Avoid the Train Wreck – Active Listening

In the title I listed active listening. What might be more accurate to creating a train wreck is lack thereof. How often have we seen the train wreck unfold before our eyes, as a would be leader fails to hear what others are saying? Too often. And it creates pain and punishment that is easily avoidable. It hurts to watch as communication breaks down and useful energy is lost.

Without question, leaders must be learners. If you want a disaster anoint a leader who already knows everything. One thing leaders must learn to be successful is ‘who they are leading’.When recruiting and training we sometimes migrate to ‘selling’ our organization or team. Our focus moves from the prospect to our team or company. We are comfortable there. It is what we know. Working with information we don’t know is a little more challenging, and that is why we must always be collecting new data. Recruiting, training, and coaching are just as much about what they say, as what you say. Don’t get caught up in loving the sound of your own voice.

Synergy, team building, collaboration, and any other buzz term you can think of, gets lost when we close our ears and race to the point. The number one motivator in the work place is a sense of significance. And others cannot feel significant when they cannot contribute. Listen to what is said, even if you already have wheels in motion and a plan in place. Just hearing what others say will add value to your team. And most of all, listen when they talk about themselves. It’s everyone’s favorite topic, and it provides a wealth of insight when coaching or motivating others. It is impossible to influence those around you, that you are to busy to know.

Like anything in leadership, do it intentionally. It won’t happen by accident. Build a strategy. One of my favorites is budgeting the time for the ‘slow walk’. It communicates you are approachable, and not too busy to hear an idea. You will be amazed at the nuggets of information that you will glean by walking slow, and listening well.

Don’t be the train wreck. Enjoy the day.

written by James Anderson


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