The concept of winning hearts and minds, has wartime connotations of not getting the local population off side, when the soldiers are engaged in active battle. In management, it is far more important than we sometime realise, to ensure we win both hearts and minds in any decisions we make. It is helpful to almost imagine we have two decision making control centres in our head. One says, what do I think about this? The other says how do I feel about it? Personality profiling suggest different people have stronger biases each way, but we all appeal to both.
In practise, it is easy to mix the two and it is not uncommon to see two people in a conflict because one is objecting based on emotional reasons while the other is justifying in rational terms. Let’s say, the company has made a decision to temporarily transfer a key staff member to a project to help get it back on track. The manager is explaining what a great opportunity it is and stroking the ego of the candidate at the honour of them being chosen for this role. If the candidate has a young family, emotionally they may be feeling this is bad news as they will work long hours and have to travel. Their head says this a great career opportunity, but their heart says they are upset about the impact on the family. A sensitive manager will first check what the candidate thinks and feels, before automatically assuming this good news will be received as such. People often ask me, in my coaching role, “how do I know what Joe Soap really feels or thinks”?.... and the answer is a simple 3 letter word - ASK.
Managers often do too much telling and too little asking.
Asking decreases our blind spots. If we ask questions that address both the mind and the heart our communication will improve….