Leaders Listen, Laugh, and Love

I have been working with “leaders” for a long time – over 30 years.  Wow!  The time has flown by and what a learning journey it has been and continues to be every day!

I have worked with some amazing leaders, who were and continue to be my teachers, mentors, and coaches.  These people continue to challenge me to be more self aware and continuously challenge myself to a higher level of accountability and growth.  Thank you!

There are three important skills a leader brings to their organization to encourage growth in their organizations:   Listening, Laughing and Loving.

Listen

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Stephen Covey

We live in a very “noisy” society.  Everyone and everything is clamoring for our attention and they all seem to be getting louder and louder (Social Media, Podcasts, Blogs, Traditional Media, Emails, Texts…).  There is a lot being said, but how many of us are truly listening?

What does listening as a leader mean? 

It means using Pareto’s 80/20 rule.  Listen 80%, Talk 20%.  This is not an easy task!  When we take the time to listen to our staff, we are telling them they are important, we value them and what they have to say is important to us.  Quite often, if a staff member has a challenge, simply by listening, they will figure out their own path to growth without you saying a word!  Simply by listening and asking engaging questions and allowing them to dig deep and come up with their own solutions. 

When leaders use this strategy, they develop thinking beings versus doing beings. As leaders, we often expect our staff members to listen to feedback we are giving them about professional development and performance.  This is a two way street!  It is important for our co-workers and staff members to be able to give their leaders feedback as well and for that leader to listen with an open heart, and an attitude of “what can I learn from this feedback?”   

Leadership Challenge:  slow down and listen to your staff members, listen without judgment, without jumping in and solving their challenge, Be Present!  Ask your co-workers and staff members for feedback on “how you are doing as a leader”.   

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” 

Stephen Covey

Laugh

“There is little success where there is little laughter.” 

Andrew Carnegie

Life is not going to be perfect or stress free. We will always have ups and downs, smooth sailing and bumpy roads. Laughter can help us through stressful, challenging and painful circumstances. Laughter lightens the load and lifts the soul.  As leaders, we will make mistakes and it will be important as to how we handle those mistakes. Are we able to laugh at ourselves?  We as human beings, tend to take ourselves way too seriously! Be the example, be vulnerable, laugh at yourself, laugh with others, find joy in your daily activities professionally.  Laughter creates positivity, and positivity is essential for personal and professional growth. 

Leadership Challenge:  find opportunities to appropriately bring humor to the workplace, give your staff members the opportunity to laugh together, laughing lowers stress. 

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Love

“Leadership is based on relationships built with trust, hope, love and encouragement.” 

Billy Cox

Sometimes we forget to encourage our people, either we just don’t think about mentioning it or we are too busy!  People thrive on encouraging words and positive feedback.  Knowing that someone, especially a leader in an organization, cares enough to take the time to say: “Good job!”, or, “I noticed you did ‘xyz’ for one of our customers – thank you!”, or,  “I saw you came in on your day off, thanks so much for going the extra mile!”.  Each one of these comments supports the behaviors you want to see in your staff members, it lets them know you actually notice and care enough about them to give them positive feedback. 

Leadership Challenge:  Value the talent of those you lead, take the time to reflect on each of your staff members and identify their unique talents that they bring to the organization and tell them today!  Bring your heart to leadership.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” 

Jim Rohn
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