- Posted by Janet Zaretsky
- On June 5, 2017
- 1 Comments
It is listening. Really. However, let’s talk about the way in which you listen that brings about results. This may seem obvious, but I find that many leaders have not taken the time to examine this skillset and develop it, and thus, are missing out on affecting their team as they desire.
The first step is to discover what you naturally listen for and under what circumstances. For example, when you are in a meeting and ask a question, what are you listening for?
- Are you listening for people to agree with you?
- Are you listening for the ‘right’ answer which you already know?
- Are you listening for new input?
- Are you listening for brilliance and out of the box thinking?
- Are you listening intently?
- Are you listening with curiosity?
- Are you listening while being annoyed? Or interested?
It is actually how you are listening that will shape what comes out of that meeting. For example, if you are listening for people to agree with you or reinforce what you already know is right, you are very likely to get someone to spit out what you want to hear and although a brave person may offer something new, you will likely miss it, and they will get the message that their view is not appreciated. This will inform your team that their contribution is not that important and you will likely have a mediocre performing team members.
On the other hand, if you listen for people’s brilliance, their out of the box thinking and you respond positively to that, you will develop a team of people who create solutions beyond what you had thought possible and are likely to be high performers.
Let’s talk about another scenario. This one may be more challenging but highly impactful. Imagine that there is someone in your organization or someone with whom you do business that has a ‘reputation’ of being some particular way – like arrogant and argumentative. There has been talk and you have heard the reports and the examples. When you go to have any interaction with this person, you will likely be automatically listening from and judging him/her from ‘arrogant and argumentative’. When you listen that way, it is like you have a myopic view and all you can hear is the evidence for his/her arrogance and argumentativeness and that shapes your reaction to him/her. They may have something brilliant, and spectacular to contribute but they cannot because the way in which they are viewed is through arrogant and argumentative. So, what is there to do?
- Tell the truth to yourself about the way in which you are listening/pre-judging the person.
- Allow yourself to let that go.
- Create listening for his/her brilliance and contribution
- Acknowledge them for what they are contributing.
The really amazing thing about this-when you listen to people as brilliant, they begin to show up brilliant and what they were projecting (in this case arrogance and argumentativeness) will naturally drop away. You can take someone who wasn’t performing at the level they are capable of and create a star performer—all because you started listening to them and interacting with them as a star performer. Now, that is real leadership- causing leadership in others!