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Creating Successful Leaders

By Margaret Smith, UXL:

“Be an opener of doors…”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever met a speaker, Psychologist, and Leadership Coach by the name of Louise Griffith? I had the pleasure of hearing her speak as a keynote at the womEn’s conference this month. Some of her messages about communication really stuck with me because of their clear, simple, and truthful nature. Because I’m still thinking about these messages nearly a month later I’ve decided to pass them on to my readers.

When interacting with others, whether on a very personal or professional level, there are certain ways that we can make them feel respected and accepted. You may not always realize it, but the way you respond to others when they express themselves can very easily make them feel unimportant or shut them down—and you may not even know what it was that you did wrong.

One of Louise’s larger ideas concerned something she called “Intrinsic Validation”. Behind this term is the belief that “the most powerful validation you can give another is to care enough to step into their world and listen without giving advice, feedback, or criticism.”

I don’t know about you, but I find that it is often far too easy to fall out of practicing this skill. Luckily, Louise shared some easy to use and remember tools (in the form of phrases and questions) that help you to continue the practice of intrinsic validation.

Louise outlines four components to improving interactions with and validation of others:

Look for the Good:
Stop yourself when you begin to judge and focus on the good in others instead.

See it, then Say It:
When you see another person’s positive effort or good, make sure to share your appreciation or admiration with them.

Listen for the Doors:
The “doors” are the verbal cues as to what someone is thinking. This is where you create a bridge instead of a wall)

Step into Their World:
We’ve all heard the phrase “step into their shoes” because it works.

Most important were the phrases that we can use as tools to immediately improve interactions:

           Tell me more about that.

           Help me understand what you are experiencing.

           Are you OK?

           What I like about your idea is ________ .

I challenge you to pick one of the phrases above and use it in the coming days. I’m confident that you’ll be astonished at how quickly your interactions with others will deepen and improve.


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