The Power of the Audience
Three of our grandchildren – 2, 6, and 7 yrs. old – spent the week with us. I kept hearing, “Watch this Poppi.”
Everyone longs for an approving audience,
the standing ovation.
Leaders are the audience when:
- The organization is top down.
- They are highly respected.
- Pay and promotions are in their control.
- They assign and evaluate projects.
Our youngest grandson loves dribbling. The more we praise the more he does. “That’s awwwwesome!”
Bringing out greatness in others
means seeing greatness, first.
The danger of high standards – and you must have them – is they may obscure progress. By the way, if their current progress is unsatisfactory, it’s most likely you are responsible. You hired the wrong person, for example.
Encourage without sharing improvements:
The leader of a new initiative in our organization asked for feedback. The last performance was good not great. I could offer suggestions but she knows more about her area than I do. Any suggestions I make wouldn’t add value.
Rather than offering suggestions, I said, “I love where you’re going.”
Your power to encourage diminishes
with every insignificant suggestion you make.
On the other hand, substantive suggestions encourage those who pursue excellence. “Thanks, that’s great,” they’ll say.
The rule of 70%:
Before offering improvements to those who already pursue excellence ask yourself if your suggestions have at least a 70% chance of making a meaningful difference.
When you’re concerned:
- Ask them to share their vision for the team or project. “Where are you going?”
- Ask them where improvements are needed. If they miss something meaningful, point it out. “Have you thought about?”
- Ask them how you can help? It’s likely they’ll be like our two year old grandson, “I can do it myself.”
How are you bringing out the best in those around you?
What can those around you do to help bring out your best?
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Very nice points about “hidden” leadership and a little bit “unconscious” motivation! 🙂
Thanks for the good word, Idyona.
I ask “What lessons are you learning to move you closer to what you’d like to create?” I then sit back and stuff my pie hole with popcorn and listen.
Thanks for another great nugget! Your last sentence is crafted perfectly… 🙂
Good Morning Dan! I really enjoyed this insightful post today. Funny how we can get such fantastic perspective from kids!
I particularly enjoyed the quote, “Bringing out greatness in others means seeing greatness first.”
Thanks for the encouraging word, Tim.
I’ve found seeing greatness in others is often obscured by seeing their faults.
Hi Dan! Thanks for the response, and you are welcome… Great point about greatness in your comments. How true!
I learn so much from you and this post; thanks for your continued efforts.
I was talking to a friend recently and she was saying that there’s a movement towards having kids see their own achievements instead of having them pointed out by parents or other people traditionally seen as authority figures (like teachers). I may not be explaining it properly so please don’t quote me on this. At first, I thought that sounded like a great idea, because people need to be able to identify their own value and evaluate their own achievements. But then I thought it might not be such a good thing if we lose that “Watch this Poppi” kind of idea where kids look up to others and want their approval. If we become insulated to the extent that the opinions of others don’t matter, I’m not sure that’s a good thing. In essence, there wouldn’t be an audience.
I’d appreciate the feedback of this wonderful community. Thank you.
Empowering leadership – I love it!
The fundamental requirement of anyone, leader or not, is to have the self-confidence that allows them to make the other look good.
Once the leader is self-secure, then all things are not just possible, but probable!
Congratulations, Dan, for making it on Freshly Pressed!
Love the rule of 70%! Very insightful and helpful.
By the way, instead of the “power of the audience,” I’m referring to the “power of the participant” or “stakeholder.” In today’s world, “audience” is too passive a word. We all should be in the game of work or life rather than on the sidelines watching.
In a communication… any communication whether it be 1-2-1 or
1-2- many, it’s the listener that has the power to influence the speaker, not, as many might argue, the speaker who has control of the listener.
Here’s the proof…
The next time someone is telling you something; turn down your normal listening behaviours.
Don’t nod, don’t say aha at any point, don’t smile, don’t engage… then see how long it is before the speaker starts to either up their energy, decrease in confidence, or simply stop talking.
Alternatively if you consciously want to energise the speaker, just do the opporsite of the above behaviours and see what happens.
The audience is the puppet master always.