One of the items in my paper for the Leadership Challenge that is in my development plan for this year is to work on building more effective teams. One of my foibles that I’ve been working on for a few months now is to be a better listener with other team members. This article, colorful language excepted, was helpful for me in thinking through what it means to listen in one on one meetings and how I could improve relationships with staff members who report to me. Here it is for your edification:
The problem starts with the word: listen. Of course you know how to listen. You sit there and let the words into your head. Perhaps your definition is more refined. Maybe your definition of listening involves hearing because you’re aware of that switch in your head that you must flip to really hear what a person is saying. It’s work, right? Pulling in all the words, sorting them in your head, and mapping them against the person who is speaking. That is listening, that is hearing, but if that’s all you’re doing and you’re a leader of people, then you’re still only halfway there.