It is common to hear things like “if my leader was different, then my job would be easier.” Or “you know who really needs this stuff is our company’s executives.” Although this may be true, opinions and beliefs are strong at play here – yours and theirs.
So how do you shift your leader’s opinion or context about a situation? Well first, it begins with you. You must make the first shift and believe that a skillful conversation with your leader does have the potential to drive change. If you don’t believe it’s possible, then it won’t be.
Once you are confident in your ability to be influential by offering up your perspective or unveiling a viewpoint that has yet to be considered, you are then empowered to shift your leader’s context.
Consider these three items upon entering into this conversation:
1. Recognize that your leader’s context is valid and right to him or her. And if you’re not clear on why beliefs are held on a particular topic, then get curious and ask more about it. You should know this before you try to shift it.
2. Openly honor your leader’s perspective as you engage in the conversation. And ask to share a viewpoint that you believe is very valuable in the outcome of the topic at hand. If you truly believe your leader is acting in the best interest of the organization, then acknowledge that and share that your perspective will support that effort.
3. Clearly state your perspective – or as we like to say at Fierce – your stripe on the beach ball from where you sit. The more hard facts you can provide and proposed “outlook” of the issue at hand from your side, the more likely you are to draw out curiosity from your boss who wants to know more. Once that happens a context shift has begun!
And in the end remember shifting someone’s context doesn’t necessarily mean the outcome will change, however, it does mean that someone has been exposed to a different way of looking at that situation. And that is definitely the start of driving change!
So whose context do you want to influence?