5 Ways to be a Leader Who Turns Heads


It’s an ego boost to sit in the power chair and see heads turn in your direction. You enjoy it. You come to expect it.

The beginning of the leadership journey is about getting heads turning in your direction. As time passes, you see that leadership is about turning heads toward each other.

#1. Declare it:

Declare your intention to develop a team where heads turn toward each other.

  1. Say, “I want us to develop options and select solutions as a team.” Explain why it matters.
  2. Don’t say, “I want to do less.”
  3. Don’t say, “I want you to do more.”

#2. Practice it:

Provide opportunity for people to talk with each other by slowing down your quick brain.

  1. Take notes during meetings.
  2. Ask, “And what else?”
  3. Take a breath before speaking.
  4. Say, “I have some ideas, but I wonder what you think.”
  5. Practice strategic absence. Make space for others to interact with each other by temporarily leaving a meeting. What would it take for you to feel comfortable leaving a meeting?

#3. Track it:

Aim for balanced participation during team conversations.

  1. Invite input from quiet team members. “Charlie, what’s coming to your mind?”
  2. “Mary, how does this impact your area?”
  3. Confront drifting. “I’d love to see you contributing to the conversation.” (Do this in private.)

#4. Coach it:

  1. What behaviors best encourage people to talk with each other during meetings?
    • After hearing one behavior, ask, “And what else?”
    • List four behaviors.
    • Ask, “Which one of these behaviors would you like to practice in today’s meeting?”
  2. When our team is at it’s best, how are we interacting? How might we do more of that?
  3. What comes to mind when you think of improving the way we interact?

#5. Honor it:

Give public acknowledgement when you see behaviors that cause heads to turn toward each other.

What leadership behaviors encourage people to talk with each other?

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