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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Dragon Reborn - Chapter 7 [#100Days, Day 79]

The Quiet, Forceful Presence

    Leaving the wounded Shienarans behind and sending Min to Tar Valon, Moiraine, Lan, Perrin and Loial set off after Rand.  With Lan spending long days scouting ahead, Perrin and Loial get significant time alone with Moiraine.  Or, more appropriately, re-learning how forceful of a leader she can be, after a winter in the mountains spent arguing.

    [Perrin] tried refusing, resisting, but it was hard to resist when [Moiraine] made a reasonable suggestion, and a small one at that.  Only there was always another reasonable suggestion behind it, as reasonable and small as the first, and then another.  The simple force of her presence, the strength of her gaze, made it difficult to protest.  Her dark eyes would catch his at the moment he opened his mouth.  A lift of her eyebrow to suggest he was being rude, a surprised widening of her eyes that he could object to so small a request, a level stare that held in it everything that was Aes Sedai, all these things could make him hesitate, and once he hesitated there was never any recovering lost ground.

Perrin, The Dragon Reborn, p. 69

    Moiraine's presence and non-verbal cues prod Perrin and Loial into maneuvering to her wishes.  Word are always important, but non-verbal communication can be even more effective.  I've noticed that sometimes simply being in a room or a meeting can be particularly powerful (especially if it's unannounced and unexpected).  Often, I won't even say anything; I'll merely sit there, listening.  Suddenly, the level of care rises: if the boss is in the room, this has to be important.  Walking around and talking to the team reinforces the feeling of importance and keeps them focused on execution.  Walking around is one of the most powerful non-verbal cues available to a leader: it gives you the chance to see the hard work that's going into the products and stay engaged with the workforce.  When communicating with outside stakeholders, especially on problems and challenges, it's far more powerful to state "Well, I was down on the floor talking with the team, and..." instead of "Well, the latest update I received in my inbox tells me..."  Facing the constant barrage of email and electronic updates, it's more critical than ever to hit the shop floor and interact with the folks that are living with the decisions you make. 


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