4 Simple Stops To Achieving Better Leadership

There are 4 simple things that, when stopped, will help you achieve real success. Here they are:

1. Stop Multitasking – after all the research which shows that our brains cannot effectively occupy two activities at once, we still try to do it anyway! Technology makes us think we can be two places at the same time, but that goes against Newton’s second law of physics: No 2 objects can occupy the same space at the same time. This law applies to email and conference calls and ideas and behaviors.

Researchers at Stanford found that not only is the work of chronic multitaskers full of errors, but also that college students who multitask on electronic devices lose the ability to ignore irrelevant information and distractions altogether. Everything becomes important and so nothing is important! Start being present in this moment and stop trying to be in the next moment.

2. Stop Talking We all claim to be good active listeners. Experts say that ideally “active listening” is when 75% of the interaction with someone, is us not speaking.  The words “Silent” and “Listen” use the exact same letters.

Speak only when it improves the silence. ~ Gandhi

When you do talk, try to talk in circles. That’s right, talk in circles – as if you are drawing on a whiteboard but instead draw your statements. This slows you down, and keeps your message simple, linear, and visual in your mind, your mouth, and in the listener’s ear.  

Our brains do not think in font – we think in pictures. Mentally draw your words, don’t just say them, if you want people to more fully understand your meaning. Harvard Business Review claimed in one study that effective communication and listening are more powerful than hard work, ambition, and education.  

3. Stop Knowing so much – We recite and playback the same messages over and over. Things we hear from our bosses, clients, and spouses. We tell the same stories to others, both to strangers and even in our own self-talk. This same self-talk informs why we think certain ways about everything from food to friends. To connect with others and earn trust and influence, requires a deeper learning and understanding on a whole array of topics. Learning is attractive and approachable; Knowledge is stiff and unrelenting.  

Relate each night with a loved one a “new positive learning” from your day and stop the gossip tirade of “Guess what I heard?” Broadening your knowledge broadens your relationships.  I used to start my staff meetings, with teammates sharing their answer to this question – “What’s your Good News today?”

4. Stop Challenging – We challenge everything because we know so much in certain topics, and we use that knowledge like a weapon. We win so much more at work and home when we are more curious and learn something and then write that learning down or share it with someone. If your stories and perspectives sound like reruns, get new material or your messages wind up in the rummage pile.

Our questioning of others is seen as a challenge. Our questions are often short and pointed and smell like accusation – to save time.  We challenge because we have watched too much T.V. Our experiences with Facebook, talk shows, reality shows, and drama give us examples we are hard-wired to receive and deliver. And drives us to prove our rightness and knowledge, just like our heroes in movies.  This, in turn inhibits our curiosity and accelerates our challenging of others. Curiosity doesn’t save time; it builds trust. Save time on other things, not people. In the words of Stephen Covey, “Don’t Be Efficient with People”

Curious is learning; Challenging is blaming.  

Wanna win more money, friends and happiness, stop doing the bad stuff – you already look and feel better.

Ahhhh, that’s better!



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