Monday, July 20, 2009

Nine Ways to Leave a Legacy of Openness

1. Accept bad news without the need for sugarcoating. That way, your people can give it to you straight. They can feel comfortable reporting negative information without the fear of being reamed by your emotional reactivity.

So, if you want this to happen, you have to demonstrate that you support failure. And a great place to start is by sharing a few of your own screw-ups FIRST. Sometimes that’s all the permission people need. Do you respond well to good and bad news?

2. Acknowledge others’ contributions to your worldview. Let people know their thinking has affected you. Here’s how:

(1) Show them the notes you took when you were listening to them
(2) Tell them how you recently quoted them during another conversation
(3) Share with them the insights you’ve stumbled upon after being inspired by something they said.

That should do the trick! Who’s toggling your brain?

3. Allow nothing to be meaningless in your sight. Ideas. Problems. Experiences. And especially people. They’re ALL good to you. They all have value. They all serve a purpose.

Because your attitude is: Everything matters. Everything has meaning. Everyone teaches you. Remember: Unconditional Positive Regard. What do you see when you see people?
4. Allow your stories to be open to new interpretation. When you tell a story, follow these steps. First, pause when you’re finished. Give the people listening to you the space they need to process and contribute.

Next, let feedback in. Listen. Consider new lessons you could have learned from the story. Play with newfound applicability. Then, write these new interpretations down. And thank people for adding value to your experience by saying, “I never would have thought of that!” or “Cool! Another lesson.” Are your stories up for discussion?

5. Ask for time to think about what they have said. This is another great move for making space in the conversation. It also prevents foot in mouth disease by buying you some time to process.

That way you can react less and respond more. What’s more, it builds a sense of curiosity and excitement in the mind of the listener, making you more listenable. Remember: Don’t be so quick to rush into the silence. How do you answer questions?

6. Be a rock people can count on. That means stillness. That means emotional objectivity. That means listening with the ears of your heart. That means not interrupting, fixing, judging or taking over the conversations. That also means staying solid to your core and reflecting people’s realities back to them so they can process their own solutions. Whom are you a rock to?

7. Develop the capacity for self-observation. Become the audience of your own drama, not just the actor. That way you can better understand how people experience you, as well as how they experience themselves when they’re with you. What side of the stage are you on?

8. Disagreeing is tolerable – disagreeing without proposing solutions isn’t. Think of it as a Positivity Ratio: Every time you disagree, promise yourself and your team that you’ll always bring two or three solutions along with you. That keeps receptivity high. Are your disagreements derailments or springboards?

9. Don’t be threatened by people who are smarter than you. Otherwise you’ll end up keeping people around you that are inadequate so you feel better about yourself. And that only leads to poor performance. Are you willing to be the dumbest guy in the room?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What will be your legacy of openness?

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For the list called, "71 Words Employees Never Want to Hear Their Manager Say," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

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