Blog, Professional Development

Emotional Intelligence in the workplace

emotional-intelligence-400x240The evidence keeps mounting that emotional intelligence (EI) continues to be the foundation of effective leadership. In the latest publication from the Korn Kerry Institute, Author Daniel Goleman, an international best-seller and author of “Emotional Intelligence.” talks about how emotional-intelligence-based competencies distinguished outstanding performers about twice as often as purely cognitive competencies. He states some staggering statistics such as “The higher the position, the more “EI” matters; for top leadership positions, the EI competencies made up 80 percent to 90 percent of those that distinguished the best leaders from average ones. IQ-type abilities were rarely among them, if at all… Read his entire article here

Blog - Difficult conversations

Too scared to pass an opinion?

thumbs up & downAre you too scared to open your mouth in public?  What about pass an opinion? 

For many of us, the world has gone crazy! 

General terms and phrases, once commonplace are now considered inappropriate, the expression of opinions are lined with the fear of creating offence, while reference to gender or race seems forbidden, and that’s before we even start on the sexual harassment claims. 

We now have a society where your sexual preference is almost worn like a badge of honour while someone’s opinion on Immigration could have them publicly shamed, with their career left in tatters.  I am not surprised when I regularly hear cries of frustration (or is that bewilderment) from people of all gender and all places of origin, claiming that they are simply too scared to open their mouths in public. Not only are they concerned about passing an opinion (being the wrong opinion) but in fact, many are struggling with everyday interaction for fear of saying the wrong thing.  We are living in a minefield of PC-ness (is that a word??) leaving a cross-section of the population, bewildered, exasperated and lost. 

I don’t have the solution but I do have some tips that might help.


Being aware of your current mood (yes, how you are feeling) and how that may be influencing your behaviour.  Consider how your values and beliefs affect your opinions, and how you use all of this to interpret the world and how you view others.

Awareness of Others:

Noticing and acknowledging others and their feelings, values and beliefs.  If I have just lost you, bare with me because this airy-fairy stuff is important.  I’m simply saying try to see their point of view, not from your viewpoint with your values and beliefs, but from theirs and with their values and beliefs.  You don’t have to agree with them but you can learn to respect that they are entitled to their views, just as you are to yours.


Many see authenticity as an open invitation to say whatever they are thinking, regardless of how appropriate it is to the situation.  I view Authenticity as being open and effective in expressing oneself and that involves expressing emotions at the right time, to the right people and in the right way.  Being Authentic without considering the points above is not being Authentic, it is being blunt and the two are not the same!

Emotional Reasoning:

Emotional reasoning is the skill of taking the emotional information (how you are feeling AND how the other person is feeling) and combining it with other facts and information when decision making.   People are influenced by emotion and if you fail to consider that fact when decisions are made, and if you don’t apply some facts to the mix,  you may not achieve the best decision or outcome.

Open Dialogue:

I’m not sure when we decided that it was offensive to ask? For example, If you are not sure if a woman identifies as a women don’t ask “ do you identify yourself as a women?” but how about asking something like “Is there a specific gender that you identify yourself as being” or if that is too wordy for you then how about “which title do you prefer to go by”.  When meeting new people, one of my favorite fall back questions is “what does that mean for/to you” it’s a great cover all (religion, culture, food preferences, sexual preference) it even works a treat when asking someone where they would like to go for lunch!

So, there are a few quick hacks for you to practice, I’m sure tentatively at first.  

Go out with confidence, if you are open, aware (of yourself and others) and you are coming from a place of good intention, then you’re off to a great start. 

Blog, Professional Development

How to build a Personal Brand.

personal brand meYour words, presentation, and behaviour always reveal something about your core values, passions and achievements. As a result, people will often make snap judgments about you, meaning it’s not only important to make a good first impression but to be consistent in your approach.  These qualities are what managers look at when assessing candidates for promotion or hiring new team members, they are what people reflect on when deciding whether to do business with you and they determine your social connections.  Whether you’re in business for yourself or you are employed, your personal brand can be a real asset.

