Coverage of a recent US presidential debate included a comparison of how many words each candidate said during the event.
I suppose getting more airtime than other people is a good thing in a political contest. But what about in servant leadership?
Indeed, self-aware servant-leaders often ask themselves – and sometimes they ask those they lead – do I talk too much?
Imagine if there were a way to measure the percentage of time people spoke during a meeting. What do you think would be the optimal airtime a servant-leader would want in an average meeting?
On one hand, it’s safe to say that a servant-leader would not do more than 90% of the talking in an average meeting. That kind of domination is more consistent with a show of power and self-centeredness.
On the other hand, talking less than 10% of the time in an average meeting sounds like being checked out or simply not caring about the meeting.
If I had to pick, I’d say a servant-leader would want to speak no more than any other individual participants in an average meeting.
In my experience, servant-leaders come to meetings prepared in advance with the information they need to convey; they avoid giving long lectures; communication is two-way; they ask lots of good questions to the participants; and they know how to shut-up and listen to the answers.
Indeed – and unlike presidential candidates in a debate – servant-leaders score points by listening, not talking!
In this way, servant-leaders demonstrate an essential element of the servant leadership approach: It’s not about me, it’s about you.
What do you think? What percentage of the airtime would a servant leader want in an average meeting?
Let us know.
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