It’s not unusual for leaders to be quick thinkers — people who are able to process information rapidly and respond creatively. That’s a good thing. But often such people are impatient with people who think and speak more slowly — and that’s a bad thing. If you finish people’s sentences or frequently interrupt them, you discourage their feedback ... and lose any benefits it can provide.
Here’s a quick self-test to determine if this is something that should concern you:
- Do you sometimes find yourself losing track of details when people are speaking because you are thinking about the implications of what they’ve already said?
- Do you ever finish people’s sentences as a way of letting them know you are “on the same page” with them?
- Do you find that in the company of some people you become anxious for them to “just spit it out?”
- When someone is speaking, do you find yourself thinking of what you are going to say in reply?
A “yes” to any of these questions suggests you may be a “quick processor” who can have some difficulty fostering and getting the maximum benefit from others’ feedback.
Why not resolve this year to let everyone with whom you interact finish their sentences? Also resolve to let them finish their thoughts before you respond. How can you do that? Focus on understanding them by reflecting their input back to them and asking if you truly understand what they are saying before offering your own opinion. People crave understanding — and the practice will help assure that you enjoy the full benefit of everyone’s perspective in building a more confident, competent team.
Copyright © 2006 Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, 208 E. North St., Durand, IL 61024. Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced so long as there is full attribution, our web site is listed, and any electronic reproduction includes a link to our site: http://www.yeshualeader.com.