So How do you Create Your Personal Brand?

Be aware – Remember that your brand is you and you are always representing the brand.  Be consistent in how you present yourself in the workplace, how you communicate day-to-day with colleagues and how you act outside of the workplace.  Look at people with strong branding within your community and look closely at how they represent that brand (themselves).  Good branding involves consistency so you need to be clear about what you can deliver…

Authenticity is best – Be clear on who you are, what your values are and what you stand for as a person, then develop a brand around these aspects of yourself;  Being true to yourself is the most effective way of creating consistency within your brand.  There is no point in your brand representing one thing while you are doing another.  Take some time to list all of the things that are important to you (your values) and then establish a strong top five.  It might be that you value reliability or it could be that you value being creative, or calm or a hard worker or a straight talker… your values are yours alone so be honest with yourself and don’t adopt values that you think you ‘should’ represent.

scruffy personPersonal appearance matters – so dress appropriately for your business, which may vary between cultures and organisations.  If your environment differs from your branding, then observe those around you and find a way to fit in and create a connection, while still maintaining your personal branding. If your branding is conservative and your work environment is super casual then find a way to be casually conservative.  Please bear in mind that as much as we think our modern culture is accepting, scruffy hair, unkempt clothing, and a lack of attention to personal cleanliness simply will not get you across the line!

Develop your emotional intelligence – EI is our ability to be aware of our emotions, to understand why we are feeling a certain way and then to choose how we express and manage those emotions; both in ourselves and in others. EI is about ‘being smart with feelings’. The World Economic Forum has listed EI as number 6 in the top ten skills required by 2020. EI is more than twice as predictive of business performance than purely cognitive intelligence, and is more predictive of business performance than skill, knowledge, and expertise.* (Harvard Business Review, “Breakthrough ideas for tomorrow’s business agenda”, April 2003).

Understand the power in listening well to others and in recognising and understanding their emotional responses, as well as your own, so that you can use that knowledge to enhance your working relationships, productivity, and performance.

Show up – I don’t just mean physically (although that is vital in building trust) but also as a person.  Express your thoughts clearly but respectfully so people understand what you stand for as a person.  When you are clear about your personal brand and that reflects your values and beliefs (authenticity) then you should find yourself with more clarity when making decisions. Your ability to make intelligent, timely decisions that take other people’s needs into account will likely get you noticed for the right reasons.

trustEstablish Trust –  If people see consistency in who you are and what you say and do, then you will establish Trust, which is the foundation of all strong relationships.  Brene Brown professor, researcher and best-selling author says that “Trust is built in the smallest of moments” so be mindful of the fact as you go about your work and ask yourself “Is this behaviour consistent with my personal brand”?  Trust takes a long time to establish and can be broken in nanoseconds.  Think of trust as a long-term investment, it requires regular and consistent input with the very occasional withdrawal.

To wrap up

Developing a personal branding takes time and lots of reflection but if you work at it, you’re consistent and come from a place of Authenticity, then putting all of these elements together will give you a distinct and positive identity within your organisation and community. So what are you waiting for, get going on your personal brand today!


How approachable are you?

Tree-logo-squareBeing approachable is key when building relationships with your colleagues, and In creating a strong team where trust, confidence, and ideas can flow. When you’re approachable, team members feel more relaxed, they are more open when disclosing mistakes, ideas will flow more freely and they are more likely to ask for guidance when required. Ultimately this means a more cohesive team that can problem solve more effectively, minimising those workplace issues that quickly become a full-blown crisis… Why?  because they know you will respond appropriately.

Some organisations have a more structured business in which their leaders remain segregated from the workforce, creating more distant relationships within the organisation and this certainly creates a greater challenge to approachability than if your organisation supported a more interactive approach.  However, regardless of the organisational structure, how approachable you appear to others is very much down to you.  Approachability is about being accessible, consciously breaking down perceived barriers, having appropriate body language, and using the right verbal communication and listening skills.  Approachability is about creating an environment of trust and collaboration.

