By Shane T. McCoy (U.S. Marshals Office of Public Affairs) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Acting with courage can be difficult when the time comes, especially if we know that our decision will be unpopular with our team or other stakeholders. Courage, like other leadership traits, can be developed but it is very much like trying to build up a muscle. We need to exercise our courage frequently in everyday situations so that it is strong and well-developed for the occasions when we really need it. One of the ways we can start building up the muscle for courage, or any other leadership trait, is by developing a courageous mindset that helps us to know what acting courageously is and gives us a guide and example to follow.

Courageous Mindset – Video Guide

This month we’ve been talking about courageous leadership and how important it is to step out of our comfort zones or use courage to make decisions and take actions consistent with our core values. Acting with courage can be difficult when the time comes, especially if we know that our decision will be unpopular with our team or other stakeholders. Courage, like other leadership traits, can be developed but it is very much like trying to build up a muscle. We need to exercise our courage frequently in everyday situations so that it is strong and well-developed for the occasions when we really need it. One of the ways we can start building up the muscle for courage, or any other leadership trait, is by developing a courageous mindset that helps us to know what acting courageously is and gives us a guide and example to follow.

Developing a Courageous Mindset

In the video Jason goes provides some tips to help develop a courageous mindset. He goes into detail on how we can all help ourselves think and act more courageously when we are in the middle of making a decision. We can approach a difficult or unpopular decision by keeping some of the following ideas in mind while we work through our decision-making process.

  • Remember the mission
    • What are you trying to accomplish?
    • Who are you trying to accomplish it for?
    • Why is it important?
  • Keep Core Values in Mind
    • Personal
    • Organizational
  • Intellectual Honesty
  • Treat others with respect and dignity

It can be really challenging to make a decision or take an action that requires courage, especially if we have to face our teammates or peers afterwards. By taking an approach to act courageously in all of our decisions and actions, we start to build that courageous mindset and exercise those muscles so that we are prepared to make tough decisions and be held accountable for them in the future.

As we continue with our May theme of Courageous Leadership, this week Jason talks about the idea of intellectual honesty and how it is different from simply telling the truth. Intellectual honesty has a basis in problem solving but can be applied to make well-informed decisions in a variety of leadership situations. Striving to be intellectually honest helps us ensure that we have considered all factors when making a leadership decision. Developing our team members to be intellectually honest gives them the ability to provide depth to their work that will lead to solid decision making. In the video, Jason talks about how to differentiate between our interests and our positions and how that distinction relates to intellectual honesty.

Intellectual Honesty – Video Guide

As we continue with our May theme of Courageous Leadership, this week Jason talks about the idea of intellectual honesty and how it is different from simply telling the truth. Intellectual honesty has a basis in problem solving but can be applied to make well-informed decisions in a variety of leadership situations. Striving to be intellectually honest helps us ensure that we have considered all factors when making a leadership decision. Developing our team members to be intellectually honest gives them the ability to provide depth to their work that will lead to solid decision-making. In the video, Jason talks about how to differentiate between our interests and our positions and how that distinction relates to intellectual honesty.

Components of Intellectual Honesty

  • Not letting beliefs interfere with seeing the truth
  • Including all relevant facts in our decision
  • Presenting facts to others without bias or misleading
  • Giving credit to others for their work

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_honesty

Being aware of these concepts as well as our own biases helps us to make decisions based on all of the relevant facts and not just on the ones that support our position while leaving out facts that go against our argument. Even if we are not the decision maker, we can apply the principles of intellectual honesty when we present information to others who are making a leadership decision.

Jason goes on to talk about some practical tips you can use from Good to Great by Jim Collins in order to help you and your team adopt the principles of intellectual honesty in your day-to-day activities. Applying intellectually honest principles to our information gathering and decision-making processes helps us to make better decisions that stand up to external scrutiny and stand the test of time.

Photo Credit: By European People’s Party [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most important traits for leaders to develop is confidence in themselves and their own abilities. Building confidence comes with time and creating a pattern of success as well as learning from our mistakes. As we develop our confidence it is natural to be nervous in certain situations or with new people. One of the ways we can work to overcome our nerves in these situation is using a technique called Fake It 'Til You Make It. This is really nothing more than just trying to pump ourselves up a little before we go into a situation that makes us nervous and act as if we are confident, even when we are not.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Video Guide

One of the most important traits for leaders to develop is confidence in themselves and their own abilities. Building confidence comes with time and creating a pattern of success as well as learning from our mistakes. As we develop our confidence it is natural to be nervous in certain situations or with new people. One of the ways we can work to overcome our nerves in these situation is using a technique called “Fake It ‘Til You Make It”. This is really nothing more than just trying to pump ourselves up a little before we go into a situation that makes us nervous and act as if we are confident, even when we are not.

