“Penning” your way to Leadership

livescribe photo

“Hear one side and you will be in the dark. Hear both and all will be clear.”

-Lord Chesterfield

I love my LiveScribe™ pen…

The love affair started innocently enough.  I was told about this great pen that could record conversations while writing notes and it all could be downloaded onto a computer… imagine that!  My right hand is not fully functional after having having several surgeries and sustaining some permanent damage.  The biggest issue with my hand is that I cannot do fine motor grasping without irritating the nerve and causing extreme nerve pain.  Holding a pen is a major problem when one cannot grasp or pinch fingers together…and being right-handed makes it an even bigger problem.

So I went out and bought my pen and the dot paper that is used for the recording of information.   As I went into business  or 1:1 meetings with people,  I would ask permission to record the conversations with the commitment that the recordings were for my ears only and would not be shared.  I also asked if anyone was uncomfortable with being recorded during the course of any conversation that they tell me and I would turn off my pen immediately.

There are some conversations I never record: legal conversations, any conversation where I have never asked permission, or any conversations in which someone had requested me to not record any conversations with them.  When using any recording device,  I feel very strongly that full disclosure is critical from an ethical standpoint and potentially from a legal standpoint.

So how has my LiveScribe™ pen changed my leadership?  Listening to my pen has moved me from just hearing the content to really hearing the conversation:

  1. Listening for whether I am really listening or not
  2. Hearing what is not being said
  3. When I think I communicated poorly, I listen to my pen.
  4. If I think my tone may have come across too loud or intimidating, I listen to my pen.
  5. If I need to find out what the other party(s) did or did not say, I listen to my pen.

I now have a pen for my leadership role at the insurance company where I work and I purchased another pen for use in my coaching business.  My clients have all agreed for me to record our sessions and it is helping me to be a better coach.  I can hear if I am not listening deeply and I can hear if I am not using powerful questions.

Yes,  I am having a bit of a love-fest with this new partner of mine!

What tools do you use to help make improve your leadership?


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