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Eight Powerful Communication Behaviours for Influencing Others: Part 2

Or, a formula for effective leadership.

by Jennifer McCoy

In Part 1, I spoke about the communication behaviours using Push energy. In Part 2 I'll discuss the communication behaviours involved when we use Pull energy.

When we use Pull energy we use these styles of behaviour: we Attend, we Ask, we Understand, and we Empathise.

These are the behaviours used when you are coaching your staff; of course they can be used on many occasions. If you want to bring out the best in your staff, make a conscious effort to use the Pull energy behaviors.

How do Pull energy behaviours work in practice?

You use Attend behaviours when you give others the time to get their point across, or face up to important issues, or remain patient and receptive when others disagree with you.

Attend behaviours are about paying attention, stopping to really listen. Attending is an essential part of all Pull behaviours. When you use Attend behaviours, your staff will feel they can raise difficult issues; that you will listen to their point of view; that you value their contributions.

We use Ask behaviours to encourage others to explain their point of view. Asking also helps us to clarify your own position.

Ways of asking include: "Could you say more about...?" or "What's your thinking on...?" or "How do you feel about the outcomes of...?" or "Can you help me understand why that is so important?"

We use Understand behaviours to show that we have heard what has been said - for instance, when we paraphrase what someone has said. We may not agree with their opinion, and we may well counter with our own opinions, but we show we are willing to accept feedback.

Understand behaviours include: "As I understand, you're saying..." or "In other words you're telling me...". Staff invariably say they want more feedback and if you allow them to give you feedback, you create a win-win situation.

We use Empathise behaviours when we show that we understand, appreciate what someone is feeling. It doesn't mean that we feel the same way, or that we sympathise with their position.

Empathise behaviours include: "I get the impression that you feel..." or "If I were in your shoes, I'd feel..." Empathise behaviours show staff that you are genuinely interested in their welfare.

To be most effective and influential we need to use all of these behaviours - when they are most appropriate.

This time put on your leader-coach hat and consciously strive to use these behaviours.

If you'd like to assess your communication behaviours, ring Jennifer on
0425 726 340 and discuss how the Behavior Minder™ might assist.


Rubin, I. The ABCs of effective communication. Temenos.