Paid to Think

David Rock, in his book Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work, shares the secrets he’s learned to become a fantastic leader.  And this doesn’t imply that as a “leader” you own the business, it implies that you work with people.  That you lead people; a group, a team, a division, a company, or a project.  This book is for those times when you are called to lead.  (And if you are a Mom, Dad, Wife, or Husband, then you are a leader by default! 🙂

In today’s world, more people are paid for their brains, not brawn.  As our society advances in technology, more of the physical labor jobs are being replaced, while thinking jobs are being created.

For example, the steel industry shed 450,000 jobs or 75% of its workforce between 1963 and 2002, all the while increasing productivity by 38%. [1]

I’m guessing you are paid to think for a living in your job.  If that’s so, then maybe the steps in David Rock’s book can help you advance your pay, your position, and most definitely, your personal communication.

The Six Steps are:

(1) LET THEM DO ALL THE THINKING
(2) FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS
(3) REMEMBER TO STRETCH
(4) ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
(5) PUT PROCESS BEFORE CONTENT
(6) FOLLOW UP

LET THEM DO ALL THE THINKING

Help those around you improve the way they think.  Let them think through their own challenges.  When you are presented a problem by your team, resist the urge to tell them what to do.  Instead, ask questions to help your team think through the problem themselves.  The book suggests a couple of questions:

  • When you say you’re not sure about {project, goal}, which part of this do you want to discuss with me?
  • How much has this been on your mind?
  • Do you know what to do next and just need a sounding board, or are you really stuck?
  • How can I best help you with your thinking?

By helping someone to think for themselves, you are guiding them toward the idea of self-directed learning.  A positive approach to focusing on solutions and thinking on our feet. (And for me, not turning to Google every five seconds to look something up!)

David suggests a three-step, laddered approach to help your teammate do all the thinking.
1. Support the other person to come up with their own answer.
2. Support the other person to go find the answer themselves.

3. Provide an answer in a way that is in line with the person’s way of thinking.

Good luck trying this new methodology.  I’d love to hear your feedback and your stories.  If you want to read the rest of the story, head to your local library or get the book here from Amazon.

Thanks to David Rock for his amazing book!

Source:
[1] http://microeconomicinsights.org/productivity-impact-new-technology-evidence-us-steel-industry/