Most people know that selling is always more about the buyer than the seller.  Unfortunately, most leaders forget that leadership is more about those that are following.  As leaders, we are known by what we accomplish through others. 

The Data:

I have recently had the privilege of delivering training to the Executive Leadership Team at a local hospital.  We started the training session by identifying some of the most influential leaders we have experienced – both good and bad.  I was surprised to hear that almost every person in this particular leadership group identified the good leaders as ones who listened to their people.  Similarly, they identified the bad leaders as ones who didn’t listen to their people. 

So what did I learn? I learned that everyone wants their voice to be heard.  They want to showcase their value and insight.  They simply want to be honored and they appreciate it when someone listens to them. 

Leadership Insight:

John Maxwell always says his leadership paradigm is: Listen, Learn, Lead. 

Jack Welch says he never comes to the party with the answer.  He surrounds himself with the right people and asks the right questions to get the right answer.

Profound?  Probably not. Yet the application of this ‘Leaders Listen’ concept is unfortunately not the leadership standard.

Moving Forward:

Understanding people’s desires is essential to winning their approval.  Whether you’re asking investors to fund a new project or getting your team engaged with a new process –  your success depends on having a deep understanding for what matters to other people.  So here is the question: In what ways can we grow our capacity to understand what matters to our stakeholders?  Let’s take a look at these 7 ideas.

Execution Items:

    1.  Listen carefully to your stakeholders

    2.  Ask good questions and ask a lot of questions

    3.  Envision the stakeholders’ viewpoints and how you may be able to address their concerns

    4.  Verify with your stakeholders that you understand what matters to them

    5.  Consistently report back to your stakeholders on the progress that is being made

    6.  Remind your stakeholders how they have impacted the decision-making process

    7.  Let everyone involved know that you appreciate their input

Return Value:

When people feel listened to, they become more receptive to you.  Long term – leaders that listen will consistently lay the foundation for trust-centered, productive relationships that last.


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