To Lead, we must LISTEN

Have just completed two phenomenal weeks – 3 high level Leadership training sessions, and a number of coaching sessions for Leaders at the top of the pyramid. Results have been great… and people are wondering … if changing things is SO EASY… why were we not able to figure this out for ourselves.

From my end… permit me to share… where the magic actually happens. It happens when I get into other people’s minds… understand them better… and help them to understand themselves first. Naturally, this also enables their understanding of others…. and the journey into mutual understanding gets better as it moves deeper.

Curiously… in all these interventions, LISTENING and UNDERSTANDING is the MASTER KEY to success.

Are you a GOOD LISTENER?

I am sure you answered YES!

Interestingly ….

Most leaders are sure that they are good listeners.

What I have observed is just the opposite.

What seems to be the problem, specially for men… is that they are problem solvers, by nature. So they spend a lot of time solving the issues in the personal and professional lives. They are confident that they are their own best solution providers. Therefore, they do not talk about their issues… but instead… they shut themselves away from the rest of the world, and they figure out a solution to their own issues.

Men therefore do not talk about their problems in 95 out of a 100 issues that they face, they solve their own problems. In the balance of 5 out of a 100 cases… 4% of the time.. is utilized for blaming someone… and … hold your breath… they actually ask for advice 1% of the time. At that time too… unfortunately … they ask their mentor (or a male friend) for help. Somehow… they do not feel that the wife is a good source of information or or of problem solving capability. This sense of having overcome so many problems… gives people a high sense of self worth… and self confidence. They then feel that they KNOW the answers to all the world’s problems. Now.. women who are confident, also behave in a similar fashion. When two confident people sit down to discuss and issue… or solve a problem… what happens.. is that there are two different points of view. Each one KNOWS that their solution is the right one.

Is there a remedy for such a situation?

YES!

The solution lies in learning to first see the other person’s viewpoint. For this…we have to read between and beyond the lines. Here is a simple way to UNDERSTAND OTHERS:

PAUSE
Pausing helps you gather your own thoughts, and it helps to clear your memory of what you felt was the solution. The pause also tells the other person that you are there for them. Meanwhile your brain will prepare itself for receiving information… rather than trying to figure out what to say to impress the other.

QUESTION
When we make a statement, we only display what we know. When we ask a question and listen carefully… we always learn something NEW. Develop the art of asking open ended questions. These are questions which do not afford a Yes, NO or Maybe answer.

LISTEN
Here we must remember to listen to understand… and not to judge. Listening with fresh ears… will enable you to draw more information out of the speaker. Pausing and Nodding while you listen will force the speaker to offer more information, as the mind is not used to silence.

UNDERSTAND
Listening to find fault… or to reply with a smart answer… will not enable us to see the big picture… nor will it allow us a peek into their minds. Pausing and listening intently… trying to FEEL what the other person is feeling… will strengthen your ability to get into their mind… and see what they see…. hear what they hear… and feel what they feel. This will improve your knowledge of the other person.. and meanwhile… it will make them more comfortable to open up to you.

CLARIFY
Just by thinking we understand… we will never KNOW what the other person meant. By paraphrasing what we understood… and asking “Is that what you meant?” we go a long way towards improving our ability to understand another human being. This will also be invaluable in honing our ability to ‘read’ people.

KNOW
Knowledge and particularly Validated Knowledge is tremendously useful as we go through life. Knowing the people we influence… and the people we are influenced by… makes life a lot more meaningful and happy. I guarantee you… better relationships because of your enhanced paradigm of your world. Try it out… and you will thank me someday (soon).

Using the PQ-LUCK formula will make you smarter… but more importantly… you will have better, more satisfying conversations… and this will all add up to a happier life.

Wishing you more LUCK in your life… through… PQ-LUCK.

Ian Faria.

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