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What are the hallmarks of great leadership today? For many it’s about inspiring people, organizing around a common goal, and guiding followers through the obstacles along the way. Rose Fass, a business transformation expert and founder of fassforward Consulting Group, distills good leadership into something simpler: it’s a conversation. So how do you master the art of the conversation — not just as an individual, but also as a leader?
In this week’s episode of Motivational Mondays, Fass dives deep into the type of communication we need in today’s climate, why poor leadership and communication aggravate global issues, and how we can communicate better in our own lives. Don’t miss this discussion if you’re looking to make positive change!
Why Is Leadership Communication So Important Now?
Like many people, Fass used her downtime during the pandemic to reflect on her life and get more in touch with her values. But with over 42 years of experience in corporate America (21 of them spent in a consulting and leadership development role), she couldn’t help but turn her attention to what was happening on the world stage — particularly in terms of politics. At every turn, whether it was global leaders arguing, ideological disagreements, or even conversations among family members, she often noted a total lack of civility, inevitably making things worse.
All of this inspired her to write her new book: "The Leadership Conversation: Making Bold Change, One Conversation at a Time." While it functions as a guide for people in positions of power who want to communicate better, it also includes lessons anyone can apply to their professional and personal lives wherever they want to achieve a more positive outcome. And in a time of so much division, that kind of intentionality is exactly what we need.
The Golden Rule for Deeper Conversations
Differing viewpoints aren’t just a matter of right or wrong — they’re formed by each individual’s unique experiences. Fass learned the golden rule of open-mindedness and listening from her father, a U.S. Marine who fought in World War II. Growing up, people with all sorts of perspectives were dinner guests in the Fass home — and her father welcomed every one of them. Through this experience, Fass was exposed to a variety of viewpoints and learned how to disagree productively and respectfully.
“We all grow up, and irrespective of whatever way we’ve grown up, we start to form our own worldview,” Fass says. “And that worldview, people [often] fail to realize, is based on our own personal experiences — and in some cases — the way we interpret those experiences and then our own point of view.” It’s only natural that not everyone shares that point of view, so it’s imperative to listen and understand where people are coming from.
Breaking the Cycle of Incivility
Fass points out that we can’t be hard on ourselves for not exhibiting that kind of open-mindedness. After all, our leaders have done a terrible job of modeling that kind of behavior. In fact, they seem to be more interested in bickering and winning arguments than actually solving problems. That’s all the news seems to play these days. So where do we look for good direction?
“We have to have an internal compass,” She urges. “We have to figure out what it is that we need to do to create the change we want to see in the world because we’re not necessarily going to get that from our government leader.” Having tough conversations rather than fighting is the only way we can tackle the collective problems facing our society, and frankly, life on Earth.
Listen to this episode to learn about...
[2:00] The world events that inspired Fass to write her new book
[6:15] Ways leaders set the tone for how the rest of us communicate
[7:30] What Fass’s father, a Marine in WWII, taught her about connecting with people and having difficult conversations
[17:43] How Fass’s early childhood experiences set her up for entrepreneurship
[20:11] Why your own relevance is the most important thing you can find
Listen to the bonus episode to learn about how responsibility for healthy interactions begins with you, and how to have more empowering conversations with yourself.
Learn more about how to have your own tough leadership conversation in Fass’s new book.
Connect with Fass on LinkedIn.
Get a better understanding of what’s driving increasing hostility in public discourse.
Listen to other Motivational Mondays episodes.