The Point: I’ve seen a lot of leaders come, and I’m certain I’ll see a lot go in the future. But what is it about the “best” leaders that we can share with you? The “Best” Leaders one way or the other always have maximum impact on their organizations, their industries, and the world! The following seven (7) part series was developed from coaching conversations at Tip of the Spear and plays an integral part in our Business Advisory Services (Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, and Communication Skills Training for Leaders Series). In Step 1 of 7 for Maximum Impact Leadership we looked at your ability to ask questions. In Step 2 of 7, we looked at your ability to secure feedback from those questions by listening. Here in Step 3 of 7, we’ll take a look at your ability to think of what is being said. I hope that you’re able to implement these seven (7) “best” practices for maximum impact leadership… Enjoy!
Refresh of Maximum Impact Leadership Step 1 Ask & Step 2 Listen
Recall that in Step 1 of 7 of developing your maximum impact leadership, you are asking stakeholders to provide you with feedback on how you can be the “best” leader possible. You’ve asked several key questions that drive towards that destination. In Step 2 of 7, you needed to do the easy part of listening (or difficult part, depending on if you read the post!)
You’ll Want to Lead
What’s the first thing that you’ll want to do upon receiving some feedback? If you’re like the leaders I work with, you’ll want to start talking immediately. Cutting stakeholders off before they’ve finished providing you with feedback will cut you off from receiving further feedback from them. It will also show your defensive nature and glimpses of your ego shining through. These are BAD moments, often disguised as leading!
Instead of raising your defensive posture, take a deep breath and continue to breath while being fully present in the conversation. This will provide you with the opportunity to actively think about what is being said.
Are You in Control?
Ask… Listen… Breath… Think! Sounds like a simple program, but is very difficult. Think of the most successful person you know and their ability to think. What does it reflect for you?
If you’re like most of the leaders I work with, they are looking for the competitive edge that will allow them, when the chips are down and the pressure is on, to have their best leadership moments. Moments where they will have to be 100% in control. If you think about the technique we just discussed, it reflects a high level of leadership control. After all, why would anyone listen to you if you weren’t in control of your own faculties?
If you’re acting out, defensive, showing your ego, etc. you are actually showing any/all that you are out of control. Out of control is a situation where your situation is dictating your outcomes. Instead, make an effort to never let your situation dictate your outcomes.
What Were You Thinking?
In executive coaching sessions my client and I will typically discuss a successful occurrence from the past week/month/etc. I’ll ask them to meditate, or reflect on exactly what made that situation successful.
In a similar vein, I’ll also ask them to meditate, or think, about a leadership moment that made them angry. Anger is a state that typically is associated with a cry for help, or an attempt to regain control. I’ll ask the leader to reflect on the angry moment and ask themselves the question: “What were you thinking?” The responses I get are often with much embarrassment. Leadership development training typically teaches leaders to think a certain way about Marketing or Finance, but these questions ask them to look at how they performed in non-technical areas (Something leadership development often leaves participants fare short on!)
I’ve had leaders cry in executive coaching sessions when reflecting on what made them angry. While some want to argue that in these moments of anger, that they actually have great vision, focus, and productivity. More times than not, that’s their ego talking. If they get past their ego, they’ll see that they’re ability to ask, listen, breath and think will provide them with much better control moving forward.
So to start on our journey of maximum impact leadership, we fixed your cross hairs on being the best leader ever. Remember, if you ask they will tell you! The second step is to listen to what is being said. Active listening should be employed to set the right atmosphere, get more feedback through drill down questions, and reflecting that you really are listening. Here in Step 3 we looked at the act of thinking. Thinking sets the stage for great control moving forward (What everyone wants in leading, right?)