Archives For listening

iStock 000009790373Small 300x207 3 Listening Lessons We Can All Use From Political LeadershipA Guest Post from Rose Fass, CEO, fassforward

Many leaders talk a good game. Some have even managed to talk their way to the top. But ironically, there’s one leadership quality that often gets the silent treatment. It’s listening to how the message was received.

Politicians are masters of message discipline. They speak in sound bites, which gives repeatable expression to their ideas. Next, they listen to focus groups, surveys, polls, and constituents to see how their message landed with their audience. Did it create a buzz? Did it move people to action? Did it win them votes? Conveying a message isn’t enough. Leaders need to know how it was perceived and if it was effective in winning over their people.  Say what you will about the world of politics, there are at least a few things leadership communicators could learn from political leadership. Continue Reading…

iStock 000002934207XSmall 300x162 7 Reasons You Wont Hear the TruthYour team decides what you can handle.  Like parents protecting young children, they safeguard you and themselves.  They anticipate tantrums, and work around them.  They’ll even throw in a few things “they’re worried about,”  to make you feel better.

Don’t blame them.  You’ve taught them well.  Your well-intended intensity sends them to the nearest diaper genie to package their story.  To get the real deal, avoid these common traps.

How to Ensure You Won’t Hear the Truth

1.  Rush to Fix It

They’ve got this.  Your “fix” may aggravate the situation.  Escalating may damage peer relationships they’ve been working hard to develop.   Instead ask how you can best help.

2.  Model it

Your team watches how you manage your boss.  Watch what filtering you model. They’re picking up these skills from you.  Show them how you give your boss bad news.

3.  Freak out

Breathe. Nothing will shut them down more than high-emotions.

4.  Use it Against Them

They don’t want their mistakes to haunt them.  If you don’t know, you can’t “ding” them.  Encourage them to come to you with problems and solutions.  Commend them for their honesty.

5.  Assign More Work

They’re already overwhelmed working the issue.  Roll-up your sleeves to brainstorm solutions, but don’t just start assigning to-dos.

6.  Bring in the experts

Sure suggest folks who can help, but resist the urge to bring in a superhero to take over.

7. Require more updates

Now you’re nervous.  It’s natural to want more frequent updates.  If you need more info, make it easy.  The team doesn’t have time to build more Powerpoints to update you.  They’ve got work to do.

How to Encourage The TRUTH

1. T- Time:  Be sensitive to scar tissue from previous bosses.  Raise the issue one person at a time.  Ask how you’re doing and what it will take to nurture their trust.

2. R- Receive well:  Really listen to what they’re saying.  Gently probe for more information.  Ask follow-up questions, including how you can best help.  

3. U- Understand:  Reiterate what you’ve heard.  Use empathy statements, “Wow, that must be really frustrating.”

3. T- Take it offline:  Casually talk to team members one-on-one.  Ask what worries them most, and how you can help.  Ask what they think you should be worried about.

4. H- Honest:  Calmly articulate any concerns.  Being real with them, will encourage them to be real with you.

See Also:

How to Get People to Tell You the Truth (Forbes)
5 Steps for Getting the Truth Employees Will Never Tell You (Huffington Post)

Do They Hear What You Hear?

December 11, 2013 — 17 Comments

iStock 000000092554XSmall 300x199 Do They Hear What You Hear?“Happy is the hearing man; unhappy the speaking man.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

He wants to be promoted, but something’s missing.   You feel it, your boss feels it, but it’s hard to put your finger on it.   He’s completed all the action plans, and has done everything you’ve asked.  Look more deeply, does he hear what you hear?

The leap to the next level requires a keen sense of hearing.  It’s an acquired skill, hard to explain in your development program.  HR knows it too, but it’s unlikely they’d let you include it in the job description.

