I have a BIG personality.

One that can fill a room.

My grandfather used to say I could change the energy in the room just by being in it.(And, I was only 9 at the time.)

And, I have opinions.

Did I mention that I freely share those opinions?!?

Yes, if I’m not careful I can overpowerthose around me.

And, it’s not just that I have a BIG personality, and share what I think, it’s also that I like to talk. (My husband, not so much.)

My very presence can overwhelm the sweetest soul while my run-on sentences – I mean paragraphs – swirl overhead like a cartoon character which can throw them into overload.

I’m also not afraid to tell it like it is (inherited from my law enforcement days) – which can bring a boatload of trouble, too if I’m not mindful.

So, I’d like to share the three (3) most critical elements that great leaders must know when communicating with others. (This is from my lessons-learned-the-hard-way manual….)

First, great leaders recognize that asking great questions is always more important that giving solutions.

This goes back to overcoming business blunder #1. Most people just don’t think and operate like a journalist – and you need to in order to connect with others. Any “who, what, where, when, and why” scenario will do as long as you’re deliberate. It is also about being more interested in others than striving to be interesting. Be a world-class question-asker.

Second, great leaders listen to the answers given – and listen well.

They make the commitment to actively listen, rather than focusing on what to say next. After all, when you do that, you’re present in the moment and give the other person the gift of your full attention.

The secret is to commit to listen more than you speak every day. I’ve been practicing this as it doesn’t come easy for me.

I’ve also been working on not interrupting others when they speak, waiting until they’re finished, considering what they said, and then responding with care and compassion.

And, third, great leaders choose the words they speak wisely.

When you’ve got flair, it’s important to understand filters.

Filters enable you to engage your brain before you engage your mouth.

In my book Connection: The New Currency, I wrote about the Bank of Authentic Connection. We all have an account there. Some people are overdrawn and others are flush with cash.

The best leaders consider how their words affect others, choosing wisely.

Once the words come out of your mouth, it’s impossible to take them back.

It’s like not knowing your own strength and squeezing too much hair gel out of the tube. Once it’s out, you can’t put it back in and all you’re left with a sticky mess on your hands.

Even if you apologize and ask for forgiveness, those words are out there. Forever.

The Upside Challenge for the week is to examine your own communication style, and what you will choose to do differently. I shared with you what I was working on, and if you remember these three gems, you’ll get it right every time.

See Upside. Be Upside. Lead Upside.

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