Leadership is: Understanding

Is a lack of communication and understanding acceptable to us?

A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding. – Marshall McLuhan

As leaders it is easy to get caught up in our tasks. We desire for our team members to know and understand what it is we need and want from them, and if we aren’t careful we won’t give them a second thought unless something involving them is hindering our own process.

Once, I asked for a consistent weekly meeting with my leader to give direct reports and to stay on the same page (have understanding). They responded with, “I didn’t think you were that immature that you need me to hold your hand.” To be honest, my relationship with that leader lost some of its luster that day. From that point on, it felt like a lack of understanding and communication between us was acceptable.

So you don’t lose your shine, here are 3 steps to winning over your employees by Inc. Magazine: http://www.inc.com/3-steps-to-winning-over-your-employees.html

When we don’t communicate for mutual understanding with our team members it is a recipe for disaster! In reality, lack of communication and understanding will drive away your high performers. I’ve written about some habits of effective communication here and here.

Carl Robinson, from Advanced Leadership Consulting, has a great list on more of what drives away great performers here: http://leadershipconsulting.com/why-great-employees-quit.htm

In order to be effective, understanding leaders, we must practice these 2 habits:

1. “Seek to understand first, then be understood.” This comes straight out of John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Any leader, that assumes they need to be understood before understanding their team members, is going to have a difficult time intrinsically motivating their team. When a team knows we care about ourselves and less about them, they will care less about us and more about themselves.

2. Use our understanding to help a team member achieve more. I’ve heard it said, “information with out application is an abomination.” It is almost certain that if we understand our team members better but do nothing with that understanding, it is worse than having never understood them. We must always keep in mind their success is our success.

If we can understand our team better and help them achieve more, we can retain higher performing members, as well as attract those worth attracting.

How do you understand your team members?

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