Fad Diets & Servant Leadership – Listening

Last week I gave you 3 tips to help get out from under Servant Leadership and reclaim your role as a boss. In the coming weeks I will unpack the characteristics that Robert K. Greenleaf developed in his “Servant Leadership” model that Servant Leaders should possess: This Week: Listening Unpacking Servant Leader Characteristics

Like quinoa, paleo and glutton free diets when concepts like servant leadership are taken to an extreme it becomes unhealthy and a bit crazy. That is not to say there isn’t value in Servant Leadership, but as the adage goes: if the only tool you own is a hammer, everything becomes a nail.

Proponents of Servant Leadership argue that traditional leadership … needs to be reinforced by a deep commitment to listening intently to others … to identify the will of a group.

The will of the group? You are the leader!

As the leader you have the responsibility to guide and focus the will of the group solely on your mission and objectives and those of your organization. To ensure that people are focused on the right work and contributing to the achievement of your goals, you must listen to them. But how? Use Silence.

Silence is an unbelievable source of power. With silence, we can hear what is being said but also what is not being said. With silence, it can be easier to reach the truth. (click here to read the full blog on communicating with silence) Use one of these the tips to use silence to improve your conversation skills:

  1. When someone has answered a question, pause.

Just as nature abhors a vacuum and rushes to fill it, most people cannot stand silence, and they will quickly fill those silent parts of a conversation with talk. You will learn the most remarkable things if you just let people talk. Everyday immigration officers prove this at the border. They ask a question, you answer, and then they go quiet and look at you. Most people prattle on about their trip, how much extra booze or smokes they have brought home, or they fidget and give off body language that says to the officer that they are hiding something.

2. Loosing control of a conversation? Ask a question and shut up.

Studies have shown that a person can think twice as fast as they can talk. So when you need to buy yourself some time, ask an open-ended question and allow the person to answer. Invest that time they are talking into thinking the issue through in order to move the conversation towards the outcome you want.

3. When someone asks you a question, pause silently.

Nobody likes a know-it-all. When you answer too quickly people think you have not truly considered their question. Even if you are 100% sure of the answer… Pause. Then answer.

You as the leader must ensure ever action, word and silence must contribute to meeting your objectives. That is how best you serve as a leader!


About Steve Author, speaker, coach & consultant Steve Armstrong works with technically and intellectually brilliant entrepreneurs who are frustrated with leadership and people issues. Steve publishes on the topics of leadership, dealing with people & HR issues that get in the way professionals trying to achieve their goals and objectives at www.StevenArmstrong.ca

Click here to get free PDF copy of Steve’s book You Can’t Lead From Behind: What I learned in combat about leadership, people, and profit

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