As an avid Leadership “learner,” I’m a fan of Marshall Goldsmith, PhD. In his book, he’s spot on when it comes to explaining which traits work and which ones to avoid at all costs, if you want to be effective. You can view Marshall in this YouTube video.
Marshall points out in his book that some behaviors can help us become successful yet inhibit our rise to the top. This sounds counter-intuitive until you see his list. While all the points resonated with me, this one hit me between the eyes: The higher your level of success, the more destructive your bad habits become.
As a mother and a business leader, I struggle with one of the bad habits: Adding too much value (i.e., adding my two cents). As with most leaders, it’s what I’ve learned over the years that has helped my career. However, that same trait of being a life-long learner can be destructive to my growth and to those around me, if not handled correctly. It’s tough just saying, “good idea” and stopping there. For some reason, my brain always flashes forward to how I can make the idea better or more complete. I’ve been working on this lately in my business role, but it’s a bit harder still when I hear a “stupid” idea from my grown kids.
Yep, I’m human, but I’m guessing most people are. I admire women who are soft-spoken and think before they “blurt.” I’ll never be that demure woman, but I’m determined to control my tongue. Marshall’s advice to stop adding too much value improves two-way communication, soothes the verbal waters and helps build your employees’ confidence in their abilities.
Here’s what he suggests: Before you speak, stop, breathe and ask yourself, is it worth it?
We need to get past our first impulse to add value (blurt out a comment) to whatever anyone else says. By always adding value to others’ suggestions, we lower the value of their ideas, thus seriously lowering the chance of them implementing the idea – perhaps by 50%.
As we work to change our behavior to listening quietly and internalizing instead of jumping in with an added thought or suggestion, we will see our employees coming to even better conclusions than the ones we had “percolating.” They may take a bit longer to reach a conclusion than you would, but it’s their idea and thus has better buy-in and action.
Yikes, what a great way to grow your people!
I’d appreciate hearing stories of how you’ve learned to curb your tongue!
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