So much of life comes down to the habits that we form. Want to be healthy and physically fit? It’s all about developing the right habits for eating and exercise. Want to have stronger relationships? Get into the habit of connecting, communicating, and showing others your affection.
And if you want to be a more engaging leader—well, there are some habits to form for that, too. I recommend these five, in particular:
- Plan to engage. It’s difficult to be engaging when you’re making everything up as you go along. Of course, you may find yourself in unexpected situations, with some surprise opportunities to talk to employees or to potential customers—but most of the time, you will have a chance to plan ahead. Want to run an engaging team meeting? Take some time to plan your approach before the meeting. Want to engage a new client, rather than bore him to death? Plan your pitch in advance.
- Listen. Get into the habit of understanding before you try to make yourself understood. This means getting out of the habit of talking over other people, or struggling to assert your point of view first and last. Make sure you always take time to figure out where other people are coming from.
- Think win-win. One of the best ways to engage people is to present your case in a win-win manner—explaining not just why you want a given outcome, but why it’s also good for the other person. Be proactive about it; force yourself to always think win-win, and to lay out benefits and values.
- Focus on the outcome. Always know what kind of outcome you’re looking to achieve, and lead with it. Don’t bury the lede: Whether you’re talking to a customer or a team member, be upfront about what you hope to achieve. This will give your conversations direction.
- Follow up. Engagement is a two-way street—and while I don’t necessarily think you need to micromanage, I do think you need to give people room to ask questions or to offer you feedback. Get into the habit of asking for these things, if you’re not already.
It takes time and diligence to be an engaging leader—and it takes the formation of good, healthy habits. Do you have any tips to add to this list on how you engage with your team or with your customers?
Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is known as one of the most sought after team building experts in the United States and internationally.
He is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micro managing the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, Heineken, IBM, and Hewlett Packard.