The ability to hear … the ability to listen

March 13, 2017

By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me  Article

Leaders Listen

“Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.

The best leaders listen. They are always listening. They even listen to things that they would just as soon not hear.

Leaders make themselves available to hear the ‘noise’ in their organizations because that’s like inside information.

Weak leaders try to silence the noise, better leaders encourage it and find a way to turn even negative noise into useful information. Think about it, would you as a leader rather pretend all is well or would you rather know where your opportunities for improvement might be?

When you listen, really really listen, you will likely hear some things you wish you hadn’t. You may even hear some stuff that isn’t true. You must also realize that part of your role as a leader requires that you have the ability to sort the good information from the not so good. (A bit of an aside here but as a leader you also do have a responsibility to stop untruths from being spread)

Authentic Servant Leaders know that good listening is the beginning of great ideas so they listen at every level of their organization.

They also listen with more than their ears. They ‘listen’ with their eyes to determine if what they are hearing matches with what they are seeing. They ‘listen’ with their heart as well to determine the level of emotion attached to what was said.

Authentic Servant Leaders understand that communication is a participative endeavor and that actually communicating requires them to listen more than they talk.

If you’re a true leader then you certainly know that you still have much to learn. Hopefully then you also know that you’ll learn more in a few minutes of listening then you’ll learn in hours of talking.

So listen up. Listen to what was said, listen to how it was said, listen to when it was said, and listen to whoever said it.

You’ll never know where your next learning opportunity will come from unless you’re always listening. Anyone can teach everyone something and that means as a leader you should invest the time to hear from all of your people.

Did you hear that?”


The downsides of being very emotionally intelligent

March 6, 2017

By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Adam Yearsley via hbr.org   Article

“Gemma is extremely caring and sensitive. She pays a great deal of attention to others’ emotions and is kind and considerate. … She is usually upbeat and remains positive even in the face of bad news. Her colleagues love working with her because they see her as a beacon of calm. No matter how much stress and pressure there is at work, Gemma is enthusiastic and never loses her cool.

Gemma’s manager enjoys dealing with her, as she rarely complains about anything, is reliable and dependable, and shows great levels of organizational citizenship. Indeed, Gemma is extremely trustworthy and ethical. …

In many ways, she seems like the ideal employee, someone with excellent potential for a career in management. If you agree, you are not alone: Most people would find Gemma’s personality a great asset, and not just in a work context. The main reason for this is Gemma’s high emotional intelligence (EQ), which explains all of the qualities described above. …

Let’s focus again on Gemma and explore some of the less favorable implications of her high EQ.

Lower levels of creativity and innovation potential. There is a negative correlation between EQ and many of the traits that predispose individuals toward creativity and innovation. …

Difficulty giving and receiving negative feedback. … Gemma’s high interpersonal sensitivity and empathic concern may make it hard for her to deliver critical or negative feedback to others. …

Reluctance to ruffle people’s feathers. … Although people like Gemma are psychologically well-endowed for entry-level or midlevel management jobs, senior leadership roles will require the ability to make unpopular choices often, bring about change, and focus on driving results, even at the expense of sacrificing employee relations. …

A well-developed ability to manipulate others. Gemma’s high EQ may help her empathize and deliver a message that feels right to the audience — this is often a good thing. … In that sense, the darker side of EQ is helping people with bad intentions to be overly persuasive and get their way. As with charisma, we tend to regard EQ as a positive trait, but it can be used to achieve unethical goals as well as ethical ones.

An aversion to risk. … People like Gemma are much more likely to play it safe and avoid bold choices. … EQ equates with more self-control, yet extreme levels of self-control will translate into counterproductive perfectionism and risk avoidance.

To be clear, Gemma is no doubt a highly desirable employee, but her extremely high EQ makes her more suited to roles where regulating her own emotions and being able to sense and adapt to the emotional needs of others are pivotal. Salespeople, real-estate agents, customer support reps, counselors, and psychologists all benefit from EQ like Gemma’s. In contrast, Gemma’s profile may not be advantageous, and may even be a handicap, in jobs focused on creativity, innovation, leading change, or taking risks.”

 


The implosion of trust

March 6, 2017

By Richard Edelman via edelman.com   Article

“It has been a year of unimaginable upheaval. The incumbent party or elected head of state in five of the top 10 global economies (Brazil, Italy, South Korea, U.K., U.S.) has been deposed or defeated. Populist candidates are leading or growing in strength in upcoming elections in France and Germany. The U.K. voted to exit the European Union. There have been violent terrorist acts in Belgium, France, Germany, and the U.S., plus the never-ending tragedy in Syria. Bribery has been exposed at some of Brazil’s leading companies, with CEOs sent to jail. An American unicorn health diagnostics start-up with a sterling board of directors and huge private financing was found to have falsified its clinical trials. The release of the Panama Papers proved tax evasion on a global scale by business moguls and superstar athletes alike. The mainstream media lost audience as its advertising melted away and it confronted the specter of fake news.

The 2017 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER finds that two-thirds of the countries we survey are now ‘distrusters’ (under 50 percent trust in the mainstream institutions of business, government, media and NGOs to do what is right), up from just over half in 2016. This is a profound crisis in trust that has its origins in the Great Recession of 2008. The aftershocks from the stunning meltdown of the global economy are still being felt today, with consequences yet unknown.

Like the second and third waves of a tsunami, ongoing globalization and technological change are now further weakening people’s trust in global institutions, which they believe have failed to protect them from the negative effects of these forces. The celebrated benefits of free trade — affordable products for mass consumption and the raising of a billion people out of poverty — have suddenly been supplanted by concerns about the outsourcing of jobs to lower-cost markets. The impact of automation is being felt, especially in lower-skilled jobs, as driverless trucks and retail stores without cashiers become reality.

