Lead with Purpose: How to Have Productive and Effective Conversations
Lead with Purpose: How to Have Productive and Effective Conversations

Lead with Purpose: How to Have Productive and Effective Conversations

06/01/2023 by Gabriella Dillmore
Being a leader is more than giving orders — leaders must build an emotional connection with people and become champions for their professional growth.

Oftentimes in interviews, hiring managers will ask you to “describe the greatest boss you’ve had” and candidates will have to decipher what the greatest experience was from the average. Did a boss just listen to your suggestions or did they take action to help them come to fruition? Did they promote you once or did they continue rallying you toward a better future? A survey of 80,000 managers conducted by the Gallup Organization identified the quality that sets truly great leaders apart from the rest: they discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it. 

As an employee at Arkus, I’ve been extremely lucky to be surrounded by passionate, dedicated, and enthusiastic leaders that invest in my development as a Business Operations Specialist. In addition to the extensive personal growth benefits, Arkus provides an aggregated community fund that allows employees to invest in external professional resources, like MasterClass.

With that said, in this blog post, I’ll walk you through some high-level insights that I’ve gained from watching the following Master Classes:

This blog post has been written not only to encourage transparency and communication in the workforce by leaders but also, as someone who strives to lead one day, to exemplify the steps and actions to becoming a great manager. My hope is that if you only take away one lesson, it’s to ask yourself, “What can I do to be a better leader?” daily.

Mastering Body Language

As a leader, it’s inevitable that you will need to deliver both positive and negative feedback to your employees. In these moments, it’s important to take in the whole emotional environment and trust that you’ve done everything to deliver the news effectively. If you know the conversation will be tough, don’t come overly excited, but if you are delivering positive feedback open up and let the excitement show. Your employees deserve to be recognized for their hard work and much like negative feedback, delaying the communication diminishes the effective response. 

While most of the time our body language is unconscious, we commonly can portray happiness, nervousness, anger, and frustration in the way we sit, stand and communicate. It’s important to empathize with your team and help them feel heard.

Zoom in and Zoom out

Many organizations differ when it comes to the structure of their team hierarchy. At Arkus for example, we have a CEO, VP of Sales and Marketing, Director of Training, Director of HR, Delivery Team Managers, and so on. But no matter what position you start in, all Arkus employees have to complete the Arkus Boot Camp (ABC) process in order to understand the structure of our company and become proficient in our unique Arkus methodology. This allows team members to zoom in and understand how decisions at the top affect individuals below in the hierarchy while also zooming out to put decisions into perspective and see how they affect our company and community as a whole.

Indra Nooyi defines Zooming in and Zooming out as having a big-picture vision while still seeing the minutia of every detail. With access to an abundance of motivational applications, Zooming in and Zooming out encourages leaders to rethink their innovation process and employee experiences, discussing differences in opinions and perspectives, and encouraging people to learn from each other. Contrarily, it is not meant to divide ideas but to combine a continuum of perspectives. As leaders, it’s essential to have an overarching understanding of changes happening within your organization and to communicate them effectively across all levels of the organization.

Handling Conflict

Withholding negative feedback from employees to spare their feelings is actually detrimental to their personal and professional growth. Although it’s challenging and not enjoyable to deliver, as a leader, you have to address the situation. Leaders must learn to embrace the silence and LISTEN. Your empathic response to rebuttals and questions can make or break your influence as a leader.

When delivering bad news, try to be concise and get to the point while also being transparent about the reasoning that influenced your decision. In these moments, it’s imperative that information is not suppressed for months on end and only delivered during evaluations. Suppressing information only diminishes trust between you and your employees. The same goes for employees who don't communicate with their leader about their capacity, career growth, compensation, and so on.

Embracing Connection & Change

Finally, embrace connection. We are all human, we have good days and bad and it’s important to recognize that this is true across all levels of an organization.  The ability to be compassionate and connect with others is critical to our lives, both personally and professionally. Demonstrating empathy in the workplace — a key part of emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness — improves human interactions in general and can lead to more effective communication and positive outcomes, in both work and home settings. 

Change is inevitable and constant with the boom of technology today, yet many leaders are reactive rather than proactive, leaving employees confused and resisting change. As a leader, you need to check the gauges of your employees constantly and address people directly. Tiptoeing around a change that could inadvertently disrupt the day-to-day functions of your employees — Salesforce Classic to Lightning announcement for example — could cause people to drag their feet and blatantly rebel. Your response as a leader should be to identify the levels of concern and communicate the right things at the right time. No one wants to be blindsided and believe their best interest isn’t in the forefront of their leader’s mind. 

Changing The Way You Lead

I hope this blog post opened the eyes of not only leaders but also employees. Understanding what differentiates a good manager from a great one will pioneer productive conversations and allow you to build a deeper connection with those around you professionally and personally.

What are some of the things that your leaders do that make a difference in your life? Reach out to us on LinkedIn or contact the Arkus team through our contact form