020: Can You Hear Me?

020: Can You Hear Me?

Listening is one of the best skills you can develop. Being a great listener can value your team while also encouraging creativity, new thinking and new ideas. 

In episode 5 we poked a little fun at the phrase of the year: “You’re on mute”

Even just that phrase still makes me smile a little bit honestly. I can picture the mouth moving and everyone scrambling to unmute themselves so that they can tell the muted one that they are, in fact, muted.

But today we’re going to talk about some ways that we might be actually muting others around us without realizing it.

Their mouths are moving but we’re not hearing anything. We’re not listening.

To me, one of the top skills you can have as a business leader is to be a good listener. And I don’t just mean someone that people talk to. I mean, someone that really listens.

To be a good listener means that you are approachable. It means that people know that you value them and what they have to share… even if it’s hard to hear.

Being a good listener isn’t asking for an opinion and then letting your team member speak while the whole time you’re secretly holding your own answer behind your back ready to pounce it on them.

Being a good listener is being curious. Being willing to acknowledge that you might be wrong, that you might not be able to see the whole picture.

I heard a great quote from Andy Stanley years back. He said that “leaders who don’t listen will soon be surrounded by people with nothing to say.”

I remember hearing that and having to think that one through again. But it is dead on and I’ve seen it happen.

If people don’t feel like their opinions and thoughts and ideas are truly valued, then eventually they might try to find a place where they are.

And then all that will be left are people who just repeat back what has been said before.

So, if you really want to not only help your business thrive but also to bring out the best in your team members, put in the work to become a better listener.

It may take time. And if your people haven’t been used to being asked for their ideas and really listened to, it may take some time for them to trust they this time it’s different.

Maybe you could start this week and invite a few members of your team in for a meeting with no agenda other than to just hear from them. Let them know that you want to honestly hear how things are going for them, what frustrations they have, struggles, roadblocks to success. 

Ask them what ideas they have about making things better… and let them finish, even if you don’t believe they are things you can do right now. That can come later, but you’ll miss out on so many great ideas and empowering your team if you shoot down ideas from the get go or if they feel like it’s not even worth sharing.

Every person on your team is asking this same question: “Can you hear me?… do you want to hear me?”

I believe your answer is yes, because you care about each one of them…  and you also want the business to grow as well.

So un-mute your team this week and let them speak what they’ve been dying to say… unless, of course that lawnmower is still blaring in the background… 

019: 5 Love Languages – Words of Affirmation

019: 5 Love Languages – Words of Affirmation

Words of Affirmation is such a powerful love language and you can make a major impact in the lives of your team if you use your words well. 

Back in episode 12 we talked about the 5 Love Languages and how powerful it is to understand how these work.

Today, we’re going to focus on one that is near and dear to me: Words of Affirmation.

As we mentioned before, we have all been wired differently and some languages speak louder to us and fill up our love tanks more than others.

For me, I’ve always been a words person.

This is evident from one of my passions, which is writing and creating. And it’s also one of my primary love languages.

I love to show love this way and it also is one of the main ways I receive love as well.

So, what is Words of Affirmation all about?

At it’s heart, if that is one of your primary love languages it means that words spoken to you that build you up fill your tank in a way that the other love languages just can’t match.

Everyone loves to be praised and appreciated, but for those whom this is their primary love language, those words carry even more weight.

In the workplace, this can be one of the best love languages to utilize, even for those that don’t have it as their top one.

And that’s because, more than the other four, it seems to be an easier one to fit into daily work life.

But… a warning. It must be genuine.

If you are going to try to get better at using this language with your team, it needs to first come from a heart of caring for them and of truly wanting to see what they are doing and contributing.

Humans are smart. We can sniff out fake praise, especially when it doesn’t seem to fit.

So, how might it look when this is done well in you organization?

It could be just taking an extra minute to shoot an email to someone to let them know that you admired how they responded to that crisis.

It could be shining the light on someone who has been that quiet, consistent force… delivering great work but rarely seeking the credit.

One thing that amplifies this even more is if there are other people around.

Receiving words that build up and matter in a one-on-one setting has power by itself. But if you have an opportunity to do the same when others are around, there is an even greater communication from you that your team member really matters to you. Think about a meeting situation or when others are gathered.

The bottom line is that your words are powerful. Don’t ever forget that. They can be use to tear down… or to build up.

And when used well, especially with those who are Words of Affirmation people, they can have a lasting impact.

Use yours wisely today.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode.

I can’t wait to connect with you again tomorrow