Stepping into a leadership role can be exciting while also intimidating! In our work with new leaders we’re often asked, “What’s the one thing I can do to accelerate my success?”
While there are many things that go into leadership success, there’s one thing that we believe is a game changer, and it often comes as a surprise because it’s seen as passive.
The one thing you can do
to accelerate your leadership success
is to listen deeply to others.
Often, when we say this to new leaders, they’re confused because they tend to think that their new role requires them to tell people what to do and then make sure they do it.
Of course, there are times when that’s exactly what a leader needs to do, but the most profoundly successful leaders have shaped how we here at Carpenter Smith Consulting have come to define leadership:
Leadership is the willingness to influence your world
and the willingness to be influenced by your world,
regardless of your role or title.
So, yes, it’s important to learn how to influence your world and not just stand back with arms crossed waiting for someone to fix things. You’ll have greater impact as a new leader if you demonstrate that you’re willing to be influenced by those around you. And that all starts with deep listening.
Deep listening means working to understand the perspective of the other person so that you understand their experience to the best of your ability.
Listening and being influenced by the thinking of others is not about giving up your power, it’s about understanding that leadership—at its core—is about aligning people behind a shared vision to move forward toward success.
People who believe you respect and value
their experience and perspective
will be more apt to work with you to create success.
As a new leader, spend time with your team, your colleagues, and your managers asking them about:
- their vision for success
- the obstacles that stand in the way of success
- their current thinking about how they can get around those obstacles to live closer to their vision
This will give you an incredible amount of information about what you need to do to create success and to influence them in the process.
This week, whether you’re a new leader or a seasoned one, notice if you’re leaning too heavily on the influence side of the equation. Consider who you need to listen deeply to and who you need to be influenced by to move the departmental or organizational agenda forward.