Shut Up and Listen!
June 24th, 2013
I apologize for the strong language – but I needed to get your attention. It’s the internet, you need to do what you can.
I am somewhat serious though. You need to listen. Not necessarily to me, but to your team, your co-workers, your children.
We tend to equate leadership with the charismatic talker giving inspiring speeches that bring people to their feet. Those are nice, and sometimes needed, but think of the leader that works intimately with your team. What are the qualities they express? My guess is that talking all of the time doesn’t unite a team.
In improvisation listening is arguably the most important skill you can hone. In doing so, not only do you get the crucial information – you send a message to the people you work with that you care and respect them – and they will feel more understood.
Recently I was talking to a friend who is a police captain. He is trying to do things different in the department, and hoping to create more engagement and enthusiasm. He recently led a town meeting and told everyone that this meeting would be different. Instead of standing in front of everyone and telling them what the police were going to do – he opened the floor and asked people to share their real concerns and needs. He didn’t solve one problem, but he and his team took pages of notes. They have already begun thinking through solutions. He shared that by asking more questions to their concerns they were able to find out what the real problems are – which weren’t always the initial complaint.
After the meeting the mayor told him it was the best meeting she had ever attended. The citizens felt heard and understood. The meeting was productive – not just a dog and pony show.
So, what would you look like if you tried to listen more? How might it shift your impact as a leader or a member of a team?
Give us a call, we teach it.