Look Available

It seems obvious, but looking available is one of the most effective steps we can take toward breaking down barriers and keeping lines of communication open. Nothing screams “leave me alone” more than keeping your office door closed or sitting at your desk with your headphones on. Improve your visibility by getting up from your desk (where you’re in the power seat and it can be hard for team members to approach) and try walking around and speaking with people at their desks, where they feel most comfortable, or talk to them somewhere neutral, like in the break room. Make a genuine effort to talk with and understand your team members, to find out what they do, check they have what they need, make sure they’re happy, and to take action where necessary to correct things that are going wrong.  You could also use this informal time to acknowledge good work and/or behavior and to hear their ideas and perspectives. You’ll be amazed how much people like to share their thoughts when they’re asked!

That being said, don’t always talk about work; Share a little about yourself and what you have been doing in your personal life (like what you did over the weekend) as it shows your team that you are authentic, that you care and that you are interested in their lives. This is hugely powerful in gaining mutual liking and respect.

Lastly, it is important to communicate well for your team to feel connected. If you’re in and out of meetings a lot, let your team know where you’ll be and when you’ll be back. Tell everyone (or at the very least, reception) how to contact you if there are any problems. Should you not be able to respond immediately, reassure people that you’ll do so at the first opportunity you get. 

Listening Skills

Put simply, if your team members don’t think you listen to them, they won’t bother to approach you. 

Good listening is not about hearing what someone is saying and waiting for him or her to finish so you can have your say; you have to engage your eyes, your ears and give the other person your full attention.   Drawing on your emotional intelligence skills, it is important to listen without prejudgement to what they are saying instead of thinking about how you are intending to respond and what you think the likely outcome will be.  Identify key points and repeat them back to the speaker as this will encourage them to open up. Use open questions that invite thoughtful responses that way you will better understand what is being said while also listening for what is sitting in the absence of words.

If you can develop these skills you will build genuine trust and respect and your colleagues will feel engaged and valued, all of which are important for increasing approachability.

Verbal Communication

There is a huge link between appearing approachable and being positive so be mindful of what comes out of your mouth as people will be hesitant to engage with you if everything you say is negative.  You want team members to have confidence in approaching you with ideas and problems as ultimately that drives performance so think first, how do I approach this where trust is maintained and I can acknowledge and give credit to the situation. For example,  even if that situation is a problem or a mistake you can give credit to the person for being honest and/or astute enough to raise the issue with you before it escalated.   Be supportive and involve them in the solution process so they grow and develop more skills, which will serve you both in the future. 

Body Language

Moods are contagious and bad body language creates a negative working environment, which could stifle innovation within your team.

Your team members could be sitting on ideas that could transform your organisation but your previous reactions may have put them off telling you about them and you could be none the wiser!

We know that positive managers tend to have happier, more productive teams and those leaders are far more approachable than those with a negative outlook. Mood is contagious and your positivity will transmit through your communication, including your posture, eye contact, hand gestures, speech, and tone of voice. Your body language will determine the way people interact with you so it is very important for you to self-manage. 

Be aware of your feelings and how they are being displayed in your body language and your overall behavior.  Understanding that our emotions influence our decisions, behavior, and performance is a key component of emotional intelligence and your ability to identify and self-manage will have an enormous impact on the productivity and the performance of your team. 


Being approachable is the foundation of building good relationships with your colleagues, and of creating a strong team in which confidence can grow and ideas flow. You can improve how approachable you are to help break down barriers and to create an environment of trust.  so, don’t delay, develop your skills by increasing your visibility, using appropriate body language, and working on your communication and listening skills…. It’s all about self-improvement right!


