In This Issue
Bruce W. Johnson, DHA, FACHE
James H. Brooks, Jr., FACHE
Lt Col David V. Gill, FACHE
Immediate Past President
Michelle E. Calvin-Casey, FACHE
Board of Directors
Dawn M. Carman. FACHE
Victor J. Rosenbaum, FACHE
Michael Powers, FACHE
Debbi Lehner, FACHE
Make Listening a Key Component of Your Leadership Strategy
Successful leaders don’t talk all the time; they pay close and constant attention to the people they want to influence. If you want to do a better job of leading people, start by becoming the kind of leader your staff feel comfortable talking to. Here are some guidelines:
- Ask good questions. The best questions generate detailed answers and thorough discussions. Instead of telling people what you want them to do, ask them what they think they should do and why. Listen before you speak, and then ask more questions that explore their thinking.
- Don’t solve problems for people. Your staff will bring you problems and ask you what to do. Resist the impulse to tell them, or to handle the problem yourself. Instead talk about what caused the problem, explore options, and—again—listen to ideas. Even if the solution ultimately comes from your head, people will feel better about putting it to work knowing they had a fair chance to share their opinions.
- Pay attention to feelings. You don’t have to be a psychologist to understand and take into account the emotions of your employees. Let people vent when they’re upset. Acknowledge their anger when they feel they’ve been treated unfairly. Smile when they make a joke. You may not agree with their feelings, but you do need to validate them.
- Look forward, not back. Always steer your discussions toward the future. Avoid dwelling on past mistakes or last year’s triumphs. Don’t ignore the lessons of experience; instead, take a long-term perspective that motivates people to move forward.
Adapted from Communication Solutions, July 2009, (800) 878-5331.