Bestselling author Seth Godin recently published a blog post about the loud noise in our heads. This noise is our inner monologue and, as Seth says, “It’s the only voice that has seen everything we’ve seen, believes everything we believe. It’s the noise that not only criticizes every action of every other person who disagrees with us, but it criticizes their motives as well. And, if we question it, it criticizes us as well.”
There’s no doubt that this voice is powerful and sometimes overwhelming. It is the voice we follow when we take action, make decisions and lead. To be good and successful leaders, however, we must quiet our own inner noise and intentionally listen and pay closer attention to the experiences of others.
Seth goes on to say that because our voices are so loud, there is little time and space to take stock of how others might be experiencing shared moments.
The key is to practice empathy: If we strive to listen more than we talk, to clearly hear others’ perspectives, and to seek to first understand and then be understood, then we can tap into diverse perspectives and different experiences for maximum gain.
Strengthening our empathy muscles will ensure greater inclusion resulting in more creative solutions for us as leaders, for our teams and for our organizations.