How Pretending Develops Leaders
Your brain knows gibberish when it hears it. You can’t fool yourself. “I think I can,” sounds like a lie to someone who believes they can’t.
Pretending you can doesn’t help, but pretending does.
Expand skills and develop behaviors by pretending.
Fred’s performance stalled. It’s time for a tough conversation that you dread. Worse yet, tough conversations often end with you comforting rather than challenging. You’re a softy.
Invite a member of the leadership team for a walk. Tell them it’s time for a tough conversation with Fred. Say, “I’d like to run something by you.” Pretend you’re having the conversation with Fred.
- Don’t violate privacy by talking about Fred with his colleagues.
- Find someone on the leadership team who knows Fred, if possible.
- Use fellow leaders who have emotional intelligence.
- Approach someone who handles tough conversations well.
- Step outside your organization, when necessary, but protect privacy by changing names.
- Begin with the end in mine. Always explain the goal of the conversation, first. Describe how you want Fred to feel and behave after the conversation?
- Invite immediate feedback during practice. Ask, “How did it feel when I said …?”
- Try several approaches. Adapt your approach to Fred. What works for him?
- Seek alternatives from your partner. Ask, “How would you handle this situation?”
- Visualize positive results but practice the process.
Repeating, “I think I can,” while sitting in your office, won’t change a thing.
You tell yourself you can because you fear you can’t.
“I think I can,” adds stress when you fear you can’t. On the other hand, pretending builds confidence and develops skills.
When I pretend, I often ask someone, “How does it feel when I say…?”
How has pretending helped your leadership?
How can leaders use pretending to develop leadership in others?