Patnaude Coaching

Four Questions to Help You Think like a Leader


It happens to all of us. You have an interaction with someone at work. You say something you wish you hadn’t. Whether it was emotion taking over, an assumption, or something else, it happens. It happens to me more than I’d like to admit, but here we are. The big question is what can we do about it? I’m not going to make any promises of miracles, but I would like to share something that has helped me. Four questions to help you think like a leader.

Simple, not Easy.

To be triggered is to be human. We can’t help how stuff hits us. And in the moment, it can be hard to think clearly with all that emotion running through your veins. So, this is an exercise I’d invite you to consider doing when you’re calm.

This was inspired by the book “Crucial Conversations” by Patterson, Granny, McMillan, and Switzler.

Think of example situations where you tend to lose your cool. Or at least lose your ability to remain calm and rational, thinking clearly. You can start with one situation, or you may come up with 20. No judgment here.

Pick one example to get started. Then ask yourself these four-ish questions:

  1. What is my goal for this interaction? What do I want for myself here?
  2. What do I want for the other person or group of people? (Maybe there’s a whole team that triggers you. Again, no judgment.)
  3. What do I want for the relationship between myself and this person or group? As in, what do I want this relationship to be about? To feel like? 
  4. (And then here’s the kicker) If I really wanted those things, how would I behave?

If you don’t feel a gut punch when you get to that last question, I’m going to venture a guess that you haven’t taken full responsibility for your role in creating the kind of relationship you want. Just sayin.

Bottom line?

Again, we can’t help how something hits us. But we can decide to learn from one situation, reflect on what we can do to shift things, and then practice. Eventually, we can get a different outcome. It’s simple, but not easy. I mess it up all the time. But I’m a lot better than I used to be, and that’s thanks to some difficult but honest reflection time, and practice. Join me, won’t you?

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