Most clients we work with speak too much and say too little. Fact. The transformational leader, flips this by mastering the art of listening. When the master listener opens her mouth a few searing, freakin’ magic words of wisdom trickle out. She usually only offers up one thing and then, just as we’re leaning in to drink more – she stops. Instead of blathering on, the transformational leader is ccd (clear, concise, and direct) and then asks the receiver what they heard. You see, friend, you and I don’t hear well. So, we assume the same is true for our team. We develop the virtuous habit of slowing down and asking the receiver what they heard. Without any fan fare, we simply accept that we will have to rinse and repeat until it’s squeaky clean – until the receiver gets it. This is a habit of master connectors. Is it one of yours?
Imagine you’re in a new city and driving from the airport to one of your new prospects. You put the destination in your iphone and head out of the rental lot. You relax and listen for instructions from your phone. Upon arrival at your first four way stop, you tune in awaiting instructions from your smart phone. Instead of just giving you the next move to make, your smart phone decides to be more efficient and spit out the next twelve turns to make. Here’s what would happen next, friend. Your brain would freak and then freeze. Too much good information is not good. Fact.
“Turn right here,” I can handle.
So, leader, remember the same is true with your guidance. Even when given the green light, send less. Even when you are facing a horder of bad habits, send less correction. Even when you’re invited in after all these years, send less. Send less, my well intentioned friend. Even when you’ve mastered telling teammates what to do, send less. Instead, master the art of the question. Master getting your teammate to think more critically and owning their way forward. Make them tell you more. Send less.
I tell all my clients to write narratives and throw up on paper whatever they’re thinking. You cannot write too much when it comes to getting clarity. However, when it comes to connecting your thinking to your team, master the art of being ccd. Speak less and say more. The greatest speeches in the history of time are all short ones. Lincoln’s Gettysburg address is two minutes. You’re not Lincoln, friend, so tighten it up. Listen and tune in like an animal being stalked. Become a master listener. Master the art of the curious/challenging question. When you open your mouth, speak from your informed head and warm heart.
Yesterday, a client of mine got clarity around changing his questions from Heisman invoking “why” questions to more curious “how” and “what” varieties. Here’s the readers digest version of how it went down. He spoke throughout most of our hour together. He told me more. I did my job and tuned in like an animal being stalked. The clarity came when we took a few minutes to role play a crucial conversation. I hit him with a few searing words of specific instruction. Ccd, freakin’ magic in the making. When I asked him to write me what he heard, he got the message. You see, friend, “Turn right here,” we can handle.
Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…