Leadership Conversations

Two men shaking hands in office

Whether we are trying to resolve something for a customer, generate interest in a prospective client, learn more about a candidate for a job, or help an employee achieve a goal, we should look at these conversations through five steps. When we think about a conversation through this simple framework, it can make navigating conversations simpler and more productive.


Step 1: Rapport

Rapport establishes a connection and builds trust that we need later in the process; it is about a state of responsiveness in the exchange of energy between you and the other person. Rapport can be an accident, and it can also be deliberate. In this step, we establish the feeling of how the conversation is going to be and set the expectations going forward. What energy do you bring to this stage in your conversations? How could you be more effective at establishing the energy, alignment, and the expectations in the connection for the rest of the conversation?


Step 2: Discovery

This step is where we’re here to learn the other person’s needs, wants, wounds, desires, and goals. Through truly understanding where they are, we’ll be able to understand how we can best serve them in recommendations, solutions, suggestions, or options. Our job is to help lead them from A to Z. And use the tools and resources we have to empower them to be able to do that. So by knowing where their point A is, we can figure out how to help them get to point Z.


Step 3: Collaborate

Once we know where we’re at, we can collaborate, share, and exchange ideas to find out what solutions are the best fit and get us the best results. Sometimes this is pitching and catching back and forth. Other times, one person’s areas of expertise are greater than others. Sometimes one leads, and other times one follows; this is the key dance to the effectiveness of our leadership and relationship with others. Your ability to be able to lead and follow can impact the quality and depth of our relationships and who we attract and who sticks around. Whether it’s a customer, prospective customer, or employee, collaboration is the step that brings us to options and choices.


Step 4: Next Steps

The “next steps” are finalizing the options and making decisions about what we are going to do to collaborate. In this step, we are committing to the plans we are going to make. Your primary job as a leader is to provide leadership and to keep the process moving to complete the result. How you do that is very important; there are different communication styles and ways to be successful. A great tool you can learn more about the different communication styles is the disc communication model.


Step 5: Button Down

Go back and clarify and verify what those next steps are, finalize the details, mention them one more time for reinforcement, and remember they are not real until they are written down and scheduled! Make sure everyone knows what’s happening next and who’s responsible for what. “Button Down” simply clarify the “next steps” to reinforce clarity in our communication.



How can you reinforce clarity in your communication? How can you guide your sales, customer service, interviews, or management and leadership conversations? Where do you excel? And how can you build and improve on that? Applying these steps to customer service, sales, management, interviews, and leadership will help your ability to navigate conversations and make more of a difference with those we live and work with, giving us a greater sense of growth and fulfillment.


To learn more about how these simple steps can empower you and your organization, please contact us or call (414) 269-8705.


Check out our Essential and Mastery Series to learn more.


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