WashingtonExec General Managers Council Expand on the Art of Leadership Conversations

Alan Berson (standing on right) speaking to the WashingtonExec General Managers Council.

Alan Berson (standing right) speaking to the WashingtonExec General Managers Council

On July 19th, members of the WashingtonExec General Managers Council met for a morning roundtable discussion at The Tower Club with keynote speaker Alan Berson to learn more about the art of leadership conversations.

Berson, author of Leadership Conversations, is also an executive coach, leadership consultant, speaker, professor, and Learning Director at the Wharton Executive Education.

With the council, Berson walked through some of the methods and practices mentioned in his book.

To unlock your high leadership potential and discover your leadership style, Berson says to first consider your top ten values, and then compare that with the top ten values you believe your organization needs to succeed and grow in the next six months.

According to Berson, “we usually focus on what we want people to do, not who we want them to be,” when in reality we should focus on both aspects as leaders.

Berson suggests you make curiosity a primary tenet in your leadership style as well, for curiosity not only encourages learning, it also motivates and empowers leaders to ask new, great questions.

We have conversations everyday – but is your conversation effective? Berson outlined the three integrated perspectives that make up an entire conversation. First, there is an exchange of ideas. Second, understand each other and what the other person is truly saying. And third, explore the possibilities and think of the bigger picture.

Berson also explained the four critical conversations you must hold as a leader. The first conversation is spent building a relationship with the other person; that then leads to the second conversation of developing others. The following, you make decisions and lastly you take action. These four conversations create and upward spiral that allows you to reach your high potential as a leader and establish a healthy, effective culture within your organization.

The discussion came to a close with a lasting idea from Berson – that the best way to engage is to start by asking questions.

For more methods and practices by Berson, read his book Leadership Conversations.

The General Managers Council is WashingtonExec’s newest Council, chaired by John Sutton, Vice President and General Manager of Defense Group at Vencore. The WashingtonExec General Managers Council is a platform for leaders to gain advanced and targeted knowledge on best practices for operating, winning and growing their respective businesses across the federal marketplace. Qualified executives run P&Ls of $50M in revenue and above.

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