I used to think that leaders were the ones with all the answers—the smartest ones in the room. While it takes intelligence to lead a team, I’m learning that great leaders do something you might not expect, and they do it exceptionally well.
You may think that you’re the smartest person in the room—and you might even be right. But if you’re unwilling to listen to the people around you, you will dramatically hamper your effectiveness as a leader. Leaders listen, both for ideas and in order to influence those they lead.
Listen for Ideas
Even if you are a genius, you don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. The beauty of this world God made is that things work best when people work together. Jesus used the example of the body to describe His bride, the church. An eye has a different function and role than an ear, just as a foot can be used more effectively accomplish some things than can an eyelash. Here’s the takeaway—you may be an excellent hand, but no matter how great a hand you are, there’s no way you can hear a noise—only ears can do that. Recognize your strengths but be willing to seek feedback and ideas from the people around you.
Listen for Influence
Do you look others in the eyes when they speak? Do you really listen to what they’re saying? If you do these things, you’ve certainly noticed how few other people do this. When you do little things like make eye contact, adopt a welcoming posture (no arms crossed, no hands in pockets), ask questions, and use the name of the person you’re talking to often, you will be amazed how people will open up to you. In doing this, they demonstrate their trust in you. And to be trusted means to have influence. Make the effort to truly listen and care about the person you’re talking to, and you’ll be amazed how they will want to hear from you. Humility, respect, and trustworthiness—things that we know belong to good leaders, but the question is, will you exemplify them today?
Last weekend, I had the incredible opportunity to attend a Leadership Team Development (LTD) business conference in Louisville, Kentucky. My team and I had the chance to learn leadership and success principles from some of the best in our industry. For your benefit, I’ve summarized some of our major takeaways from the weekend in the following article. If you’re interested in how you can join this amazing team and have access to great conferences and leaders like these while you create an additional income stream for yourself, feel free to comment on this post or leave a message on our ThriveMart page. We’d love to be a part of your journey to the top!
My single biggest takeaway from the weekend came from a presentation of the five common denominators of every successful business owner. The general idea was that even though different people build their businesses differently, they all generally do the following five things consistently.
In my mind’s eye, I pictured business as an engine. If you take action on these five things consistently, your engine stays in step with itself–in harmony. But if not, the time and energy you spend on one cylinder gets for the most part wasted when one of your other cylinders isn’t firing properly. I believe that a lack of knowledge of this principle has been one thing that has held our business back from realizing its full potential up to this point. When I first got into business for myself, I thought, “This is great—I get to be my own boss and set my own schedule” and I think I translated that into, “I need only do the things I find fun; I can avoid the uncomfortable things.” In reality, the proper way to build a business is to set the time commitment you’re willing to make, and work on each of the five things consistently during the time you’ve made available.
Ok, enough commentary, here are the five things:
Consistent sales: Be sure that you’re using your products personally promoting their benefits to existing and potential customers.
Read and listen: Become a collector of great business books and audio recordings of the best and brightest leaders of today and yesterday. Incidentally, Zig Ziglar is probably my favorite person to read and listen to. Make sure you get at least a few hours of reading and at least a few hours of listening each week.
Lead others: Share your business with others who have interest in joining your team. Once you understand how to do something, you can help another person learn it. Multiply yourself by training others to learn and do those things which made you successful.
Spend time around successful people: Get around the people who have what you want and are doing what you want to be doing as often as possible. Attend informal gatherings, team meetings, and conferences as often as they are available. Make the decision to consistently attend beforehand and work the other demands on your schedule around your business. (Note: never lose sight of your priorities: God, family, then business. But work your schedule in advance in order to attend these important opportunities for instruction and encouragement)
Communicate with your team: Call, email, and text your mentors as well as those whom you are mentoring. Good communication increases accountability and helps mentees learn from your actions.
Don’t Stop Short
A final picture of this idea goes like this. Assuming a soda costs $1, what do you get if you put 95 cents into the machine? Nothing. You spent all that effort getting the money in, but because you didn’t get all the way to the full dollar, you end up getting nothing. Neglecting one of the five areas is like leaving off the last five cents. Don’t leave your effort in the soda machine or run your car on 3 cylinders: translate these concepts into your life and get going on your journey to the top!