Listening is a fundamental skill of genuine success, and it’s hard to be great or trusted without it. The benefits of listening include more trust, better understanding, stronger marriages, happier kids, and increased respect at work. Still, being a good listener is hard work!
Leadership expert John C. Maxwell says, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Read everywhere you can. This means on the bus, while waiting in line, or any time that you get a few minutes.
Expressing remorse without any real intent to change comes off as insulting or dismissive, like someone who always comes late to a meeting and says, “I’m sorry I’m late.” The likely truth is she never really intended to be on time. No one believes her apology, and so she is not trusted.
To the extent that one shares meaning with another, the two parties communicated. Anyone familiar with the academic side of communication can tell you, it’s very difficult for any two people, much less groups, to accurately convey meaning to one another.
I have seen time and again how the committed take responsibility for their actions. In our high-litigation culture, there’s always someone else to blame. It can be easy to point the finger at suppliers, underlings, partners, and managers that just can’t seem to get things right.
Most conflict occurs because of a lack of clarity in communication, so I feel it is important to address here. Expect conflict. Learn to deal with it. Anytime there’s more than one person, you’re bound to find conflict. It’s only natural. We all have separate backgrounds, different tendencies, and unique perspectives. It’s no surprise we disagree from time to time.
Few things are as frustrating as working for a manager who gives you an annual review and tells you all the things she thinks you should have been doing during the past year. How is this information helpful now? The year is over. Why weren’t these expectations expressed earlier?
A major way to increase accountability is to reduce anonymity. Anonymity dilutes accountability. Surround yourself with people who have high expectations for you. Be responsible to yourself first. Lose the pride. Open yourself up to accountability.
The first step to increasing your personal and professional competence is to understand you have not arrived. If you believe you have no room to grow, you won’t grow. Once you see there are areas for improvement in your life, growing your competence in those areas is really quite simple.
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