It has been said that the primary result of genuine leadership is influence. I wholeheartedly agree. Both poor and great leaders carry the ability to be an influence to those that follow them.
Accomplished leaders possess a greater ability to positively influence others than leaders who are still learning the power of positive influence.
Almost all of my adult life I have had the privilege to lead on some level. In my early years I was not a great leader. Like many, my younger years in leadership were consumed with leading to be noticed and respected.
My style was to lead from my position and title. I also expected others to follow because they were supposed to. Wrong again!
So if leadership is influence, then what can we do to increase our leadership?
All leaders have been given two amazing tools that have the innate ability to increase our leadership influence. These two tools are our ears and our mouths.
Would it be fair to say both of these carry an amazing ability to powerfully influence others?
Here are a few things I have learned about using my ears.
Use the “listen first” rule.
Most leaders have developed a habit of talking first. Most leaders are of the thought that people expect us to solve their problems. This could be true and maybe we can, but we cannot solve it well without first listening well.
Many leaders interrupt the moment they perceive they have the solution. Many times I have spoken too soon only to find out my input was off target and off point. Not only was I embarrassed, but it also displayed my failure as a undeveloped listener.
Seek to understand before being understood.
Listening is definitely the greatest way to show others you legitimately care. People feel loved and appreciated when leaders take the time to simply listen.
I will quote CEO Mike Myatt: “Don’t be fooled into thinking being heard is more important than hearing. The first rule in communication is to seek understanding before seeking to be understood.”
Proverbs 18:13 … He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.
Here is an additional quote from Mike Myatt: “Want to become a better leader? Stop talking and start listening. Being a leader should not be viewed as a license to increase the volume of rhetoric. Rather astute leaders know there is far more to be gained by surrendering the floor than by dominating it.”
Next time we will unpack how to use our mouth to powerfully influence others.
Your stories and comments are solicited and appreciated.