How Leaders Can Achieve More by Doing Less

Kevin Eikenberry

By: Kevin Eikenberry - Chief Potential Officer, The Kevin Eikenberry Group

Category: Leadership

Every leader I’ve ever talked with has been busy. Some are more stressed by their workload than others, but the reality of work today is that we all (leaders included) have plenty to do. Which should make the title of this article of great interest, I mean, who wouldn’t be interested in better results by doing less?

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What are the better results that you’ll see?

If you follow my advice, you’ll soon notice:

Greater engagement. The people that you lead will be more involved in the projects and processes that they work on. They’ll definitely feel better about the value that they are adding.

Higher levels of trust. Want those you lead to trust you more? While my advice won’t solve all your trust concerns, it will definitely help.

More ideas. Do you wish you could generate more ideas when working with a group? This advice will definitely help you create more ideas.

Enhanced teamwork. People will feel the personal value they add and will be more willing to contribute to the team.

Greater buy-in. If you want people to believe in the projects and changes you are leading, this advice will definitely help make that happen.

That’s right, I’m telling you that you can have more of all five of those things by doing one thing less. Read on.

The Advice

Those are pretty powerful benefits aren’t they? Chances are, you would be reading on if you thought there was something you could do to get any one of them, let alone getting all of them by doing less of something.

Before I continue though, let me warn you. Doing less of this thing may be very hard. It may take you some time to get better at doing less of this. But the effort will be worth it, I promise.

My advice is that you talk less. Or, to put it more bluntly, my advice is to shut up.

In my experience in observing and coaching leaders, there are sometimes when they talk too much, or at the wrong times.

If you are having a meeting with a team or an individual and you are doing most of the talking about the project or task, how engaged will the other person/people be? How likely are they to feel the value they are contributing? Would they be more engaged if you stopped to get their opinion? You know the answer. So the next time you are in this situation (or hundreds of others), don’t say the first thing that comes to your mind, rather stop talking and start listening.

Talk less and listen more.

As the leader you have power – either real or perceived – over those that you lead. Whether you like it or not, because of your position, your words carry weight. And if you start sharing your ideas when you are trying to solicit input from others, they may be less likely to share their possible solutions. Why? They assume you already have a plan or an answer – after all you have been doing all the talking. Besides if you let them share their ideas, chances are one of them will come up with the same thoughts you had – and if that idea comes from the group – instead of you – it will be much more powerful.

Talk less – at least at first.

Remember that you are the leader of the team, but you also are a member of the team. Consider playing that role more often and more effectively. One of the best ways you can do that is to talk less – don’t take the floor for too long – and give others a chance to contribute more.

Leaders are often told to communicate more – that communication is an important part of their job. I completely agree with that assessment. There are times when you have a message to deliver, reinforce or support. Great leaders are great communicators. But the best leaders know that there is more to communication than talking. One of the most powerful ways you can communicate is to talk less.

Talk less and let your curiosity show.

Talk less and let your interest show.

Talk less and let others contribute.

Talk less and sometimes you’ll communicate more important things.

Talk less . . . and get greater results.

Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved, Kevin Eikenberry and The Kevin Eikenberry Group.

Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. To receive your free special report on Unleashing Your Potential go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.

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