With the Rapid Growth of A.I. and Robotics, how Do We Lead Effectively?
During a coffee break at a S.T.E.M. leadership conference, he approached me with a copy of Millennials Matter asking me for a personal autograph. Then he asked, “Danita, I’m appreciating your rubber-meets-the-road leadership tips. However, I have an observation I’d like to share with you. Do you mind?”
Enthusiastic to connect, I said, “Please share!”
“You talk a lot about listening. It seems to me that you have a reference to listening in every chapter. It’s repetitive. How come your editors didn’t catch this?”
Well, I was happy to tell him that this was no mistake! Listening IS that important. And, sometimes, we as seasoned leaders miss that.
Here’s what I see happening. We have vast amounts of knowledge, wisdom, and insight. As we are coaching and mentoring emerging leaders, we are over-excited to share this, therefore, we talk, talk, and talk…
This problem is even more pronounced in our technology-driven world. We are living in a world of advancing A.I. and robotics. It improves our efficiency. Yet, as leaders of people, it’s more about effectiveness than efficiency. And that involves listening.
Are you a listening leader?
How might you show your next-gen leader that you really care and want to listen to them?
“Listening—deep listening—is critical to reaching the heart of an issue. Only then can the best solutions be discovered.” ~ Danita Bye, Millennials Matter
In my work with young leaders, I hear legitimate complaints about how we fail to listen to them. Here’s what a millennial reviewer of my book said:
“I fear that some older leaders I know might not take this chapter (on listening) seriously. The importance of listening in a relationship is right on. Of course, they want their business or company to succeed, but from what I’ve experienced, older generations really aren’t taking us seriously.”
This heart’s cry can’t be ignored. Yes, I talk a lot about the importance of listening in Millennials Matter. Here’s a few quotes:
Listening builds respectful relationships:
The Millennials I mentor tell me that by my respecting them, listening intently to what they say, and asking thoughtful questions, I’m guaranteed of their respect. (pg 178)
Listening has business benefits:
Listening well requires setting aside our egos and agendas and being vulnerable. It requires courage. The payoff for the courageous listener is abundant. Listening ensures relevance, improves cooperation, deepens relationships, and boosts productivity.
At least half of the sales professionals we assess during our sales audits have listening roadblocks, which has a negative impact on sales performance. Instead of staying zeroed in on listening to the other person, they start thinking about what they’re going to say next. They listen to their internal self-talk instead of the other person. Or, if the other person mentions a problem, they begin to think about how they’re going to solve the issue. Whatever happens, the net result is that they stop listening to the other person, losing key information and perspectives that would help deepen understanding and trust.
Don’t Get Hijacked
When there’s conflict or a difficult topic on the table, listening becomes harder, especially when emotions spark. Then it’s easy for our feelings and our agenda to get hijacked, and we end up somewhere completely different from where we anticipated.
In my upcoming Leadership Series, I’ll tell you more about the other leadership styles that influence the up-and-coming leaders you mentor.
Become a Listening Leader. Be intentional in listening, especially in the midst of our technology-enhanced world of robotics and artificial intelligence. Inspire your emerging leader to advance your business growth, as well as your succession strategies, by demonstrating the importance of deep listening skills. Listening is the tailwind that gets them where they want to go.
Need help strengthening your team’s leadership effectiveness in dealing with NextGen Leaders…even as you’re leveraging technology efficiencies? Check out our Managing Millennials offerings.
Leadership Lesson: Encourage respectful listening by creating a safe environment where ideas can be shared and differing perspectives can be heard.
Leadership Question: How might you increase your leadership effectiveness, even as you’re leveraging technology efficiencies?
This article features in my May Newsletter