focus on the big el

One common mistake that many leaders make is that they lead based on assumptions, not facts. Instead of assuming things about the team players and telling them what to do, it’s best to truly understand them by asking questions and listening to what they have to say. A key insight that all leaders can learn is that connecting with people accomplishes better results than simply directing them.

When it comes to effective leadership, collaboration is always better than authority and listening always trumps talking.

If we want to become a great leader, we need to learn to listen well.

In his book Leadershift, John Maxwell writes about his own unique strategy that helps him hone this skill. Every time he meets with someone, he takes out his pad to write notes and at the top of that pad, he writes a big L that stands for “Listen”. If you like, you may adopt this quirky habit as well. The benefit is that the big L serves as a reminder to you that when you meet with people as a leader, your job is to talk less and listen more.

If you are committed to improving your listening and are brave enough to ask your colleagues, coworkers, friends or family members for honest feedback, you can ask them this question, “On a scale from one to ten, how good a listener am I?”

As you get your answers, pay attention to them and see if you can find a common thread. Act on the lessons you learn from these answers. In addition, you may even ask them to let you know any time in the future when they feel you’re not listening to them.

An extraordinary leader always leads with connection. It’s better for everybody involved. It results in better relationships, better communication and a clear channel where ideas, opinions and insights can be exchanged without any fear, worry or hesitation.