A E I O U & Sometimes Y: A REAL Effective Leadership Model
Copyright 2006 Sandy Lawrence
Do you remember sitting in grade school thinking, “Am I ever going to use this stuff in real life?”
How about this one: “A E I O U and sometimes Y.” We learned these letters were required for building intelligible words.
Just as vowels influence communication by making words understandable, people principles are the key to effective communication – the kind that leads others to take desired actions.
“A E I O U and sometimes Y” represents a simple REALinTouch Coaching communication and leadership model, a foundation for rich relationships both in our personal and professional lives.
Are You a Leader?
Whether you see yourself as a leader or not, any time you make suggestions or give guidance to another person, you are actually leading someone to make choices and take action.
When you lead well, others are inspired, pro-active, and generally in-tune with the mission to be accomplished and willing to embrace tasks like taking on a special team project, joining your committee, or even, helping with housekeeping chores.
Momentum, idea exchange, and camaraderie grow. The air seems clear; everyone’s outlook is bright. Your relationships are characterized by support, trust and mutual commitment. You are viewed as a buddy, not a bully.
On the other hand, if you are not so intentional and mindful of best people practices, you might find yourself choking on thick air, walking on eggshells, and feeling as if you must push or drag others along.
To improve the likelihood of positive influence, here are a few team building and interpersonal communication tidbits. One way to remember these six principles is to recall what you learned in grade school - A E I O U and sometimes Y - vowels, those foundational letters that enable us to communicate with words.
Winning People Principles
Use the five 'dialects’ that communicate you value someone. Fill others’ emotional tanks regularly with:
• Words of Affirmation
• Appropriate Touch
• Quality Time
• Acts of Service
These are “The 5 Love Languages” identified by Gary Chapman. (The book by the same name is a must read.)
Such sincere and intentional affirming builds trust, instills confidence, makes it easier for others to receive constructive criticism, if and when needed, and nurtures the team spirit.
E- Encourage and Empower
Acknowledge others’ challenges, yet do so in conjunction with recognizing their strengths and their ability to choose better outcomes. Once you let someone share their struggles and have permission to assist, recommend resources and tools to help navigate those challenges.
Give positive feedback to negative feedback 2:1. Never reprimand or criticize someone in front of others, in jest or in seriousness. Constructive criticism is best conducted one-on-one. Be diligent to follow-up consistently with encouraging written words and public praise.
Be a servant leader. Be quick to roll-up your sleeves and work alongside when deadlines are tight or the workload is heavy. Be there to act as a hands-on guide.
Help others believe that they are capable decision-makers, and provide freedom to choose how to problem-solve. Help brainstorm if needed, but be flexible and welcome creativity.
Don’t always insist on just your way or how ‘it’s always been done.’ Independence and allowing others involvement from a different angle can inspire.
If you are an officer in an organization, ask even new members for help with a project. Involving others early-on is key to identifying and apprenticing your leadership team replacements and special committees.
O- Objectives & Ownership
Clarify the vision-the objectives (what end results are desired), and share the core mission (‘why’ and in general terms ‘how’ the team intends to get there.) Set and share specific, measurable goals and time frames for reaching smaller milestones that support the bigger objectives. Do so with kindness, concern, care and tolerance.
Once you have done your part to share relevant knowledge and available resources, insist others set their own specific, measurable goals and deliverables for their solutions and actions. Resist the desire to micromanage; leave room for creative means to an end. This will influence ‘ownership’ of actions.
Be quick to model excellent listening skills and discernment. Step back to consider the context from which someone is speaking before your respond in word or deed. Consider the other person's perspective; then respond with care and concern, not by playing the blame-game or bad-mouthing.
When others come to you to complain, guide them to do the same; discourage gossip. Instead, send them to speak directly to the other person if there’s tension or confusion. The best words to use when there is a disagreement, misunderstanding or tension are “I’m sorry” and “Can you please help me understand why . . .” stated in a neutral and caring tone.
Are YOU influencing others positively? Consider this management proverb: “He who thinks he is leading, but finds no one following, is only taking a walk.”
If you notice a lack of cooperation or interest in your cause, you may need to be more self-aware or more intentional in your communications.
Consider seeking constructive consultation and feedback from an objective third-party such as a counselor, adviser or professional coach. Such input can help you see how your own attitudes, expectations, strengths and struggles may be influencing your actions and communication.
• Be intentional to Affirm, Empower and Involve others
• Clarify Objectives and Individual Responsibilities
• Foster an Atmosphere of Understanding and Empathy
• Step back and Consider Your Part in the Equation
Sandy Lawrence, National Speaker and Founder of www.REALinTouch.com /REALinTouch Coaching, provides leadership and communication coaching, training and tools for entrepreneurs and organizations. Sandy’s Business Coaching-Life Changing expertise is based on 20+ years in business communications, sales, career development and Christian leadership. To hire Sandy Lawrence for your next event or for consulting, contact selfgrowth@REALinTouch.com.
Sandy Lawrence, National Speaker and Founder of www.REALinTouch.com/REALinTouch Coaching, provides leadership and communication coaching, training and tools for entrepreneurs and organizations. Sandy’s Business Coaching-Life Changing expertise is based on 20+ years in business communications, sales, career development and Christian leadership. To hire Sandy Lawrence for your next event or for consulting, contact selfgrowth@REALinTouch.com.