The Power of Choice

Deborah called me last week to tell me it worked! 

Yea I thought, and then I realized I had no idea what I had told her that worked so well.

In our coaching session the previous week, I suggested to her that she could consider the choices she wanted to exercise in meetings with her team. She described her leadership style as being open and collaborative and for her, that meant that she would almost always go full disclosure with her team so that they knew what she was thinking and that they could then brainstorm issues together.

That action, however, often meant that she was blocked into what her team wanted to do and as a result, she discovered that her influence and even authority as their leader was significantly diminished.

I shared with her that I often exercise the option of not sharing all the information I know because in some instances, it is not essential for the conversation to move forward.  In fact, not disclosing all that one is thinking can be more effective so that the group can work through a discussion to see where their thoughts lead. This approach allows for diverse thinking and an opportunity for her to lead in a new and perhaps more powerful way.

Another way that Deborah applied this learning was in a discussion with her own manager. In her full disclosure mode, she would always line up all the possible risks and dangers that could happen with her group and shared them with her leader. She realized that this created a bit of angst and even panic with her boss, since many of these concerns would never come to pass. At her recent weekly meeting, she decided to only share information that was mission critical, and had either happened or had a high risk of happening.

Deborah was breathing a sigh of relief this week. As a result of her finding the power of choice, she shared that she wasn’t feeling as panicky about her work as she had been. The truth is that she was even able to apply her new power of choice to what she told herself.

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