Professional Development

How to ACE your next meeting

LogoFor many of us, work is all about meetings… which for many of us, can feel frustrating, unproductive and simply a waste of your time.  Here are a few tips on how to ACE your next meeting, I hope you enjoy.

The pre-meeting gathering – Before entering the room, pause and just take a moment to observe your state.  Don’t judge, just notice…Do you feel rushed, annoyed, anxious, impatient?  Take a few long slow breaths just while you’re standing there and just observe what is currently going on for you, gathering your attention into the present moment.  Once you have that, consider how you would like this meeting to go; how would you like to represent yourself? What are your objectives for the meeting and for yourself personally? (I want to be more involved and have more of a voice… or I want to remain calm this time and listen to others… or I really want this issue resolved etc).

The insight – When you first enter the meeting, take a look at everything around you, not in a critical or judgemental way but simply as an observer noticing with curiosity. You may notice the clothing of your colleagues, you may notice the windows (or a lack of windows).  Perhaps your meeting is at the client’s workplace or in their home, just quietly notice, what image do they portray, what are their interests, habits, values etc

The energy – Now is a good time to notice the energy (s) in the room. Every meeting has a certain energy to be observed so just take that in for a couple of minutes.  You may notice that someone is looking rushed, distracted, hostile, perhaps the energy is positive and everyone present welcomes a successful outcome.  Now you can enter into this meeting with a real sense of presence; a certain state of calm within yourself, knowing that you have a better understanding of the situation. 

The meeting & you   Throughout the meeting remind yourself of your personal fall back position. At any time you can quietly observe yourself.  Don’t forget,  the degree to which you are present in the meeting is directly related to how much you feel your voice is being heard so bring yourself back to the meeting (if your mind has wandered) and be present.

*  How am I feeling?

* Am I getting my message across as I wanted to?

*  Do I feel heard?

*  Am I listening to others openly and objectively without pre-judgment?

*  Do I need to regather myself?

*  I am representing myself as I wanted at the beginning of the meeting?

The meeting and others – Take time throughout the meeting to observe other people.   Little adjustments may be required to keep everyone engaged, potentially saving another meeting later.

*  Is anyone withdrawing?  They may need an opportunity to voice themselves?

*  Is anyone getting frustrated or angry,  Is everyone still engaged and contributing?

The meeting’s energy – What is the energy driving this meeting;

* Has the meeting been hijacked and needs to get back on task?

* Is the conversation productive and progressive?

* Are there an underlying problem that needs further discussion to enable a successful outcome?

The outcome – The meeting coming to an end is always a great time to quickly reflect on the initial objectives and whether the meeting produced the desired outcome. 

*  Were there times during the meeting where you could have conducted yourself differently?  If so how and if not, feel pleased that you achieved that for yourself.

*  Were other people’s behaviors predictable or confusing to you and if confusing, what did you miss?

*  Considering the information that you now have,  what approach needs to be explored in more depth going forward?

*  Are there areas that need further understanding?

*  Which aspects went well and why?

Review – Take a moment to consider whether these steps were useful to you.  Did you feel more present in the meeting, more gathered within yourself, more in control of your contribution to the meeting?  How could this meeting have unfolded if you hadn’t observed in such a mindful manner?  Is this a skill that you can take into other aspects of your day? 

Remember, it may take practice before you really feel that this is benefiting you so take what you learn from each experience and build on it at the next meeting.  I would love to hear how you found the practice (and any funny mishaps 🙂 ) So please feel free to leave your comments for me and I truly hope that this article has served you well.

Professional Development

Longstanding Conflict – Your Toolkit

LogoLong-standing conflict in the workplace can have a profound impact on the people directly involved so let’s take a look at why it happens and how it could be addressed.

