One of the top ways that a leader can grow is by listening.
Think of this as a follow up to my article that looked at whether leadership is a quiet or loud activity.
It is somewhat counter-intuitive. Leadership feels like it should be a speaking activity. But it advances well when it exercises a listening posture. That reality can be hard to accept. It feels like it ought to be the other way around. But then again, leading by “feelings” is rarely a good idea. A leadership position often makes us think that we should be doing most of the talking. Not true. Leadership positions make us think sometimes that we are the most important person in the room. Again, not true.
Listening opens us up to the combined creativity of the group that we are leading. It opens us up to options. It opens us up to potential solutions that we may never consider on our own.
But listening is hard. It requires that we put aside our egos. It tempts us to view listening as a sign of weakness when it is a hallmark of strength and confidence of a true leader.
Listening offers ownership to others. Listening transforms reluctant followers into enthusiastic supporters of the idea that they helped to clarify.
But the word is “listening”. The word is not “hearing”. We all have heard our mothers say to us, “I know you hear me. But are you listening?”
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