Listening – A Secret to Leadership Growth

Talking into a Large EarOne 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.

Stylized EarBut 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?”

Hunter Listening

4 Replies to “Listening – A Secret to Leadership Growth”

  1. I am a big fan of the Game of Thrones books by George R.R. Martin. Reading this article reminded me of a passage from the book. The clans are at war with each other. Tywin Lannister has a long successful history of winning wars with patience, intelligence and brutality. The scene takes us to a meeting with his head men after they suffered a loss. He did not start off the meeting with what he was going to do, but rather asking each man what their own strategy would be. They each gave their view point to Tywin and he made a decision based off of the information given back to him by his leaders. His first action, was not to “act”, but to listen, discern and then start his army’s physical response based upon the background information given. We need more leaders who make listening to valid viewpoints a priority in their actions.

    Very good thoughts Kevin.

    1. Kevin, I would enjoy submitting the occasional piece to the blog. The ideas behind the blog are very in line with my work life right now and my school life for that matter.

      Cheers and we miss you and your wonderful wife my friend.

      1. @kevin I am jotting some notes down that will end up in an article. May have it ready by this weekend or earlier if it streams out of my brain cells. How exactly do I post it to the site?

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