THOUGHTS ON LEADERSHIP AND BEYOND


Enhancing Leadership Skills: Using the Power of Motivational Interviewing in Management

Effective leadership goes beyond delegation and decision-making; it involves understanding and motivating your team. One powerful tool gaining popularity in the management realm is Motivational Interviewing (MI). Originally developed for counseling, MI is proving to be a game-changer in the workplace. Incorporating MI into your management style involves understanding of the following key principles:ย 

Expressing Empathy: Show genuine interest in your team members' perspectives and concerns. By actively listening and understanding their points of view, you build trust and create a supportive environment.

Developing Discrepancy: Encourage your team to explore the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Help them recognize the benefits of personal and professional development, fostering a sense of self-motivation.

Rolling with Resistance: Instead of meeting resistance with force, acknowledge it and explore the reasons behind it. This approach helps to minimize conflict and allows for a more collaborative problem-solving process.

Supporting Self-Efficacy: Cultivate a belief in your team members that they have the capacity to achieve their goals. Recognize their strengths, celebrate successes, and encourage a mindset of continuous improvement.


Simply put, our goal is to help employees uncover even the smallest bits of internal motivation by focusing on - why they might want to change. It's not about benefits and consequences; those will follow along. It's about a understanding person's own reasons and deeper values standing behind them. The process can be really fast if done properly, but it takes courage, dedication and desire to help to overcome initial resistance. Below is an short example of the potential conversation.

Manager: "I've noticed hesitation about the upcoming process changes. Can you share your thoughts?"ย 

Employee: "I'm not thrilled. The current process works for me."

Manager (Expressing Empathy): "Change can be challenging when we're used to things. What aspects of the current process do you find most effective?"

Employee: "It's what I'm used to; it's second nature."

Manager (Uncovering Internal Motivation): "Can you think for a moment why you might want to switch?"

Employee: "I could reduce paperwork, and my yearly review might improve."

Manager: "Why is that important?"

Employee: "I dislike wrestling with paperwork, and a better review means a potential bonus."

Manager: "If you think of obstacles, what affects you the most?"

Employee: "Lack of time to learn the new process."

Manager: "How about a workshop with team building to learn and discuss the new process together?"

Employee: "Yeah, that could help. Let's give it a shot."


In this simplified example, the manager uses Motivational Interviewing principles to guide the employee towards recognizing the potential internal motivation for embracing the new process. By discussing the impact, internal motivation, and obstacles, the manager helps the employee see the bigger picture and navigate towards desired outcomes.


You can read more about it from Michael V. Pantalon or William R. Miller books. Try it out, and let me know if you want me to help you master that super skill.

๐—ช๐—ต๐˜† ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ผ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฝ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ?

We all have tried to stretch our limits at some point. But what was the result of those efforts last time? Have you achieved that transformation you have dreamed of?

If not quite then donโ€™t rush to blame yourself for not being persistent enough. It takes more than just a plan and a strong will to escape the gravity of the comfort zone. To do it right we have to understand the mechanics of this powerful phenomenon.ย 


1. First of all, the comfort zone is a good place to be, it gives us confidence, security and a feeling of being in control of our life. For the majority of people, those are the cornerstones of a good life and we donโ€™t want to risk losing them even at the price of giving up on our dreams.


2. Second, we instinctively prioritize short-term gains over long-term ones due to various psychological factors. In simple terms, we prefer to eat an apple today than wait until it grows into an apple tree. It made sense for our furry ancestors but we can do much better by understanding how the brain works and developing individual strategies for overcoming our instincts. There is a great book covering that topic in the detail โ€œThinking, Fast and Slowโ€ by Daniel Kahneman.