Benefits of Fake It ‘Til You Make It

It may seem as if the idea of Fake It Til You Make It is not genuine or authentic, but what we’re really trying to do with this technique is make our rational brains and physical bodies take on attitudes and postures that indicate confidence. By taking on these attitudes and postures, that will help our emotional state get more used to the idea of entering this new situation and reduce a little of that anxiety. Additionally, when the others around us see that we are acting confident, it will put them at more at ease with the situation and that will further help bring our emotional state to a place of more confidence.

In today’s video, Jason talks more about how using Fake It ‘Til You Make It can help make you feel a little more confident in new situations and how it fits into building long-term confidence. He also talks about situations where this technique is useful and some situations that you may not want to try to fake your way through.

Photo Credit: By Adam Jones Adam63 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It's already May and that means that Memorial Day is coming up quickly here in the United States. In honor of all of those who gave so much, we're making courageous leadership our theme for this month at Evil Genius Leadership. As leaders we often need to make decisions or take actions that are unpopular have some risk associated with them. While there are times that it is prudent to wait to make a decision, sometimes the circumstances don't allow it and we need to exercise courageous leadership to make that decision. Courage is a trait that can be developed in us, like any other trait, and this month we have a challenge to help us build our courage to be there when we need it most.

Courageous Leadership – May Leadership Video Challenge

It’s already May and that means that Memorial Day is coming up quickly here in the United States. In honor of all of those who gave so much, we’re making courageous leadership our theme for this month at Evil Genius Leadership. As leaders we often need to make decisions or take actions that are unpopular have some risk associated with them. While there are times that it is prudent to wait to make a decision, sometimes the circumstances don’t allow it and we need to exercise courageous leadership to make that decision. Courage is a trait that can be developed in us, like any other trait, and this month we have a challenge to help us build our courage to be there when we need it most.

Courageous Leadership Video Challenge

This month for our challenge we’re asking everyone to think of something that is outside of your comfort zone and to go do it! It doesn’t need to be the scariest thing that you can think of, just start with something you wouldn’t ordinarily do and follow through on doing it. Taking small steps like these can help us expand our comfort zone as well as giving us more confidence to step out of it when we recognize the need to. Like many other traits, developing courageous leadership is like building a muscle and we need to exercise it regularly in order to strengthen it and maintain it before we need to use it in a critical situation. In the video, Jason gives some ideas for small things you can try to step out of your comfort zone and start building that muscle.

Tell us in the comments what you did to step out of your comfort zone and how it turned out for you!

Photo Credit: By James Varhegyi (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1953926) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Building consensus is one of the most important skill a leader can have in their leadership toolbox. Leaders frequently need to advocate for their ideas and persuade others that their approach is the best solution for everyone involved. Building consensus provides a way to get others to buy-in to our ideas and to participate in the process of turning them into fully developed solutions that address the problem or situation.

Building Consensus – Video Guide

Building consensus is one of the most important skills a leader can have in their leadership toolbox. Leaders frequently need to advocate for their ideas and persuade others that their approach is the best solution for everyone involved. Building consensus provides a way to get others to buy-in to our ideas and to participate in the process of turning them into fully developed solutions that address the problem or situation. One of the most important ideas to understand about consensus is that it is more than just bringing about the majority of the group to our side. In a true consensus, all members of the group agree with and accept the idea or concept, not just most of the group. While it can be difficult to bring a whole group of people around to our way of thinking, there are some tools that we can use to help in building consensus among that group to gain support for our ideas.

Tools for Building Consensus

  • Find areas of agreement early
  • Separate interests from positions
  • Engage in Active Listening
  • Ask thorough, thoughtful, open-ended questions
  • Give others the opportunity to speak about impacts

Building consensus is definitely challenging, especially when multiple parties interests and positions come into play, but there are some advantages that come along with putting this effort in up front. Primarily, once consensus has been achieved among the group, it is likely that the members of the group will be invested in the solution arrived at and will advocate for it to others and strive to implement it fully. This can help in educating the rest of the work force or other organizations as to why any changes are important as well as gain their support because their interests were represented in the decision-making process. Building a consensus is almost always difficult, and not always possible, but definitely worth the effort when it can be achieved.

