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How Leaders Use These 5 Steps To Address Any Concern

by Richard Brody

posted in Self Improvement

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Everyone who has ever served in any sort of significant position of leadership has confronted constituents and other stakeholders, who were concerned about some aspect of what was occurring within their organization (or at least, how they perceived the scenario). Quite often, what differentiates someone merely holding a position from a true, meaningful and effective leader, is the procedure followed, the mindset and the approach followed, from the time of the objection/ concern, to the response and follow - up. In order to address this need for a leader, it would be helpful and make this significantly easier and less stressful, anyone who desires to become a really effective, great leader, must learn, use, and be quite talented at using and utilizing the 5 steps to address any concern/ objection.
1. Before anyone rushes to judgment, or feels a need to respond/ react, it is essential to first assure that you fully understand and reply to the true concern. All too often, we tend to become overly sensitive and respond too quickly, without taking the time and making a concerted effort to get to the crux of the matter, and answer what is being asked, rather than merely what we perceive the question/ objection to be. The initial procedure should be to repeat, rephrase, and make sure you understand the concern. Addressing something before being sure what is being asked may have the deleterious impact of opening up the proverbial Pandora's Box, and putting concerns into the minds of those who never had that concern in the first place.
2. Don't merely dispassionately proceed, or overuse sympathy (feeling sorry for the other person). When that is done, it rarely connects in any type of significant manner. The best way to proceed is to empathize (or relate/ see things from the perspectives and priorities of others). Often, merely saying something like, "I can perfectly understand how you feel. In fact, I felt that way, and most others have also, until they realized a few things."
3. Answer thoroughly, slowly, deliberately, and to the other person's satisfaction. Be open and transparent, and pay attention to the body language (posture, eye contact, gestures, tone of voice, head nodding, etc.) of that individual(s). If you are unsure, ask if you have satisfactorily addressed and answered the question/ concern/ objection.
4. Recreate the need/ objective, etc. Phrases used, such as, "In light of the fact that," have the needed impact of drawing the other individual in.
5. Close by getting agreement, involvement, commitment, etc. Simply asking, "Doesn't it make sense?" often sufficiently closes the concept, and brings others into the fold. However, after asking this type of closing question, one must avoid speaking until after the other person responds. I often refer to this as the ZTL (zip the lip) imperative.
Superior leaders seek to unite and unify, and do so by openly and proactively engaging in conversation that is meaningful to the audience (not merely to him). If you want to truly lead, master this skill by knowing and effectively use the 5 steps regularly, consistently, and automatically.
About the Author: Richard has owned businesses, been a COO, CEO, and Director of Development, as well as a consultant. He has professionally run events, consulted to over a thousand leaders, and conducted personal development seminars, for over 30 years. Rich has written three books and well over a thousand articles. His company, PLAN2LEAD, LLC has an informative website: and LIKE the Facebook page for leadership planning:
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