It is easy to assume that long-standing conflict is generated by irreconcilable differences but often this simply isn’t the case.  During any conversation, each person will take away their own perspective of what was said and I am often amazed at how two people can walk away with such different accounts of the same conversation. The reason for this is not actually our differences but rather, our stories.  Simply put, we make stuff up…’he doesn’t value me’, ‘she’s questioning my authority’, ‘he’s so arrogant’, ‘I didn’t like her tone’ blah blah blah.   These are our stories… the stuff that we make up.  We then need to justify our actions and behaviors so we look for evidence in further conversations to reinforce the story;  proving that we were right all along and therefore completely justified in our response.  It’s not just you, we all do it and on most occasions, we are not even aware of it.

So how can we fix this?  Here are a few suggestions that may help.

  1. Reflect on the conversation from a detached perspective.  What was actually said?  Did I understand his/her meaning correctly?  Was I being defensive or did I  listen carefully to the other point of view?  Was I being defensive, causing the other person to react differently? Do we want similar things?  Is there common ground to start from?
  2. Ask for a meeting.  This is not to go over old ground but an opportunity to tell the other person how you feel in a calm and non-accusing manner (you will need to be focused here so you don’t fall back into your old stories). If you can manage it, be honest, be open and be willing to hear something different.  It’s Important that this meeting should be held in a calm environment where you’re not interrupted and both people have the mental space to be fully present in the conversation, without distraction. Often when you can achieve this you will be amazing at what the other person thought that you said or what they felt you were suggesting.  At best you can resolve the issue and derive a plan to move forward and at the very least you will understand each other’s perspective more clearly.
  3. Engage a neutral third party – Sometimes when you have been going around and around for a long time it may be useful to ask a respected third party to engage. This allows both parties to confront their self-deceptions by having to explain their beliefs and actions to the third person and in doing so, you and your conflict person will likely discover that you have both made stuff up along the way.  Providing the space for a different perspective to be considered will create an opportunity for a new co-created story to begin.
  4. Tired of being tired – Sometimes after long periods of conflict people reach a point where they are worn down and simply tired of being tired.  Even though you feel justified in your beliefs and behavior, maybe it is time to just give it up so that you can create a different experience.  Take some time to think about what it could feel like to be free of the feelings associated with long-standing conflict.  What is the price that you are paying and what would it take to simply cease that story?  You may never be best friends and that’s ok but surely it’s in your best interest to have the best relationship with this person that you are able to have.  I’m not suggesting compromising on your values or your boundaries but rather, find a way to be in a relationship without destructive conflicting behavior.

I guess the question is, are you willing to make an honest gesture towards creating a new story between you and this other person in conflict?  If so, I invite you to try some of the steps above so that you can unwind the story of resentment and anger (or whatever emotion fuels your current behavior) whereby enabling you to cooperatively construct a new way of interacting…and a new story together.


Reflection, Relationships, and Resilience – The title to a bad holiday novel

LogoThis sounds like the title of a good holiday novel and in some ways, the parallels are not dissimilar.   Usually, in the holiday novel, there is controversy within a relationship which takes us through the emotions of betrayal, mistrust and hurt; as experienced through the eyes of the main character in the book.  Upon reflection, the parties are able to find common ground, learn to honor the differences between them and in doing so, find acceptance and compassion.  This builds resilience within the relationship and they get to live happily ever after (sorry to cut your holiday experience down to one analytical paragraph).

These three R’s make up the basis of emotional and social intelligence.

There is now overwhelming evidence to support the claim that emotional intelligence is the leading factor in successful relationships, both personally and of course, within the workplace.   The more developed we are at self-regulation and our ability to integrate that self-awareness into our daily interactions will directly determine the outcomes that we experience. 

So if this is such a huge tool for us to have on board, why is it that we, as a culture are so resistant to learning more about this?  Why do we write it off as some ‘Airy Fairy’ social experiment relayed to us by the ‘intellects’ that have no experience in the real world and certainly have no idea of the pressures within the business sector?  Why does this subject make us feel as though we will be seen by others as weak and vulnerable?

