Leadership Conversations That Actually Work

Do you want your team to listen to you? Perform for you? Be happy and pleasant at work? We all do! So we need to work on making our leadership conversations most effective. The last conversation you had with any team member is a snapshot of that relationship. Think about your most recent conversations and ask yourself “how are my relationships with those people?” Check out my five tips below to learn how to make your leadership conversations amazing. 

leadership conversations that work


As a young “manager” I was responsible for the performance of hundreds of employees but I had no idea how to lead. I didn’t realize that I needed to LISTEN way more than I TALKED! This resulted in the most challenging leadership job ever because no one listened to me! It’s funny how that works… but what wasn’t funny was how much of a struggle it was to get things done. Most people didn’t even like me, as I just bossed people around, and talked almost non-stop when I should have been listening. I never even paused to ask questions, and you have to remember, questions are your superpower, as a leader, and in every relationship you have! The reason they’re so powerful is that they create the opportunity to LISTEN! If you’re interested in more about listening, check out this blog I wrote on the importance of really listening to your team. 

Around here we define real listening as being part of a conversation and listening with the possibility of having your mind changed. If you’re not open to changing your opinion or you are just listening until the other person is done talking so you can speak, there is no reason to open your mouth or ears! To have a successful leadership conversation you need to really listen, and be open to what you receive! 


Make sure your self-talk is positive! Your subconscious is like an army ready to go to work on your every command. Your command is every single thing you say to yourself, in your head or out loud! You will have also inherited some crappy beliefs or a negative self-image if you grew up with any adults. They, of course, did their best, in most cases but a lot of us are walking around as malfunctioning adults because of some belief that was created in our childhood! How silly is that?! How COUNTERPRODUCTIVE is that?! Very! The way you see yourself, your self-image, at any moment, is the way you show up for the other person. And that’s how you’ll get treated! We teach people how to treat us in every conversation. 

Become aware of what you are saying to yourself and STOP negative self-talk NOW! Replace that self-talk with NEW and POSITIVE self-talk, such as “I’m doing well and I know good things are coming”, “I am intelligent”, or “look at my past successes.” Treat yourself the way you would want a person in a leadership conversation to treat you. 

How do you make this stick? Tell your closest loved ones about your plan and have them help you. You may be verbally abusing yourself out loud too, and they can help! My favorite thing ever suggested was someone say “don’t be mean to my friend!” They were talking about me 🙂 Now, after working on it, I am self-aware of everything I say to myself and call myself out when it’s negative. I work to be kind to myself. It may sound silly but as I said, we all have that negative voice in our head from childhood unless we work to get rid of it. YES, you have it too. If you’re thinking “what voice in my head?” that’s the voice!

In addition to engaging your loved ones and finding a great counselor and coach: 

  • Read the Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (change this to billion or multi-million when you’re doing your exercises, it’s an old book) by T Harv Eker.
  • Engage POSITIVE SELF-TALK: this means out loud or in your head. Your assignment starts now. Listen to yourself and correct all self-talk until you’re being KIND to yourself! Beating yourself up creates a ceiling that you’ll never “grind” your way past, I promise you. 



You may be thinking, “well do you want me to be authentic OR kind?” I am laughing right now… but it’s not funny. These are your team members. These are your relationships. These are important human beings. And the answer is BOTH: I want you to be authentic AND kind. 

How is it possible to always be authentic AND kind? If you’re offended, angry, or any other strong negative emotion DO NOT HAVE THE CONVERSATION. Come back to it when you are calm, kind, prepared, and ready to be the leader you need to be. 

We always want to be kind, calm, supportive, there for them, and ready to listen, and let the tools (job descriptions, KPIs, procedures, policies, culture statements, etc) do the heavy lifting. 


When you’re having conversations with your team, or anyone really, the key to your success is asking questions and listening to the answers. Most “bosses” or “managers,” think they need to talk constantly, know all of the answers, and teach all of the things to others. But that belief keeps them stuck in mediocre or bad relationships, because of their terrible conversation skills. 


Your Conversations = Your Relationships = Your Success 


Asking questions, REALLY listening, and authentically caring about the other person in the conversation will help you uncover any barriers they have in their way and help them remove those barriers (AFTER you fully and completely LISTEN).

Also, asking questions, even leading questions, and having your teammate come up with the answer, will have them WAY more bought into the decisions or outcomes they come up with. If you TELL them to do something, how does that usually work? Not well. If you ASK THEM what they think we could do to have them achieve their goals, and THEY ANSWER, they’re going to kill it! 

Keep your mouth shut, except when you’re answering questions or verifying that you understood them correctly. I promise this will magically transform all of your leadership conversations AND your relationships if you really commit to it. 



Assume the other person will be at their best in the conversation and go in with that energy; you get what you expect. DO NOT go in expecting what you’ve gotten from them in the past if it’s negative! Otherwise, that’s the kind of conversation you’ll create! A leader leads by example whether they intend to or not, so you also need to expect the best from yourself, and then show up that way. Whether you want to be or not, you are always being watched and role modeling for your team.


So, set a GREAT INTENTION for the conversation, follow the 5 rules above, and remember to share that intention at the beginning of your talks, and come back to it at any point necessary throughout.  

Remember, your business success is based on relationships, which are based on conversations, which you can master, and change everything.

Wishing you a happy holiday season with your loved ones, and amazing conversations with everyone in your life. 

Your coach,


Also, I can’t let you leave without reminding you of the importance of surrounding yourself with excellent leaders! If you are looking for some of those types of people join our TMH VIP Mastermind group today for only $99/month! You will have access to myself and my team, business experts, live group coaching, the opportunity to learn with and from other entrepreneurs, a platform for asking questions, and have access to our training and resource library! Join today if you want to make a difference now!


Business can be better™ and it should be!

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Kelli-Rae Tamaki

Kelli-Rae is truly passionate about successful business, and believes it can always be better, which is why she has spent 22 years studying, running, coaching and consulting with businesses, just like yours.