By Steve Adubato, Ph.D.
Most of us make a commitment to better ourselves in some way. For example, we set specific goals to eat healthier, workout more, spend more time with the family or get to bed earlier. But how many of us make a commitment with specific goals to become a more effective leader and communicator?
There is no time like the present to set some goals in that regard that will help you both professionally and personally. Consider the following recommendations that will help you make a commitment to being an effective leader. I commit to:
• Become a more attentive listener. Next time you’re in a meeting or conversation or any situation where you should be listening – concentrate more. Try to eliminate distractions and give yourself a reason to listen. Fight the urge to interrupt and finish other people’s sentences. You’ll be amazed at the results.
• Try a more passionate, attention getting approach in my next presentation. Instead of starting like this; “good afternoon I’m here to talk to you about…..”. Begin with a provocative question or statement. The point is to give people a reason to listen and not come across like every other presenter they have ever heard.
• Only call meetings that need to be called. Don’t hold meetings just to hold meetings. When you do call a meeting make sure you have a goal oriented, realistic agenda. Keep the meeting focused on only the agenda. Also, begin the meeting when you are supposed to and end it before people expect you to. That will make you very popular.
• Get to the point faster and stop beating around the bush. If you hear yourself droning on, stop talking and ask yourself “ What was my point anyway?” Remember when it comes to communication brevity is usually the best policy.
• Mentor or coach someone in my organization. It’s not in your job description, and you won’t necessarily get promoted for doing it, but helping someone else reach their professional potential is tremendously rewarding. Not only does it help you and the other person grow, it helps the organization reach its goals and build a sense of team spirit.
• Be more empathetic. Begin to look at things from the other person’s point of view. Since you really can’t put yourself in the other person’s shoes, the next best thing is to try to imagine what if might be like to be in their shoes. That’s all people really want. If they think you care enough to do that, they will be willing to listen to what you have to say and give you the benefit of the doubt when you disagree.
• Speak in a more conversational tone. No one wants to hear a lecture or even a speech. Instead of a monologue, engage in a dialogue and promise to do less talking and more listening.
• Be clearer in the language I use. Instead of saying I’ll get it done “ASAP” or the house “is not too far away”. Be more specific and unambiguous. Say exactly when you’ll get it done and how specifically, how far away the house is. Most of us are unaware that the language we use often causes misunderstanding and miscommunication. Instead of blaming that on the other person, take more responsibility for how you communicate.
• Be more aware of my eye contact. Next time you are in a conversation or a meeting, concentrate with your eyes on the person who is speaking. Don’t stare to the point of making people uncomfortable, but focus. It will help you to listen. If your eyes are darting all around the room and you are easily distracted, make note of it and the impact it is having on the other person.