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Three Action Steps--- Leadership Motivation Information & Tips From T.V. Detective Columbo

Police Detective Columbo is the role model and provides motivation information and insight for building an important leadership skill: Lead By Inviting Participation and InputThis skill is one of the Four Skills That Make or Break All Leaders ) and Columbo was a master at it!  Columbo was an American detective mystery telesion series that ran from 1968 to 2003. I am a fan of the show!

Three Actions That Help Leaders  "Invite Participation & Input" ...Columbo Mastered Them!

These three actions helped Columbo solve every case AND can serve as key leadership motivation information to help you engage the people you're leading. They also work especially well with employees who are unhappy, defensive or  who seem like 'difficult' employees.  Do like Columbo and you'll be leading by inviting participation!

  • Action #1: Stay Close. Columbo always gets to know the suspect. He even gets the suspect involved in solving the crime!
  • Action #2: Ask Questions and Listen Aggressively. Columbo always seeks to understand by asking and listening, not by talking. He listens closely and observes every detail intently.
  • Action #3: Stay Neutral. When the suspect gets angry or defensive, Columbo remains calm and neutral in his responses.

Watch The Great Lt. Columbo Make an Arrest:

Why These Skills Work Really Well With Difficult People...

Often when difficult or tough employee situations come up Leaders tend to do one of two things:

  • #1 Act like the problem doesn't exist.
  • #2 Brand the perceived 'troublemaker/suspect' as bad, and distance ourselves.

With these two normal reactions, the problem doesn’t ever go away; it just gets bigger!

But if we do what Columbo did, "Stay Close, Ask Questions & Stay Neutral," we can begin to manage, not ignore, disgruntled employees, customers, friends, or family members.

We can use this leadership motivation information to investigate, examine, move toward, and into the situation. Getting close and involving the "suspect" by asking questions, seeking to understand, and focusing on remaining neutral and non-defensive can help you get answers and gain insight into what's happening in the situation/'crime.' (Side note: taking deep breaths can help you' with the last one!)

That's why this skill: Leading By Inviting Participation and Input, is one of the Four Skills That Make or Break All Leaders.

A Great Tool for Inviting Input...

tell me aStay close and get input successful opinion surveys

A great way to get opinions, perceptions and information from people in organizations is by conducting online surveys (including: organizational climate, team effectiveness, 360 feedback, customer support and post training surveys).

Any and all feedback you seek and can gather will give you, the Leader, valuable clues that can really help you solve performance mysteries on the team.

Online surveys (that are presented to employees correctly - see my Seven Tips for Successful Opinion Surveys video article, here) work because they provide a non-threatening avenue for getting close. People can express and share their ideas, frustrations, suggestions and feelings within a lightly structured framework.

Also, just choosing to tune-in (listening aggressively---another key leadership skill) to someone who's disgruntled, by asking sincere questions with a sincere desire to understand (NOT debate), can change the dynamic, and help you move toward more answers and less resistance.

Be like Columbo - Stay Close, Ask Questions and Stay Neutral!

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