“We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.” Peter Drucker.
Think about your leadership development in those terms. According to Drucker, it isn’t always about learning new methods or theory. Part of leadership development to learning what to stop doing!
This is a huge, life changing insight. What if you could improve your leadership and ability to influence just by knowing what to stop doing!
If you want to be more approachable, what would you do? If you are like most people you begin to make a list of behaviors to *start* doing. The list might include keeping your door open, making more eye contact, pushing away from your desk, not interrupting, gentle nods of the head, paraphrasing, open body language, asking questions, etc., etc.
What if you thought of the same goal in terms of what to *stop* doing. Stop fiddling with your blackberry. Stop looking at your computer. Stop sighing. Stop looking at your watch.
You may argue there isn’t much difference, its only semantics. I disagree.
Look at this way, what is easier to do, becoming a patient, engaging, laid back communicator (which does not come naturally to you) or to stop being rude? The first requires several conscious steps and acts that you previously identified. You are learning new behaviors, or substituting bad ones. You have had to figure out what being approachable looks like.
The second is simply to stop doing activities that are rude! You don’t have to remember your laundry list; you just have to catch yourself doing rude behaviors. I think most of us can recognize when we are rude, impatient, and preoccupied.
In Marshall’s 20 Habits he provides you his solution to fixing these annoyances. As he points out, correcting these behaviors does not require “polished skills, elaborate training, arduous practice or supernatural creativity. All that is required is the faint imagination to stop doing what you’ve done in the past – in effect, to do nothing at all.”
How simple is that?