The Power of One-on-Ones: How Authentic Leaders Make Every Encounter Count

In the current issue of HRM Asia Magazine, Lynne Anne Davis, Asia Pacific President of FleishmanHillard answered the question: “How can leaders have quality conversations with their employees?”  Read the full article below:

Lynne Anne Davis

The quality of leadership is defined by dozens of daily interactions and their impact.  None is more powerful than the all-mighty one-on-one conversation.

What delivers quality conversations? Authenticity.  It’s easy to figure out why: people relate better to people who ‘keep it real’.  It’s as true for CEOs and heads of state as it is for you and me.  Leaders struggle to get things done if people don’t trust them.

Being your true self allows others to be theirs as well, facilitating conversations spiked with candour. When people feel safe to speak their minds, discussions become more productive.

Then it’s time to listen. This is the easiest behavior of all for reinforcing trust, yet it’s the hardest to remember.  Your undivided attention is the utmost gesture of respect.  Complete focus to fully understand the person’s motivations and frustrations.

Be open with what you’re trying to achieve and invite their input and involvement. Often they know more than you do about the situation on the ground.  They have precious intelligence and perspectives to offer.  Keep listening.  Solutions co-created with staff are smarter because they draw from a bigger picture.

Remain constructive when discussing problems.  Embrace teachable moments.  They are the positive side of failure.  Show empathy by sharing your own experiences and lessons learned.

You can support without removing responsibility and accountability.  And, in order to support employees, it’s critical to really know them.  What makes them excited to come to work each day?  What fulfills their sense of purpose?   What are their obstacles?  Where is scaffolding needed?   Answers will change over time.

A great way to close a quality conversation is to ask, “what more can I be doing to help you?”  Never leave it to chance that you already know.

  • Lynne Anne Davis

    As regional president, Lynne Anne Davis oversees FleishmanHillard’s fast-growing, award-winning Asia Pacific network of 18 owned offices and three brands in 10 countries. She is a sought-after speaker and commentator on industry issues, and passionate advocate of Shared Value. Lynne...

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