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BY Joel Junker
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Episode 112 – How to Unlock Other People’s Potential

Several years ago I received feedback from a leadership assessment that in an attempt to help my team members solve problems, I was actually making them feel “less than” and defeated.  Team members would bring me problems or challenges, and loaded with so much experience, I thought it best to give them advice on how to solve it.  Instead of listening and asking questions, I’d send them on their way better off with my wisdom!

As I listened to this feedback, I was dumbfounded on one hand and felt kind of dumb on the other hand.  Of course quickly solving issues and offering advice would have the opposite of the intended effect.  This is actually how I feel when I just want to share with someone else what is on my mind and want help processing it. I actually don’t want the person to solve it for me, I just want support.  Support means, listening, asking questions and understanding.  Help me think this through.

About the time I got this feedback, I listened to Michael Bungay-Stanier talk about his new book, The Coaching Habit, on the Art of Manliness Podcast.  I read the book and have applied his model of being lazy, talk less, ask more questions and listen more.  Since that time, my team has noticed a difference in my leadership style and I actually feel less exhausted leading.  Funny how that works.

Michael Bungay Stanier

As leaders we are busy, so we tend to solve problems quickly and give advice too often.  Of course, there are times we have to do this, but leaders tend to default to this style too often.  We can actually unlock the potential of our people by being more coach-like more often.

I have followed Michael and his work ever since.  I also recently read The Advice Trap which provides more tips and how to stay humble and curious in the way we lead.  With that, at the root of what we do at Cameron-Brooks is help leaders reach their potential. So, I invited Michael on the podcast to provide some insight on how we can become more coach-like.

Michael shares a lot of great insight in this podcast.  If you like the podcast, I highly encourage you to read his book The Coaching Habit and apply the questions and steps he outlines.

You can learn more about Michael at mbs.works and also subscribe to his free educational program The Year of Living Brilliantly.

Links to other resources we discuss on the podcast:

Daniel Goleman’s Harvard Business Review article “Leadership that Gets Results”

How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb

Thanks Michael for being my guest!

Joel

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