Isn’t it interesting that we are seeing an increase in the demands placed upon workers, where schedules are tight and expectations are higher than ever before.  We have mobile devices to aid our efficiency and yet we race around with no time at all and the standard fob-off line is “I’m too busy”.  We have a blurring of the professional and personal timelines, an absolute intolerance of others (in general) and mental health is on the rise.

And just as a wee side note, yes anxiety and burn-out in the workplace are included under the mental health banner just like addiction to coffee, sugar and your phone!

These are all ways in which we are attempting to cope, it’s as simple as that. Let’s talk less about KPI’s and forecast projections and more about why Sue from the office drinks just a little too much or why Pete had an affair last year.  Let’s talk about the anxiety in our youth and why we come back from a holiday and within two weeks, we need another.  We are slow to engage in ways where we could be interacting differently.  Without reflection, relationships and resilience we have chaos and/or rigidity both of which are present everywhere you look.

Soooo, my request, my desire, my absolute pleading to anyone and everyone who can step back enough to see what is occurring in the present world,  have the curiosity to explore how there could be a completely different way of interacting while in fact being more successful!  Please please please explore this subject just a little more.  Step forward as today’s leaders, with an open mind, seek further education into how these three R’s could be the change that we all desperately need.   Rant over, if you have read this far, I truly thank you!

Professional Development

Receiving criticism in the workplace

– part of the professional development series

LogoNo matter how experienced we are in business or how mindful we are during meaningful conversations within the workplace, whether you are an employer or employee, I’m pretty confident that we all could do with some additional help when receiving criticism.

The workplace is a hotbed of personalities, often thrown together without choice and somehow all of the different personalities and life histories are expected to get along.  But what happens when your performance is critiqued? when a work colleague finds fault, is confrontational of defensive?  And what are you going to do about it?

For many of us, confrontation within the workplace causes strong emotions and it’s often hard to be objective when you’ve been bailed up and criticised.  It’s important to remember that nobody is perfect and unless the person is extremely self-aware of the catalyst (what is really generating the feelings behind the criticism) and why they’re feeling that way, then the potential for criticism to be delivered in a way that is offensive, intimidating or even confrontational, is relatively high.

When it comes to dealing with the other person, and their criticism you have three choices:

  • You can take it on the chin, say nothing about the criticism and legitimately let it go
  • You can complain endlessly to friends and family but never really do anything about the problem
  • Or you can step up and confront the issue with honestly and in a professional manner.

As I see it, the person that ‘lets it go’ will, upon repeated experiences, quickly becomes the complainer, a position none of us really want to be in.   And with that in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of ways you might want to address this with the other person.

1.   When do you want to approach the subject with the other person?  Do you want to set up a meeting and talk about the overall pattern, or do you wait for something to happen again and then deal with the single instance? The second approach is more direct but it’s also riskier as the other person may well feel on the back foot invoking defensive, confrontal behaviour.  The first is more structured, both parties enter the conversation prepared to talk and if the other person usually holds the position of power, then this is definitely the better way of ensuring a positive outcome.

2.  It is important for you to define the other person’s actual behaviours that are causing you to feel criticised. It may be that you agree that you could have done something differently and/or better but it was the way that they said the words or the environment that they said it in that really bugged you.  Get specific about the behaviours and focus on them in the meeting rather than bring in other things that are just not helpful or relevant.  It’s very easy to make it personal, especially if you’re feeling vulnerable or angry so once again, be clear on the actual behaviour. When my children were growing up I found it extremely important to be clear when addressing an undesired action, that it was what they ‘did’ that was bad (the action)…not that ‘they’ were bad (the person)… see the distinction?  “It’s not that you told me I had done that wrong, it’s that you said it in a demeaning way in front of another colleague”. 

Don’t describe more than a couple of behaviours that you’d like to see change. Anything more will feel like you’re piling it on.  And don’t dump your grievances out all at once, address each one in turn so the other party doesn’t feel attacked and remains engaged.

