The Leadership Series Part 2.75: Why Developing the Self is Always the First Step in Leadership

The Leadership Psychology and Sociology of Hearing and Seeing

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Hearing

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.
  • Listenactive 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.

Photo by George Evans on Unsplash

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.

#activelistening, #beingpresent, #leadershipdevelopment, #listening, #seeing, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #sight, #takingnotes, #vision

A Blogger’s Diary 12/20/20: On Writing, Reading, Listening, and Stimulation

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is john-mark-smith-f_chim0kcy4-unsplash.jpg
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Alright, another week closer to this year’s end, and entering deeper into winter, which, for where I currently live, means more, well, a ton more rain to be accurate. Whereas, I didn’t grow up in a very rainy area, Los Angeles is, of course, known for sun most of the time, I am more comfortable with the rainy weather these days.

And, yes, writing did occur this week, and here is what that looked like.

Writing

  1. Simpler
  2. Leaving
  3. Sitting
  4. A 3-minute Reflection on 3 Ways to Display and Visualize Linear Data
  5. Walking
  6. Shadows
  7. The Social Construction Series Part 9: The Social Construction of Power
  8. Grace

One of my goals this week was to get, The Leadership Series Part 2.5: Why Developing the Self is Always the First Step in Leadership completed, and that did not happen. Next week. Yes, so what about next week? Let’s take a look.

In the poetry realm, I have a few ideas. I am thinking about two poems right now, one on flow, and one on force, which will be fun. And, then the aforementioned leadership article will be a focus next week, as will another entry in the social construction series. I’m not sure about the latter just yet. Meaning, the topic. Not sure.

I’ve also got a couple of ideas about creating vision, and managing the gap between your current reality and your future projected reality, or the real and ideal in leadership terms. Alright, how about reading. Sure, let’s go.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is gaelle-marcel-l8snwgunqbu-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Reading

Well, I am still working on, or, rather, finishing, the book about and by Sri Ramana Maharshi, and I am now reading Killing Commendatore, which I started last week. And?

It is a very Haruki Murakami type book, which means? That, so far, it is awesome. Of course, it starts with a prologue, and the main character is painting a portrait of a client that has no face, or rather has a face of mist. And then?

Then Murakami begins to create the world you’ll be entering into, all of the typical trials and tribulations and the emotional breakdowns and breakthroughs that follow for the main character. I’ve only read about 60 pages, and Murakami has already covered a lot of ground.

I am looking forward to discussing what I’ve read thus far with the remote book club tonight. How about listening? A new entry topic this week. Ready? Good. Here we go.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ilias-chebbi-2gpfqhefvz8-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Ilias Chebbi on Unsplash

Listening

Though podcasts have been around for well over 25 years, I didn’t start listening to podcasts until about 5 years ago. I know, I know, I am now playing catch up. Fun!

Here are a couple of podcasts, which you may not have heard of, and are very good.

  1. An Oral History of the Office
  2. Louder Than A Riot
  3. Resistance

Alright, so I have a soft spot for the television show the office. Fun. And, an Oral History of the Office does a great job recounting just how hard it was to get that show on the air in the United States. A very interesting and entertaining podcast.

Louder Than A Riot was one that I stumbled onto, as I listen to most of my music on Spotify, and I caught an ad about the new podcast. Wow. The podcast traces systematic and structural racism in this county in regard to hip-hop. A caution. The episodes are raw and explicit. The topics they cover are so important, and the two hosts, Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden, are stellar.

Resistance is one I just found this past week, and it traces systematic and structural racism in the United States through the lens of protesters all across the country. I’ve listened to most of the episodes already, and they are well done. Again, the host, Saidu Tejan Thomas Jr., does a fantastic job. This podcast is also raw and explicit.

Alright, that was fun. I recommend all three. How about stimulation? Yep, here we go.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is luis-reynoso-ukwvxhkkhxu-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Luis Reynoso on Unsplash

Stimulation

It has occurred to me off and on over the past several weeks, and I’m sure I’ve written about it, that stimulation is something that I monitor. Important. Why?

Because when we are constantly stimulated with work, computer screens, phones, television, even conversation, we are depleting our vital energies. And? That’s oaky, we just need to be aware that replenishment is needed and necessary.

What can we do? Well, there are many things. All of which we have discussed in previous posts. My favorites? Yep, there are two that I consider paramount.

  1. Meditation
  2. Walking

So important. Both meditation and walking get me away from all stimulation, and, in a way, create a reset of sorts. Simply meaning, they restore my energy levels. Oh, and there is one more. Naps. I take several naps now each week. Super refreshing.

What we do to get our quiet and reenergizing time matters less than we get it. That I get it, and that you get it. So?

If you’re not getting enough replenishment time for yourself, make sure to create that time. It can start with simply leaving the computer station, or setting the phone down, and walking out the door for a walk. Really important.

Alright, that’s all for this week.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a lovely remainder of 2020.

Be well.

#bloggersdiary, #diary, #harukimurakami, #listening, #louderthanariot, #onwriting, #reading, #resistance, #sriramanamaharshi, #stimulation, #theoffice, #writing

A Poem on Listening

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Whether it is quiet,
Or a part of a noisy riot,
There are times to pause, and
Reflect, upon that which is there

A single stare focused and present
Paying attention, and freed up to
Release our tension, built up over time

Which may not be a rhyme, yet is
For surely sublime, and
Part of the space-time

Continuum

Part and parcel, then
To all that was before, a metaphor,
Yes, and
A signal of what’s in store

Which is often missed when distracted
And often retracted
From Self

Focus split over dimensions, so
Why not mention, divided attention
Is disconnection with the best of intentions

And not a problem, yet
Beware of the resistance
You may feel as the breeze blows,
Which is common prose for those that know

That resistance, and
Not persistence feeds the many
Lingering thoughts, which intrude
Without common interlude, and

Breech the listening device, so
Remember to be concise, focused,
And present in all that is pleasant,

As well as with all that is unpleasant

Both are important,
for growth depends on being engaged
With all aspects of our humanity,
Shared together not in vanity,
But, rather, for the sake of our collective sanity

#listening, #loveandlife, #poem, #poems, #writingpoetry