Don’t Just Talk to Five People

Impact Coaches Inc. – Articles

I’ve written before about how being a leader can be lonely. We work with leadership teams who filter information for us and cascade our vision throughout the organization. But only talking to them isolates us from the rest of the business – and the people who contribute to it.

That’s why expanding our interactions to include people beyond the leadership team is so vital. It helps us connect with individuals who might challenge our own viewpoints and allow us to challenge those of our leaders in constructive ways. We gain perspectives that lead to more informed decisions, engage in and contribute to the culture of the organization, and grow as leaders.

Take every opportunity to learn about the business

A coaching client recently described how, at a business event, her CEO, several levels removed from her in the company hierarchy, asked her about her work. She explained to the CEO how the area she focused on could impact the organization – and how much it would cost. The CEO was intrigued and arranged to meet with her and her boss to discuss it further over lunch.

Great leaders do this. They talk to people outside the executive team. On elevators, in the company cafeteria, at social events. They take every opportunity to learn about the business. They ask questions, and not in a challenging way, but with humility and curiosity. They ask what people think about very specific issues – the opportunities and challenges the issues pose, and their impacts. It makes them better leaders, and it makes their teams better.

Connect with more people and have fun

It also helps drive culture from the top. Leaders who ask questions from a keen desire to learn encourage curiosity, discussion, diversity of perspectives, openness to new ideas, and problem solving – which ultimately sparks innovation.

Leaders who are approachable and ask questions about what works and what doesn’t also make it easier for people to reach out to them. They build networks of allies within the organization, which contributes to their own knowledge and growth. They engage more people in their vision for the company. And they connect with more people and have fun. The hierarchy is important, but we shouldn’t restrict ourselves from talking to people from all levels of the organization. It helps us become better informed, more connected leaders. And it sends the message that people can speak their minds and contribute to the organization’s success. That they can share who they are and feel they belong. Including us.

Impact Coaches Inc. – Articles

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