I shared the background of these thoughts in on the 5/10/13 post. Here is the second key thought of a leader.
2.BE A LISTENER/LISTEN BROADLY: There is a difference between hearing and listening. People size you up. Be a good broad listener. You can do this by listening to people who have a radically different point of view. The key is not to necessarily agree with them, but to understand what is important to them and what they value. There will come a time when you will need to work with them on something that is important to you. Understanding what is important to you helps you frame the discussion. You don’t have to agree with what they say, but listen broadly.
LISTEN DEEPLY: When people come to you or bring you something for your attention or you ask for information, listen deeply. Take the two words-“listen” and “silent”. I’m not sure there is a coincidence that both of them have the exact same letters. Speak little and do much. It is your job to create a safe haven for them to share what is on their heart as well as what is on their mind.You want to invite (not pull) their concerns, thoughts and feelings.
I’ve learned that the bigger the title, the less people will tell you. It’s not that people are lying to you but everybody has a nuance to the story. You get the truth but not the whole truth. You have to find what is not being said. Listening for what is not said, looking at body language. Hear what is not said, pick up on it and we ultimately get to the crux of the matter. That’s why the more important the conversation, the more important it is to look at the person. You learn more on the nonverbal communication by meeting face to face. The more detached the communication, such as instant messaging or texting, the less you get of the story. Think of it as a continuum. The more important the conversation, the more personal it needs to be.
Practice muzzle spasm- If you have to do most of the talking, it’s bad, they have to search for the nugget. Iv’e been told “we need you to speak up quicker and say more.” I get it. I know that this can drive people crazy. But you need to know that I try to listen first then give my input. I don’t want to stifle the conversation or perspectives from others.