W.A.I.S.T.

The art of opening your ears and listening has never been so powerful

rands ✔ @rands Regardless of seniority, every good manager will: ___________________________

49 12:28 AM - Jan 6, 2017 Twitter Ads info and privacy

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The above tweet spun off a really interesting list that I will link at the bottom of the post but a number of them surrounded the same point over and over again which made me remember one of the few acronyms that I can use without being sick in my mouth.

Why Am I Still Talking I use WAIST in a few particular scenarios, all of which are tips I have learned from listening to podcasts such as Manager Tools and Tim Ferriss.

On a daily basis as a leader within a large IT department, I am asked various questions. Some are trivial, and some are not, but this guide still applies. Now to be fully honest here, I have to improve in the follow habit a lot, but just think of this the next time you are asked a question.

Fred: hey, do you think I should schedule some time with John to discuss some design work I need done or should I just email him?

Now… you don’t even know Fred or John but I’m sure you could probably answer the above question a couple of ways without even knowing the context. (Designs over email is baaaaaad right?)

Say you answer ‘Yes’.

Fred nods in approval, goes back to his desk and schedules some time with John. The world moves on and everyone gets on with their lives. Three days later however, Fred comes to you with a similarly problematic question knowing the last one he brought to you was dealt with straight away and with aplomb.

Who does that help serve?

Fred? No fucking way.

You? Definitely. It makes you useful. It means Fred comes to you because he respects your opinion and you get that little bit of a rush every time someone comes to your desk to get some wisdom. It’s how the human brain works I’m afraid, just like when you get a little notification saying someone has liked your tweet. The fuzzy.

So instead, I try to steer the conversation like this.

Fred: hey, do you think I should schedule some time with John to discuss some design work I need done or should I just email him? Me: what do you think?

This will be the face of Fred Fred does not expect this. To go to someone with a question and for them to ask a question back is the work of the devil for some people… but think it through.

Fred must have thought about this before he came and seen you Fred probably already has the option he wants in his head Fred is looking for you to confirm what he is thinking So why not ask Fred to make the decision himself? That is how you begin to create leaders within your teams. Colleagues who are empowered to make their own decisions on a daily basis without bottle-necking the flow of the team by needing someones approval.

W.A.I.S.T.

The second use of this is something I’ve been trying to do as much as I can lately as it’s a brilliant tip.

Be the last to speak – tim ferriss Now this is not about having the last laugh or anything like that, this is about keeping your mouth shut until you are ready to give your fully formed opinion and also to see what other people in the room think before you let loose on the room.

Being the last to speak for me means that when I’m in discussions with a person or a group, I have all the facts in front of me before I either say something which then either gets actioned or becomes common language around the organisation because it came from my lips.

W.A.I.S.T.

To create a culture and team that you can be truly proud of you need to model the behaviour which you expect from others. It’s a scary thing to say but at the end of the day you are surrounded by people who expect you to be the perfect citizen of the world and that is a tough fucking job.

Listen more.

Talk less.

W.A.I.S.T.

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