Are you ever too old to learn new leadership tips? Too young?
When I was out walking with my Border Collie, I was thinking about what I learned thus far in 2023. The further I walked, the more I realized that the list of new ideas that I have discovered or learned from others in 2023 is long.
I was also thinking about the leaders that I am blessed to work with on a daily basis in my practice. What have they taught me? What observations did I have about leaders that I came across that struggle in leading their teams or their business?
Important Leadership Lessons
Let’s explore a few of the shortcomings I have witnessed almost every day in this era of supposed leadership enlightenment…
- Seek First to Understand. Stephen R. Covey (may he rest peace) first published his leadership ‘bible’ “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” in August of 1989. One of the habits he wrote about was ‘Seek First to Understand Before Being Understood’. In my daily practice, I am shocked at how many leaders get themselves into trouble with a team member or their team by making assumptions and judgements about an issue or challenge. ‘Jumping to Conclusions’ should be an Olympic Sport for Leaders (and other humans). I myself have had to walk back assumptions I have jumped to that could have been avoided if, as Ted Lasso said I chose to “be curious, not judgmental.” Human beings are wired to, within milliseconds, judge something we have seen or heard. It is a safety mechanism our brains have that most often gets us into trouble. Leadership Lesson: Teach yourself to control the immediate urge to make assumptions by taking a breath, asking questions and then listening without judgement.
- Speaking of Listening! Robert Baden-Powell once said; “If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.” Listening is a skill, just like Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Engineering, etc., that has to be learned. It is something we have to consciously practice every day. When you get better at listening, and I mean truly listening not just hearing, you will ‘see’ that you will have a higher level of trust from everyone in life and substantially less conflict. Leadership Lesson: A leader that excels in listening will also have a markedly higher level of emotional intelligence, and the latter has been proven to be a key ingredient in leading teams to better performance.
- Practice the 24-Hour Rule. Among the leaders I work with, I am always amazed at how in this era of instant communication via text, email, social media, etc., we feel we need to respond to everything… right away. The problem with messages that we receive is that we lack context (data) and will make decisions based on perspective (which is heavily influenced by everything that we have experienced in our lives including a bad night’s sleep, being hungry or some moron cutting us off in traffic on the way to work). “Hard to do” as my three-year old granddaughter often says to me (she is talking about puting her shoes on). As an adult leader, one of the very best tools you can add to your leadership toolbox is to slow down your remarkable ability to fire an uninformed reply to a message you receive that pisses you off. Waiting 24-hours will almost always save you from having to ‘walk back’ something that you wrote in reply and sent within minutes of receiving the message.
Let me know what you have learned yourself this year.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, connect with Robert on LinkedIn.
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Tags: Effective Leadership
, Emotional Intelligence
, Leadership Lessons
, Leadership Skills
, Leadership Training
, Robert Murray
, Robert S. Murray