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Technical Development

Growth and development that entails adding knowledge, skills, and capabilities to support practical aspects of performance management. This growth has aspects of traditional learning which means it is informative yet it also looks to stretch one’s range of capability and awareness for improving organizational functionality.

Technical Development Leadership Traits

  • Adaptive leader
  • Team builder.
  • Effective written and oral communication
  • Time management.
  • Action oriented.
  • Decision quality.
  • Leads results.
  • Tech savvy.
  • Makes tacit explicit.
  • Plans and aligns.

Articles

Article Synopsis

5 Ways to Listen Better (TED talk)

Approximate length: 10 minutes

In the above-referenced TED talk, speaker Julian Treasure, emphasizes the importance of conscious listening. In his talk, he defines listening as "making meaning from sound." He explains listening is a process of extraction, in which we recognize patterns and differentiate sounds. He also talks about filters we use when listening, such as culture, language, value, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, and intentions. These filters, which we are unaware of, create our present reality. Listening links us to our surroundings and the passing of time.

He then talks about reasons why we are losing our ability to listen, such as an over-reliance on recording. Other reasons are bombardment of audio-visual messages, impatience, and desensitization to messages coded in hyperbole. The speaker states this lack of conscious listening can be a serious problem, since a world in which we fail to understand each other, is a failing world.

To improve conscious listening, the speaker recommends five exercises. The first is to practice quiet for a few minutes each day. The second, called mixer, is to identify different sounds we are hearing. Third, called savoring, is to take time to appreciate ordinary sounds. Fourth, the speaker says most important, is to take time to identify our listening position—or scale of listening filters, such as active/passive, reductive/expansive, or critical/empathetic—and move to a different position. Finally, the last recommendation is an acronym called RASA, which stands for Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, and Ask.

The speaker concludes by saying that he believes everyone needs to learn to listen consciously in order to live more fully. He says conscious listening not only connects us to our physical and spiritual worlds, it connects us to each other.

Guiding Questions

5 Ways to Listen Better (TED talk)

  1. Do you know what filters you have in place when you listen?
  2. What are distractors and detractors to listening in your role?
  3. What is the worst outcome if I don’t listen?
  4. What of the 5 ways could you actually apply to your listening on a day to day basis?

Reference

5 Ways to Listen Better (TED talk)

Treasure, Julian. "5 Ways to Listen Better," TED talk. July 2011. Accessed 23 June 2018.

Article Synopsis

Good Leadership Sometimes Means Keeping Your Opinion to Yourself

Approximate length: 10 minutes

In the above-referenced article, blogger Andrew Steadman, talks about the dangers of an environment where the leader’s opinion seems like the only viewpoint that matters. He talks about a bad habit, sometimes formed by leaders in which they are seen as "adding too much value."

The blogger states that leaders tend to talk too much, sometimes because they think it’s part of leading and sometimes because they have a high opinion of themselves. He says that part of this is due to the military culture, and the importance placed on command. This can diminish the value of the team.

Common reasons leaders talk over people, according to the blogger is because a) they think anyone on their team will say things they already know, b) they think they already know the better or best way, and c) they have a wider perspective than most members of their team. This mindset may improve overall operations, but decreases the commitment of the team.

To avoid undercutting their team, the blogger provides advice to leaders, such as pause, ask questions, expand on team members’ ideas, be genuine, stop talking too much, and stop trying to be the winner. The blogger concludes with acknowledging the importance of collaboration, stating that it’s a dangerous assumption to think that we, as leaders, have all of the insight.

Guiding Questions

Good Leadership Sometimes Means Keeping Your Opinion to Yourself

  1. 1. Have you ever as a leader provided your view and felt like you shut down your team?
  2. What techniques do you already practice in your role as a leader in not undercutting your team?
  3. Can you think of an example of when a team member’s point of view made a positive difference to operations?

Reference

Good Leadership Sometimes Means Keeping Your Opinion to Yourself

Steadman, Andrew. "Good Leadership Sometimes Means Keeping Your Opinion to Yourself," The Military Leader (blog). 28 April 2015. Accessed 23 June 2018.

Article Synopsis

Good Leadership Sometimes Means Keeping Your Opinion to Yourself

Approximate length: 15 minutes

In the above-referenced article, blogger Melissa Daimler, emphasizes the significance for leaders to listen and question. She starts off by saying the best leaders ask questions, and advises leaders to use questions when coaching, to help colleagues and employees find their own solutions. She says questioning works best with there is no single right answer, often in leading edge work. The author says it’s important for leaders to create environments in which listening is valued.

The author then defines three levels of listening. Internal listening is pretending to listen to the other person. Focused listening is half-listening to the other person, but not fully connecting to them. 360 listening is full engagement, where the energy or "magic" happens. Here, you not only get what the other person is saying and how they’re saying it, but what they’re not saying.

The author underscores the need for leaders to listen and question. She talks about a life-changing job review, when her manager asked two poignant questions that fundamentally changed how she views her work. She also cites two examples of leaders who lead through listening, including getting their quieter people to talk. In both cases, their emphasis on listening helps them make better, more informed decisions.

The author describes three ways to "listen more." These include using eye contact, making space for reflection (so that you can give others your full attention), and no surprise, asking more questions. She concludes by saying that uninterrupted, face-to-face conversations are the most powerful form of communication—especially when both people are listening.

Guiding Questions

Good Leadership Sometimes Means Keeping Your Opinion to Yourself

  1. What are some common distractions for you that hinder you from fully listening?
  2. What are some of the pitfalls, the author mentions, with asking questions? When are questions not appropriate?
  3. What are some strategies you can use or improve on to listen more fully to others?

Reference

Good Leadership Sometimes Means Keeping Your Opinion to Yourself

Daimler, Melissa. "Listening is an Overlooked Leadership Tool," Harvard Business Review. 25 May 2016. Accessed 23 June 2018.

Article Synopsis

What Great Listeners Actually Do

Approximate length: 15 minutes

In the above-referenced article, authors, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, say the hallmark of a great listener lifts up others. The authors begin by initially discussing 3 traits commonly associated with good listeners. First, they don’t talk when others are talking; second, they let others know they’re listening with nonverbal feedback--through facial expressions and verbal sounds; and third, they are typically able to recall the message, sometimes verbatim.

The authors conducted a research study in which they differentiated characteristics of the top 5%, considered to be great listeners. They summarized four characteristics these people displayed. First, they discovered the best listeners periodically ask insightful questions. Second, they learned good listening is a favorable experience for the other person; it boosts self-esteem. Third, they found conversations were not competitive, feedback flowed freely between both parties. Finally, they noticed great listeners offer suggestions, viewed as helpful or constructive by the other person.

The authors then talked about six levels of listening, which each build on the other. These include a safe environment, free from distractions, where the listener seeks to understand the substance of the conversation. In addition, it involves nonverbal cues, mentioned earlier, and empathy. Finally, the listener asks questions to clarify assumptions.

The main take-aways from this article, according to the authors, is thateveryone can strive to be a better listener, and there’s more to it than initially meets the eye. The benefits of great listening result in more meaningful, positive conversations, in which the speaker feels valued and understood.

Guiding Questions

What Great Listeners Actually Do

  1. How good of a listener would you categorize yourself?
  2. What experiences have you had where your listening had an impact on the outcome?
  3. Based on the levels presented at the end of the article, what level would you assess yourself?

Reference

What Great Listeners Actually Do

Folkman, Joseph and Zenger, Jack. "What Great Listeners Actually Do," Harvard Business Review. July 14, 2016. Accessed 22 June 2018.