Biggest People Skills Leadership Challenge of Leading Diverse People | #LeadMorale

Some people think the biggest people skills leadership challenge today is being transparent. Well it is a key element of building trust with those you lead. However, the phrase, be transparent, still suggests a one-way style of leadership. And that approach will fail.

Address the biggest people skills leadership challenge — listening — and you will change everything for the better. To lead people who are not all like you, you must listen, engage, and collaborate. The following information will help you.

Biggest People Skills Leadership Challenge Image is transparent 3D image

Biggest People Skills Leadership Challenge. Image by fdecomite via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by fdecomite via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Biggest People Skills Leadership Challenge

Being willing to listen is the biggest people skills leadership challenge. Here’s what gets in the way.

  1. Need for control. When you have the need to control everything, you’re not likely to listen. Oddly enough, not listening lessens your control. Surprises will come at you from every angle. Think about that and listen to those you lead.

  2. Thinking you know best. A know-it-all leader blocks out input. It’s a fatal mistake. People will mistrust you AND resent you.

  3. Even More Serious Implications

  4. Unconscious bias. Bias skews what you see, hear, and value. Affinity bias especially, liking people who are similar to you, blocks listening and valuing everyone you lead. This destroys your leadership credibility and support. It crushes morale. People will accuse you of being biased, prejudiced, and possibly sexist or racist.

  5. Blinders Create Serious Misstep!

  6. Tunnel vision. If you tell yourself that success depends on staying singularly focused on the end goal, you may avoid listening to reduce the chance of going off course. Yet, this belief once again means that you think you know everything to lead everyone to the end goal. You don’t! Listening doesn’t detour you; it clarifies the road ahead.

  7. Fears. Fear of sharing power and fear of looking weak if you listen will block you from listening. Remember, listening does not weaken you. It opens you up to vital information and perspectives that you don’t have and do need.

People Skills Leadership Challenge: Listen!

To illustrate what happens when leaders don’t listen, let’s look at male leaders who wonder why women of today are angry at them. Many of these leaders say, “You act as if we did something wrong. What did we do wrong all these years? Why are you so angry at us?”

The answers are in the list above. For many years, male leaders were deep into affinity bias. They kept hiring men and even questioned if women could measure up. It look labor laws for equal opportunity to get them to change their behavior. They also labeled women as emotional instead of emotionally intelligent.

A Real Life Example

On the surface, this may seem like a slight inconvenience. It has been far more than that. For example, as male doctors and leaders blocked women for decades from becoming doctors, it meant that women had no choice but to go to male doctors. This skew caused many women great trouble. It has taken decades to correct that and fill the pipeline with diverse doctors especially in smaller towns. For marginalized people of different races, the result has been even worse.

The Good News

Leaders, you don’t have to fall into the trap of thinking you know best. If you are willing to give up what is comfortable for you, you can escape the otherwise irresistible urge to make yourselves happy. Listen, invite new ideas, and collaborate and you will lead diverse people with respect, trust, and great morale!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
5 Easy Leadership Shifts to Engage Those You Lead
Leadership Bias: Are You Showing Discomfort w/ Diversity?

©2022 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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