Leaders Must Learn to Understand People

I am no expert at this. Like most people, I am on the journey of learning how to win with people.

Here’s one thing I have been reminded of recently…

It’s not that people don’t like me, it’s that they don’t understand me. Or I could put it another way and say it’s that they don’t know me well enough.

In response to this, perhaps all of us at some point have been guilty of just making it the other persons issue. If they don’t get me, well tough. This is me, like it or lump it.

Really? I have learned to slap myself when I think that way. To be successful with people is not the other persons responsibility, it is mine. I have to make the effort. If I think someone doesn’t like me then I have to take responsibility and discover why. How is it that they don’t ‘get me?’

I cannot afford to continually live in ignorance. I have to consciously make the effort to win with others. To consider their viewpoint, to place myself in their shoes, to take time and help them to understand me, to know me better.

Next time someone we find ourselves in ‘one of those’ conversations where it just seems that the other person isn’t on the same page as you, lets take a moment and become a winner by helping them understand what we mean, to apologise for any confusion and do all we can to help move things forward.

We won’t always get it right but better to try and fail than to never even bother. Improve your ability to understand people and you just might change your world.

Leadership Involves Staying Teachable

Leadership is about always being teachable.

At 19 you are pretty sure you don’t need to learn anything.
At 44 you are well aware that you still have a great deal to learn.

One thing I know for certain, leadership is a journey, not a destination. The moment you think you have made it is the moment you start to fail as a leader and I don’t want to do that.

Tough though it maybe, I am always learning. I am not always happy about the process of learning but I have come to value it, as without new insights in to who I am and how I lead, I have no chance of becoming a better leader. I immediately place a lid on my leadership effectiveness.

I have learned from my mistakes. Many, many mistakes, I’m sure.
I have learned from not giving up on the journey.
Failing doesn’t make me a failure.
I have learned from the wisdom and guidance of others.
People close to me and from leaders across the globe, from within Church settings but business too.
I have learned from feedback.
Both when it is invited and when it is not.
I have learned from my own leaders. 
When they have said ‘NO’ and when they have said ‘Well done’.
I have learned when I have been made aware of shortcomings.
I have learned from reading books. 
Add to that attending a conference, listening to a podcast or taking a course.
I have learned by reading my Bible. 
I read with the attitude of observing what it says to me, looking at the person of Jesus Christ and endeavouring to become more like Him. There is always room for improvement there.

Even in the last few days I have been learning about myself. I have listened to the words of others and had to ask the difficult questions of myself:

Is there any truth in what they are saying?
What can I learn to make me a better me?

No one ever said remaining teachable would be easy but I have discovered that to not remain so would probably see me disqualify myself as a leader. Being dismissive of others, having a wrong attitude or just being plain ignorant, is not good enough. Nobody likes to think they haven’t quite got it right but I believe that a good leader grows through these times of honest reflection and I am determined to be that type of leader.

What have you learned by remaining teachable?
How willing are you to listen to what others say about you?