3. The third and perhaps the most powerful factor is the fear of the unknown or neophobia. Our minds are tirelessly trying to keep us safe by avoiding new and potentially dangerous situations. This is a nice feature to have if you plan to evolve but it also gives us anxiety every time we face changes. You can read more about overcoming neophobia in Susan Jeffersโ€™s book โ€œFeel The Fear And Do It Anywayโ€ย 


Leaving your comfort zone is hard and failing to do so doesn't mean you are weak or lazy. Our nature is pulling us back to the good old days in the African savanna where among many things weโ€™ve learned to enjoy the moment and procrastinate with future-oriented tasks. In order to succeed with the change we must understand the internal strengths and limitations of our character and develop an individual strategy for moving further. To a certain extent, it can be done individually but there always will be blind spots in our worldview that only other people can notice. Seeing yourself through the eyes of an unbiased person is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves. So next time you plan changes in life donโ€™t hesitate to seek support from professional coaches and supervisors.ย ย 


Finally, there is good news for all of us, we have come a long way to get where we are now. Therefore we absolutely know how to move forward. Donโ€™t forget to keep it in mind and good luck escaping your comfort zone!

Helping a friend in a rush with three questions!

A friend of mine, a talented and hardworking team leader, suddenly called me early in the morning and with a worried voice asked for quick advice. She just met her boss who asked her to provide a layoff proposal for half of her team as they lost a client and had to quickly cut costs. The request caught her completely off guard and she didnโ€™t know what to do about it.


In stressful situations like that, most of us tend to rely on gut feeling or ask an experienced friend for advice but even good advice deprives us of internal learning. So, instead of rushing to share my opinion, I decided to help my friend make her own informed decision. Iโ€™ve offered her to do a 15 minutes coaching session and see if it will help her to come to a decision. After a deep breath, she agreed to try somewhat disappointedly.


To begin with, I asked her to provide an unaffected view of the situation as if she would be talking about someone else. Thinking of the situation from the third-person perspective has calmed her down and she provided a clear and straightforward description of the facts.ย 


I further encouraged her to use critical thinking skills to reveal any potential blind spots in her approach to the solution. We found that she was too narrowly focused on the current moment and forgot about her broader goals.ย ย 


I then asked which assumptions she has about her boss and team members to reveal potential mental blocks that might hinder her decision-making abilities. Everyone has limiting beliefs we rely upon without questioning and revealing them makes our decisions more adequate.


Finally, I reminded her that she has already been in a situation like that before and had a chance to learn from it. I then asked what advice could she give herself based on that experience. This made her think deeply and after a long pause, she confidently said that she knows exactly what has to be done. I felt like I was talking to a different person now. With a strong and loud voice, she thanked me for hearing her out and without further explanation rushed to follow through on her plan.


Overall, we spent less than 15 minutes helping my friend to see the bigger picture, mobilize her critical thinking abilities, become aware of her blind spots and rely on previous experience. With a bit of support and reflection from my side, she was able to find her own solution ideally aligned with her abilities and strategic plans.


I was really happy for her - seeing people instantly outgrow themselves in the moments like this is the most rewarding feeling I get working as a coach. I really hope that when she suddenly decides to call me next time, instead of asking for advice, she will ask for a coaching session!

๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ฆ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐—ค๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ฝ๐˜€ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€?


Socratic questioning is a form of critical thinking, which was invented by the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates and is characterized by the use of open-ended questions to reveal what is known about the subject and examine general assumptions.ย 

Nowadays, Socratic questioning is widely used in business coaching as a way to help clients gain insight into their thoughts, feelings and actions. A coach using this method will ask a client series of open-ended questions to identify any limiting beliefs that may be holding them back.


Socratic questioning is used to help clients:


It can also be an effective tool for generating new ideas and exploring potential solutions. The coach's role in this process is to guide and facilitate the conversation, rather than provide answers or advice, this allows clients to come to their own understanding and conclusions.


Itโ€™s hard to overestimate the importance of getting rid of unjustified assumptions and limiting beliefs when making long-lasting decisions. As American philosopher Lewis Fordsworthe famously saidย  โ€œAssumption is the mother of all mistakesโ€. If you want to make sure you are making an informed decision use Socratic questioning or its modern form of Business Coaching to deepen your understanding and avoid costly mistakes.