We have moved beyond the point of trust being simply a key factor in product purchase or selection of employment opportunity; it is now the deciding factor in whether a society can function. As trust in institutions erodes, the basic assumptions of fairness, shared values and equal opportunity traditionally upheld by ‘the system’ are no longer taken for granted. We observe deep disillusion on both the left and the right, who share opposition to globalization, innovation, deregulation, and multinational institutions. There is growing despair about the future, a lack of confidence in the possibility of a better life for one’s family. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer finds that only 15 percent of the general population believe the present system is working, while 53 percent do not and 32 percent are uncertain.”


8 = 50%

March 6, 2017

By Emily Peck via huffingtonpost.com   Article

These 8 Men Have As Much Money As Half The World

“Just eight super-rich men hold the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, according to an analysis from the charity Oxfam ….

Six of these billionaires, from Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, are American entrepreneurs: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Rounding out the list are Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon, and Amancio Ortega, the Spanish founder of a retail conglomerate that includes clothing chain Zara. Together their net wealth ― assets minus debts ― amounts to $426 billion.

We cannot name the bottom half of humanity, more than 3.6 billion people, with that kind of precision, but they mostly live in the developing world.

The Oxfam statistic is one of the starkest ways to portray the disturbing rise of economic inequality, which can be a hard concept to grasp when portrayed in percentages and billion-dollar denominations. The global anti-poverty group has been tracking inequality since 2014.

Worsening inequality threatens to upend the very fabric that’s held democracies together in the post-World War II global order. In the United States, the widening gulf between the rich and everyone else helped propel Donald Trump into office. Overseas, the trend is credited with sparking Brexit, the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union.

‘Left unchecked, growing inequality threatens to pull our societies apart,’ Oxfam writes in its report, citing Brexit, Trump’s campaign and ‘a worrying rise in racism and the widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics.’

In 2016, the richest 1 percent of the world held slightly more than half of the wealth of the entire planet, Oxfam notes. And the 1,810 billionaires on Forbes’s list ― 89 percent male ― hold $6.5 trillion, as much wealth as 70 percent of humanity.”


Remarkable at something, lousy at many things

March 6, 2017

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blog   Article

4 Ways To Get Real With Weaknesses So You Can Hire The Best People And Maximize Strengths

“Everyone who’s remarkable at something is really lousy at many things. Don’t let this stop you from attempting great things, but keep it in mind the next time you’re frustrated with teammates.

Highly technical people may be socially awkward. Leaders who deliver great results may be impatient and rude. A person who sees the big picture often struggles with day-to-day operations. So what?

Drucker tells the story of Lincoln and Grant:

President Lincoln, when told that General Grant, his new commander-in-chief, was fond of the bottle, is reported to have said: ‘If I knew his brand, I’d send a barrel or so to some other generals.’

After a childhood on the Kentucky and Illinois frontier, Lincoln assuredly knew all about the bottle and its dangers. But of all the union generals, Grant alone had proved consistently capable of winning campaigns.

Grant’s appointment was the turning point of the Civil War. It was an effective appointment because Lincoln chose his general for his ability to win battles, not for the absence of a weakness.

Lincoln learned this the hard way, however. Before he chose Grant, he had appointed in succession three or four generals whose main qualifications were their lack of major weaknesses.” (The Effective Executive, by Peter Drucker)

4 ways to get real with strengths and weaknesses:

#1. A person who doesn’t have glaring weaknesses probably doesn’t have outstanding strengths.

#2. Protect remarkable talent from frustrated team members. Lincoln protected Grant. The better someone is at one thing, the more likely they’re a source of frustration and disappointment in other areas. Deal with this or surround yourself with mediocrity.

#3. Train teams to tolerate and compensate for each other’s weaknesses so they can maximize each other’s strengths. Practice courageous transparency and kind candor.

#4. Evaluate on strengths and results, not weakness.”


Raise your value by 50 percent

February 27, 2017

By Carmine Gallo via inc.com   Article

The 1 Skill Warren Buffett Says Will Raise Your Value by 50 Percent

“Imagine working on one skill in 2017 that–once you improve on it–will raise your value by 50 percent. The one skill is public speaking.

The dividends on the investment you make in sharpening your communication skills will pay off for the rest of your career. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to billionaire Warren Buffett’s advice to a class of business students at Columbia University back in 2009:

‘Right now I would pay $100,000 for ten percent of the future earnings of any of you, so if you’re interested, see me after class.’

After the laughter subsided, he turned serious.

‘Now, you can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning communication skills–public speaking. If that’s the case, see me after class and I’ll pay you $150,000.’

Buffett’s point is that mastering the art of public speaking is the single greatest skill to boost your career.

You might be saying, That’s great, but I have a fear of public speaking. It’s okay. Buffett was actually terrified, too.

Overcoming your fear

As a young stock advisor he took a Dale Carnegie public-speaking course to overcome his fear. In a little known fact, Buffett dropped out of the course on his first try because he was afraid he’d be asked to speak up. He worked up his courage a second time and today proudly displays his Dale Carnegie certificate in his office.

According to TED curator Chris Anderson, public speaking matters more than ever. In his book, TED Talks, Anderson writes: ‘As a leader–or as an advocate–public speaking is the key to unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, sharing knowledge and insights, and promoting a shared dream.’

… today’s audiences want more than to sit through yet another boring presentation. They crave visually appealing slides. They want to be informed and inspired, enlightened and entertained, all in the same presentation. … mobile video has made it a lot easier to teach yourself by watching the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and business legends work their craft.”


More and less

February 27, 2017

By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com   Article

Seth

“More creating … Less consuming

More leading … Less following

More contributing … Less taking

More patience … Less intolerance

More connecting … Less isolating

More writing … Less watching

More optimism … Less false realism”