Communication is an audience centered sport.
The technology of today - iPhones, Slack, and Zoom - can be vital tools to help leaders of all ages connect with those they are called to lead. Knowing how to use today’s technology will set you up to be more efficient and reach more people. But too many leaders have forgotten that they were born with the best equipment available: their ears.
Becoming a Leader of Character, whether you are in your 20s or in your 50s does not hinge on how well you use technology or even how many people you connect with through that technology. Your ability to lead – exert positive influence on the people around you – will rise or fall based on your willingness to use your ears.
Notice I didn’t say your success hinged on your listening skills. It is your willingness to listen that will determine your influence on others in your twenties and 30 years from now as well.
It takes Humility to be willing to listen to another person. We define Humility as believing and acting like “it’s not about me.” Communication is an audience centered sport. When you make the conversation all about you and your point of view, that is the opposite of Humility.
Ask yourself these questions - When someone makes a conversation all about them or their point of view:
How much do you actually listen?
How much time do you want to spend with them?
How much influence will you allow them to have on your life moving forward?
Probably very little! Now contrast that with someone who takes the time to ask you questions and works to understand your point of view. Those are the people you are more likely to listen to, spend time with, and allow to shape who you are becoming.
As you look forward to leading people in the future, you can exercise the Humility to listen and set yourself up to become that Leader of Character people want to follow. I say exercise because Humility is like a muscle. You strengthen it the more you exercise it.
Here are some ways to make the conversation about them:
Listen twice as much as you speak.
Ask them to “Help me understand where you are coming from…”
Acknowledge their point of view without saying “Yes but…”.
Walk away from the conversation with more information about them than they have about you.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Listening to someone lets them know you care. When they know you care enough to listen, they are more willing to hear from you in the future.
That is how you can develop yourself into a leader that other people want to follow. Use your ears to build yourself into a Leader of Character that inspires people to follow you. Most leaders talk too much. As a result, they may have people comply with their demands, but they will rarely have people committed to their leadership.
Humility is a habit that you can develop. Each time you choose to ask more questions and show you are willing to listen, you get closer to becoming that humble leader that believes and acts like “it’s not about me.”
Who can you spend more time listening to this week?
What can you learn from them and their point of view?
How will this set you up to be a Leader of Character in the future?
“Would you follow you?” That is a critical question we all need to ask ourselves if we want to become Leaders of Character. Research has proven that people want to follow character. But where is your character today? Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you. Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.
To take the assessment use the QR code above or go to www.MYCHARACTERTEST.com