Have you ever thought about the first time you were called or picked to lead?
Maybe it was to lead a song in church. Or maybe you were picked to head up your girl scout friends to sell cookies in front of Walmart. Some of you were captain of your little league baseball team and over the course of your athletic career became the captain of your varsity football team.
Do you remember how you felt when you were asked to lead?
When I see children picked to lead their class to the lunchroom or clean their classroom I see joy, excitement, and a desire to please. As kids get older, there are fewer and fewer who want to lead. By the time they reach high school and beyond, leaders can be more difficult to find.
Maybe this is because as we grow up we have a natural tendency to want to follow. Or maybe there are social pressures that make it hard to stand out from a crowd and lead. It is very natural to want to fit in.
Back to the leaders. As I embark upon this new found thing called “podcasting” I am hearing a reoccurring theme…
The kids who stand out from the crowd listen. Good parents listen. Good salespeople listen. Good superintendents listen. Good nurses listen.
Listening opens up a whole world of possibility as to what can happen next. It allows for you to:
- show empathy when you need to empathize
- give grace if you are called to give
- provide coaching when you need to share some wisdom
- honor your team member by providing undivided attention
- take notes
- evaluate your team and bring a different viewpoint to the issue at hand
And after you’ve listened and determined what comes next, you can share, connect the dots, create, and solve problems.
Recently I had a chance to walk through a local school district and listen. This what a perfect opportunity for me to assess their current situation, take good notes, sympathize because copiers continue to jam (even Xerox’s), provide some coaching on how to keep them from jamming, and come back a few days later with some recommendations to help them.
My mentor shared several valuable tips for leaders when we recorded the first episode of my podcast. I’m not giving all my secrets away, but he said,” Listening never got anyone in trouble, it’s when you open your mouth that things can go wrong.”
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Photo by Tanya Mackey
One thought on “Leadership is Listening”
One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. Bryant H. McGill