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Are You Listening? (#52)

The Confident Leader

The act of active listening takes time, but who has time? Meetings and to do lists are long enough already. Listening produces an out-sized return on invested time. Try it!

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”

— Larry King

This Week’s Edition

Most leaders think they are great listeners, but for leaders who truly assess their listening skills, they can find another level of listening – a path to improving this most important skill.

Clarify Your Thinking

A leader I work with recently took his daughter on college visits. She admitted that she was unsure how to approach the visits. He shared with her that he is working to develop greater listening skills as a leader and offered his recent discovery:

On her tours, the students shared that the classes were great and campus life was fun. Actively listening, she asked a few follow up questions and discovered valuable information.

  • At one school, her questions about schoolwork revealed that the students were 100% focused on their courses. They didn’t participate in any other outside activities unrelated to course work – not the school for her.
  • At another, the students went home on weekends leaving non-resident students alone on campus – not the school for her.

The skill of listening came to life for Mike in a personal way. “Robin, this is what I am experiencing as I truly listen to my team. Before, I might have been guilty of waiting for them to finish so I could speak. Now, I’m an engaged listener. I can hear what they are saying. My inventory of knowledge is better. It helps me make better decisions for the business.”

“Taking it a step further,” Mike offered, “I am more confident in where my team stands. Meaning, I spend a lot fewer mental cycles guessing where I stand with them. I listen. They talk. I learn. We grow.

post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Taking the time to listen provides a multi-faceted return on investment. When you listen to your team you:

·      Determine whether they understand what they are doing (or are just going through the motions).

·      Get valuable information from those closest to the task.

·      Learn things about which you need to go deeper.

·      Ask the next question that gives you better insight.

·      Create greater connection to your team.

Start practicing next-level listening skills by doing these three things in meetings:

1.   Be Present: Don’t multi-task. Close the computer. Put down the phone.

2.   Pay Attention: Make eye contact with who’s talking. Give non-verbal clues that you are listening.

3.   Be Curious. Let your natural curiosity about the information being shared form an intuitive next question.

Then, ask your question. It will show you have listened. It will draw others in. If you are listening, they will start to pay attention. Model true listening and others will follow. A culture of listeners!

Boost Your Performance

With this 52nd edition, the Confident Leader turns one year old this week.  This journey has been a listening tour, listening to your experiences and your leadership needs so we can produce something of value for you each week. It is my honor and privilege to serve you as your leadership coach as you pursue your greatest professional vision.

What’s Your Opinion?

Are you questioning your next strategic move for your business? Consider joining one of our leadership cohorts starting in September. Reach out to learn more about how to fulfill your greatest professional vision:

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.
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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.