Being a leader means you can’t avoid difficult conversations, even when addressing conflict makes you uncomfortable, Marlene Chism writes. One of her four suggestions for inviting discomfort is to avoid interrupting during triggering conversations, instead encouraging the speaker to express themselves.
” from SmartBrief on Leadership
Rather than avoidance, engage to understand. Rather than terminating or firing the speaker, encourage the offering of alternative ideas, options to explore.
Attract people to your inner circle who are willing to disagree with you and who bring alternative viewpoints.
As the leader it is your responsibility to make the final decisions but listening and learning first will allow you to make better decisions. You don’t want your assumptions to get in the way of deep and exploratory thinking about a subject.
Unless you have a perfect memory for everything you hear and everything you read, you will need to make notes of important points you DO want to remember. By that, I mean not writing everything down because you don’t know what you will want later, but instead just noting the keywords and ideas. Learning to focus and to listen to understand and parse is a worthwhile skill.
Connecting the important ideas and writing down only keywords and phrases can most easily be done by taking notes as a mind map. The mind map allows you to add keywords or phrases to the topic branches as they come up.
It is also much easier to review your notes in a mind map than to reread whole paragraphs or outlines.
You will find that making notes about a topic you want to write or speak about in a mind map form allows you to organize your disparate ideas into logical branches before proceeding. You may find that if the purpose is to give a short informal talk, you can follow the mind map and give the whole talk without writing out a speech. Your talk will sound much more natural and you will appear well versed in your topic versus looking like you are reading from a document or note cards.
There are so many good things that happen when you learn to use mind mapping that I had to make you a mind map to show them all…and there are even more than the ones that I listed.
I’d like to hear the reasons it would be helpful to you. Would you like to learn to pay attention and take notes better when listening to someone speak, or when you are reading a book or article? Would you like it to be easier to review notes you made instead of laboriously rereading all of the sentences? Would you like to be able to have collaborative meetings with others over Zoom or another online shared meeting? An that could be just the beginning of the advantages of learning to mind map.
What would be your reasons or interests in mind mapping? Let me know.
A new book by Mehta and Fine about remaking U.S. high schools says their research shows it is the extra curricular work in teams to accomplish a big task, such as putting on a theater production, where they learned and enjoyed the most.
The authors, credit these type of projects with instilling critical thinking, collaboration, and effective communication, all I suggest essential in the business world. The authors also included content mastery though I would say given the ease of using technology to look things up, is not as important as having enough knowledge to recognize what you do and don’t know.
Instilling the the skills that make up critical thinking can improve collaboration and effective communication because it requires bringing in various viewpoints, asking good questions, listening effectively to each other, and working through more than one logical position or argument.
Who do you attract into your conversations and teams at work? Are they as much like you as you can find? Do they think like you? Does that feel good!?
Consider for a moment what happens at work if everyone thinks alike. Why do you need more than one of you?
Instead consider for another moment what happens if you work with people who complement you, who think different, who add to the diversity and options to be considered. Now this may seem confrontational and difficult at first. But at least you would all be needed because you are not just clones.
Being open to the value of different opinions and viewpoints can result in much better decisions.
No one can take your education away from you. What you learn is yours forever. OK I know there are diseases that can rob our memories. I’m not denying that. But other than that your life is enriched by knowledge, by curiosity, by interest, by paying attention, by seeking more understanding, more than anything else you can acquire.
You will relax whether or not that is your intention when you do conscious breathing. Slow down by counting to 3 as you breathe in, hold for 3, then slowly breathe out to the count if 3. It feels so good, do it again. 3 or 4 breaths like this will allow you to more easily face your work and life challenges or just get back to work calmly.
The advantages of using 3 of your senses instead of only 1
When you take notes as a mind map from something you are reading or listening you will be using visualization and kinesthetic senses as well as hearing (auditory). In addition, you will be engaging your brain, your deep thinking, as you organize the ideas on paper which organizes them in your memory.
Your results, memory, and understanding, will have multiplied.
Mental shortcuts, we all make them throughout the day. In a sense, they are necessary coping mechanisms your brain has been developing your whole life. Because there is no way to pay equal attention to everything within eyesight, earshot, and close enough to touch, our brain has developed filters to let in what it believes you need to know and leave out a large majority of what is going on around you.
Consider for a moment how you function during your daily drive or ride, or even walk, to work.
Most of what you pass by is a blur. Most of what you pass you take little or no interest. So much so that when you arrive at your destination you will not remember seeing or hearing most of what was actually there.
Your cognitive bias made those decisions for you. The filters you have built up to protect yourself from over stimulation and clutter worked.
But, and that is a big but, did you miss something that in the past wasn’t important but now is? Did you assume you knew what happened but really didn’t?
We can’t function in a busy world without our filters and we can’t take for granted that we didn’t miss anything important.
So what can you do? Ask others what they saw and heard. Ask for other viewpoints, other experiences, to add to your own. Be open minded about what you might have missed or added into a scene because of your filters, your own cognitive biases. They, too, have biases. Together you may both get a more complete picture.
Ask open questions and listen openly to the answers.
When you multitask you do a mediocre job of each, or worse. Think of the times you were doing email while on a conference call. No one could see you so you thought no one would notice; until, the boss calls out your name with, “what do think of that?”
Oh, oh! Now you have to admit you weren’t paying attention. Now you need to ask your boss for a ‘do over.’
To keep your focus on the meeting you might try listening so hard you are paying attention to the meaning, not just the words.
Or you can mind map the subjects during the meeting.
For sure, you don’t want to be thinking about what you will say when it is your turn. That, too, will mean you won’t be able to answer the boss’s question.