Good leaders don’t say much…

1554700C-51D4-4535-97BA-DCA2FA0A741AEver hear the saying that some people talk just to hear themselves talk?  It’s really bad when that person thinks that talking a lot makes them a good leader.

I’ve seen it a few times in my career.  A person with the gift of gab and the ability to talk fast and sound smart, suddenly gets pushed to the upper echelon of their department.  A slick, smooth talking, trickster who outwardly seems to say all the right things, but over time fail, when others begin to plainly see that their motives are selfish and impure.  It’s like Jesus talking about how the Pharisees made a show out of praying really good in public.  It wasn’t about God, it was about looking good to other people.

If you’ve experienced people like this, have you ever noticed how they never know that they are perceived this way?  That’s because no one will tell them.  Due to their self-importance, these people are also highly sensitive, emotional and insecure.  They bully people by being loud and a bit obnoxious, so they’re perceived as tough, but really it’s an insecurity about something.  So they swing a big stick and if folks disagree, these people go toe to toe, just to prove they are right.  So what’s the result?  People just stand around and listen to their long-winded diatribes about stuff they are doing or how great they are, without disagreeing or saying a peep.  And don’t try to say anything good about yourself in their presence.  They are the king of one-upping…

Have you ever been trapped in a conversation by this time thief?  

At the core of every good leader is a strong, self-less care for others.  Being social doesn’t mean that you care about people.  Good leaders have a sense of “it’s not about me”, they listen, remain humble and learn about the person they are talking to.  If these “social butterflys” cared about people, they would understand that most normal people can see right through all that bs, because their actions speak louder than words.

I’m convinced that a good leader doesn’t say much at all, because they are too busy listening and letting others solve problems.  A good leader is really an organizer of experts, a builder of productive teams and a developer of future leaders.

Practice closing your mouth.  Start listening more and learn about others on a deeper level.  Don’t try to solve all the problems.  Your job is to facilitate the meetings and influence the conversations that solve problems.