Let’s get it out on the table right away: You’re really good at fixing things. You have great answers to questions and great solutions to problems. That is a big part of why you are successful. It is also a huge obstacle to multiplying your success.
That’s because you can only do what you can do, so greater success will require not only the energy of others, but also their wisdom, their creativity and their dedication. Just understand that when they come to you with their problems and their challenges and you supply your insightful, brilliant solutions, the messages they get from you aren’t too good and they undermine your people’s contributions:
- “There is no need for you to put any mental energy into your work, because I will do all the thinking for both of us. So, make it easy on yourself and check your brain at the door when you arrive at work. It isn’t a problem, because I have all the best answers.”
- “Honestly, I don’t care what you have to say. I don’t care about you enough to listen to you and, truth be told, I really don’t respect you all that much.”
Brutal, eh? Well, get over any resistance, because that is exactly how a lack of active listening is perceived by others. It leads to all sorts of bad things, like lack of full engagement (“Why should I work hard for the boss? He doesn’t care about me.”).
So, do what great leaders do – Fully Alive Leadership Practice #3: LISTEN. Be clear that this is not just waiting for the other person to stop flapping lips. It is not about checking out and constructing your response while they are still talking. It most certainly is not about fixing their problem. Rather, it is about really focusing in, seeking to understand and letting them know that you care about them and their issue. They will get the message simply because you listened.
Nine times out of ten they don’t need your brilliant solution. What they need is your brilliance to follow Fully Alive Leadership Practice #8: ASK GREAT QUESTIONS. Help them to find their own brilliant solution. They will feel your respect. They will feel listened to. And they will engage because they want to.
As a fun demonstration of this and your reward for reading this week’s blog, click here to see a video of this in action.
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