Sharing too Much
Most of us may think we are a pretty good communicators but I have watched leaders make all sorts of communication blunders – unintentionally. One of the most common mistakes leaders make relates to their need to “share too much” or let everyone know how much they know.
For example, an employee or colleague is telling you a story about a challenge they’re struggling to overcome. Before they’ve even finished the story you’ve jumped in and interrupted with, “I know exactly what you mean, 3 years ago I was in a similar situation and….blah, blah, blah. In a heartbeat, the focus of the conversation has shifted from being all about your employee to being all about you.
How do you think your employee or colleague is feeling in this moment? If you want to have conversations that further the growth and development of others, resist the urge to hijack the conversation with your own stories. This knee jerk reaction of sharing too much, being entertaining or giving unrequested advice is not useful in this context. We’ve all done it and it is not effective.
Instead, focus on being present and engaged. Be curious and draw out your team member through questions and listening. Deep listening and asking insightful questions with the intent to draw people out and help them solve their own problems will transform your conversations.
Being present with others is fundamental to building strong relationships. People will leave these interactions with a sense of stimulation and possibility. In order to achieve this however, you must leave behind your need to fix, problem solve or tell your own tale. Instead, come to the conversation with open ears and a curious mind.
As you bring more consciousness to your tendency to “share too much” and begin to practice being more “interested” instead of “interesting” you will build more trust and respect from others ultimately strengthening your relationships.