May 28, 2012

Questionable Leadership

There is a theory that the two sides of a conversation are talking and waiting to talk. Well, we know that’s a rather cynical view, but what if we decided to do the listening for a change and give others the time and space to share their thoughts and ideas?

If you’re like me, this isn't always an easy tactic. We get passionate and want to genuinely improve the ideas presented. The two focus words this year for me are listening and patience. They are powerful and empowering to everyone involved.

Three Essential Words

Chris Westfall reminds us of a significant phrase we can use that will change every conversation, connection and communication and it is tell me more. It will show others we care about their ideas and want to see how they will expand on them.

It's one of the toughest lessons I've learned. I get passionate and want to help. But the danger is I can give the impression that I've stopped listening. It's powerful to sit back and let the others talk and think. Sometimes the best move we can make is to simply be present for them. As my colleague Greg Zlevor reminds me, less is more.

Ask for Help

As leaders, we need to be more inquisitive and less instructional. That’s how we all grow. My work involves helping leadership teams with their personal and business development. These are bright people. They have worked hard, accomplished a lot and gained respect of their colleagues. The guy who wants to share ideas still shows up, but he's doing so less and less as listening guy is taking more of the lead.

The core of leadership is about questioning and helping others. If you see someone attempting to appear like a leader but making it about them, we call that a boss. And no one wants one of those. And whether you're trying to find your online voice, your inner voice or your career voice, you need someone to listen. So let's take Chris' advice.

Tell Me More

Kneale Mann

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