Honestly ask yourself:
Are you able to discuss others’ opinions without being defensive?
Do you know how to take an idea or concept and make it profitable?
Do you laugh at appropriate jokes without taking it personally, even if it’s about you?
Do you have the ability to see the bigger picture and patience to rephrase it into bite-size pieces so that others can get on the same page?
Can you make decisions that balance both the facts and the human interests?
If you answered yes to these questions, good for you! You are on the right track as a leader. The higher up the corporate ladder we climb the more our effective leadership relies upon interpersonal skills such as these and less about technical expertise.
But often as leaders, we take ourselves too seriously. We are unable to build upon ideas or create a consensus that works. We openly disparage others when they disagree with us. We exclude people with broader experience instead of learning from them, and defend our limited experience in an attempt to feel better about ourselves. This is career limiting behavior for any leader!
Persuasive Listening. To truly listen, we must silence our internal chatterbox and refrain from thinking about our response when others are talking. We will hear similarity in arguments even when it appears we are on a different side of the issue. Good leadership skills – like active listening – provide new solutions that might not be readily apparent.
Be open to differing opinions. We can make better decisions for our companies and organizations when we openly hear what others have to say. But if we become defensive or belittle differing perspectives, we make less than adequate decisions, fail to address the bigger picture or miss details for implementation entirely. We create a negative reputation for ourselves and our organizations. Disparaging others reflects more negatively upon the speaker than the person being belittled!
Be a team player. Many leaders don’t make good team players. They may play at being part of the group; however, they are more interested in how it applies or affects them personally. Team has evolved into a broader definition this decade: It’s getting everyone on the same page and moving forward together. It’s not about everyone thinking the same thing or using the same signals or jargon! It’s about learning to appreciate others and elicit the best in them, as they are. Learn this masterful skill and be seen as a leader to follow!
(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2011