Listen in Every Direction
Are you capable of multi-tasking? I imagine that you are and with the advent of technology, multi-tasking is now the norm rather than the exception. Perhaps you have been on the phone with someone before and had the feeling that you did not have their undivided attention. You may hear keys clicking, papers shuffling, or other noises that imply they are working while listening to you. It can be very disconcerting if the subject is important. Here is what we must remember. Every person and every subject is important to the person who is speaking. You must be a good listener if you aspire to “maximize your leadership.”
John G. Miller breaks down the directions from which you must effectively listen into three critical components.
Listening to one another. Are you a “good listener?” I hope you have been in some venue where “active” listening has been discussed. If you were paying attentionJ you know that body language, eye contact, and repeating back key points are good habits of active listeners.
Listening to your customers. It really matters what people think even if they are not within the organization and may not have all of the facts. External customers have a perspective that must be respected and responded to. The customer may not always be right but they do have a perspective and any organization that ignores or minimizes their opinions do so at their own peril.
Listening to your people. Employees in an organization must be “heard” and must know that leaders are responsive. Responsiveness does not require that the inmates run the asylum (don’t get offended here, just being metaphorical). Leaders and those who follow see issues from different angles and must work together to determine realities that are not always clear when only viewed from one side.
Work to listen in every direction and continue to strive to maximize your leadership!
Adapted from Chapter Thirty-Six of John G. Miller’s Outstanding; 47 Ways To Make Your Organization Exceptional