One who values own words, is valued by others!

I had two bosses – first one always stick to his words, second one used to lie to walk away from his own words as per his convenience. Let’s call them A and B, respectively.

There was this incident, ‘A’ told team to plan for the upcoming planned holidays but later organization changed the policy and suspended planned holidays. ‘A’ could have easily backed off from his words or could have lied citing policy change. But! this guy did something else. He worked with his bosses to make sure people who have already planned holidays should be allowed to go ahead with leave. He transparently updated the team on the changes.He asked others to also plan their holidays, but to go on vacation turn by turn.

In other incident, ‘B’ promised to one of the teammate ‘T’ that for a matter he will check with higher management. My teammate ‘T’ followed up on this, but looks like ‘B’ forgot to work on the action item. ‘B’ could have easily accepted it and said “He could not work on this”. But! this guy choose something else. He told ‘T’ that “you were supposed to do this first, then only, I will check with the higher management” which was actually false. I can testify this as I was present on both the occasions.

‘A’ choose to stick to his words when he could easily walk off  and ‘B’ choose a white lie for petty thing when he could easily stick to his words.

I observed that ‘A’ was more relaxed at work, widely respected by the team, even by the people who were not very happy for some reason. Whatever he said, people believed him immediately, he was a trusted leader. He wore a genuine smile through out the day at work.

‘B’ was seen tense frequently. The kind of respect he was getting from the team, was same as any ‘boss’ will get. Whatever he will say to them,people will take it with a pinch of salt, clearly, he was not a ‘trusted’ ‘leader’. He wore fake smiles during conversations. He was desperate to be seen as a trusted leader. In fact, in a few conversations, he mentioned that how we need to have more trust within team and all. He was living a life full of anxiety and insecurity.

“Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable”

‘Importance of sticking to words’ is something that many of leaders forget over the time. This works as an adversary to them. A person who does not value own words is seldom valued by others genuinely. Respect and trust are something that can not be asked for. These things are need to be built by our actions. ‘Sticking to words’ is one of these actions.

“Trust starts with truth and ends with truth”

“The more you talk about them, the more important they will feel. The more you listen to them, the more important you will make them feel” – Roy T. Bennett

“Respect” and “Recognition” continues  to top the chart  of employees expectations at work. Both are related to each other. People feel respected when they are positively recognized. Many organisations understand this. They try their best to recognise people with rolling out lots of recognition programs in form of awards and citations etc. which is good but not enough. People expect “culture”of “respect” & “recognition”, a continued sense of being respected and recognized. Organisations can not just rely on traditional way of recognition to fulfil these expectations. Listening is a great way of making people feel recognized and respected hence Leaders need to create a culture of listening.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is – actually listening to what another has to say. 

Bryant H. McGill

A culture of Listening has other bonuses  as well, like – avoiding conflicts, getting pulse of people who form organization, making people feel valued, persuading them etc. 

Not listening is the reason for so many misunderstandings and conflicts. 

-Johnny Flynn

The best way to persuade people is with your ears – by listening to them. 

-Dean Rusk

Listening is  not just “hearing”, it’s much more than that. People can easily identify if you are actually listening or just hearing. Listening is a skill that helps progressing one towards personal and professional leadership. I seldom find a “leader” without good listening skills. 

A good listener takes care of below four key attributes (BCCC) of good listening skills:-

B – Body language – Any conversation is much more than exchange of content. Tone, emotions, eye contact, posture, facial expressions etc. conveys more things than the words of speakers.  Body language help understand the mood of speaker better than anything.

Tone is often the most important part of a conversation – and listening is so much more important than what you say. 

-Hoda Kotb

C – Connect – connect to speaker by actively engaging in conversation – Ask question to clarify & understand the content. Be attentive and open-minded while listening. Provide regular feedback and appreciation without jumping to conclusion. Take care not to interrupt and impose your solutions, let the speaker put their thoughts across. Please note that faking to connect can be counter productive. This is the mistake many listener commit. Being able to connect to speakers is the most important among all the four points. ‘Connecting’ has the power to make speakers feel valued, respected and recognized.

There is difference between listening & waiting for turn to speak

Simon sinek

“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” 

– Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

C – Content  – understand speaker’s content

C – Context  – understand the context of conversation

Listening is a skill. Skills can be developed with practice.  A simple exercise can help one in getting habit of listening. Each one of us has multiple conversations on daily basis; personal & professional. A person should set a goal of practicing BCCC in any three conversations daily for two weeks, I personally recommend to start with personal conversations. One should daily analyse her progress on application of BCCC before going to bed; taking short personal notes can be of immense help here if you find difficult to do it in mind. Extend the exercise for two more weeks with a goal of five BCCC conversations daily. 

All the best!!

Listening is a master skill for personal and professional greatness. 

-Robin S. Sharma


Getting in the habit of Appreciation

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.

– Mother Teresa

We, humans, do not just enjoy appreciation; we crave for it. It’s a human trait. Probably, each one of us has felt need to be appreciated and witnessed power of appreciation sometime. In a poll of around 60,000 employees, conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, showed that appreciation is a powerful way to deliver on people’s key expectations – Treatment with respect, dealt with equitably and gaining sense of connection with organisation on work and personal level. A simple thanks, noticing the good in others help us noticing the good in ourselves. It makes a lot of difference in relationships.

Many organisations have core values revolving around – Respect, Equitably, honesty, integrity etc. Giving appreciation is necessary to deliver on these values. At first, giving appreciation can be awkward to a leader. This gets easier with practice. Keep some time aside for appreciation during key meetings and interactions. But! Do it when you actually mean it. People are smart enough to identify if you are faking it and this can do damage instead of good.

Rules of effective appreciation:

Sincere – Do not fake. Say it if you mean it.

Immediate – Do not wait for doing something special, that may take time. Seize the moment, do it right away.

Often – Do it often and appropriately. Do not assume it’s part of regular job and expected.

Specific – Make it specific. Saying “Thanks for making project plan ready with all the details needed. I know, this takes lot of time and efforts.” is more effective than saying “Thanks for good job on the project”.

“Sincere” is most critical among all the rules and one has to get in habit of appreciation to do it right. This not only helps in organisations but also of great help in personal relationships. Start working on the habit with people more closer to you personally. They can be spouse, parents, kids and friends. Set a goal for your self to appreciate three people daily for two weeks. Make sure to strike a balance between rule of “Often” and “Sincere with keeping in mind “Immediate” and “Specific”. Keeping track of goals in form of some personal notes comes very handy.

Now, you are comfortable balancing the four rules, extent the exercise to work place. Set a goal of appreciating five people daily for a month, needless to say, keeping the rules in mind.

All the best!!