Leadership growth – and personal growth for that matter – will be nearly impossible without self-reflection. Am I avoiding what seems too hard or too time-consuming? Am I allowing my weaknesses to hold me back instead of seeing them as growth opportunities? Am I letting assumptions or fears steer me in the wrong direction? Some people naturally engaged in this self-reflection and ask themselves these important questions that lead to clearer perspective and more openness to others, most do not.
Taking the time for self-reflection helps us uncover incorrect assumptions or unfounded beliefs that could be hindering our growth. It also involves being vulnerable, if only with yourself to question your assumptions and thinking .. that is a risk many avoid at all costs.
Here are a few “scary” leadership myths that relate to communication – how leaders communicate and interact with those around them and how leaders can help others communicate by lending a listening ear.
Leadership Myth: I don’t have the skills to communicate effectively (that’s just not my strength)
As a leader, you want your team to have all of the information they need in order to actually be successful, and you know that you need to communicate with them clearly to make that happen. But when you begin to break down all of the components of the problem at hand and think about how to best give the most important context it can feel overwhelming, and in fact, it does take work and practice. This knowledge can make you frantic, and can actually hurt your ability to communicate effectively. Rather than focusing on your fear of being a poor communicator, slow down enough to realize that simply asking good questions of your team and listening deeply to their questions, concerns and ideas will lead you to much-improved alignment and engagement. Send that email your team has been waiting to get from you, and use compassionate, honest words and some forethought to communicate.
Leadership Myth: I don’t have time to listen
The demands that pound down your door at every hour of the day are a lot to deal with. Maybe you feel like you’re just running on fumes, and therefore trying to avoid any and all hard time-consuming conversations at work. After all, if you hear one more person tell you something they need from you or something you’re doing wrong, you might lose it entirely.
Would you be willing to believe that truly taking time to listen and where appropriate empathize with your team’s concerns doesn’t have to be a draining endeavor and in fact it can become energizing as you see the increases in engagement and commitment and accountability? Simply shifting your posture from asking a bland, unengaging and low-effort “does anyone have any questions?” to asking a truly open and authentic “what concerns do you have any concerns about this particular element of the project?” or “when does it seem most appropriate for us o to check in with me throughout this initiative?” will not only yield better answers from your team, but it will set everyone up for great success and ease of working together as the quality of listening, questioning and overall communication improves. You don’t have to believe the myth that listening is too hard for one more minute.
If these “scary” myths feel like just the tip of the iceberg in your company’s journey toward healthier leadership, schedule a call with us today so that we can tackle your leadership questions together!
For more myths debunked, check out part 1 of this series here.