A CEO shared ideas with an executive team member on how to achieve better results with her team. Instead of listening and learning, she replied, “I already know that.” OR “I’m already doing that.” In other words, she was not willing to admit what she was doing wasn’t working! She believed her past successes would somehow resolve the current issues. But, when she was unable to improve her results, six months later she left. Her parting comment was, “I don’t know what I could have done differently or better.”
Clearly, there were things she didn’t know that she didn’t know.
Many entrepreneurial leaders believe it’s important for young leaders to be open to learning new things. The truth is, it’s important for ALL leaders! Even long-time leaders don’t know everything!
The #1 challenge that gets in our way is our egos! Especially those with long-time experiences in a profession or industry. We stop being open and learning from others and believe we know everything! Or, we fear being thought of as incompetent by hiring a coach, even though, most leaders have coaches! As a result, failure is right around the corner for those leaders who believe they know it all!
Remember, knowing something doesn’t mean you have the skills to perform at the level required.
5 Tips to Expand Your Ability to Learn
- Listen to Learn. Building a confident team that produces consistent and intended results starts here! As an effective entrepreneurial leader, listening is a two-way street. You need to listen to your team, just as they need to listen to you! Provide persuasive listening training and attend as a participant!
- Practice is Required for Mastery. A new leader had done two board room presentations with his boss. He believed he now had the skills to go solo and would hit his goal for a promotion. When his boss recommended he take a workshop to learn the fundamentals, he declined. “I have it handled and don’t have time,” he replied. But, during the next two presentations, he failed to keep the board members engaged and answer questions truthfully. Instead of a promotion, he was sidelined. Effective practice depends on the quality of the practice. As every martial arts person will tell you, the right practice is required daily, over and over, even as a master. It starts with learning the basics, practicing them, then, expanding on them.
- Pay Attention to Job Fit. Many leaders fail to get real about their strengths and weaknesses and that of their team members! They believe anyone can do anything well. This arrogance results in miscommunication, missed deadlines, and customers leaving! Take the time to get clear about “why” you and your team members are successful…and, why they are not! Now, use this objective information to build a solid foundation for your business, teams, and customers to succeed.
- Learn How to Be An Effective Coach. When your team does not follow your advice, you will label them as not being coachable. Your attitude will get in the way of expanding your skills to become an effective entrepreneurial leader and coach.
Questions to ask yourself and review with your coach:
- Have you asked them about actions already taken?
- Have you been clear that their performance isn’t hitting the goal?
- Are you clear about your expectations? Are they realistic? Have you used straight talk when explaining them?
- Are you using a “Rule of 3” to deep dive into their responses by having a two-way conversation, not an interrogation?
Note: To be an effective coach, you, yourself, must be coachable.
- Who is your coach?
- How often do you talk?
- What stops you from listening when your coach shares knowledge you don’t like or disagree with?
- Critical Thinking. Remember, not all ideas will provide a positive ROI! Get real by deep diving into a topic and understanding the pros and cons. This requires reading more than the headlines on social media posts. Also, it requires you to talk it out with several industries and/or company contacts to get the inside scoop. The most important questions to ask, “Why did it work there? What are the challenges for it to work here?” Once you set aside your belief that you know how it should work, you can build on the structure you already have in place with your team.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2021 All Rights Reserved
Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding entrepreneurial leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.
A note from Jeannette about know-it-all leaders. As an entrepreneurial leader, success requires being open to new ideas, systems, and people. When you are willing to set aside your beliefs that you know how it should work, you can achieve dynamic results. When you hit a wall (and you will), reach out. It can mean the difference between success and so-so results! Contact me for a confidential conversation.