If I say, “Shave and a haircut…” you say, “Two bits.” When we do that, we engage in a social interaction known as Call and Response. We find this kind of back-and-forth, give-and-take interaction all around the world. In Africa, where I come from, performers actively involve their audiences in their performances, which are not meant to be watched passively.
We know that in the workplace, involvement drives ownership. As a leader, you can use Call and Response Coaching to actively engage your team and those around you to participate in solving problems. Using the processes we practice in CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Workshop, systematically applied Call and Response can help create an organization of High Commitment and High Performance.
Of course, I can’t teach the techniques in a blog post, but I can at least urge you to put aside the old-school approach to leadership built on forceful debate, strong argument, and making demands—the kind of management that rewards agreement, punishes dissent, encourages conformity, and discourages innovation. Instead, consider the many benefits of instilling leadership intimacy throughout your organization. This type of leadership intimacy helps to realign co-workers and colleagues to common business goals, while also generating increased creativity, understanding, and drive among internal teams.
Call and Response encourages collaborative participation and prescribes that coach and the team members being coached discuss, define, reflect upon, and eventually improve behavior in a way that ultimately makes a transformational difference in the success of the organization. Through time, as your organization’s leadership intimacy strengthens, you will realize even more benefits, including increased customer intimacy and innovation. Once customer intimacy has been sustained these relationships become ever-powerful as loyal customers truly feel valued, appreciated, and listened to.
Using Call and Response techniques, you deliberately and skillfully influence and empower higher commitment and enable higher performance in two ways—as Reinforcement and as Redirection. In my next two blog posts, I’ll show you how use the Reinforcement Call to encourage and reward your team on what they are doing well, so that, in Response, they not only keep doing it, but learn to accept and own the positive behavior.
Then I’ll introduce the Redirection Call, which you can use to help your team discover what they can do differently or need to change in order to improve their performance. In Response, they redirect their behavior from negative to positive.
In the meantime, please feel free to download and read my paper Call-and-Response Coaching. Also consider practicing Call and Response techniques alongside other leaders at our next CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Workshop.
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