I talk too much. There, I said it. Most people that know me would probably say that it is about time I admitted it. But realistically most of us have this problem. Even the most introverted among us tend to use way too many words to describe our thoughts and feelings. One thing I have noticed is that it plays out in how we lead. See if any of these settings strike a chord with you:
- We think out loud. We haven’t taken the time to process our thoughts so we think it through while others are with us. Not only are they bored in listening but also when I think out loud in the presence of others I find myself disagreeing with what I say. Not only am I confusing others, I am confusing myself.
- We have a meeting to talk. And talk. And talk. The result of the meeting is that we need to have another meeting. Stick a needle in my eye. It’s torturous.
- We tell others what we know even when they don’t care. Have you ever found yourself relating a piece of information about something and seen the eyes of others literally glaze over. In our ADD world it seems that I, and others, have a need to explain every random neuron firing.
- We try to get others to help us solve problems by describing what needs to happen. We talk about the problem and we talk about what needs to happen and we talk and we talk until we wear them down or they just leave. Describing things does not motivate people to action.
I talk too much. No offense, but you probably do, too. What we need is story. Spoken words can be powerful. More often than not, the power is missing, however, because there is too much talk and not enough story. Your story. My story. The story of what can be. Think about it, the biggest influencers in the world are known for story. Jesus told parables and stories to describe who God is and the Kingdom that he was ushering in. Martin Luther King told stories of what was happening and what could be. Abraham Lincoln told stories to diffuse conflict and to move a broken country forward. What about you? Too much talk? What would need to change for you to lead from the narrative of story? Take a moment and think through how you currently lead. Where can you consistently tell your story and the stories of others? And where might you need to just shut up? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.