He is a seasoned leader with millions of responsibilities. Literally. He oversees an international division of one of the largest corporations in the US. As is the case with all strong and effective leaders, he recognizes the importance of a continuous improvement process for his own leadership. Recently, he has attended a leadership program aimed at top-level executives. This is an intense experience of workshops and projects lasting several days. When I asked him to give me his take-aways from the event, his response was startling. He said, "Of all the great concepts and tools, the thing that was the most powerful was learning how to wait." A bit confused, I asked him to explain. He continued, "Whenever I am in a meeting or discussion with another person I am going to ask myself the WAIT question: Why Am I Talking?"
Many times we speak without taking the time to stop and consider how our words will be received or even how we should deliver them. Likewise, at times we need to slow down long enough to choose the right words to communicate. If I use the WAIT technique on a regular basis, I am certain that I will be speaking less and listening more.
Take a minute to consider your personal relationships. How many times do we wish we could take back something that we said out of anger or hurt? What if we knew when to stop talking? What if we could add value and purpose to our conversation with others?
Leadership is about knowing when to talk and when to listen. Learn the discipline of WAIT and you will make a difference!