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Why you need to talk less and listen more

One important aspect of coaching your team is listening effectively.

I know, I know…listening is hard!

You want to solve people’s problems quickly.

Time is of the essence.

I get it.

However, I’d like to offer a different perspective.

I’d like to suggest that as a leader you talk less and listen more!

I’ll explain this perspective with a quick story.

In a training session that I facilitated earlier this week, the leaders participated in an activity requiring them to listen to their partner speak for two minutes without interrupting them at all.

Upon completion of the activity, everyone agreed that it felt so refreshing to be really heard.

They realized that when you have a colleague who is your sounding board, and listens without interrupting, it gives you the space you need to think through and solve your problem on your own.

One of the participants called Terri (not her real name) then told us about her rubber ducky.

Terri got this rubber ducky in a coding workshop.

She was told that if you ever get stuck coding, just pick up your rubber ducky and tell your problem to the duck! Terri explained that this has been such a useful problem-solving strategy. The rubber ducky helped Terri to realize that when stuck, it is so helpful to articulate your issue out loud.  Just doing so, creates a clear pathway to move from being stuck to coming up with a solution.

Terri’s duck has become her sounding board. It always patiently listens, never interrupts her and has no interest in solving Terri’s problems for her!!

Who knew that a rubber ducky could be such a great leader!!!

So, I have a challenge for you.

Please be a rubber ducky for a week or two and notice what happens.

Talk less.

Listen more.

Stop trying to solve people’s problems.

Give them the space to express their muddled thoughts, gain some clarity, and come up with their own solutions to their problems.

Being a great leader does not mean that you are “on” all the time.

Sometimes you need to relax.

Let your brain rest.

Go into rubber ducky mode.

It’s an excellent way to give your team a platform to share, express themselves and solve their own problems!!

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World.

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