This is part 4 of how senior leaders can create a collaborative culture. If you missed any of the previous emails, the entire lesson can be found at this link.
While the first three mini lessons is about working on yourself, this one is about making sure others are held accountable for their actions.
Question uncertain motives
Sometimes you aren’t in the wrong; sometimes other people have hidden agendas. Rather than getting triggered question uncertain motives. For example, if someone says something sarcastic like, “You need to hear what the team thinks about your last decision,” don’t take the bait by engaging.
Don’t allow people to play “power of attorney” by representing other people who aren’t in the room. It sounds like this, “Chris, I can’t let you speak for everyone else. Let’s bring the team together to discuss.” Here are some other ways to question uncertain motives:
- What’s your intention for telling me that?
- It sounds like you’re angry. Is that true?
- I interpret your silence as disagreement. Am I wrong?
- Walk me through your thought process.
The benefit of questioning uncertain motives is that it lets the other person know how you’re interpreting their behavior. Even if the other person denies their hidden motives, they often discontinue the questionable behavior.
If you have heightened your self-awareness only to realize you come off as defensive, be patient with yourself. Defensiveness is a human reaction to protect oneself from perceived threats. With awareness and practice, leaders who learn to control defensiveness set the stage for open conversations that reduce conflict and promote collaboration.
To your success,