How Great Leaders Unlock Potential

How Great Leaders Unlock Potential

Over the last few weeks I have challenged myself to see the opportunity in all my experiences by utilizing the practices of the “Power of a Pause” (pausing my mind) and “Deep Listening” (listening to co-create) when I get emotionally triggered.

When I get emotionally triggered, I can feel the emotion of frustration and anger wanting to dominate my “Way of Being”. My natural way of being is to fight, but through the “Power of the Pause” I am learning to control my initial reactions and ask for support and really practice “Deep Listening” to hear what the other person is saying to me.


Here are 3 Key Insights from Deep Listening:

1. Complaints

Behind every complaint is a “Hidden Request”. Something is not working and someone is trying to communicate it.

Example: You stop by your VP of Operation’s office on a Friday afternoon to see how her week went and you ask a simple question, “How are you and the new VP of Finance making out on the roll out of the new invoicing process?”

The VP of Operations says to you, “I am struggling a lot this week with communicating with the new VP of Finance. She is very opinionated and has to be right all the time in our conversations! I am not looking forward to this coming week as we have a big deadline to meet and all I can think about is how she will want to control how my team and I implement this plan. You may be called in to referee some heated debates.”

What I heard – The hidden request was, “could you please support me in finding a way for me to connect with the new VP of Finance, because right now I am stuck!”

2. Vague

Vague = I don’t want to talk about it (the subject at hand).

Example: You stop by your Director of Maintenances’ office and asked him how his week went and his response was, “It was a good week!” You think to yourself, he has three large projects that he is working on and all he has to say to me is, “It was a good week”.

What I Heard – “Good” is a very vague response. What does good mean? When you inquire further by asking “What does good mean?” you will get the real story and the truth behind what’s working or not working. Being able to pause and really listen enables you to hear what’s below the surface.

3. Frustration/Irritation

Frustration/Irritation = the fringe, the edge of your comfort zone.

Example: This past week I was walking to an all-day leadership training session with one of my business partners. I was carrying my briefcase, computer bag, projector bag, course workbooks, and a flip chart. I became frustrated and irritated and asked myself, “Why am I carrying all of this stuff? Why is my partner not supporting me?

What I Heard: My frustration is due to a lack of intentional time spent designing the logistics of the training session with my business partner. We did not have a conversation about how all the materials and equipment would get to the location and who would be responsible for the various items.

At this fringe, I came to realize that if I am going to take Awesome Journey to another level of contribution and impact in the world with our expertise, I need to be more intentional about “Designing” every detail of our offer with my teammates!


Your Leadership Challenge:

Practice the “Power of a Pause” and then listen for the opportunity in the experience you are having to see the gap or blind-spots in your capacity to lead effectively. Can you hear the “Hidden Request” that is underneath every complaint?

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