I want to offer some considerations for Leaders who want to achieve more in their world, be more successful in their world, have more fun in their world, increase their overall life satisfaction, mentally feel better and be respected by others.

I offer these considerations for all Leaders…not just leaders who are in formal positions with a title that connotes a leadership role with direct reports, rather this is an offer to consider some leadership practices for everyone who wants to lead in their life…somewhere with something.

If you want to lead your family, if you want to lead a project, if you want to lead your friends to social events that are enjoyable, if you want to lead your organization…these considerations are for you. Leaders are everywhere…not just in the executive suite or the boardroom or the office.

Today’s offer for consideration is this: Try Truly Understanding Another Person.

Learning how to, and regularly practicing, standing under another person’s reality is a path that builds huge levels of trust between people. Understanding can enable us to see things we otherwise could never know, appreciate, consider, reflect on, include in our decision making.

Without this true understanding, we are so limited, we are missing parts of puzzles, we are not fully educated, we are less than what we could be, we are not whole in our thinking, we have gaps. None of these things encourages success to us as leaders.

When I ask you to consider truly understanding another person, I am asking you to suspend your judgement, to open your heart, to open your mind and to open your eyes and ears to seeing & hearing the emotion, the feeling, the truth & depth that another person is attempting to express through their words, which can often be touching only the surface of what and who they really are.

For leaders in organizations today, I hear so much concern and anxiety about the widening cultural gap that is occurring between millennials and baby boomers. My advice regarding millennials is good advice for your relationship with every person:  Don’t stereotype them. Understand them – all of them, on all sides of the generation spectrum. Really demonstrate, model and TEACH the skill of understanding in your cultures. Incorporate it into your KPI’s and your organizational values.

I want to send a powerful reminder that leadership is a relationship and any time we forget that, we diminish our influence. Blend the bottom line with your human spirit by cultivating the skills to really stand under another’s reality – & see how your success with others will blossom quickly.

Click here for 5 ESSENTIALS that will help you develop skills and abilities that enable you to really understand others. I challenge you to pick one of the 5 Essentials and try it for 15 days. Journal your experience and let me know how it goes for you.

Here is an excerpt from my journal when I began attempting to cultivate this leadership skill. I initially choose the Essential of “Listening to Connect”.

This was very hard! I wanted to listen to judge, or listen to defend or listen to rebut or listen to agree.

I had to be very conscious of my responses to others. It took great effort. I found that when I did listen to connect it created a space where others opened up more. It prevented arguments or disagreements from happening. The conversations had more quality and richness to them.

When I was listening to connect, I had to be very mindful of my body language. I would catch myself tensing up my body or my facial expression exhibiting an emotional energy that didn’t convey my intention to connect. This was critical to the other person feeling that I truly was connecting with them and not judging etc. Even though my words would sound like I was wanting to connect, my body language would not convey that same message.

As I practiced this essential it became easier over time, however it is still not my natural reaction. I found that I do this more often with clients than I do with my family. My family would tend to get more judgment from me. It was interesting to see where my listen to connect was easier and where it was harder depending upon the person.

I found on one occasion that my amygdala (lower brain) got hi-jacked and I asked questions still trying to listen to connect. It became so difficult that I had to end the conversation. I thanked the other person for their thoughts and said I would consider what they had said and that I’d get back to them. I found in that instance that ending the conversation was the best I could do to avoid saying something in my defense to the other person. So in that case I listened to connect to a point and then I asked if I could think about what they had said and come back to them at another time.