3 Lessons: Long-Haul Thinking

Ellen Voie, CAE, takes time to hear others' perspectives.

Ellen Voie, CAE
Women in Trucking Association, Inc.
Plover, Wisconsin

Surround yourself with complements.

I've learned to admit that I'm not the best in some areas, but I find great employees who excel in those spaces. Step back and give them the liberty to make the best decisions: They'll be happier with the autonomy, and chances are higher that they will work harder and surprise you with better results than you imagined.

It's not about you.

A wise colleague advised me to "assume good intent" on the part of a board member whom I felt had slighted me. After I thought about the director's actions, I realized it wasn't about me; it was more about advancing an issue directly instead of including me. Once I quit feeling disrespected and focused on the end result, I realized the benefits of the action and immediately stopped feeling marginalized.

Listening is the most important part of communicating.

I've learned to really focus on what the other person is saying so I can respond appropriately. So often we don't give our full attention to another person, and the interference (smartphones, external noises, internal response formulations) gets in the way of really hearing what's being said. Someone once said that God gave us two ears and one mouth and we should use them in that proportion. I agree.