Updated: Feb 7, 2022
Short leadership declarations are often shared on LinkedIn and receive a high level of engagement. We 'like' and 'celebrate' them, and appreciate their apparent insightfulness.
But do these statements ultimately impact our leadership behaviors? Do we actively reflect on the blurbs? And, frankly, are these statements much more than fanciful language?
Consider the following inspirational message--"effective leaders talk less, listen more". Sure--great advice! Leaders should encourage their followers to talk and to share their concerns and opinions. Leaders need to learn its important to listen. Leaders should strive to spend less time talking because their followers are fully-capable of resolving issues on their own. But these takeaways aren't always correct. Should leaders ALWAYS spend less time talking? Should leaders never make decisions?
"What makes a good leader???"
What is gained when we talk less? What are the benefits to listening instead of talking? How does listening more make me a better leader? Perhaps most important, when should I be prioritizing listening instead of speaking? I need more information. I need context.
Answers to these questions can inspire better leadership and enable us to be stronger leaders, but we need to challenge ourselves to consider the situation, relevance, and appropriateness of these statements. Next time you see a leadership meme or quote, share with your network what it means to you. Describe your key takeaway or how it has impacted your understanding of effective leadership. In doing so, you will be actively developing your leadership style while simultaneously developing the leadership skills of your followers.
We're in this together.