Politics, Obstruction and REAL Leadership

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Doesn’t it seem like our political leaders specialize in saying “no”?

No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, it seems that stopping things is the main focus of our representatives in Washington these days. Look, I’m not a political guy, but when it comes to leadership, there’s a real misunderstanding going on.

Changing the conversation is about helping people to get to “yes”, not the opposite. Obstructing others from getting what they want might classify as political leadership – but, in business, those kinds of politics can kill your career.

Look for openings, not obstruction, if you want to create new results.

As Sam Shepard said to his friend, rockstar Patti Smith:

'When you hit a wall, kick it down.' - Sam Shepard #quote Click To Tweet

What would happen if you helped people to find doors, instead of blocking them with walls?

As you go through the week, take time to consider the folks that matter most to you: your boss, your stakeholders, your team and your customers.

What would change for you if you started to look at everyone around you … as your client?

I talked about how to create greater influence for your internal clients, in my latest article on Forbes – check it out right here: “How to Get Buy-In for Your Ideas”.

Leadership Language by Chris Westfall

Coming from Wiley in 2018!

In my new book, Leadership Language, I talk about the value in seeing the people around you as clients – seeing that the service you provide is the key to the impact you create. It’s easy to see that your customers are those you serve – after all, that’s why they call it ‘customer service’.

But what happens if the people around you became your customers as well?

The idea of internal customers (or clients) is nothing new. But focusing on how you can help people to get where they want to go – instead of shutting them down – can be a powerful place for your attention.

If you find yourself being frustrated by other people, and other agendas, here are some useful questions that can make a difference:

  • What would have to change, outside of the people involved, for this situation to improve?
  • What assumptions are you making, about the people and processes involved, that are leading to your frustration?

When it’s time for a difficult conversation, ask yourself: what’s this conversation really about? What is the focus that’s going to be most useful?
Then, get out of the “he said-she said” mode. Focus your team (and your client) on that thing that matters most – not on the people involved.

There’s a helpful video that I created, on how to handle difficult customer service issues. And, when you see that clients are all around you, the conversation changes.




I’m not suggesting that you turn into Santa Claus, or start granting wishes. Sometimes what people want and what can realistically be delivered are two different things. That’s when you’ve got to ask yourself, “What’s this conversation really about?”

Is obstruction the kind of impact that you want to create?

Block the shot. Or take the shot. The choice is yours. Can you influence your team and the clients that matter most to you, by obstruction? Open up the conversation if you want to discover new results. What good comes from the absence of dialogue? What’s the real impact of shutting down the conversation? There’s no need for a vote; new solutions don’t come from obstruction.

Look in the direction of ‘yes’ – and guide your clients to the solution that fits, for everyone involved. Take time to look at your assumptions. In my experience, you will discover what changes when those assumptions aren’t written in stone. Because trying to block someone isn’t the best way to lead them to a new solution.

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Chris
Chris
US National Elevator Pitch Champion. Keynote speaker. Author. Business coach for Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurs and high-growth organizations. Married with two daughters, based in Houston, Texas USA.
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