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'Four conversations with your team to ensure you sleep well', by associate professor Carlos Royo

05/04/2017 (dd/mm/yyyy) | Barcelona


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On April 5, ESADE Alumni held the Refresher Programme talk ''Four effective conversations with your team to ensure you sleep well'' by Carlos Royo, associate professor in ESADE’s People Management and Organization Department.

The teacher focused on leaders and the aptitudes they need to fulfil their duties well. These skills include good communication management and effective dialogue with the team. With this in mind, Carlos Royo created a model based on four types of conversation for four different scenarios and goals.

On this basis, he emphasised how important powerful communication is for increasing team performance and enabling leaders to influence personal self-knowledge in order to ensure practical leadership. It is by means of conversation, and effective conversation, that each manager is able to adapt to different environments and specific staff circumstances.

Depending on the traits of each employee, four types of dialogue must be applied: coaching, enquiry, goals and criticism conversations. ''In the first two, the leader must let the employee talk a lot, while in the other two, the leader must steer the conversation,'' said the professor.

Coaching conversations are held when employees have a good attitude and appropriate performance. In this respect, the aim is to connect emotionally with the worker and learn about their interests. This is the sort of conversation that the ladder of involvement focuses on. Enquiry conversations try to uncover the viewpoint of the other person and encourage participation and inclusion; they are intended for people with necessary skills who need to be heard.

Goal conversations are intended for team members whose attitude is good but whose performance could be better. Finally, sanction or censure conversations are the last resort for leaders who need to assert their authority. These conversations focus on taking responsibility for a punishable act committed by the employee.

Using an informal, lively tone, Carlos Royo presented the involvement ladder, a system based on steps ranging from an objective stance to more subjective generalisation and emotionalisation. He defined five steps: objective reality, interpretation of facts, judgments and beliefs, generalisation and action.

The first level or step, objectivity, refers to information and facts; at this level, subjectivity is virtually non-existent. However, the next level, i.e. the interpretation of data, is a mental process that triggers reasoning and incorporates interpretive and therefore subjective elements. The next level, judgments and beliefs, entails interpretation through emotions. This includes micro-expressions or non-verbal language which provides a great deal of information of this type. The fourth step is generalisation, i.e. the constant search for elements to confirm one’s own opinion and eliminate those of others in order to create a generalized assumption. Finally, action means taking decisions that modify, eliminate or develop the beliefs established whilst moving along the ladder.

As Royo said in his talk, ''It is essential to know where the people we are going to talk to are on the ladder in order to know which way to steer the conversation.'' This can be achieved by four types of questions to ''move the employee from one step to another by specific questions, because if a person is guided by emotions, the leader must focus on objectivity and facts.'' The questions that the leader must master and adapt to the circumstances are: objective questions, emotional questions, interpretative questions and decision-related questions.

The transition along the ladder does not, however, have to be gradual. Indeed, as the professor said, ''the shift from one step to another is sometimes extremely drastic'' and that most conversations focus on steps in which subjectivity is very important. Even so, it is not useful for an employee to focus mainly on goals so leaders must also help them climb the ladder.




ESADE Alumni
is pleased to invite you to ''Four conversations with your team to ensure you sleep well'', a talk in the Refresher Programme series by Carlos Royo, associate professor in ESADE’s Department of Organisation and People Management.

Many of us have attended leadership courses that focus on the characteristics leaders must have, or on the competencies they must develop, but it is also possible to focus on leadership from the viewpoint of the conversations with collaborators, colleagues and even superiors.



Carlos Royo

Carlos Royo has a PhD in Social Psychology and Organizations (University of Barcelona), a Master's in Human Resources (Polytechnic University of Catalonia) and a post-graduate qualification in the Analysis and Behaviour of Groups in Organizations (University of Barcelona). He completed his academic training with a stay at the University of Sunderland (UK) during the first year of his PhD. He holds a Certificate for External Coaching Intensive (Columbia Business School, New York). He combines teaching at ESADE with his post as training, development and recruitment manager at RACC. Previously, he was in charge of competence development and leadership projects at Banco Sabadell and has also worked at Adecco and Renault in the field of HR management. He currently teaches LEAD (Leadership Assessment and Development) at ESADE using the emotional intelligence model. He has also taught  organizational psychology on several masters at the University of Barcelona, where he is also an associate professor, and given leadership courses at Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio). Author of articles on competence management and its application in professional environments. His main field of interest focuses on building bridges between professional praxis (what happens in companies) and business school and teaching environments.



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