I recently attended a one day experiential leadership training event at The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg facilitated by Steve B. Wiley. During the training exercise, we were lead through various portions of the Battle of Gettysburg and how these events related to leadership. For example, one of the Army Generals at the Battle of Gettysburg, General Chamberlain, led a group of 400 men to defend the left flank or (end of the army’s line) against the attacking forces. The significance of this event was that General Chamberlain was able to effectively communicate and cultivate relationships with his men, which empowered them to sacrifice their lives for the cause they were all fighting for.
This training workshop inspired me, as well as others in the cohort, to consider how we all can effectively lead through communication and cultivating positive relationships with others. Whether we are at the lowest or highest level of the organizational hierarchy we are all capable of leading by maintaining the mindset of serving those around us. This mentality will help us to better communicate and build constructive relationships. As a result of enhanced communication and positive relationship development, we all will be better leaders.
According to Steve B. Wiley, we all can improve our communication and cultivation of positive relationships by asking others the four questions listed below and then intently listening to the other person’s responses. In other words, we do not formulate responses in our minds as we hear the other person. We should listen with the sole intent of receiving what the other person is saying.
- Question: What is happening in your world?
- Question: In what areas are you having problems?
- Question: How are those problems affecting your goals, objectives or life?
- Question: Envision you had a magic wand, how would you fix the problem?
As a result of habitually asking others these questions and responding with the aim of adding value by intently listening, these people will:
- give you constant feedback, which will help you improve in a myriad of ways
- recommend you and what you stand for (i.e., company you own or division you lead, etc.) passionately to others
- forgive you when you make a mistake
In what other ways do you think that improving your communication and cultivation of relationships can enhance your leadership?