Leadership Strategies: Being Soft and Strong - Page 2
The modern tendency is to “almost” listen and have our answers ready before the other has even completed the first sentence. The ability to engage in dialogue is critical for contemporary leaders and has the capacity to short-circuit disputes and increase creative communications.
Here are the four ground rules for dialogue for home, for work and for governments:
1. Treat truth telling as a precise art form: the question in back of each comment you make is, “How can this forward the situation and make a positive difference?”
2. Asking smart questions is more important than giving smart answers: careful not to turn the dialogue into point-counterpoint, give room to let others finish their thought without the knee-jerk “gotcha” response that gains little long term
3. Listen for emotion and repetition: check your own patterned responses by paying attention to your gut and your need to say the same thing over and over, then take a deep breath and ask open-ended questions
4. Be open to outcome, not attached to it: being clear and decisive does not in any way keep you from changing your mind and following a new, more effective direction that will have long-term benefits for you and others.
The leaders we are all yearning for now are the ones who are willing to talk things through and give up to get. This is not an easy process in a world that does, as Suu Kyi states, live with the pulsating beat of fear as the bedfellow of positional power. Personal power, the type she exhibits which can be held by both men and women, is soft and strong at the same time.