Do you consider yourself a good leader? How about a good listener?
According to Larry Spears, CEO of the Greenleaf Center, one of the top 10 skills that a leader needs to master is the skill (or art?) of Listening. He writes:
Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication and decision making skills. Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. Servant-leaders seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. They seek to listen receptively to what is being and said (and not said). Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one’s inner voice, and seeking to understand what one’s body, spirit, and mind are communicating. – From 10 Principles of Servant Leadership.
I tend to agree with this statement and believe that a leader should listen more than they talk. I have worked in organizations that were led by people who have listened and others who didn’t listen and can state that the most successful organizations were the ones that promoted communication throughout the organization because the leadership actively listened. I think most people have known those types of people (leaders or not) that just won’t listen or don’t know how to listen.
I truly believe that to lead successfully, you must be “in tune” with your organizations’ needs, wants, complaints and preferences. Take a few minutes to listen to your team (and your own heart) and take your career to the next level.
In case you are interested in reading further on the subject, I’ve provided links to a few articles and/or blog posts on the subject of listening as a leader. There are many more on the web but some good ones are:
- Kent Blumberg has a good story about a great leader who saved this company he led by listening in his post titled “How listening saved a mill“.
- Fast Company has a great article (from 1999) titled “The Leader of the Future” where listening is described as a key skill for leaders ‘in the future’.
- Larry Spears, CEO of the Greenleaf Center, has interpreted Robert Greenleaf’s writings on Servant Leadership and created a Top 10 List. This list is hosted at Butler University in their “10 Principles of Servant Leadership“
- The Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leaders provides a great deal of information about servant leadership and listening as a leader.
[tags] Leadership, Servant Leader, Listening Skills [/tags]