With the increasing importance of solid leadership at all levels of organisations, people need concrete, effective strategies for boosting their communication and conflict resolution skills. Something that could prove trickier to achieve as we navigate the current COVID-19 situation.

Recently, as part of a series of webinars to support our people through the challenges of 2020, leading psychologist and mindfulness expert, Dr. Richard Chambers joined us to offer some ways to listen and communicate more clearly. Here we share his key takeaways that could help you in these challenging times.

Leadership and influence

At times like these clear communication and understanding are more important than ever. Particularly when it comes to leadership.

Leadership is increasingly being seen as a process of social influence, which maximises the efforts of others toward important goals. How do we create social connections and psychological safety to get people to willingly follow us?

When we are willing to be authentic and real, the people we lead feel us.

Dr Richard Chambers
Clinical psychologist and leading mindfulness expert

When we are willing to be authentic and real, the people we lead feel us. They sense our integrity and connection with our own emotions and values. And they feel seen and acknowledged. This breeds trust and creates strong relationships and well-functioning teams capable of peak performance.

Seven universal human emotions

Researchers have identified seven universal human emotions (fear, sadness, anger, disgust, shame, joy and excitement), expressed in the same way and conveying the same information in every culture around the world.

Getting to the core emotion we are feeling gives us information about the unmet needs underneath. Keep in mind this simple formula: Unpleasant emotions = unmet needs.

  • Fear = safety (physical, emotional, financial, etc.) 
  • Anger = integrity, respect, or fairness (some line has been crossed) 
  • Sadness = connection (to someone or something meaningful) 
  • Disgust = personal boundaries disrespected 
  • Shame = acceptance (from ourselves or others)   

Recognising and communicating these needs reduces conflict and creates a “clearing” of psychological safety necessary for colleagues and teams to feel comfortable taking risks and learning from mistakes.  

The 4-step process for needs conversations include: 

  1. Feel (and own) the emotion(s) you are feeling  
  2. Clearly articulate the need(s) underneath 
  3. Suggest concrete strategies to meet those needs 
  4. Make a genuine request for others to meet these needs  

For more information you can access Dr. Chambers’ Mindful Connection online course which provides a systematic training in the micro skills required to have needs conversations to help lead teams effectively.

Access a free chapter from Dr. Chambers’ Mindful Relationships, to learn more about how to bring more authenticity and vulnerability to all your relationships.

Use code MCXMAS50 to access an exclusive discount.