I came to a realization. I was thinking about the types of people I like to work with and realized that a majority of them are self-aware and seek to fully understand before answering a question or making a decision. And, when they make a decision, they share just how they arrived at that decision. When I took a step back and thought about this, I realized that I identify most with these behaviors because they satisfy the business-analysis strand in my DNA. Leaders, who can be anyone within an organization, often use core BA competencies without even realizing it.
When leaders, especially those I admire and respect, participate in conversations, they ask thoughtful questions which prompt others to think broader and deeper about the issue at hand. They are good listeners and try not to make assumptions or jump to conclusions or decisions. They seek clarification and understanding. They ask key questions. Who else may have information about the topic or experience with the situation? How often does this happen? Who else is aware? Why is now the right time to address this issue? What about…..? Often times, many light bulbs go on while talking with them. This awareness and understanding are keys to success.
These leaders are people who command an audience – when they speak, the room gets quiet and people pay attention. They know they will learn something. They may learn how to better phrase a question, how to effectively use body language, how to disarm a difficult situation, or learn something new about the topic at hand. These leaders are also engaged active listeners. They are focused and perceptive, taking into consideration and context the person(s) with whom they are interacting and are able to gauge the correct level of dialogue for the audience.
The leaders I enjoy working with most are also very adept at how to ask why; this, in my opinion, makes them successful as well. The key is the art of how to ask ‘why’ so as to gain a better understanding. The old adage of ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’ definitely applies here. When the recipient of a question feels there is sincerity and respect driving the question or dialogue, the conversation flows much smoother. Curiosity is often a driver for a business analyst, and how that curiosity surfaces is very important. This is often a driver for leaders too.
I think it is interesting to step back and realize how great skills transcend roles and are leveraged for success. This is especially evident when you look beyond your role and see how your competency skills are applied successfully in other roles. It can be encouraging and enlightening when thinking about career growth and new horizons.