Listening Equals Love

Have you ever heard or read a quote that made you stop & ask to hear it again?   Yesterday that happened with this quote by David Augsburger: “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”   Isn’t that powerful?!   Listening is a skill we all need to work on. Whether it’s in leadership, in relationships, in friendships or parenthood – we can probably all improve in this area.   Especially at a time of crisis when people are hurting, confused, anxious & scared, they need to feel loved (in other words – heard). So I wanted to share a fun test to see if you are a good listener or where you need improvement.   Am I A Good Listener? Steven Ash, “The Career Doctor” developed this listening test. It is a great way to see where you rate
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We’re All In This Together

My mind has gone back to this story several times in the last couple of weeks. Several years ago, my friend Cindy and her kids noticed that two robins had built a nest in one of their trees. As they paid attention to the robins’ activity they realized there were eggs in the nest. Those eggs soon hatched four baby birds. Cindy and her kids took ownership of the baby birds. They loved to watch them and would check on their condition regularly. Then one day as Cindy was putting clothes away in one of the kid’s rooms – she saw something she’d never seen before or since. More than a dozen birds were flying around the tree with the robin’s nest. Cindy rushed out to see what all the fuss was about and saw all different types of birds were attacking the tree. Instinctively, Cindy ran to protect the
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Influence and Charisma

We all know someone who is charismatic. They have a charm that can inspire devotion in others. My question is: What creates that type of Charisma? What produces that type of presence? One of the biggest keys to influence and charisma is being genuinely happy for other people’s success. When someone achieves something great – do you feel threatened by their success or do you celebrate it? One of the surest signs of someone being comfortable in their own skin is how they see others and how they can separate others experiences and achievements from their own. Too many people subscribe to the idea that tearing others down actually builds you up and it’s just not true. It makes you look weak and insecure because that is where it is actually coming from. People who are secure with who they are genuinely happy for others, they celebrate their success and
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At The End of The Day – What Matters Most?

In my personal reading I came across some information about some beliefs of Ancient Egyptians. I found it all very interesting, but I was struck by their belief about what happens when you die. The Ancient Egyptians had a belief that when you died you were met at the gates of heaven and asked two questions. Your answers determined whether you were let into heaven or not. The two questions are these: 1. Did you experience pure joy in your life? 2. Did your life bring joy to others? At the end of the day, the answers to those two questions are really what matter most! It caused me to step back and ask myself these questions and I wanted to share them with you because I think we can all course correct at times to focus on what matters most. Analyze if you have felt pure joy – and
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Inspire

Each year I choose a word for the year. My word for 2020 is INSPIRE.   The word inspire means to breathe life into someone. That’s what inspiration feels like. It brings you energy, passion, excitement – it breathes life into you.   Part of my focus this year is identifying the people, activities, places, topics, etc… that breathes life into me. I realize that I can’t inspire others unless I’m inspired myself.
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A Phrase That Will Make Leaders More Influential

When you’re the leader, the one in charge, it’s far more natural – and far easier – to lecture and command than to discuss and invite. Leaders can create caste systems within their organizations simply by language choices. When they refer to “we” as the leadership team and “you” as the employees, they create a separation in the team. If we want our people to feel like they are in a partnership with us, that we are in it together, that we are locking arms with them to accomplish the overall goal of organizational success, then we need to communicate in a way that creates partnership. The ultimate partner phrase is: “If I, will you …” Examples: “If I set aside time to help fine tune your board presentations, will you have it prepared by Friday to review?” “If I let you choose your people, will you head up the
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Service Makes You a Better Leader

A study at the University of Kent in southern England was dedicated to figuring out how givers are perceived. Researchers conducted an experiment called a “cooperation game” in which participants were each given a small amount of money and asked to contribute to a common fund. Next, the researchers doubled the common fund and passed it out equally to members of the group. In this game, the best thing for everyone is to continually reinvest their money and keep doubling the fund. But if you’re crafty, rather than cooperate you’ll be tempted to hold back some of your money. That means that you get your own money, plus a chunk of everybody else’s. As the experiment showed, there are always those people who opt to do so. Then the researchers conducted a second phase of the experiment in which the participants were separated into teams and asked to elect leaders.
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Mentoring Through Storytelling

Communicating well is not only an intellectual exercise; to really connect with people, especially their emotions, we need to bring them into our experience. Stories do that. When you paint a picture with your words, people put themselves in that picture. As a leader, the right story can be a gold mine. Story creates a spark that ignites a new awareness. It is such an influential tool that if you use it constructively, it can change people’s hearts and minds. That is why Janet Litherland said, “Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Consequently, stories often pack more punch than sermons. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.” One of the most underrated skills in business today and one of the most effective tools in the leader’s toolbox is
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Influence vs Manipulation

This week I was interviewed on a podcast where we talked about influence. One of the questions sparked a conversation around the difference between influence and manipulation. The truth is, while the connotations between these two words are extreme, the difference is subtle. There is an important warning to us as leaders when we purposely use emotions and feelings to influence.  We must check our motivations and desired outcomes.  If our motivations are selfish or our desired outcomes are self-centered, we will find ourselves manipulating not influencing. The fundamental difference between manipulation and influence is intent – intent based in principles of honesty, fairness, and benefit.  If we are honest in our intentions, fair with our expectations, and ensure that outcomes are mutually beneficial, we can be confident in our efforts to influence. I had an interesting experience following a speech that brought this distinction into clear view. After speaking
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What Are Employees Four Basic Needs?

  Last week I spoke at an Employee Benefits Summit that was focused on employee engagement.   I shared a message about how a leader’s approach impacts the commitment & engagement of their people.   I also sat in on some of the other sessions and in one particular session on employee engagement a lot of the research out of the Gallup Poll was shared. One of the key takeaways from the Gallup studies was The Four Basic Needs of Employees.   While we might think these center around fair compensation, flexible schedules, great benefits or a number of very tangible indicators, the research shows that the four basic needs are very intangible: Trust Compassion Stability Hope When I look at this list my mind goes directly to the thought that all four of these needs are met by good leadership. Partnering with your people builds trust, allows you to
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