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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What are your values?

Last week in my blog I mentioned my list of values and I received a lot of comments and questions about it. I have a list of values and understand their priority in order in my life. Why is it important? Because when your values are clear to you then making decisions becomes easy. Simply put – your values make you valuable. I don’t believe my values are important for everyone, they are simply important to me. I would encourage you to spend some time identifying what you value & why. It’s a very clarifying process. My values are: Faith – the defining tenant of my life is my faith. It gives me an understanding of who I am, helps me to know how I want to live & gives me confidence & purpose because of my connection to God. Family – my family is everything to me. My wife
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The Three E’s of Great Conversation

My wife Sarah is a great conversationalist. She connects well with others; people love talking to her and they often describe her by saying, “it feels like I’ve known her my whole life.” Those are goals we should all strive for – especially as leaders. Over the years, I have watched her in conversation with others and I’ve deciphered that great conversations require 3 E’s: – Engagement, Energy & Empathy A great conversation first requires engagement. How often are we distracted in a conversation? With texts, email or wandering though processes. When we are engaged both physically (through body language & eye contact) & mentally (through concentration & focus) we make the other person feel important. The second part of a great conversation is energy. Think about how you show up for a potential client or a friend you haven’t seen in years. There is an energy you bring to
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Leadership and Empathy Go Hand In Hand

  Great leaders understand that they are in the people business. • We need leaders who care more about people than they do numbers. • We need leaders who focus on being interested, not interesting. • We need leaders who use influence, not authority, to get things done. • We need leaders who talk with people, not at people. • We need leaders who truly care. If we understand that leadership begins and ends with people, then we understand the need to develop relationships, make connections, partner with our people, and show empathy. Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. Empathy helps us lead individually not collectively. Empathy gives us unique insight into people. Empathy encourages leaders to understand the root cause behind poor performance. Empathy allows leaders to build and develop relationships with those they lead. Empathy as a state of
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Wisdom from Brene Brown

Brene Brown has a new Netflix Special, The Call To Courage. If you don’t know who Brene Brown is … have you been living under a rock? Brene studies vulnerability, courage and shame and is on a mission to help people understand the power of vulnerability. Her definition of vulnerability is when we are willing to try not knowing what the outcome will be. We are vulnerable when we decide to have a tough conversation, when we share our mistakes & apologize, when we make a sales call or present our ideas. In all of those situations you don’t know the outcome & it takes courage & vulnerability to try. In Brene’s special she had two lines that hit me and I think they are worth sharing & exploring. “We talk about people, but we don’t really talk to people” – I often talk to leaders about conversational leadership and
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Are You Genuinely Happy For Others?

I have two boys. Tanner is 10 years old and Drew is 8. They are best friends. Last year they become obsessed with American Ninja Warrior. Everything in our house became an obstacle and we soon found a ninja gym near our house for them to attend classes. Last month both boys competed in an area competition, Drew in the 6-9 age group and Tanner in the 10-11 age group. They both did great, but Drew qualified for regionals and Tanner did not.  Last Saturday Tanner and I went with Drew to support him in his regional competition. Drew did great and qualified for Nationals! It was so cool to watch but that’s not what I was most proud of on Saturday.  I watched Tanner cheer on Drew without a hint of jealousy, just genuine excitement. I actually had two different parents comment on how sweet of a brother he
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Better Motives Lead to Better Collaboration

Yesterday we hosted our Leadership Inc Institute and the trainer was Neil Staker.   We spent the day talking about collaboration and communication – it was great.   One of the points that stood out to me was that when it comes to dealing with people, our motives are more important than our behavior.   Why? Because better motives lead to better collaboration.   Even when we behave correctly (do the right things) if our motives are off, it can impact how it’s received and therefore the outcome.   Here are some examples: Offering advice under the guise of being helpful when you’re really just annoyed. Doing a job for others because you don’t trust them or are tired of waiting. Acting polite or supportive in front of people, only to criticize them or their ideas later. Asking questions that have more to do with undermining than understanding.   Are
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Curling Is A Leadership Sport

Curling is a leadership sport Have you ever turned on the Olympics only to see curling and then you change the channel? Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never paid attention to curling until now. A few weeks ago I was speaking in Sedona, Arizona to a group of Credit Union CEOs. I shared with these leaders that motivation is important but it’s overrated. When you look at a goal, there are motivators driving you towards your goal and on the other hand there are inhibitors keeping you from achieving it. As leaders I think we most often focus on motivating our people when what we should be doing is removing the inhibitors. When I shared this idea, one of the CEOs said, it’s just like curling. When someone throws the stone in curling, the sweepers remove all of the obstacles or inhibitors so the stone can hit its target.
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