I wasn’t listening. Not for a long time. Not what I now consider to be effective, expert listening.
I was distracted. Focused on my own ideas. Obsessed about incoming information. Beholden to my in box and the alarm/alert status.
I wasn’t an effective listener. Simply stated, this means I wasn’t a very effective leader.
Leadership is listening, not talking. Leadership is asking, not telling.
Listening is a skill you can develop.
I did. It makes a big difference. The first step to improvement is awareness. My listening awareness mantra:
Seek first to understand. Then be understood. (Dr. Covey Habit 5)
Our conversations count. They transfer knowledge and establish the clarity and connectedness we need to trust. The Social Shift elevates our expectations around the conversation. Increasingly, we want to engage. We want to participate. We want to have a voice. Real time.
The onus is on the leader, business or brand to listen. When you listen you are learning. Our employees, customers, partners, friends, colleagues will tell us so much…so often, everything we need to know.
Are you listening?
I recently had the opportunity to keynote the Meeting Professionals International EdCon event and the enclosed two minute video excerpt talks about my own transition from a “one minute manager” to a leader that started to understand the value of really listening.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.