Being a good leader simply isn’t good enough. But you can achieve greatness by upping your leadership game. Start by honing your communication skills, building trust and learning to be more thoughtful.
Listen. Ensuring clearer communication can help you avoid a lot of errors, frustration and inefficiency. But first you need to learn how to stop talking and start listening.
- Don’t jump in and finish people’s sentences or try to fill silences with your own opinions and ideas. Some people just need a little more time to formulate their thoughts—give them that time.
- Pay attention to body language. Is the other person avoiding eye contact? Do they appear open to continuing the conversation? What about their tone—do they sound confident, irritated, nervous?
- Use well-thought-out questions to seek information, opinions or ideas that will help you understand exactly what is being said.
- Acknowledge the other person’s emotions and show them you understand by restating their feelings back to them in a nonjudgmental way.
- Restate in your own words what the other person said and summarize the conclusion to show you truly paid attention.
Source: “6 Practices That Will Make You a Better Listener,” Ken Blanchard’s blog How We Lead, June 10, 2020
Be more thoughtful. Thoughtful leaders take the time and effort to put their full focus on their team. They are considerate and determined to help team members improve and succeed. But being thoughtful is about more than just being nice. It requires reflection and consideration.
How can you become more thoughtful?
Begin my slowing down and giving yourself time to really consider what the people around you need. Don’t be so quick to assign negative motivations to people’s actions. Instead, try to keep a positive mindset and give them the benefit of the doubt. And dig a little deeper by asking a few questions—you’ll probably uncover some useful information while enriching the relationship. Express empathy and then follow through by taking action to show your support. Check back later to see how they’re doing and to give encouragement.
Source: “Six Ways You Can Be More Thoughtful,” Mark Sanborn Speaking of Success Blog, July 13, 2020
Build trust. Trustworthy leaders demonstrate these four traits:
- Competence—prove you have the knowledge, skills and expertise to do the job well; develop a track record of success.
- Believability—act with integrity by telling the truth, keeping confidences and admitting when you make mistakes.
- Connection—show that you care about your team and are concerned with their well-being; be willing to share information about yourself and the organization; seek out their opinions and ideas when making decisions.
- Dependability—honor your commitments; establish clear priorities; hold yourself and your team accountable.
Source: “If You Build It, They Will Come – 4 Characteristics of Trustworthy Leaders,” Leading with Trust, May 17, 2020