Love Works Wednesday Link Up Week 4 – Trusting

Last week, I continued a Wednesday series based on Love Works by Joel Manby.  (Click here to read my first post in this series, click here to read the second week’s post based on Patient Leadership, and click here to read last week’s post which focuses on Kind Leadership).  A blogging friend of mine, Bill Grandi (The Cycleguy), recently challenged readers to consider linking up with him for several weeks with posts related to this excellent leadership book.  To read Bill’s introductory post for this series, click here. And to read his post from last two weeks, click here and here.

For today, Bill and I (and anyone else who’s linking up with us) will be posting about the fifth chapter (Trusting:  Place Confidence In Someone).  Check out Bill’s take by clicking here.

Manby’s premise is that leadership is best when it comes from a position of agape love based on I Corinthians 13.  Since I already read the book, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the sentences I underlined when I read the book initially:

  • “When you don’t listen to others, it sends them a very negative and unflattering message.” (p. 72)
  • “Interrupting is a sign of distrust.” (p. 73)
  • “1. Don’t say, ‘I understand how you feel, but …’  2. Instead summarize what you heard.  3. If you go in a different direction, articulate why.”  (p. 73-74).
  • “Listening well is critical because it demonstrates trust and builds a team’s sense of camaraderie and cohesion.”  (p. 74)
  • “One of the best ways a leader can demonstrate trust and respect is to listen to and involve team members in the decisions that affect them.”  (p. 76)
  • “If we want our organizations to display trust and respect, we need to make sure everyone is involved in the decisions that affect them.  The best decisions are always made with, not for, and showing that kind of trust is a true attribute of leading with love.”  (p. 78)
  • “Let others make the decisions for which they are responsible.”  (p. 84)
  • “Avoid overruling decisions that have been made.”  (p. 85)

Trusting our teams and listening to our teams can be a real challenge.  I experience that as a leader at my job and as a leader in my home.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing things myself, because I know it will be done right.  It’s also easy to fall into the mode of a benevolent dictator – “I’ll make the decisions.  You’ll listen and follow.  End of discussion.”  This is completely contrary to what Manby suggests in today’s reading, and it doesn’t show team members that we are confident in them.

A trusting leader must learn to involve others in decisions and must listen to team members.  When I say listen, I don’t mean just let them speak.  I mean really listen and digest what them.  How will team members know that you’re listening?  They’ll know by our actions.  Here are seven ways to improve your listening skills:

  1. Get rid of distractions.  At home, turn off the television and the music.  At the office, get away from the computer, and go into a closed office if necessary.
  2. Shut your mouth and open your ears.  You can’t listen when your mouth is moving.  In the first chapter of James, it says to “be quick to listen, slow to speak….”
  3. Take notes.  Taking notes helps you remember what is shared in the conversation.
  4. Restate what was shared to check for understanding.  “This is what I heard you say….  Do I understand you correctly?”
  5. Follow through with action.  Assuming the idea or comment is valid, take action to address what was shared.
  6. Follow-up with your team member.  After taking action, follow-up with your team member to make sure they know their concern has been addressed and to make sure it has been addressed appropriately.
  7. Repeat.  This is not a one time event.  It must happen over and over and over again.  Trust will develop over time if our team members know we are really listening.

I don’t know about you, but I know this is something I need to work on with my team.  I want my team to know that they are trusted, and I want them to know that I’m confident in their ability to do their jobs.  This starts with listening well.

Over the next five weeks, Bill and I will continue to explore love based leadership.  I hope you’ll read along, jump into the comments, and maybe even change the way you lead.  Until then, consider getting a copy of Love Works for yourself, and see how this book might change you and your leadership.

What is one thing you can do differently this week to become a more trusting leader?  How have you been led with trust and love-based leadership?  What other suggestions do you have for improving your listening skills?