Here are two traits you can work on immediately to accelerate your leadership development and influence.
1. Talk less, listen more
Leaders often get promoted because they are great talkers. They articulate and express themselves well. While it’s good at being able to transmit the language well to others, it’s equally if not more important to receive well. In today’s fast-paced, change-oriented environment, you may be telling yourself you don’t have time to listen.
It’s possible you have a high bias for taking action. Listening doesn’t feel like progress. It feels like nothing is happening. It would be better to go away if you are physically present but not listening. You are wasting time for both parties and being insulting at the same time.
You must start to believe in the power of curiosity. Practice your listening without evaluating and deciding. Practice listening without distractions. Practice listening by suspending and throwing away your agenda. Exercising your listening muscle might be like your physical ones, there may be some pain until you get better at being a better listener.
Feeling heard and listened to is transformational.
2. Make less statements, ask more questions
Making a statement is simply stating an assumption. It means we already believe we have an answer. Asking a question, means we are interested in digging further. Investigating by asking questions means we are interested. Interested in learning about ourselves. We are interested in learning about others. We are interested in finding a path forward.
When we ask questions in an inquisitive and thoughtful way, we avoid making people feel interrogated. Be curious but not pushy, Make sure others do not feel as if you are trying to find fault. No, we must conduct an autopsy of situations without blaming anyone. Make sure you are asking questions with the intent of creating wonderful, situational learning moments.
You create wonderful, situational learning moments by keeping your own motives positive and deliberate. Avoid the temptation to dig right into weaknesses, shortcomings and mistakes. When you do this, it leads people into talking negatively about themselves. It’s better to focus on strengths, even when dealing with situations that didn’t go according to plan.
If you learn to listen better and ask better questions, you will extend respect and acceptance to others, thereby getting more of the same for you and your leadership.