People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come in to the mind of others.
-Blaise Pascal, Pensees, #10, written in 1660
Using the MI-Lead approach, leaders can connect with their team members in a way that honors autonomy and encourages team members to share their thoughts, values, solutions, and goals. These connections increase commitment, collaboration, and buy-in and allow for greater creativity.
In our book, Motivational Interviewing for Leadership: MI-Lead, we examine the fact that people facing any type of change may experience ambivalence and that our attempts to help them resolve that ambivalence through our own suggestions may actually decrease the likelihood of the very changes we are attempting to support! However, those same individuals have ideas that can move them through roadblocks, and, by eliciting those ideas and solutions from the individuals themselves, we, as leaders, actually increase the likelihood that they will successfully engage in personal and/or system change. MI-Lead provides a framework for leaders to help those being led resolve their ambivalence about change by encouraging them to examine and articulate their own ideas, their thoughts about the importance of a particular behavior or system process, and their confidence in their ability to succeed. With this approach, those being led can identify their own solutions using ideas they already have within.
The success of the Ml-Lead approach is based upon the fact that human beings are hard-wired to prefer their own ideas over those produced by others. It makes sense: Your own ideas encourage you for more action than other people's ideas do. In other words, we are more likely to engage in change when we generate the ideas for change ourselves.
The MI-Lead approach can also guide us when we must navigate difficult conversations with our team members. In our newest book, MI-Lead: A Leader's Guide for Difficult Conversations, we review how maintaining the spirit of MI-Lead and using the MI-Lead tools can turn difficult conversations into effective conversations in which employee engagement is maintained and needed change is more likely to occur.