Leadership:  How do you show up?

Part 2.  What’s the “wake” you leave behind yourself?

Someone said to me recently, “Don’t you think Janet is hard to be around?  It seems like every conversation gets turned into a platform for her political views.”

I knew what he meant – even though I happen to support Janet’s political views most of the time, I’m uncomfortable talking about politics with anyone except family and very close friends.  And that’s just the point – Janet is hard to be around because the wake she leaves behind creates a wave of negativity for those in her midst. Here are some other behaviors that create a negative wake:

  • Talking about money; complaining too much about your kids, in-laws, neighbors, boss; bragging about your stuff, your kids, how hard you work (like everyone else doesn’t!)
  • Being “needy” – constantly needing affirmation, advice, being made to feel you’re OK
  • Always being the heavyweight in the room – the one who’s been there, done that and loves to tell everyone else how to do it.  I call that “sucking all the air out of a room.”

What do these things have in common?  It’s that constant focus on yourself. People wish you’d just stop talking and listen to what’s coming out of your mouth!

Successful leaders have learned there’s a really simple fix for this problem – one that makes people trust them and want to be around them.

Here it is:  instead of talking about YOU, ask about THEM!  Did you know that we all have an invisible tattoo on our forehead?  It says MMFI – MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT!  Nothing makes people feel more important than asking their opinion about something, or asking about their kids, their work, or something hard they’re going through in their life right now.

My friends, when you give someone the precious gift of listening to them without interruption and especially without giving them unsolicited advice, you’re creating a wake of positivity.  Just like the wake a boat leaves behind it, the positivity grows behind every person and creates another wake of positivity for the next person they encounter.

And you know what else?  YOU will like yourself better too…