Don’t Miss out on Growing This Critical Leadership Skill

Working with a senior leader this past week, it became clear that they were falling short in every part of their daily work routine. They were feeling frustrated that in some way they had lost their “mojo” and couldn’t find a way to recapture it. As the coaching session continued, something started to change. Anger and blame began to subside and was replaced by curiosity and possibility. Their words and facial expressions softened as we continued through our conversation.

“I feel like I have lost all my power”, was an opening statement. And I shared that no one can take our power away unless we let them.

“I want to turn things around because the coming year looks so exciting”, was expressed as they started to visualize a different outcome.

What happened to the doom and gloom attitude? Why was this leader able to see a more hopeful and impactful future? What had changed to empower this person to think in a more purpose-driven way and realize they actually had the answers the entire time? An open-minded leadership strategy.

Here are four steps to grow an open-minded leadership approach:

1. Believe In Your Gifts and Strengths

Let’s face it, if we don’t trust that we have the ability to succeed in our job, how can we be an impactful leader? Leaders need to see their worth and have the confidence they can make a meaningful contribution. It begins with each of us recognizing our strengths. We may have a sense of our talents but sometimes we aren’t totally sure. A great step in identifying our gifts is asking others what they rely on us for and how we bring value to the team.

The first step in leaders staying open-minded is to have confidence in themselves.

2. Practice Listening To Different Perspectives

To become a more open-minded leader it can sometimes take some practice. Some of us just need to experiment with stretching our thinking and mindsets. The challenge is to become more curious about what our colleagues or bosses are saying. Maybe some of these tips could help in becoming more open-minded:

  • Listen to what others say as if it is the first time you are hearing it.
  • Intentionally ask open-ended questions to gain a better understanding. (The who, what, where, how and when questions.)
  • Go into a conversation with the attitude that there is something new to learn.
  • Don’t judge or try to push through your perspectives, but rather honor new ones.

3. Embrace Change As An Opportunity

Change can be scary and unsettling for leaders. The senior leader I am working with is totally panicked how differently things will look if they make adjustments using the suggestions of others. What we began to explore is an integration of ideas, some new and some familiar. By doing that, the leader felt they could pivot somewhat and not feel like they were being totally derailed. It can be an extraordinary opportunity to reimagine a workplace where new techniques are shared and piloted. It might turn out to be a more accepting environment with greater contributions from the entire team.

To feel less frightened about change leaders may want to pilot new ideas first.

4. Sell Your Story

Finally, leaders need to be able to promote their new ideas and vision so that their team and colleagues will want to come aboard with them. Being influential and selling are one and the same thing and learning to promote well is so important. In our coaching session we brainstormed ways to sell the senior leader’s new direction.

  • Design a well thought-out plan with input from the entire team.
  • Cultivate ambassadors to help promote the new path forward.
  • Create excitement with storytelling and visuals.
  • Give credit to the people who helped bring the new vision forward.

How have you built your open-minded leadership strategy? What steps have helped you become more open to different perspectives?

If you or your team need some help staying open-minded to collaborate more effectively please click here.

Related: Five Leadership No-No’s During a Crisis