“We do not see things as they are but instead see things as we are.”- Anais Nin
It’s not really a secret that we all see, feel, smell, and hear things differently. Being an effective leader requires an awareness of how others see us, not necessarily of how we see ourselves. This does not mean that you need to feel that the view of others is correct, or even change the mind of others. What it does mean is that we need to understand how we are perceived so we can start the cycle of successful communication. How others perceive you may not be your reality, but it is their reality. It may not be your truth, but it is their truth. To know if you are a successful leader, we must first start here. It’s about those that you lead, not you!
For example, you may feel that listening without adding topics to the conversation makes you seem interested and thoughtful by those that you lead. In reality, you may be seen as dull and self-involved. Another example would be if you feel that by sharing more than others, you are perceived as open and honest. Again, the reality is that you may come across as burdensome and inappropriate.
Ultimately, how others see you is what matters most. Today, I’m giving you three skills that, if you master, will forever change how your employees look at you in the best way possible!
Are You Listening?
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re listening to a colleague talk about something extremely important to them, and while they’re speaking, something comes to your mind and you can’t wait for them to finish so that you can tell your story? This is the point where you can still hear but you are no longer listening.
Listening is often considered a soft skill, but it’s actually one of the hardest skills to master. Humans have a tendency to hear more than they listen. Try to set your natural instincts aside and concentrate on the other person’s message. This requires listening without judgment. Any evaluations, decisions, and reactions can come later. Sometimes, simply listening to what the individual is venting about may not only enable you to find a solution, it might actually be the solution.
Can you say “Yes” to any of the following?:
• Do you listen for signals that your help is needed?
• Do you listen actively when someone is talking with you?
• Do you paraphrase to clarify what is being said in a discussion?
• Are you able to discern the emotions behind your employees’ words?
Words are Powerful
Words matter. They can determine the strength of the conversations we have and ultimately determines whether an individual sees us as their trusted adviser or a taskmaster. That cause and effect relationship determines the outcome of our success together.
Do not underestimate the power that words have to either strengthen bonds or fracture them completely. “Employee” has a different connotation than “team member”. A phrase like “I’m going to need you to” comes across differently than “Are you open to some feedback?” Practice using different words that are more positive and inclusive in nature.
Great Leaders Play Chess
The role of a leader is to take one person’s particular talent and turn it into performance. Most leaders play checkers. In checkers, there’s some strategy required but essentially all the pieces move the same way on the board. A great leader plays chess. They recognize that each piece on the board is different and you cannot win the game unless you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each piece. With this information, you can move each piece independently and in the most efficient way possible. What are you playing?
With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain., Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.
– Michael Monson
President and CEO