Home > Business, Career, Inspiration, Leadership > One mouth and two ears.

One mouth and two ears.

People are different. I don’t have to look farther than my own kids to see the truth in that. Some people like to read books, some like to work on cars and some like to rock climb. All are very different. Not knowing the differences can be a big problem if you are a leader. If you don’t know that Jane likes to work on cars and Tim likes to read mystery novels on his Kindle and that Kevin likes to rock climb you are missing a valuable connecting point.

Hi, I'm a person

How can you truly lead a person if you don’t know what makes them tic? A good leader will get to know these important individual traits of the team members. In return the leader should share their hobbies and preferences with the team. It’s only human to try to connect with another person. It’s okay to be human when you are in charge. Failure to connect to people can cause misunderstandings, resentment or worse.

Your team may just “make things up” about you because you’ve failed to fill in the holes about yourself. Let’s take a semi-hypothetical look at this. You’re the new leader and everyone is talking about you. They just aren’t talking to you yet. They’re talking about you. Unfortunately they’ve only heard bits and pieces that have trickled down through HR or another manager who heard about you from someone else who knew you back in high school.

Your job is to engage your coworkers and team and get to know them. I prefer the informal approach myself. Somewhere like, the coffee pot is a high traffic area. So get out there and shake some hands. Don’t forget to smile and share your story. While you are doing that you need to remember to listen. People will tell you all the important things about your work place, team and themselves. You might not even have to ask. Just listen and learn.

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  1. January 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Matt,
    The essence of your post “engage” for work success as a leader — applies to team members as well.

    I think your few sentences sum it up very well:
    “You’re the new leader and everyone is talking about you. They just aren’t talking **to you yet. They’re talking about you.”

    Listen, learn, and engage — it moves everyone forward.

    Nice post.
    Kate

  2. January 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Listen, learn and engage.

    That is experience talking right there folks. Thanks Kate.

    -Matt

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