Does Leadership Effectiveness Start With Deep Listening?

Where the truth is self is not.

Where you are the other is not.

- Krishnamurti

Most of us are poor listeners, self included. And it occurs to me that the people who really excel at being poor listeners are those who hold positions of power in organisations.

How many decisions are made without the right people – those who have some kind of stake in the matter at hand – being in the room to discuss the matter? Even when the right people are present, I notice how quickly we dismiss the voices around the table that put forth a view of reality that differs from that of the powerful, or the dominant narrative.

I say that we should not stop at listening to the voice of the customer. I say we should listen also to the voice of the employees. I say that we should listen to the voice of the ‘whole system’ – all the stakeholders – when we explore matters, make decisions, and take action. Why?

What each of us believes to be true simply reflects our views about reality. When reality changes and when we ignore competing realities, if we dig in our heels regarding a familiar or favoured reality, we may fail. Perhaps what we thought was the truth is no longer the truth in today’s environment.

Multiple, competing realities existing simultaneously: This is true and this is true and this is true…… If we entertain multiple realities, we create possibilities that did not exist for us before. 

We are more likely to discover the truth we most need to understand today by demonstrating that everyone has a place at the corporate table. That all voices are welcome. That no matter what our area of expertise, each of us has insights and ideas about other aspects of the organisation..

…until the multiple – sometimes conflicting – realities of key individuals and constituents have been explored, implementing a plan can be decidedly tentative endeavour. To the degree that you resist or disallow the exploration of difficult realities in your workplace …., you will spend time, money, energy, and emotion cleaning up the aftermath of plans quietly but effectively torpedoed by individuals who resent the fact that their experience, opinions, and strongly held beliefs are apparently of little interest to the organisation.

- Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations

 

Posted on June 19, 2013, in Culture, Customer Insight (inc VoC), Employee Engagement, Leadership / Change / Transformation, Management, Social and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Maz,

    It is a sad truth that we always agree with the senior person. It is sadder that senior managers expect us to.

    It begs the question, who is the fool?

    James

    Like this

  2. Hi Maz,
    Thank you for this reminder. It strikes me that listening to truly understand another’s perspective without any ‘agenda’ filters is a life skill, one of mastery and mindfulness that I strive to get better at every day. I often fail but keep trying. My wish is that more people would do this as I believe it is not only one of the keys to being a better leader but also of being a better person.

    Adrian

    Like this

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,231 other followers

%d bloggers like this: