Confessions of an Accidental Leader

One Vital Skill to Leadership Competency – Mastering the Art of Small and Talk Making Others Comfortable with You

Do This and You’ll Never Be Blindsided by Your Best Employee Leaving- or Before There’s a Major Conflict in Your Midst!

Leadership influence is asking questions and attentively listeningI’ll never forget the evening my husband and I were standing around the pool at a work party, when the CEO of the non-profit where my husband worked walked by. We greeted him, exclaiming how nice the evening was. As he walked past us he responded, “I’m sorry, I don’t do small talk.” I was stunned! We had held him in such high esteem. Both being in our early 20’s we had considered him our mentor, so I’ll never forget how that comment made us feel, as he went over and stood talking to a millionaire in our midst. This is one of the incidence that put the fire in me to coach, train, and develop leaders and their staff with the people skills  that will cause them to valued and care about one another, while fulfilling their calling and mission through their business.

“There’s hardly a higher compliment you can pay an individual that to help that person be useful and find satisfaction and significance.” by John C. Maxwell

So how do you do this, learn to genuinely care about people? You begin by asking questions, while attentively listening. As a leader, this is an imperative skill to master! Believe me, when people feel their leader is interested in them and their growth, they’ll be more engaged, more dedicated and produce more. So overall it’s just good business to attentively listen, and care about the needs of your employees!  

“Napoleon Bonaparte knew every officer of his army by name. -He asked about their home and discussed maneuvers and battles he knew that this officer had been involved in.  It’s no wonder their devotion to him!

Begin first by asking questions to learn the key elements of people’s lives. Where they grew up, how they fit into the family constellation, what kind of hobbies they have etc. You can then effectively follow-up with sincere interest and concern for them. This can be done one-on-one, during a round table discussion, at a team-building exercise, standing around at an event or when beginning a business meeting. I used to play a game seeing how long it would take, and how many questions I would h”Napoleon Bonaparte knew every officer of his army by name. -He asked about their home and discussed maneuvers and battles he knew that this officer had been involved in.  It’s no wonder their devotion to him!ave to ask before I would find some kind of commonality or connection with the person. Asking questions is a magical tool.

“What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.” Zig Ziglar

listen attentively,care about employeesQuestions are the answer when engaging in small talk. In fact, you don’t have to say a thing, just listen and ask another question, while giving them the physical cues that you are listening attentively. Such as stopping everything you were doing to pay attention; turn toward them and look straight into their eyes; even checking for their eye color. And by all means, don’t take calls, or allow interruptions from text messaging etc. As much as possible, for a few minutes, look at their eyes, and nod periodically throughout the conversation saying:

                     * hmmm . . .                      * Interesting. . .                                 * I understand. . .                      * Really?                      * Is that right?

I’ve been told you can learn a new skill if you’ll be willing to get out of your comfort zone and practice for 15 minutes each day. Try starting conversations with the clerk at a counter, while standing in line, when you’re in a group waiting. Work on making others feel comfortable with you. No, I’m not suggesting you become a Chatty Cathy, or attempt being the “High I” behavioral style if you aren’t one naturally, just practice being hospitable on a daily basis!

A GREAT LEADER says, How can I make those around me more successful?

The most successful executives have mastered the art of small talk! It is essential to their effectiveness and influence!

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Confessions of an Accidental Leader
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