Does your team “have your number?” Do your kids? Your significant other? Sure they do.
Because it only takes a short period of observation to find the harsh truth: people are predictable.
Yet as a predictable leader, you compromise your ability to influence and to shift another’s behavior, which is often crucial to accelerate results, boost revenue, ensure sustainable growth. While a large part of influencing is about making people feel a sense of safety, belonging, and mattering, sometimes we need to bluntly lay out the facts. Being able to switch from one stance to the other is an immensely valuable leadership skill.
How Flexible is Your Behavior?
Most of us react in predictable ways, have predictable patterns of behavior, and have predictable speech patterns. No wonder it’s so easy for people to peg us….and no wonder it can seem virtually impossible to get through to certain people.
Chances are your employees know what you’re going to say or do in many situations before you even have a chance to react. Consciously or unconsciously they tune you out (and maybe retreat into their critter state if they think your reaction will be negative)…and any productive potential the conversation may have had is lost. Or perhaps, unbeknownst to you, the way you are acting and reacting sends others a different message then the one you meant to convey.
There’s hope. The following behavioral stances can be mixed and matched for maximum influence, rapport, and outcome. When we use different stances in different scenarios, we get different results. Thanks to all my teachers on stances: Milton Erickson, Tony Robbins, Jerry Jampolsky, and many more. There’s the:
Mommy: Supports the recipient fully, sees and acknowledges how great they are. As a result the recipient feels huge.
Anthropologist: Behaves with major curiosity and high inquiry. This stance asks lots of questions and is continually curious, at times even fascinated.
Drill Sergeant: Hard core, tell-it-like-it-is, no sugar coating. This stance is supremely direct but not mean.
Professor: Cool, high advocacy, factual, “this is how it is,” “when you do X, you get Y.”
Best Buddy: Highly empathetic: “I’ve been there, I know how hard it is.”
Guru: The wise knowledgeable one, often used by consultants, has a touch of Professor but is less linear and more about overview, has a touch of warmth and heart. This stance is the expert with a heart and high enrollment.
Behavioral Stances in Action