Listening effectively requires having a clear, engaged mind. But our brains are constantly buzzing with all kinds of thoughts that will distract us from such a focused, empathetic conversation: things like self-deprecating dialog, concern for our own agenda, a conversation we had earlier in the day, an email we’re about to write, wondering what the weather is like outside. You get the idea. How do we quiet all this mental chatter so we can concentrate our brain power on helping the individual we’re listening to?
Sometimes when we set goals, we get backwards a crucial pattern that will guide our success: commitment. Marion Doss, licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 The True Order of Commitment I recently attended a presentation by Paul Blanchard of the Og Mandino Leadership Institute. He outlined what he calls “The True Order of Commitment”: Make a commitment Take action Eventually, enjoy the feelings of accomplishment Let’s unpack that. Make a commitment You first decide what it is you want to do.
We all know the golden rule, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” But when it comes to having empathy, there is higher ideal we can strive for—the platinum rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Dennis Skley, licensed CC BY-ND 2.0 The difference is subtle, but mastering it indicates a significant mental shift in how you think about others. It requires you to step outside yourself and understand things from another person’s perspective.
"Equanimity: Conquering Mt. Enrepreneur" , written by Dave Blanchard and the Og Mandino Leadership Institute, puts you in the shoes of an aspiring entrepreneur who’s about to climb a difficult mountain and, along the way, learn what it takes to succeed in life and business. Scott Glovsky, licensed CC BY-ND 2.0 The titular noun, equanimity, means peace of mind. This kind of peace comes not from having a life of ease or particular material possessions.
If you are a software developer with your eye on a management career, your path to get there may start with the role of senior developer. What are the skills and traits you need to be a successful senior developer that will also set you up for that promotion to management? Interpersonal skills Excellent communication skills are essential as a leader, and they’re also a hallmark of a good senior developer.
Dave Blanchard of the Og Mandino Leadership Institute teaches a concept called “Intrinsic Validation”, which is a powerful tool for conversations when you want to build trust in a relationship. It centers on having empathy, leaving your agenda and personal insecurities outside, and trying to deeply understand and serve another person. Elliott Brown, licensed CC BY 2.0 Here are some pointers to help you improve this practice: You are stepping into their world You’ll leave your suitcase at the door with your ego, your sales goals, your need to be right, and anything else that will hinder you from truly listening.
As a manager, you may be tempted to shield your team from politics as much as you possibly can. Let’s talk about why that’s not always a good idea. Why politics? Organizational politics gets a bad rap. On the one hand, individual contributors often see politics as a hindrance to their work. “If only we didn’t have to get John and Lisa to sign off on every change my team wants to make, we could move much quicker!
Your employees each have different strengths and weaknesses. Accurately matching each person with the best project for their unique skills and temperament can improve your team’s productivity and morale. How do you learn to do this effectively? Let’s begin with two stories from my own career. “Limited Liaison” During one assignment, I worked with a team of generalists who had a broad range of responsibilities and expertise. Part of my job was to interface with other groups throughout the enterprise working with similar technologies but in different lines of business or applied to different contexts.
On the introvert–extrovert spectrum, one trait many extroverts share is the ability to carry on conversation effortlessly. These people like to make small talk and can move quickly between topics, all the while being stimulated by the experience. Introverts tend to be more measured, spend more time listening, and need pauses in the conversation to properly compose their thoughts. If you’re an introvert, chances are that you relate to some of these characteristics, and they might make you anxious sometimes.
Psychological safety is one of the most important aspects of team dynamics that contribute to creativity, productivity, and job satisfaction. When team members consider themselves psychologically safe, they are comfortable taking risks, expressing potentially unpopular concerns, and challenging assumptions, all without fearing negative retribution from such behavior. As the team leader, you can play a big role in helping your team develop this psychological safety, and everyone on the team will reap the benefits.