Think about it.
Would you rather be invited to an event, or be demanded to attend? If you want to go to the event, doesn’t the demand change that at least a little bit, (and maybe a lot)? And even if you don’t want to attend the event, doesn’t the invitation feel good and perhaps in a positive way change your feelings about those who invited you?
Everyone likes to be invited to things.
And we invite people when we want them involved, when we value their participation, don’t we?
Invitations are a powerful thing.
I believe this idea holds a golden key for us as leaders. What if we shifted our thinking to frame requests, suggestions, advice and directives to come from a place of invitations?
Think about the invitations I am suggesting below and put yourself into one or more of them. How would your communication, demeanor and attitude change if you approached these situations in this new way?
What if I invited people to . . .
. . . Change their behavior?
. . . Try a new process or procedure?
. . . Join a team?
. . . Participate more fully?
. . . Make a decision?
. . . Share their thoughts and ideas?
. . . Expect the best from themselves?
. . . Be more confident?
. . . Take a risk?
. . . Help others on the team?
. . . Contribute more fully?
I know this flies in the face of “being the boss” or command and control approaches to leadership. And I also know that even the spirit of this idea may not apply in every instance or situation. After all, sometimes we need people to take an action now (think safety or crisis situations, for example). If that is what you are thinking, please don’t toss this entire idea out because of those exceptions or “what-ifs”.
Here is my dual invitation to you:
- Think about the idea of offering invitations and inviting your team to do things like the list above (or any of a hundred other things).
- Try it. Frame your next leadership conversation around the idea of an invitation and see how it changes the response of others and more importantly, the results of the interaction.
After you think about it and try it, I’d love to know about your results. I invite you to comment below in public, or send a message to me via email. Whatever the responses, if there are enough of them, I will write a follow-up post with results, insight and further ideas.
I tip my hat for the idea for this post to Charles Vogl who mentioned this idea of leadership invitations during our recent conversation on The Remarkable Leadership Podcast. You can listen to our conversation here.