There is a delicate balance between telling people what to do, telling people how to do it, and telling people why to do it.

  • Without the what, people may not be able to take action.
  • Without the how, people may not be able to complete the actions or achieve the objective.
  • Without the why, people may not be willing to start in the first place.

Back in 2020, I wrote a very popular piece called Five Point Leadership where I laid out the five situations that define a leader. These make or break situations communicate to people the why behind your leadership by because of how you lead, which will help people develop trust in what you will likely do in the future. The five components are:

  1. How you show up
  2. How you set the tone, and highlight the goal.
  3. How you communicate
  4. How you run meetings/gatherings
  5. How you manage conflict

In Five Point Leadership, I went through the what and the why.

Today, I want to give some tiny, instantly applicable examples/scripts/tactics to illustrate how to make better choices in each of these settings. For the sake of specificity and for those that want explicit instructions (as many of my readers have requested), I am going to frame these examples as specific directives, but feel free to change any as you see fit to suit your style.

Examples: How to Show Up

Midjourney Prompt: a portal into the conference room, magic, 8k

I’ve already written fairly extensively on how to walk into a room here. That said, here are a few quick tips on how to do this more effectively.

Before you walk into the room or enter a Zoom/Teams video call, you will take 3 deep breaths and say out loud (or in your head, if you’re shy) what you will accomplish in that room.

“I am going to make sure every person on my team feels seen and valued”

After you walk into the room, you will smile at each person and give a warm, genuine greeting. Here’s one that I like…

Hello Jennifer, it is really nice to see you.

When you see someone new in the room or on the call, you will warmly greet them, introduce yourself, and then ask them a question. I often like this question to be unexpected but joyful. For instance…

Hi Nicole, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Jeff. What has been the best part of your day so far or what are you most looking forward to today?

All of these examples are creating an energy that others will see. If you do this time and time again, imagine how others might begin to relate to your presence and leadership.

Examples: How to set the tone and highlight goals

Midjourney Prompt: a lighthouse shines a spotlight on a cubicle in an office, photorealistic

In my book, The Lovable Leader I have an entire chapter on goal setting. What you set as a goal is nearly as important as how you set the goal, and why you set the goal.

In BJ Fogg’s ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE, LIFE-CHANGING BOOK Tiny Habits, he shares two maxims about effective behavior change.

  • Behavior Maxim #1: Help people do something they already want to do.
  • Behavior Maxim #2: Help people feel successful.

As I advocate for in my book, the best way to get someone to want to pursue and accomplish a goal is to align it with a goal they already have. Little did I know at the time that this is backed by one of the most popular, effective, and successful behavior modification programs of all time. So, here’s how to do it…

When you sit down with an individual to talk about goals, you will ask for their help in finding alignment between your goals and theirs.

Jason, one of the things we’re trying to accomplish as a team is to complete all of the materials we need for the new lead generation campaign. What I’d like your help with, is figuring out if or where your personal goals overlap with this outcome. I’m curious what part of this project would be more interesting or rewarding for you.

Immediately after your team accomplishes ANY goal, you will gather everyone together and celebrate the win by encouraging each person to find their own way to immediately spark a feeling of joy and pride. They can do this publicly with everyone, or quietly to themselves.

Ok everyone, we just got 5 pieces of lead gen content over the finish line. Whether you were directly involved in this project or not, I want all of us to take part in this win. Because next time, when you’re involved in a win, I want everyone who wasn’t to celebrate you. So, I’m going to ask everyone to take this moment and either glow up on the inside or share your happy noise, dance, or any celebration you want with the team. I’m going first, not to take the credit but to break the ice so no one needs to feel embarrassed for celebrating too much. YABBA-DABBA-DOOOOOOOOO!

Who’s next?

There are so many more situations and so many more scripts I could share, but remember that with goals, you want people to own them, and you want people to feel amazing when they accomplish something.

Examples: How to communicate

Midjourney Prompt: A black and white painting of an arrow

Ok, this one is probably too big of a topic to cover inside this one post. I gave it an entire chapter inside of The Lovable Leader and referred to communication as “your most important tool as a leader.“

Most of my writing touches on communication in one form or another, especially my posts on Leadership & Culture, Brand, and Marketing. So for my examples here, I’m going to give you a snippet from my book. One of the eight commitments of the team are about communication. These are commitments to communication are to always be:

  1. Direct
  2. Concise
  3. Honest
  4. Thoughtful
  5. Respectful

All of this is easier said than done, and may still leave you feeling like you don’t know how to do these things. Let’s quickly cover definitions for the sake of clarity.

