As a leader, it is important to look at Thanksgiving in a different light. True leaders, in my opinion, have been blessed with a gift. A gift that needs to continually give to others.
I recently finished reading a book entitled The Weekly Conversation by Brian Souza. As I read through this very engaging story, I realized that every moment is a coachable moment. Too often we as leaders are looking for the “right time” to have a key discussion with a peer, team member, or even a manager we report to. There is no right or wrong time to have that discussion. There are only those discussions or conversations that do not occur because of the “what if”.
I had a conversation with one of my sons (Thing 2 or T2) about his schoolwork. He is consistently a very strong student and work hard. He was telling me about one of his classes where they were having a group discussion and his thoughts on a topic were different than his classmates. He said that he chose not to speak up. At that point, it didn’t matter for me about the grade, but rather the “why” he chose not to share his perspective.
As we discussed a little more, I wanted to share with him that regardless of a grade, in order to be successful in life, he needs to be willing to speak his mind and support his position with a solid argument. At the same time, he needs to be willing to listen to others as well. I have read some of what he has written for his classes, and it is solid. This was my opportunity to impart some of my experience on him that communication is not one sided. It needs to be an engagement of differing opinions, but a common understanding and respect for others perspectives. Too often, conversations do not occur for precisely that last reason.
Now, my other son (Thing 1) will argue a point until the cows come home. This too can be detrimental to open communication as no one wants a discussion to be monopolized. He is very emphatic about his beliefs and will engage in a conversation on any topic with anyone at any time. As I have observed him with his peer group from afar, he does actively listen, but will always try and persuade you to his position.
Back to the book. Having a conversation should be a natural occurrence. Whether you are Thing 1 or Thing 2 in how you approach conversations, the key is that you are willing to engage in thoughtful dialogue as a leader. Be open to others perspectives and be a consummate listener and learner.
Have a great week!