Leaders and managers are human beings just like the rest of the work force. Like anyone else, they need to be engaged in a way that is relevant to them. Approaching leaders with the notion that their leadership skills are lacking can start a defensive exchange instead of a productive conversation.
If leaders need a crash refresher course in basic leadership skills, we need to pause long enough to understand what is most important to them. With that perspective, we can use their priorities as the entry point to the conversation on how to best lead others. A leader’s success is largely measured by how well their strategy has been executed. As such, begin the conversation by talking about the strategy, not their leadership behaviors. Consider the following:
Leaders may have titles, seniority, and positional authority, but that doesn’t mean they have ever had the benefit of having a great leadership role model. As a partner, you can help them be a great leader without ever having to tell them they aren’t acting like one. Engage them where they are and connect their actions and behaviors to their ultimate goals, and you will have a company of leaders in no time. Most importantly, remember that your job is to help build great leaders – and sometimes that means leading the leader.