What Is Everyone Talking About?

Do you speak more than you talk?
Do you speak more than you talk? (iStock photo)

Do you speak more than you talk?

There is plenty of talk around the office throughout the day. Typical topics may include the weather, weekend plans, sports results, and the money-eating-vending-machine.

Idle chatter is accidental, unplanned and sporadic.​ Speaking requires more thought, preparation and intent. 

Influential leaders speak more than they talk.

Talking should be a sometime thing. It has its place, I suppose. But the voice of a leader must be more calculated, targeted and life giving.

An essential tool of leader-speak is the power question, "why?"

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Team Member: This is one of my worse days ever at work.

Leader: Why?

Team Member: Nothing is going right. I can't do anything right.

Leader: Why?

Team member: I'm so frustrated that I can't get anything off my to do list.

Leader: Why?

Team member: I just haven't been able to focus.

Leader: Why? 

Team member: Work just keeps piling up and I don't even know what to work on.

Leader: Would you like help with setting priorities? Let's do this together.

The sample conversation isn't all that contrived. The words may change, but the essence of the sample conversation is likely to occur in any office, any day of the week.  

The temptation for a leader is to break into a monologue with sage wisdom and a fix it mentality. A weaker leader will dominate a conversation with excessive talk. The teammate's eyes glaze over and very little progress can be made. The worker feels "talked at" rather than "spoken with."

Leaders love to ask why. Different words can be substituted, such as "tell me more," "really?" or "is there more to this?' The essence of the path of engagement is to develop conversations, not speeches. The Socratic method of leading or teaching is excellent, but few leaders will take the time to engage with this time consuming process.

Stephen Covey reminded us to "Seek first to understand."

Teammates prefer to first be understood.

Therein lies a fundamental difference between a leader and a follower.

"Should he reason with unprofitable talk or with speeches with which he can do no good?" (Job 15:3)

"In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.


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