What They Must Hear

The Look in Their Eyes

Strong leaders commit to the moment.  They can’t be searching for words or remembering the talk track.  And they REALLY can’t get stuck on the script.  Teach your growing leaders to watch the room and the look in their eyes.  If the crew’s not tracking,  it’s time to regroup.  Teach them to search deeper.  Help them change their approach ( not their values).  Look for alternative doors to open similar possibilities. Continue Reading…

grow 300x300 Pause for Effectiveness:  9 Powerful Times to PauseYour team needs you, you respond.  They have questions, you have answers.  The phone rings, you pick it up.  Great leadership?  A pause can be more powerful.

 Speakers pause for effect.  Great leaders pause for effectiveness.

A powerful pause is a wildly under utilized leadership tool.  Awkward silence creates opportunity.  I’ve never regretted a pause.  I’ve got buckets-full of “I wish I had paused” moments.  When in doubt, pause more.

9 Powerful Pauses

A pause gives you both time to think.  Pauses calm emotions.  Pregnant pauses give birth to vibrant ideas.  7 situations where pausing is most powerful.  Let’s pass the pause… what would you add?

1.  Compliments
You’ve been given a tremendous compliment
Pause and take it in.  Look them back in the eye, with a sincere thank you.  Pause amplifies appreciation.

2.  Sad news
Sad or disappointing news is often shocking.  It’s difficult to know what to say.  Give your heart time to adjust.  Connect–then speak. Continue Reading…

iStock 000013801493XSmall 300x199 Distracted Driving:  Lead with CareYou’re distracted.  Multi-tasking. Getting work done.  You’re trying hard to give everyone the attention they need. It’s hard. If you’re like me, being spread too thin leads to distracted focus.

Distraction speaks louder than words.

Today’s post, Distraction Speaks Louder than Words,  comes via the Lead Change Group, a terrific community of leadership thinkers.  My inspiration for this topic came from comments on my Effective Listening:  Necessary But Not Sufficient post.

Distracted Driving at Work

What Your Team Hears When You Can’t Hear Them…

  • You are not that important to me
  • Others matter more
  • Your project is not my priority
  • Your project is not important
  • I don’t respect your opinion
  • I don’t really care about you
  • I’m not invested in your success  read more here

Happy Memorial Day From Let’s Grow Leaders.  Lead well.  Drive safely.  

iStock 000016408607XSmall 225x300 Effective Listening:  Necessary, But Not SufficientWhy aren’t we better at listening?  Is it really skills or something deeper?

I’ve been intrigued by a 6 month, Leadership LinkedIn Discussion  asking leaders to give “one piece of advice” for new leaders.  With over 1300 comments, the discussion was skewed heavily toward one topic:  effective listening. How leaders “listen” trumped all other discussion threads including transparency, honesty, and knowing yourself.

Julian Treasure’s Ted Talk,  5 Ways to Listen Better, attracted 1.5M views. Clearly, we know that bad listening is dangerous, or we wouldn’t be so interested.

Continue Reading…

iStock 000020216592XSmall 300x273 Open Space Leadership:  When Less is MoreSometimes leadership is just about creating an open-space, and getting out-of-the-way.

I love using Open-Space Technology with a large group to generate ideas. It’s an amazing, high-energy, low-cost way to hold a powerful meeting.  Participants essentially create their own agenda and self-organize into groups to discuss topics that matter to them.  Although it’s useful to have a trained facilitator help with the effort, I have found it works just fine with the leader serving both as host and organizer. Continue Reading…

iStock 000009311779XSmall 300x171 Team Trouble? How to Build a Team One Person at a TimeMy phone rang again this week.    It was a front-line leader I have known for years having team trouble.

“I can’t get them motivated.  They just don’t seem to care like I do.  I am not sure what to do, I’ve tried everything.”

I have received this same call many times over the years, not from this person… but from others in similar circumstances.

When the frustration level hits a wall like that, I go back to my most fundamental belief about team building:  great teams are built one person at a time.

Until that fundamental trust is built between the leader and each individual team member, team meetings will likely remain superficial and team builders won’t get much traction.

Also, it’s a lot less daunting to think about how you can empower one person’s success, rather than feeling like you need to influence an entire team all at once. Continue Reading…