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Communication skill you must NOT lead without
April 04, 2017

Better conversations, discussions and decisions

Very often – perhaps not every single day but more often than not – you engage in meaningful conversations with your direct reports, with your boss, with your peers, with your clients, with your suppliers, etc.

Whether you are trying to influence somebody, whether you are looking for some specific outcome to occur, whether you want to come to an agreement – if you are like most managers – you probably engage in these types of discussion trying to sell your ideas.

When you try to sell your ideas to other people in order to win a discussion – this is called “advocacy”

Advocacy is when you seek understanding of your own reasoning.

Advocacy is when you promote your own ideas.

Advocacy is when you try to pro-actively influence the other person – believing that you are two steps ahead of the other party (like we usually do).

Advocacy is normally used in disagreements – where opposing points of view are put forward.

Advocacy is a necessary skill in work-related conversations.

You need to champion your arguments in order to effectively sell your own perspectives, concepts, suggestions, etc.

However …

Advocacy is only half of the picture.

In order to have more meaningful discussions, in order to make better decisions, in order to gain a broader perspective about the context within which the topic of your discussion lives – you must also practice “inquiry” just as much.

Inquiry is when you genuinely try to understand before trying to be understood.

Inquiry is when you receptively listen to the opposing argument.

Inquiry is when you try to pro-actively comprehend the other person – believing that you are two steps behind the other party (like we seldom do).

Inquiry is usually used in professional coaching – where the coach wants to gain a full understanding about his coachee’s idiosyncrasy, context, reasons, etc., in order to better be able to help him reach his goals.

Inquiry is also a necessary skill in work-related conversations – but most managers ignore its potential.

When you consciously engage in discussions practicing both – advocacy and inquiry – the quality of your conversations and resolutions improves remarkably.

IF it is true that you might not be able to ask everybody around you to practice both – it is also true that with your direct reports it is a different story:

Ask them to start practicing both – and you will see a huge difference in the quality of your team’s discussions and decisions.


Yes – continue practicing advocacy – BUT integrate into your leader’s toolbox the “inquiry” skill as well (especially within the team you lead).

You will be genuinely glad you did.

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See you next month!
Joseluis Romero - Publisher
April 4, 2017. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month
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