It’s great to work with a leader who knows a lot. It’s absolutely terrible to work for a leader who knows it all.
I want you to pay particular to the wording of those two sentences. When a leader knows a lot they work WITH their people to create an environment of growth and success. When a leader knows it all they tend to be far more “boss” like than leader like. They don’t work with their people, they expect their people to work FOR them.
Leaders who believe they already know it all don’t listen to their people. They don’t need to because the only reason anyone actually listens is to learn something. When you have nothing to learn you have no need to listen.
It’s bad for anyone not to listen. The most successful people learn something new almost every single day. Much of what they learn they learn by listening. When people in leadership positions don’t listen the results can be disastrous.
Leaders who don’t listen demoralize their people. Leaders who don’t listen have no way of knowing how to help their people stay motivated. Leaders who don’t listen have no way of showing their people that they care. Leaders who don’t listen will never earn the commitment of their people.
Leaders who don’t listen have to rely on compliance instead of commitment. They will need to try and force productivity out of their people. They may eventually get some work out of them but the quality and quantity of that work will be less than idea.
Compliance will never take an organization and it’s people to the places where commitment can go.
It is nearly impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator. But leaders who don’t listen think communication is only about talking. So they talk and talk and talk. They tell people what to think, they tell them how to think it, and they tell them when to think it.
Communication is also about listening. In fact, communication is mostly about listening.
Leaders who do listen give themselves a chance to learn. They give themselves the opportunity to receive information from multiple sources and break it down into actionable tasks.
Leaders who practice the art of listening receive feedback on their own performance as well as unbiased input about the performance of all members of their team. It allows them to create a truly inclusive organization based on performance not favoritism.
Leaders who are willing to listen learn exactly how to show their people that they care about them. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their people and they find positions for them where they can succeed.
Hearing is a gift from God but listening is a choice. Authentic Leaders make the choice to listen to their people, to their customers, to anyone who might help them lead even a little better.
Have you made the choice to listen? If not it’s a simple choice, just look in the mirror and tell the person looking back that they have a lot to learn. Then start talking less and listening more because when it comes to listening one thing is certain…. if you’re talking then you’re most certainly NOT listening.