The Listening Leader

Each month in our Remarkable Leadership Learning System, we focus on one specific skill that can help leaders on their path towards remarkable leadership.   This month we have been focusing on listening.

A part of the learning materials each member receives is a tool called Reflect, Record and Rejoice.  This tool comes at the close of the month to help members reflect and think about what they have learned.  As a part of that tool I wrote a short summary of my lessons from the month as a leader and learner.  Here is a part of that reflection . . .

I’ve had the chance to talk to a number of groups about listening this month.  And in each case I’ve come back to a quotation I shared with you on our tele-seminar:

“The first duty of love is to listen.” – Paul Tillich

The flipside to this idea is a powerful insight. In order to truly listen effectively, we must love the other person, the topic, the project, the context or whatever.

In reflecting on this idea all month I’ve come to the conclusion that remarkable listening is a selfless act. In order for us to truly listen we must get out of ourselves and into the other person, their ideas and the topic. Every nanosecond spent thinking about ourselves – what we believe, assume, or plan to say next – is keeping us from hearing the other person clearly and completely.

I realize this idea holds us to a pretty high standard.  I also realize that we won’t achieve this standard all the time.  As remarkable as we can be, we aren’t perfect.  This fact doesn’t excuse us or provide us with an alibi.

To be a truly remarkable leader means we are serving others – and the act of listening is one of the core actions of service to others.

I hope these reflections are helpful to you and challenge you as well.

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