Effective listening is essential to good leadership. Many MMM’s have focused on the importance of attentive interactive listening while others are speaking. But that is not the only form of listening. It is also critical to listen with your eyes. You can learn a lot by paying attention to things you see around you. Listen for body language. Pay attention to attitudes. Watch how people interact with others. Look for team members exerting positive or negative forces in the workplace. Notice when someone’s mood or personality changes dramatically. Watch closely how associates react in meetings. This is not an area of strength for me. I have been surprised many times being told about something going on right in front of me that I should have already noticed. But I am trying to be more aware of listening with my eyes. I recognize how important it is to my leadership. A lot can be learned by opening your eyes and closing your mouth. Great leaders know the importance of listening with their eyes.
Momentum Breaker – Dishonesty / Momentum Maker – Character
Character is the sum total of a lifetime of everyday choices. It cannot be built overnight. Years of proper choices create Character. It can, however, be destroyed, in a minute, by dishonesty. We make choices each and every day which either build or destroy our character. Many of you have heard me say before… “Do the right thing, even when nobody is looking!” It is a matter of integrity and it builds character. A trustworthy leader has a much easier time generating momentum than a leader with a reputation of being manipulative and deceitful. Great leaders know how to build positive momentum.
Nothing is gained by handing someone their head in front of their co-workers. On the other hand, praise for individuals in the presence of their teammates can be a powerful motivator. I don’t recall the first time I heard this phrase, nor who said it. I was young, maybe just a teenager, but it made an impression and has stuck with me. It makes all the sense in the world. Public praise builds confidence. Public scolding has the opposite effect. I know there are a lot of leaders who might disagree. They feel the exhibition of power via a public chastising of one individual can send a message to others. They are right; it does send a message, the wrong message. It is not necessary to lead by fear and intimidation. There are ways to communicate a firm message to a group without calling out one person. The positives of scolding in private far outweigh any benefits of doing so in front of a group. Truly successful leaders understand this concept. The best part of adhering to this philosophy is the resulting loyalty. People appreciate being treated this way. They respect leaders who deliver positive feedback in public and the negative one on one behind closed doors.
A great leadership concept was introduced in the late 1970’s in the book “In Search of Excellence”. It is called Management By Wandering Around (MBWA). The basic idea is that you have to be out among the troops to know what is going on. That concept has stuck with me over the years. I am not always good at it, but I try. You really can’t know what your staff is doing unless you spend some time in their space. You have to feel the pulse of the team, hear the heartbeat of the staff, and listen to the noise in between productivity. Leaders who stay holed up in their office are considered out of touch for a reason. A leader who spends no time touching base with his people cannot be in touch with what is going on. It is really quite simple, but you have to get up and wander around to put it into practice! MBWA…