Photo Credit: By John Trumbull [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

No matter how skilled or talented we are, there's just no way we can accomplish the big goals we want to meet all on our own. Every great leader has worked with others to bring about the amazing things that they have achieved. Trying to do everything on our own can be frustrating, leads to slower progress and limited results and is honestly, a little bit lonely. One of the ways we bring others in to help us meet our objectives is through building partnerships and strategic relationships. There are lots of people out there in the world whose professional goals are either similar or complimentary to our own. Finding these people and working together in a mutually beneficial relationship is one of the best ways to achieve what we are setting out to do. One of the most difficult things to do when we're looking to build strategic relationships is to figure out who we should approach to be in this partnership with us. Fortunately, there are a few key questions that we can ask ourselves in order to make this easier.

Strategic Relationships – Video Guide

No matter how skilled or talented we are, there’s just no way we can accomplish the big goals we want to meet all on our own. Every great leader has worked with others to bring about the amazing things that they have achieved. Trying to do everything on our own can be frustrating, leads to slower progress and limited results and is honestly, a little bit lonely. One of the ways we bring others in to help us meet our objectives is through building partnerships and strategic relationships. There are lots of people out there in the world whose professional goals are either similar or complimentary to our own. Finding these people and working together in a mutually beneficial relationship is one of the best ways to achieve what we are setting out to do. One of the most difficult things to do when we’re looking to build strategic relationships is to figure out who we should approach to be in this partnership with us. Fortunately, there are a few key questions that we can ask ourselves in order to make this easier.

Questions to Ask When Building Strategic Relationships:

  • Who shares my goals and ambitions?
  • Who has a similar outlook on business and life?
  • Who has similar goals, but a different perspective than my own?
  • Who has experience or expertise needed to meet my goals, but that I don’t have?

Once we’ve identified who to start building a partnership or strategic relationship with, we need to keep in mind that the relationship can’t be all about us and our own goals. Partnerships need to be two-way street where we give at least as much as we get to the relationship so that all parties can achieve their goals. Only when both partners give what they have to offer to make the partnership work do we really maximize our results.

Photo Credit: By Vicki Nunn (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

No one likes to make mistakes, but we all do and we just have to accept that someday it's going to happen to us. Whatever our mistake is, it's nowhere near as important as how we react to it and what we learn from it. In this week's video, Jason talks about how to get our mindset right after making a mistake and the three steps we need to take before we can begin to learn from it. One of the most important aspects of the process of learning about our mistakes is to engage in self-reflection and take an objective look at the root causes of the mistake. Asking ourselves some key questions will help us adopt a rational process to overcoming mistakes. Here are a few examples of questions that might be valuable to figuring out the real cause of a mistake:

Overcoming Mistakes – Video Guide

No one likes to make mistakes, but we all do and we just have to accept that someday it’s going to happen to us. Whatever our mistake is, it’s nowhere near as important as how we react to it and what we learn from it. In this week’s video, Jason talks about how to get our mindset right after making a mistake and the three steps we need to take before we can begin to learn from it. One of the most important aspects of the process of learning about our mistakes is to engage in self-reflection and take an objective look at the root causes of the mistake. Asking ourselves some key questions will help us adopt a rational process to overcoming mistakes. Here are a few examples of questions that might be valuable to figuring out the real cause of a mistake:

Overcoming Mistakes Through Reflective Questions

  • Was there information out there that I didn’t have that could have helped?
  • Was there information that I had that I didn’t use to make my decision?
  • Was there someone I know with experience I could have consulted with before proceeding?
  • Were there others who had an opposing or different perspective that I could have considered?
  • Were there external factors that I didn’t consider or fully understand?
  • Did I have a thorough understanding of the flow of the activity and the people who needed to be involved?

The only way a mistake can truly be a wasted experience is if we don’t find a way to learn something from it. Adopting a healthy mindset towards mistakes and learning valuable lessons from every mistake can help us grow into stronger leaders and help those around us benefit from our experience too.

 

Photo Credit: By Ervín Pospíšil [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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