Last week I had the opportunity to attend a session lead by Karen Dawson. the session left an impression with me that I still carry days later. That’s a good thing. I am still thinking about the things that Karen did and said to keep me in this state of wonder. One of the many insights she shared was that turning managers into leaders was tricky business. good leaders make us feel special. Think of a leader you admire in your life. How do you feel in his or her presence? How can you make others feel that way in your presence? That is the essence of leadership development. Karen says that you can increase the likelihood that someone will feel special in your presence by rehearsing your response to them. You cannot change how they feel but you can increase the likelihood that they will feel good by rehearsing and getting feedback on what it takes. Karen’s theatrical background influences her approach to leadership development. In theatre you rehearse and then you perform and then you rehearse and then you perform. Each performance is different and what makes it different is often the audience. What you do for one audience to engage them in the performance is not always what it takes to engage the next audience so adjust and adapt to give each audience what they need. So leaders need to rehearse and perform in the same kind of cycle to get better at building rapport and thereby increase the likelihood that people will feel special in their presence.

So that is what PULSE conversations do… they increase the likelihood of managers becoming leaders. PULSE Conversations are especially structured and deliberately set up to have everyone in the conversation feel heard and valued so that they can own the outcome. The combination of Appreciative Theory and mediation skills and an understanding of the sociology of the enneagram is the right recipe for successful conversations where everyone feels special. A leader using this structure can make each of their followers feel special and can secure their status as leader and not just manager.

There is a lot of literature on the differences between the two sets of skills – leadership and management. Managing the operation, the processes of the work and leading the people who are doing the work are elements of the positions we give to people in charge. Both are essential and both benefit from the relationship building built into the PULSE. If you Prepare for the conversation deliberately and you Uncover the past contributions, Learn the present priorities, Search the future possibilities and then Explain a mutually agreeable plan of action then people feel valued, appreciated, trusted, challenged, supported and special in your presence.

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