A leader communicates profoundly the worth and potential of people to the point that it changes their lives. As a leader, recognize the needs of your team members and deliver resources. They will engage themselves and substantial results will follow. Effective leaders generate empowerment and change.
Six quick ways to communicate profoundly
1. Use richer vocabulary. Expand your verbal reach by finding precise, ‘right’ words. But avoid harsh, judgmental words.
2. Listen. Listen more and speak less. Listen carefully and deeply to the point of fully understanding.
3. Ask for elaboration to completely understand.
4. Think about what’s in it for them. Consider their mindset and their emotions. Consider what their reaction will be in advance.
5. Review carefully before publishing. Use a separate reader/editor.
6. Avoid arguing. Be assertive yes – convince or be convinced. When you start getting overly defensive, step back.
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Microlessons in Leadership
Trust is the basis of leading people. Leaders extend trust to others and build relationships of trust as a result of their character and competence. As a leader, show people that you believe they will deliver on promises, achieve goals, and live up to certain standards. Don’t micromanage or second guess.
Encourage dialog and listen intently. Give heartfelt feedback, not judgmental criticism. Help the members of your team feel confidence in the enterprise. Give them hope and stability for the future of your venture. Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior in using influence and power. Honesty is the foundation of trust.
The following story has been told in many ways.
A philanthropist couple had a certain windfall coming the following year and desired to donate the huge profits to appropriate worthy establishments. They decided on choosing the recipients in a novel way.
The couple called in the directors of all the best causes and informed them of their intentions and that they would be choosing only one amongst them. These directors were shocked at the enormity of the potential donation. The couple explained their process for choosing. “We are going to give each one of you a seed today – one very special seed. We want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed you received. We will then judge what you have cultivated, and afterward we choose who should be the beneficiaries.”
One director, known as AyZee, was there that day and received a seed. AyZee went home and excitedly told a close friend, Uza, the story. This friend helped AyZee get a pot, soil and compost, and AyZee planted the seed. Every day, AyZee would water it and watch to see if it had grown. Often, the directors would see each other and after about three weeks, some of the other directors began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. AyZee kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, all of the others were talking about their plants, but AyZee didn’t have a plant to show and AyZee felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in AyZee’s pot. AyZee just knew that the seed was dead. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but AyZee had nothing. AyZee didn’t say anything to his counterparts, however. AyZee just kept watering and fertilizing the soil, but to no avail.
A year finally went by and all the directors of the various causes brought their plants to the couple for inspection. AyZee told Uza that taking an empty pot was not acceptable. But Uza asked AyZee to be honest about what happened. AyZee felt sick in the stomach and knew it was going to be the ultimate embarrassing moment, but AyZee trusted Uza’s judgement. AyZee took the empty pot to the meeting. Upon arriving, AyZee was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. AyZee put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other directors laughed at the sight.
When the couple arrived, they surveyed the room and greeted the directors. AyZee just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the couple. “Today one of you will be selected as the beneficiary of our donation!” All of a sudden, the couple spotted AyZee at the back of the room with the empty pot. They invited AyZee to bring the empty pot to the front. AyZee was terrified. AyZee thought, “Maybe I will just die!”
When AyZee got to the front, the couple asked him what had happened to the seed – AyZee told them the story. The couple asked everyone to sit down except AyZee. They looked at AyZee, and then announced to the directors, “Please congratulate the recipient of our windfall donation – AyZee!” AyZee couldn’t believe it. AyZee couldn’t even grow the seed. “How could AyZee get the donation?” the others said.
Then the couple explained, “One year ago today, everyone in this room received a seed. You were told to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to here today. But you were all given boiled seeds; they were dead. It was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except AyZee, have brought back trees and plants and flowers. It is clear that when you found out that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one you were given. AyZee was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring a pot with the original seed in it. Therefore, while all of you might have been the beneficiaries, AyZee is the only one who will receive the donation!”
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. If you plant goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment. If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective. If you plant hard work, you will reap success. If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation. So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.