  • Direct means making sure that the thing that needs to be said, is said, plainly and with minimal space for misinterpretation.
  • Concise means getting to the point so as not to lose people’s attention in tangents. Try speaking in tweets (the original ones of 140 characters).
  • Honest means not lying. It doesn’t mean volunteering every detail, but it does mean not hiding the truth.
  • Thoughtful means not reactionary. Take a moment to consider what you want to happen and how you might achieve that.
  • Respectful means appreciating and validating other people’s perspectives, even if you don’t agree with it.

Here are a few more tips that may help you…

Set an alert to notify you 5 or 10 minutes before any meeting and after the timer goes off, you will sit down, set a 5 minute timer, and create an outline of what you will talk about. Be thoughtful about what you want to accomplish in the meeting and write it at the top of the note. Under that, make sure to write down anything you do not want to neglect to cover. Focus on being completely honest with your team.

After the 5 minute timer goes off, you will set the outline aside for a moment and take 3 deep breaths to focus on calming your emotions.

Midjourney Prompt: a lotus flower floating down a river into oblivion, digital art

After you’ve taken the third breath, you will say the following sentence aloud (or in your head).

When I speak, I will be direct, concise, respectful.

Like I said, communication is an enormous topic, but as a leader, it’s one of the most important ones. Keep working on this skill and you’ll be sure to notice continually improved results.

Examples: How to run meetings/gatherings

Midjourney Prompt: a gathering of the council, watercolors

This one is probably easier than you think. The best leaders I’ve ever seen do two things in meetings:

  1. Listen more than talk.
  2. When they are talking, they’re giving people acknowledgement, thanks, and praise.

There are a lot of ways, as a leader, to make meetings better, but these two are perhaps the biggest. I’ll give you just one more though: clarify the outcome of the meeting/gathering. Here’s how…

After the meeting starts, you will state the purpose of the meeting.

Hello everyone, the purpose of today’s meeting is to check in on the status of our most recently software release and have everyone share one success that we can all celebrate.

After each person shares their success, you will celebrate something about that person that is either implied by their accomplishment or something that they hadn’t considered.

Thank you Erica. I also just have to acknowledge that the way you show up for your team is something that I really admire, and try to emulate for myself. You are consistently people-first and invested in each person’s success. It’s really unique and I hope it’s something you feel really proud of.

More on how to do this type of acknowledgment effectively here.

Examples: How to manage conflict

Midjourney Prompt: a conflict of primary colors, painting, watercolor

One of the best books I’ve ever read about conflict is The Good Fight by Liane Davey. In it, she uses a term that I honestly thought I invented when writing my book: Productive Conflict. In my book, I wholeheartedly align with Liane Davey’s point, but since her is entirely about conflict resolution her book is obviously far more extensive in unpacking how to do this well.

My definition of Productive Conflict is the process of leaning into a misunderstanding or stagnated situation to push the situation toward a resolution from unspoken resentment or a state of non-movement. One thing you can do to better resolve conflicts, is it to push the conflicts toward a resolution. But it’s important to do this effectively, so here’s the next piece of context.

The Washington Post recently published an article by called 3 skills from psychotherapy that can change your brain by Christopher W.T. Miller, M.D., a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practicing at the University of Maryland Medical Center and an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The 3 key takeaways are this:

  1. Choose reflection over reflex
  2. Bring softness, not hostility
  3. Be curious, not judgmental

Interestingly, these are some of the same things I advocate for throughout my book, but especially in the chapter about conflict resolution.

So, with all of this in mind, here’s the example and the steps…

After you notice a problem with another person or between two people, you will reach out via email to both individually to coordinate a time to sit down and talk together.

Hi Brad, I’ve noticed some tension between you and Kirk. Rather than leaving words unspoken and problems unaddressed, I want to get us all together to resolve the situation so that everyone’s voices can be heard, and we can move together as a team.

Misunderstandings happen all of the time and I know that the best way to get everyone back on the same page is to come to the table ready to be curious about the other person’s perspective and ready to find common ground. I’m reaching out to Kirk with the same message and am looking forward to getting us back on track.

What day this week works for you?

If you really want to master conflict resolution, I strongly recommend picking up a copy of The Good Fight by Liane Davey.

Do one thing this week

Hopefully, the examples given here help you see how small changes in your behavior can create a positive impact on those around you. Try implementing just one of these tiny, instantly applicable examples/scripts/tactics in your leadership approach this week.

  • Remember to be direct, concise, honest, thoughtful, and respectful in your communication.
  • Remember to listen more than talk, and clarify the outcome of your meetings.
  • Remember to be curious, not judgmental, and bring softness, not hostility when managing conflicts.
  • Remember that as a leader, it’s crucial to strike a balance between telling people what to do, how to do it, and why to do it.

When you apply these principles you can inspire trust, engagement, and ownership in your team.

Your behavior sets the tone for your team, so lead by example and use these five points to inspire those around you to be their best selves.

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