The Top Ten

by Terry L. Sumerlin

Perhaps you remember the old Listerine mouthwash commercial that said, “I hate it, but I use it twice a day.”  That describes my love/hate relationship with social media.  In view of a study that has determined that most people check social media upwards of seventeen times a day, I’m disturbed by how easily it can become addictive.  On the other hand, I can see that it has value.  It provides opportunities for interacting in a positive way with friends and for interacting in business.

Generally, I post for business reasons primarily on LinkedIn.  Since leadership, people skills and communication are my presentation topics, posts are usually in the form of “Leadership Tips.”

As a change of pace, I thought it might be helpful if, in this issue of Terry’s Leadership, I give you the posts that seemed to resonate most with my LinkedIn contacts.  The top ten.  I hope that you, too, find them of value.

LEADERSHIP TIP: Most of us grew up hearing: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Novelist Charles Martin takes a more realistic approach. “If you want to hurt someone…way down deep, use words.” On the other hand, if you want to make a deep down, positive difference in a person’s life, words will do that too. Choose wisely.

LEADERSHIP TIP: What we know doesn’t make us leaders.  How well we communicate what we know does.  “Diamonds are only brilliant when they reflect.” (Charles Martin)

LEADERSHIP TIP:  The best thing about people skills is what it does for communication.  With great people skills, what is communicated is less likely to be misunderstood, misinterpreted or misjudged.  With great people skills it’s also more likely that others will want to listen to what we have to say, and that we will receive the benefit of the doubt on the close calls in judgment.  Other than that, people skills in communication are pretty much useless.

LEADERSHIP TIP: I recently read that David Brinkley once asked advice columnist Ann Landers what question she most frequently received from her readers.  Her answer: “What’s wrong with me?” From this we conclude that, in every interaction, the person with whom we’re communicating might feel as insecure and uneasy as we might.  This could not only serve as the basis for empathy and understanding.  It could also serve as the basis for effective communication.

LEADERSHIP TIP: Everything we do or say, in every way, every day, throughout the day, intentionally and unintentionally, sends a positive or negative message to others.

LEADERSHIP TIP: The power in communication is not always in what we say and how we say it. Often, it’s in what we don’t say and how we keep from it.

LEADERSHIP TIP:  You can’t reason out of someone what hasn’t been reasoned in.  Trying to make a point is pointless — as well as stressful.

LEADERSHIP TIP: Building a network is not a matter of how many people we talk to. It’s a matter of how many remember what we said to them, and of how it made them feel.

LEADERSHIP TIP: We all appreciate independence and the wonderful sense of freedom it brings. What we often fail to recognize is that independence is relative. For instance, all college students are independent until the 30th of the month. The fact is that all of us are independent until something, regardless of how mature we have been (or not) in our planning and preparation. That’s always a good thing to keep in mind when we need others and when others need us.

LEADERSHIP TIP: Trying and failing is certainly not the worst thing that could ever happen. Failing to try is!

 

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