Your Most Powerful Gift as a Leader

I was doing a program last week, called “You Can’t Be a Leader without Being Biased” — all about unconscious bias.

During the Q&A afterward, someone asked how can we reach unreachable people. Those who appear to be so negative and stuck in their ideas that we have trouble connecting with them at all.

My short answer was “assume goodwiil.”

That got me thinking. The (nonfinancial) definition of goodwill is “friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude.” But I think it’s so much more: and much more powerful. Here’s why I’ve come to believe goodwill is an underappreciated leadership skill. Here are three steps for you to create and use this effectively.

How many times have we geared up for a tough talk and ended up unintentionally escalating it? (Here’s a short article on how moods are contagious.)

Know that your brain’s first choices — largely unconscious — aren’t always the best ways to go.

Instead, before launching into a difficult conversation, decide to choose calm, curiosity and flexibility. You’ll be giving the gift of being truly seen and heard to the other person involved. And you’ll get the gift of receiving better information and creating a more congenial relationship.