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At second glance it is truly about the ‘art of leading up’, yet it still feels right with the title above.

The more consistently successful leaders already understand this art. They have answers to the question, “How do i get more of what I want from the people above me on the chain?”

Here’s one way I’ve learned over the years. Please share the ones you’ve learned with others through this blog.

Mine has to do with that concept introduced in the new book, “The Missing Piece in Leadership”.
The concept referred to is, managing the listening you’re speaking into. I first heard this expression from Dennis Wagner explaining why he thought the work we do was so impactful in so short a time.

Dennis said, “You manage the listening you’re speaking into first.” (After over three decades in the transformation in thinking field, Dennis Wagner is still on top of my list of naturally effective leaders.)

Thinking about Father's Day, hence fathers, this morning brought back memories of a letter I had written to my Dad a number of years ago.

I wrote the letter for me, my Dad had passed a number of years earlier. there was always something i wanted to say, and hadn't. the letter was triggered by the movie, "Field of Dreams".

There's a scene where the Kevin Costner character first talks with his father for the first time. Costner asks his father if he'd like to plat catch. i have no memory of ever playing catch with my Dad.

Actually, I have no memory of playing anything with my Dad. He was a pretty serious guy. He didn't learn to play until

This letter isn't something I normally share - it feels like time.

Dear Dad,

I love you. When everything else I write here is said and done, that is the essence of what I want to say. And, there is something else I feel a deep need to express.

The Answer is in the Room

A basic premise of all of our work is that whatever the issue or challenge, there is already an answer available ‘in the room’ – within your own people.  Even more basic than that, what it takes to fully take advantage of the answers available through your people is the realization that the answer is in the room - whichever room you are in. 

As a leader, your mindset; how you approach and look at the issue or challenge, will have the greatest impact on the quality of answers available to you.

The example below demonstrates how quickly the power of asking the right questions can impact an outcome.  In this case, I asked the questions but with AMP (awareness, mindfulness and presence) and some practice, we as leaders can begin to ask ourselves the questions.

 Two co-directors of a project team were struggling.  The project was behind and their stress level was increasing rapidly.

Having taught leadership for over two decades I was amused to hear my friend’s grandson declare: “I don’t want to be a leader”! He had just completed a weekend retreat for teens and was told by the event director that he possessed natural leadership qualities.

I asked him a question that everyone in a leadership role might pause to consider…

”What does being a leader mean?”

He didn’t hesitate before saying “I don’t want to have to be the one to tell people what to do and then make sure that they do it!” This young man’s definition is a common perception of what leadership is; and, thankfully it is not an accurate one. So what does being a leader mean?

Throughout the course of my career I have met very few really poor leaders. However, I have met many in leadership roles who make their own job harder every day because of some bad habits.