Great leaders communicate and great communicators lead.
- Simon Sinek
NEURO LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING (NLP) has long been accepted as a leadership and development policy. Worldwide, business leade send textrs value NLP as it helps bring efficiency and development to various business activities. Not just that, they also value it for the development it brings to their own professional and personal lives.
There are various development opportunities which can enable team members become more efficient at what they do, be it communication, mentors, managers, supervisors etc. Business owners/executives and leaders are always on the lookout for such development opportunities to help better their team. One trait all leaders have in common is the aspiration to better comprehend and support their team in order to develop them, make them be the very best they can be and make them excel in their respective fields (generally, we’re all looking out for effective means to enable us achieve better results, right?)
WHAT IS NLP ALL ABOUT?
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) refers to a systematic approach of our subconscious. Neuro refers to our neurology, Linguistic refers to our language, and programming refers to our everyday thinking and behavioral patterns. It has been defined as the art and science of personal excellence – the study of what distinguishes the excellent and the average.
What it does is that it perceives the manner in which we process various information from the world around us. You can call it ‘a practical behavioral psychology’ if you want. At the heart of NLP is communication, and to be frank, business today at its simplest level is achieved ultimately by communication between 2 or more people. How well they communicate, interact and process each other’s information is what brings about a successful business.
A good rapport is the basis of all successful interaction. This can be an essential tool when it comes to influencing, coaching and building effective relationships. NLP takes a look at behavioral patterns and how helpful they are in achieving desired results – if they don’t, there’s always the option of switching things up in order to improve or bring about the desired results.
Currently, I’m working with a retailer who uses NLP to help improve his customer service, increase sales and enable leaders understand, coach and build a better rapport with their team members much more effectively. So far, they’ve seen a noticeable increase of an average of $26 spend per customer (the ROI on the training which was delivered is fantastic!)
DOES NLP REALLY WORK? WHERE’S THE PROOF?
Skeptics tend to put focus on lack of evidence which proves how NLP works and provides solutions. This is similar to the argument which came about in the medical field in which for years, skeptics said there was no proof that having a fruit and vegetable diet could help in preventing cancer and heart diseases. Today, this is a documented and well researched fact and we’re even encouraged by health specialists to eat up to 5 portions each day.
Back then in the 70’s, the NLP community weren’t really bent on proving to people how what they did worked, and ever since then, NLP has been further developed, although its main focus remains on the basis of practical applications (learning and teaching what works and gets results).
I remember having a conversation with a well-known Neuroscientist, Amy Brann and upon asking her about the link between NLP and Neuro-Science, she agreed with me that even though science & academia is yet to prove just how every NLP technique works, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work – what it simply means is that NLP is developing so much faster that science hasn’t been able to catch up with it yet. A good example of this is the NLP technique “anchoring” - science has now proved just how it works.
In Personnel Today, an article there nicely sums up the view of a lot of people in the NLP community,
“I wonder if in a few years’ time, a bunch of ‘qualified’ academics will begin to announce their ‘brilliant new findings’ about NLP, while some of us who already knew about it long before will be muttering, ‘what took you so long?” that have used NLP to increase success, change results and deliver transformation:
“If I can recommend a course to my HR colleagues and management colleagues it’s an NLP practitioner course. I’m constantly impressed with the changes you can bring about in people and help them to be the best they can be….”
‘I think what I’ve gained most of all from NLP is its overall ethos.’
‘One of the key messages that I have taken is that that you have choices and are responsible for them’
‘The NLP models are useful in designing training, coaching and mentoring team members, preparing for meetings and presentations, and building rapport for better relationships with stakeholders.’
NLP FOR BUSINESS LEADERSHIP
What would you get if you combined a talented and skillful technical professional with a highly effective and capable leader? (Sounds like the intro to a funny joke, but it really isn’t) – what you would get is a person who is highly valued by a business organization as they would be able to use their technical know-how on an individual level.
Everyone has the ability to be a leader and as a matter of fact, we are already leaders in various ways as we constantly influence people and events around us even if we aren’t aware of it. In organizations however, you tend to see technical professionals being promoted, and after that, if they’re watched closely, you can notice them struggle to influence, communicate and build relationships with various team members. All the skills needed to become a Business Leader or Manager (I’ve come across many leaders and managers who confess that the subtler, softer skills aren’t really their strong suit). From our experience, it shows that organizations that invest in the subtler, softer skills of the people they employ in managerial and leadership positions tend to become more efficient, better leaders and have better vision for the organization.
Integrating NLP as part of your essential tools for leadership will very well enable you develop more skills, a better outlook and behavioral flexibility. All which can assist in improving your performance in a world of complex relationships, flatter corporate structures, cross-functional responsibilities, stressed workforces, and local and remote team working. In order to excel, leaders and managers of present day require subtle skills which include being able to coach, motivate, and really work so as to bring out the best in an individual that they lead. It requires an extra skill set, which NLP can offer. As well as significantly improving your performance at work, NLP techniques and approaches will help you to establish and maintain rapport, explore and alter negative patterns of behavior, and radically improve your ability to communicate effectively.
In business, NLP is capable of providing tools in various key areas, some of which are:
- Being able to communicate skillfully with peers, direct reports, and even with senior management. Basically building a good rapport with anyone. (Rapport being the basis of all communication). Learn to listen deeply when people air their thoughts. Present using a clear powerful language and a format or structure which can appeal to everyone in your audience.
- Help leaders gain clarity over what they want – this is important for providing a clear and strong direction.
- Understanding the efficient nature of communications with and within teams – including the subtle impact of non-verbal influence.
- Understanding the thinking and emotional psyche of each and every one who makes up the team – as well as the manner in which these individuals pull together.
- Comprehending situations and relationships by the use of ‘Perceptual Positions’ (an essential NLP tool used in resolving conflict and for bringing about new innovative ideas or perspectives).
- Modelling the successful behavior of others so they can be replicated.
- Learning to manage and understand oneself and your emotions. Also to increase self-awareness in oneself.
- Gaining insights in the role of beliefs and values in what makes people act the way they do.
- Learning to utilize values so as to tailor a motivational approach in order to better suit each individual.
- Acquiring attitudes and beliefs that buttress confident leadership.
- Laying out convincing goals and inspiring people by selling them the team or organizational vision and getting their ‘buy in’ to this vision.
- Influencing the working environment so that it helps enable people to be constructive and productive.
Want to find out more on how NLP can help you or your organization?
It’s fascinating hearing about Leadership colleagues who recommend NLP. If you’d like to find out more about how NLP could help you (and how you could use it to help others in your business), send me a message and let’s discuss and see how I can be able to help out…
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