In his session titled “The Ingredients of Leadership,” Lukaszewski toppled notions and reshaped attitudes about the role communicators play in counseling and serving leaders of an organization.
Lukaszewski likened the role of today’s communicator to that of a lawyer: Present the options and let the client make the decision. “Communicators are option-finders, not solution-finders,” he says. “We need to lay down the burden of being a solution-finder. It is our job to present options to (leaders), so they can pick a solution. The client makes the decision because it is about them.”
How does one become an option-finder? According to Lukaszewski, when approaching a leader, have at least three suggestions ready or ask a couple of really good questions. “The goal is not to have my idea picked; the goal is to be in the process from beginning to end to see how it turns out.”
Having options or questions ready will help make you a valuable and trusted adviser, says Lukaszewski. “If you go in with only one idea and it gets shot down, you are out of the game. You can’t survive the game if you only have one idea, so offer options instead of going in with one big idea.”
Does it matter?
To test suggestions, Lukaszewski says to ask if they are simple, sensible, constructive, positive and achievable. If a suggestion passes this initial round of questions, he says to ask two additional questions: Does this matter? How is it going to change things?
This approach helps you say the things leaders need to hear, which makes you a stronger communicator as well as someone who helps move the organization forward. “Leaders are focused on what’s next, so they have to feel like you are helping them from their perspective,” Lukaszewski says. “Suggestions should be about the leader doing his job better, not about you doing your job.”
Lukaszewski also offered some insight for pursuing options in what he called the Five-day Rule. “If (leaders) don’t do it in five days, they won’t do it.” He warned that asking leaders to pursue an option after this time period only serves to diminish your credibility.
Another thought-provoking concept Lukaszewski presented was for communicators to be aware of the vocabulary they use when working with leaders. “As communicators, we need to change our vocabulary to make it management-oriented,” he says. Instead of crisis management, communicators should use readiness. Instead of reputation, communicators should use trust. Instead of proactive, communicators should use preemption. And instead of social responsibility, communicators should use sustainability.
“These are management words,” Lukaszewski says. “Using a management word, such as readiness, allows you to ask all the right questions – management questions, not public relations questions. It’s about (leaders), not about us.”
Ingredients of Leadership
- Be Positive – eradicate the use of negative language;
- Be a Verbal Visionary – leaders need to tell, show or verbally illustrate the various elements and priorities for moving the organization forward;
- Be Constructive – eradicate the use of criticism as a means of coaching, teaching or training;
- Be Prompt – answer it now, ask it now, challenge it now, do it now and fix it now;
- Be Outcome Focused – always focus on the goal;
- Be Reflective – seek only useful positive lessons from the past, if you go there at all
- Be Pragmatic – say and do things that make sense;
- Be a Yes Person – select what can be done and focus on that;
- Be Focused on the Crucial 5 Percent – focus on what is truly important and essential to move the organization forward;
- Be a Finisher – start things you can and will finish, terminate those things that can never be finished;
- Be Relentless in Seeking Positive, Incremental, Personal Improvement Every Day – break problems into solvable parts, grow and learn every day.
Submitted by NDPC member Patty Hetland.