What listening can do

Today’s message is the first in a series. You may have noticed that I’ve recently added at the bottom of my messages that I coach leaders who listen thoughtfully, question deeply, develop mindfully, refuel quietly – or want to. I thought it would be helpful to delve into those four key leadership attributes in the coming weeks.

Listen thoughtfully.

When I look back over my career, I believe JT was a gift of a boss. He trusted me, believed in me. Saw in me more potential than I saw in myself. JT was my VP and wanted me to grow, use my wings. How did I know?

He listened to me.  JT practiced a level of thoughtful listening that made a lasting impression. He asked for my perspective, opinion, feedback and would listen thoughtfully. Knowing he wouldn’t always agree, he appreciated my tactful candor.

The way JT listened helped me grow in confidence, broadened my perspectives, helped me understand his thinking. That was invaluable because knowing his perspective enabled me to offer a different view when others were frustrated or unaware of why something was happening.

It strengthened my voice.

His thoughtful listening helped me be a better listener. I am naturally curious, interested in others’ experiences and what they have to say. When I work with clients, I listen even more attentively because I know being deeply heard can be transformative and empowering.

What makes listening thoughtful?

JT would: 
-set other things aside
-make eye contact
-jot notes sometimes
-not take calls
-ask good questions
-ask more questions to understand, to clarify, to discover
-give the impression I was the only thing he was thinking about in those minutes
-thank me for my input

The gift JT gave me has served me well. I learned that how we are listened to makes a difference not only in how we listen to others but also to ourselves. It can strengthen confidence in our voice. It can equip us to contribute in more meaningful ways.

I also learned that listening thoughtfully is a gift that expands in its sharing. 
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