The most important job of a leader is to listen and listen well. What sets a great leader is her willingness to give of her time and energy. And although listening requires a large amount of both time and energy, it makes people feel valued and needed, a goal which all leaders should aspire to.
Leaders need to have–or learn to develop–the humility it takes to truly listen. Not just to hear what people are saying directly, but to be an investigative listener, to pay attention and discover things in the organization that may be unseen, whether they be positive and negative. And if you do uncover a dark, hard problem, fear not! Chances are good that the solution is shrouded in wisdom which will serve you well in the future.
What other good can you do by listening? Well, the list is probably way longer than this, but here are a few gems I've discovered along the way. I'm sure you'll find your own treasure, too.
- You create and build trust
- You learn to trust the team
- You build confidence
- You discover and support people's passion for their own personal growth
- You inspire collaboration
- You empower the PEOPLE
We communicate something powerful and sustaining by simply opening our ears instead of our mouths. But it's not just about that, either; it's about being patient and learning how to better ask questions so people feel encouraged to share their honest thoughts. In doing so, you have incredible power to improve the well being and health of not only your teammates, but your organization as a whole.
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