Too many managers forget this simple rule. We have 2 ears and one mouth for a good reason. We should use them that away. Managers have a tendency to feel like they have to be talking in order to show they’re in charge or lead of the situation. We often fail to remember that communication is a 2-way street. In the case of leadership, it should probably be 2 lanes coming at us and one lane going with us.
If we could learn to listen 67% of the time and talk 33% we would be miles ahead of most managers in 2017. Statistics show that 65% of managers talk up to 75% of the time and during that other 25% they may be thinking of what to say next and still not even listening to their team. Today I would like to focus on just one technique to help even this out a bit for all of us.
When meeting with an individual or team start to think about the number of questions you ask versus the number of statements you make. We should be shooting for almost 3 questions for every 1 statement. I know you are saying “But Tim, how do I show my importance and overall command over the situation if I am asking questions and not making statements?” To that, I say you must unlearn that misconception of leadership. This technique is the exact right place for you to start.
So, we will be asking the 5 “W’s” – who, what, where, why and when questions. This alone is a game changer. When your responses go from “You should have done…” or “Next time that happens make sure you…” and you start saying “What do you think you need to do” or “Based on the information you just shared, what do you think our next step should be” amazing things start happening. Your teams’ confidence increases almost immediately and they will show more independence. This, in turn, saves you time by not having to be bothered with every little thing. You should get used to that because I know how much we love to knock out those rapid-fire answers to those softball questions that should never have made it to us in the first place.
You will move from talker to leader and your team will thank you as they grow and believe in themselves more and more with every new opportunity they manage. I hope this helps you grow and your business to do the same.
Wishing you that growth and success.