The Leader that Listens

"You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time." – M. Scott Peck

Leadership in this day and time is not about an individual's dreams, or their personal plans and goals; it is about the successful implementation of an idea. And ideas are successfully implemented through people, by the effort of teams. Hence a successful leader understands the importance of teamwork.

We build teams not by ordering people around, telling them what to do and forcing our expectations down their throats, but by inviting them to work with us, always being respectful of their opinions. In teamwork there really is no room for "I want this", "I want that". It's more like "how can we achieve this?", "what is the best way to go about this?", "What are your thoughts on this?"

Team work is vital to the success of any company or organization. The ability of the leader to communicate – ideas and strategies to members is key to the proper functioning of any system. And what makes communication effective (especially in the long run) is the ability of the leader to LISTEN (not so much to speak, or articulate an idea, but to be receptive to what others have to say).

"We're either listening and leading. Or commanding and dictating to nowhere."

Why Listen?

Like most aspects of life, communication is a two way street. People listen to us when we listen to them. Information is better received when individuals believe themselves, their choices and needs to have been part of the decision making process. This explains why successful companies are always asking for feedback, regularly sharing comments by clients and partners, and never fail to reassure the public that their opinions count.

Listening is an indication that the leadership is paying attention.

Listening as a vital skill

Listening (and hearing) — I realize after many years in business, is not the easiest of skills to master. Yes, it is a SKILL. One that top leaders continuously develop and improve on.

Because human beings naturally would rather talk than listen and talking seems to indicate that a person is knowledgeable and in control, learning to listen requires conscious effort.

There are many advantages of listening:

"… good listening skills can lead to: better customer satisfaction, greater productivity with fewer mistakes, increased sharing of information that in turn can lead to more creative and innovative work." –



 Organizations sink sometimes when those in leadership positions start to operate from a vacuum, expecting others to simply tag along. Only to realize at some point that they lost everybody. Why? Because failure to listen distances us from others.

Listening to those we work with establishes a sense of value that builds loyalty. It invites other leaders into the process and makes it possible for them to engage in activities of the organization. Whether in professional or personal relationships, listening creates that important connection between individuals required for progress. Listening (and hearing) makes collaboration possible. 

Also, very importantly, is the fact that we learn and absorb new ideas by listening to others because we are not better than them. Great leaders are perpetual learners. People we come in contact with have a great deal to teach us. 

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I encourage you to develop and sharpen those listening abilities as we grow as leaders. Cheers to your success!


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