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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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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Humanize People

Seeing an individual as human, as a person, is one of the most difficult things for leaders to do. We interact with humans everywhere we go, but they come and go without us seeing their humanity.  This happens in our organizations as well. One of the most important gifts we can give others is the gift of our time.  The word gift is used purposely.  A gift is something we give with no expectation of a return.  We simply give it because we value them as a human being.  Time is one of the most valuable resources of a leader.  When we gift our time, it sends a clear message to the learner that we value them as a person – we humanize them.  There is no other motivation behind it than to help. Leadership Warning: Objectification VS Humanize The opposite of humanizing someone is to objectify.  We objectify others
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Do You Speak Their Language?

This last week I’ve been traveling through Europe with my family. We spent 2 days in London, then 5 days in Portugal and we are in Spain currently where I had a speech for an international group.   We love to travel. I’ve personally been to nearly 40 countries. I’ve found things I love about every country I’ve been to but I noticed something during this trip.   I lived in Portugal for two years as a missionary and I speak the language fluently. The truth is you can travel virtually anywhere in the world and get by with English for the most part but our experience in Portugal was different, deeper, because I spoke their language.   I speak to leaders about this concept because it’s important that we speak the language of our people. And when we speak their language there are three primary benefits. It Deepens Your
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5 Mantras Every Leader Should Live

Leadership is challenging. It requires a high level of energy, constantly redefining priorities, and ever increasing capacity. It is also the greatest opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of others.   These five mantras should be internalized by any leader who wants to lead effectively.   Mantra 1. “Always stay a student” The legendary MMA fighter Frank Shamrock said, “Always stay a student.” Leaders who stay humble, approachable, and hungry are constantly learning, growing and therefore becoming more and more valuable.   Mantra 2. “Business Is About Relationships” My friend Jeff Rust, founded a company called Corporate Alliance where the fundamental belief is that Business is About Relationships” My experience has taught me the same thing. Leaders who recognize they are in the people business and value relationships get farther faster because leadership begins and ends with people.   Mantra 3. You can’t lead people without loving them Love is about motive and action. Leaders who seek to serve lead
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One & A Half

This summer we have had a 19-year-old family friend living with us. As people have heard he was living with us I’ve had numerous people ask skeptically, “How is that?” The honest answer is that it has been amazing! Brigham has been fun. Our kids love him. And the reason it has worked and we have enjoyed having him is because he is helpful. He is always willing to help. He looks for opportunities to pitch in. He jumps up when something needs done. I complimented him about this by saying, “You carry your weight.” And he said, “No, you carry one & a half. My parents taught me to carry your weight and one more.” What an awesome approach! It makes you likeable and, in fact, needed. We’ve had a great summer with Brigham and I’m grateful for the example he has set. My new goal & my challenge
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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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