I’m going to make a sweeping statement based on nothing but experience and belief;
Too many leaders spend far too much time talking.
I’m not just extolling the virtues of listening and asking questions, I’m also talking about the ability to be able to hold silence and say nothing. Let me ask you, how many times have you been in a meeting where the most senior person has spent the largest amount of time speaking? And if you’re a leader, how many times have you come out of a meeting feeling like all you’ve done is tell people what to do?
What if you said absolutely nothing. Zip. Nada. Rien.
When we talk about empowerment and building sustainable, resilient teams it strikes me one of the first steps is to hold back the amount we needlessly contribute and focus more on adding value where it is asked for and needed.
The next time you’re in that situation, ask yourself:
- Has someone specifically asked for my view?
- Do I have information that I know will help people move forward?
- Do I have experience that I know no-one else in the room has?
- Would something dangerous/illegal/costly happen if I didn’t speak?
- Am I offering something that I don’t mind being ignored?
If the answer isn’t yes to one of these, you might want to check yourself and listen to the conversation before deciding to step in.