People Centered Leadership

Photo  by Richard Foster / CC BY-SA 2.0

Certainly, leadership in the context of managing, motivating and high-performance business units is about People orientation. Whether managing a work unit, a team of senior managers or top executives, achieving top performance and outstanding productivity is highly influenced by the leaders approach to their people.

The leaders must conduct “high credibility communications”, both with individuals on their team and the team as a whole. For our purposes, we will focus on the conversations and communications with individuals. Interaction dialogues that build trust, encourage and generate energy for accomplishment. It is not so much about the amount of time a leader or manager spends in these conversations, it’s about the focus and depth of the interchange. Ant the manager must lead the effort.

4 High Value Dialogues in Leaders

In the effort to manage people to get results, the high-value dialogues are about four things;

1. Who are you and what can you contribute to the team? This may be more related to new members of the team but not always. People are complex and ever changing or evolving. The leader must stay in touch with that evolution and continue to closely monitor the persons current state. Have they gained experience or new training that would allow them to contribute at a new or different level?

2. Relationship building conversations. Sharing the leaders beliefs and vision and the employees understanding and buy-in. In the vernacular of the new generation, “do you feel me?” And the manager must “feel” the aspirations and goals, fears and concerns of each member of their team. What are the hoping to achieve and what do they believe stands in their way. The manage can find personal anecdotes to share from their own experience. This all builds trust.

3. These high-value dialogues can also be about choice and decisions. Options for the plans and goals of the business unit can be hashed over and ideas bounced around. Getting individual input to potential options or to actually forming options is a real buy-in builder. The 3  power words in a managers relationship building efforts  are “What Do You Think.” Ask them to share their best ideas.

4. One really important dialogue is the “We Have A Problem” discussion. The very top leaders have developed the ability to conduct the tough discussions. They may not like them but the am interested in your take on what/why this went south and Jim, the XYZ project has not gone well. You can do better and I believe in your ability to make a contribution. I would like to get your take on this and then work together to find a better direction.”

There are many examples but a focus on creating these purposeful dialogues is at the core of effective leadership. Not just creating these conversations but being a totally focused and effective leader. A leader wants this reaction after a purposeful dialogue. “Jane, how did you meeting go with the Leader?” “He asked me for my views and listened like I was the only person that mattered!”  You know what? They should be the only person that matters in such a meeting.

Preparing for Your Dialogue

The key to the process of constructive dialogue management is preparation, focus, energy and sincerity. these characteristics, when folded in to individual communications, are exactly what leadership is all about. These interactions create performance and they create people who want to follow that leadership. Plan the meeting and the objectives. Go into them fully compared and with as much energy and intent as can be mustered. Make each meeting memorable in some way. The leader believes if the meeting has purpose and is worth doing it is worth doing with total dedication.

Additional Resources on People Centered Leadership

People Centered Leadership Ideas

Learn More: You can learn more from our e-books, “Management By Delegation” and “Delegating Through the Lens of the Employee” that bring real world experience and proven skills and tools to managers world wide.Plan-Delegate-Manage is an organization that strives to tested techniques, proven skills and valuable management delegation tools to those who manage people for results.


Michael D. Moore is the publisher of Management By Delegation and is a veteran executive with 40+ years in the Banking and Insurance Industries. A devoted entrepreneur, using his business experience to provide resources for managers and leaders at all levels. For the last 5 years, he has built a growing web presence for helping people with personal and professional development. To learn more about these advanced concepts & join our group Click here 5 Must Have Management Skills

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