3.  If the person that you have issues with is in a position of authority, you may want to ask for permission to hold a discussion where you’re giving feedback. (It’s not exactly in your job description.) To do so, make it safe by sharing common ground. “I wonder if we could talk about something that I think would help us work together better.”

4.  Now that you have gotten yourself this far, be very careful with the words that you use.  Remember the need to separate intentions from the outcome. This sounds something like this: “I’m don’t think you’re intending this, but on several occasions, it’s felt to me as if you’re critiquing me for simply following orders or doing my best to follow a policy. You suggested that my approach was aggressive/not client focused/not good use of company time [insert your situation here] when you didn’t actually give me the opportunity to explain”.  When you legitimately seek feedback such as “In your view, how could I/you have done that differently” or “next time, how would you rather I carry out that task”, it takes the heat right out of the situation and invites the other person to participate in finding a better solution.  More often than not, when you use this approach the other person can reflect on the way they handled the initial situation and you can move to a healthier discussion of what you’d prefer to see in the future.

If the stakes are high, your power base is low, and you want to broach the issue with the least amount of risk, start with you, not the other person. This tentative approach may seem a little ‘airy fairy’ for some but in remaining calm, demonstrating respect and mutually discussing the best solution, you have a strong chance of achieving the desired outcome for both of you.

Developing trust and respect within the relationship allows you to transition the more tricky elements, including exactly what the other person has said and done and how that made you feel. 

So, remember, it is important for you to be specific about what you want to address, choose you words carefully and play it out in your mind.  Pick your moment wisely, and of course…good luck!

Fearless Leader

Leadership- The profession of listening

Logo We are living in a different time, one where life is busy, business is fast paced and leadership is moving away from hierarchical structures to a more collaborative team approach.  It is no longer possible for the boss to know how to do every task or to keep daily tabs on events occurring within the business.   Today’s business calls for its leaders to feel comfortable that they have hired talented people and to listen to what they are saying.  Today’s leader is in the profession of listening!

Richard Branson says “Any organisation’s best assets are its people. You move things along just by paying attention to what employees are saying”.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? We all think that listening is important in business and many of us would be quick to point out that we do listen to our customers and our teams, however,  true listening is far more difficult than you think.  Many business leaders are strong minded people, they have high standards and often have a pre-determined outcome in mind, prior to asking the question.  I have come to realise that many business leaders truly perceive themselves as good (or at least fair) listeners so let me ask you, truthfully, do you listen to those people on the frontline and do you listen with a completely open mind?   As business leaders we have to learn how to ask the right questions, the hard questions and honest questions in order to receive a correct and true response. 

Here’s what you gain when you start asking the right questions, and really listening to the answers:

Better performing employees People who are engaged, more focused and committed to the best possible outcome.  When employees feel listen to and attain greater ownership of their work, you will see a new level of performance as that person’s professional identity becomes synonymous with the outcome.

A more comprehensive view of company performance – If you are not asking the right questions, you won’t get the answers that you require to make your company performance excellent.  Often in hierarchical structures people will only tell you the good news when what you really need to hear about are the areas that don’t work so well.  Remember, you hired intelligent, experienced people that are working on the coal face, every single day.  They are a fantastic resource for you if you choose to listen.

A stronger more flexible business – It’s a competitive world out there and you need ideas, solutions, and people able to implement any new initiative, with a professional integrity that aligns with your company values. As leaders, confidence in your team is enhanced when the entire team is working to a collaborative model.

A better company culture – Engaged, focused and committed employees are happier people.  They feel more valued, more heard and more able to contribute to the overall growth and success of the company.  The company culture will be positive and healthy as a result.

As a leader, a new approach to listening is required.  Take the opportunity to drop into casual office chatter more often, in addition to the more formal meetings and one-to-one reviews,  ask questions and be open to suggestions, so that your team feels comfortable giving honest feedback.  Modern leadership is all about listening, give it a go and watch your business flourish.