A young business leader and I were recently sitting at dinner.  We were chatting about how grateful we were for the amazing people that we’ve had the opportunity to work with. 

She asked me, “how did you deal with so many different people over the years?” 

My response: “I’m patiently persistent.”

I explained that early in my career, it was evident to me that we’re all playing the same game.  The game of life.  And, everyone is playing the game a little different.

I realized early on that to lead with confidence, we need to be persistent in the vision we’re pursuing and patient with those supporting us in our pursuit of that vision.

Grow your EQ – Everyone’s Learning

Everyone starts from a similar spot in life, but no two people are the same and no two people will ever experience all the same moments, experiences and influences in a lifetime.

Jobs, roles, responsibilities and people evolve.   Leaders have a vision of where they want to go but recognize that everything around them is constantly changing and evolving (including people).

Leaders focus on the moment and learn what they need to learn to move things forward.  The great leaders are also focused on developing their emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is about recognizing how another person needs to be treated or communicated with for them to genuinely understand what you are asking for or sharing.

When we can see the world through another person’s eyes, we can then truly start to connect with them.  If we don’t develop the ability to connect, then we lose the opportunity to enroll others in helping us achieve our vision and nobody achieves their vision alone.

The Four Attitudes

I explained to this young bright mind that there are four basic attitudes you will notice in people when you are trying to connect with them or lead them.  They are:

  1. Acceptance – They will follow and support you.
  2. Indifference – They see no perceived value in following or supporting you.
  3. Skepticism – They question whether you are worth following or supporting.
  4. Objection – There is some misunderstanding or perceived drawback in regard to following or supporting you

Lead with Questions

Indifference, skepticism, or objection requires you to pause and ask questions. 

Consider how you can open a conversation versus shutting it down.  Great leaders understand that they need to keep the conversation open, so they can connect their vision of success with the vision of others to create a win-win.  This requires patience and persistence.

  • Indifference – Lead with asking simple questions requiring short answers to move the conversation in the direction that you’d like to take it.
  • Skepticism – Lead with asking questions to clarify the reason for the skepticism, then offer up proof points that satisfy the skepticism.
  • Objection – Lead with asking questions to clarify and put to rest the misunderstanding or perceived drawback.

Leaders understand that to move forward, they need to pause, ask questions, learn, and then take the time to re-inspire those that they are leading.   

Leaders can not move things forward until they deal with the attitudes they are faced with whether those attitudes are external or internal. 

Leaders lead with questions and are patiently persistent in the pursuit of their vision.  When a leader can connect their vision with others, they will achieve more than they ever expected.

Be Thankful for What You Learn

The young lady said, “You’ve probably asked a lot of questions over the years.”

I explained that when you consider all those times that you’ve moved to fast, didn’t learn what you needed to learn and ended up taking a step backwards only to realize there was a better path to begin with, you become grateful for the questions you ask and what you learn.

Experiencing this sort of gratitude opens the heart to peace and joy. Practicing gratitude positions you to enjoy the process of asking questions.  It also allows you to pause and realize that you have often accomplished more than you thought you had in the pursuit of your vision.

Ask questions.  Be grateful for what you learn.  Patiently connect your vision with those that you are leading.  Don’t give up on your vision.  This perspective will help you remain patiently persistent as you move forward every day.

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