The Global Leadership Summit (GLS) is an annual conference where leaders from all over the world, and across multiple industries, share (via telecast) their wisdom, inspiration, and experiences to help others grow in their leadership. You may be a leader in your job, in your family, in your church – but no matter your position, age, or status…you have influence.
Our company has had the privilege of gathering together for the past 8 years to watch and engage in GLS. This year featured 13 speakers and I’m sharing insights from a few of them. Hopefully you too will find these insightful!
The content presented at GLS lands a little differently each year because our world is constantly changing – both globally and personally. This year we were heavy-hearted watching for the first time without our company founder, and my father, Pat Dodds. Dad was not only a visionary, but his gentle spirit drew others to follow his demonstrated servant leadership. As we focus on carrying on his legacy and leadership in the communities we serve, I must first recognize the great leader that we’ve had in our company and our family.
One of the apparent themes at GLS 2022 was how to better connect with others. This seemed very appropriate still coming off the heels of the global pandemic where we were quarantined, socially distanced, working from home, and limited in our travel. Vanessa Van Edwards, a best-selling author on behavioral research, offered some great tips on “leveling up” with people and creating a stronger connection which creates a sense of belonging. She explains that most people stay at Level 1 by discussing occupation, hometown, and family status. These questions keep our brains on autopilot and don’t make emotional connections. Instead, Vanessa suggests asking thought-provoking questions to dive deeper…
Questions to make stronger connections:
Level 1 – General Traits
- What’s been the highlight of your day?
- What’s something exciting coming up, or that you’re working on currently?
Level 2 – Personal Concerns (such as goals, values, worries, etc.)
- What’s your biggest goal right now?
- Are you learning about anything right now?
- What’s weighing on your heart or mind?…and can I help you with anything?
Level 3 – Self-Narrative (stories we tell ourselves about ourselves)
- How do you feel most misunderstood?
- What’s something most people don’t know about you?
- What forces made you who you are?
- Who’s your hero?
- What’s the proudest moment of your life?
If we can get to Level 3 we uncover a key to how they behave and what they believe. As great leaders we need to ask great questions and compassionately listen to the answers.
Johnny C Taylor, Jr., CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management discussed how our society needs to have more EMPATHY, or the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The enemy of empathy is APATHY (lack of concern) which has been on the rise since the 1990’s. While empathy may be naturally easier for some, it is human nature to put our own priorities, beliefs and concerns over those of others. It takes intentionality and focus to genuinely care about others. Johnny believes we should start with ourselves when improving in this area of empathy by:
- Engaging in Discussions (NOT debates). Be an extreme listener!
- Embracing Diversity. Receive people with honor.
- Being more kind. Let people see that you see them.
Another speaker that had very valuable insight was Dr. Heidi Grant, a social psychologist and science leadership expert. Dr. Heidi touched on 2 general mindsets: Fixed mindset and Growth mindset. I’m sure most of us can relate to both these mindsets at different times – we can even experience both throughout the same day! Some typical attitudes under each mindset include:
To have more of a growth mindset Dr. Heidi says we should start by changing our language, using words like “grow, progress, improve, become, develop, over time, yet”. For example, instead of “I’m not a good speaker”…say “I’m not a good speaker, yet.” It’s not about being good, it’s about getting better.
Do you think you could also focus on having a more growth mindset in certain areas? How about practicing more empathy? Or ‘leveling up’ with your personal connections? I’d challenge you to ask more engaging questions to get to Level 2 and Level 3 in your conversations, starting with people you care about the most.
We’re looking forward to integrating these practices and a lot of other great ideas we garnered from GLS 2022 into our personal and professional lives!
If you'd like to learn more about the speakers mentioned above, please check out the links below.
Vanessa Van Edwards
Johnny C. Taylor
Dr. Heidi Grant