LISTENING: Leadership lesson of the week.
This was an extremely challenging week, both personally and professionally. Monday began like any other Monday, hectic, but I was ready and prepared for it. Typically, my team has questions, and I have answers. I have, what seems like a million, things to sign and approve, etc.
All was going well until I received some devastating personal news about a loved one’s health challenges. The news was devastating but not surprising, so I processed the information and went about my day as best as possible.
Through the course of the day, I had some normal exchanges with my team, which is simply a back and forth of inquiries that help guide my and the team’s decision-making.
The consequence of not listening
The next day, one of my team leads came into my office and informed me that she is resigning. She gave me a list of reasons. The most important reason that made me sit up and pay attention to her were that (1) my expectations are unattainable and (2) I expect everyone to work as I do, but sometimes people just need a break, which I don’t seem to understand.
I will admit that I have had instances where I aggressively pursue an objective and outcome. I will also admit that when I am in pursuit mode, I fail to see another person’s point of view when their perspective isn’t aligned with achieving the intended goal or outcome.
In these instances, my tunnel vision creates an environment that isn’t conducive to truly listening and hearing what another person is conveying."When you speak, you repeat what you know. When you listen, you learn something new.”Dalai Lama Click To Tweet
Result of Listening.
Leaders must learn to listen. Really listen to the heart of those around you. Perfecting your listening skills as a leader helps to build empathy and trust. Actively listening to your team or anyone that is speaking with you builds trust. Enabling people to trust you and be open to you. Listening helps also to provide missing information, which helps your growth as a leader.
From the interaction with my staff, I learned that we have communication issues, which lead to a breakdown of our relationship. Which then lead her to believe that she needed to leave the job.
My truth is that I was not more receptive to her. I was not an active listener in our communication. Had I been more receptive to her, and had I been a more active listener to her and created an environment conducive for dialogue, the impending outcome would have been prevented.
Once I made the conscious decision to just listen, I was able to respond in a way befitting a leader. First, I apologized for my forceful responses, second, I declined to accept the resignation but made promises to listen more, speak less and allow her to grow and manage her team as she sees fit.
I am a work in progress. I want to be a leader that receives the lessons the people around me are here to teach me. That to me is growth.
Thanks for exploring this topic with me