The Leadership Psychology and Sociology of Hearing and Seeing
Alright, so we’ve now completed, The Leadership Series Part 2: Why Developing the Self is Always the First Step in Leadership, and, The Leadership Series Part 2.5: Why Developing the Self is Always the First Step in Leadership. This installment, then, is the last installment of part 2.
It’s what happens when cool insights occur. Let’s reset shall we? Real quick. Here we go.
In the first installment of part 2 of the leadership series, we discussed thinking and feeling, and why understanding how we think and feel matters to our development as a leader.
And, then in the second installment of part 2 of the leadership series, we discussed speaking and acting, and why understanding how we speak and act is also important to our development as a leader.
In this, yes, promise, the final installment of part 2?
We will discuss hearing and seeing. How we hear, and how we see, are just as important as how we think, feel, speak, and act. And, that was the insight I had a couple of weeks ago. So, let’s go.
As we develop ourselves as a leader, we hear more things. Things we would not have heard before. Subtleties in someone’s voice for example, the tone and affect, their word choices, how they use them, and the words they didn’t choose to use.
Factually, we all have different vocabularies. Meaning, no two people know all of the exact same words, or how to use them, or use them in the same way. However, listening for how people use their language is important. How people use language, will provide you more information about that person.
What are some strategies you can employ to hear, or listen more intently and retain that information? Sure. Here are a couple.
- Be present – one of the most important tools a leader, nay, any human being, can develop is learning how to be present. Being present means that all of your attention is on whatever context you find yourself in. For instance, you are not multitasking, or thinking about other things that need your attention. Being present is a gift to ourselves first, and then to everyone we know. In the article, What Does Being Present Really Mean, and Why Does it Matter?, I write about some of the strategies I use to ensure I stay present.
- Listen – active listening is a learned skill. Meaning, it takes practice, just like all things. When we are actively listening we are present, and are engaged with the information the person is sharing. Of course, this means we are not planning a response in advance. We are rather, just being with that person and what they are sharing, providing them meaningful feedback and questions so we can learn all they have to share with us.
- Take notes – I always take notes when I am in a meeting, or have someone that does. I only take down those things I need to remember. It is important to not get lost in note taking, which can happen. You need to capture important aspects of the conversation, dates or definitions maybe, or, maybe a question arises, which is usually the case with me, and it’s not an appropriate time to ask it. You can write it down real quick, and then ask the question at the appropriate time.
There we go. There are many other strategies you can employ to ensure you are hearing as much as possible. Yet these three I use daily, all day in fact, and they work well.
Okay, now let’s talk a little about seeing.
What can I write about sight? Well, that as we develop as leaders, nay, as human beings, we develop more sight. Just like we feel, think, speak, act, and hear, we see more, see differently. It is a wonder, really.
Because I am a hyper-visual learner, I see a lot more, and then? Well, I always document it somehow, and then sometimes what I see is used, and sometimes it’s not. It matters less that what you are seeing is utilized, than it is that the possibility is created to utilize this new information in meaningful ways.
Here are some strategies I use to capture what I see.
- Whiteboards – as I’ve written about before, whiteboards are a highly effective tool, especially for visual learners. I have three whiteboards at home, and many at work, including two white board walls in my office. Here is my simple whiteboard process.
- Write out, sometimes it is linear, sometimes nonlinear, that which I’ve seen recently. Whatever insight that might be.
- Let it sit for a day or two and reflect upon it. Sometimes I will add to the insight, sometimes not.
- Take a picture of the whiteboard for later use.
- If the insight is usable, put it into action in my life.
- Journaling – a very effective strategy for capturing new ideas. Developing a pattern for your journaling is super helpful. I usually journal at the end of the day. Some people, however, like to do so in the morning. Timing matters less, than creating the time to journal when you can.
- Post-its – as crazy as it may seem, post-its work very well when you are busy. I use them all the time, and then transfer them into my other organizational tools.
- Graphics software – I’ve also been recently using venngage to take the new insight’s I’ve had, and transfer them into a cool visual for myself and the team. Super useful.
Alright, there are a few strategies I use to capture all that I see. And, I do capture just about all of it. There are times when an insight I’ve seen slips through my fingers, yet, when that occurs, I know that if it was needed, it will come back.
Closing Part 2
In closing part 2 of the leadership series, I would like to leave you with the consideration that both leadership psychology and sociology, as we’ve discussed them here, are both needed as we develop ourselves as leaders.
Understanding how we feel, think, speak, act, hear, and see, starts with us. Being more self-aware of who we are as, yes, a leader, and more importantly, as a human being.
The more we understand ourselves, the more we understand the people around us, both at work and at home.
And, when we are intune with ourselves and the people around us, we can create the possibility of more movement for ourselves, yes, and our teams and families. And, then? Well, with movement, comes traction.
When we get to traction with ourselves, and our teams and families, we get back so much more. It is quite amazing actually to reflect upon all that I get back. Absolutely amazing and quite beautiful.
Remember, it all starts with us. All that we think, feel, speak, act, hear, and see.