Listen to Lead
Last week I started what will be a series of articles on the difference between management and leadership. Not leadership as typically defined, but rather holistic leadership; a form of leadership that emanates from a firm belief that the power is in the people and not the numbers. In case you did not have the opportunity to read last week’s article, I defined the attributes of management as someone who gets things done through others by planning, organizing, allocating and controlling. A holistic leader however, is one who inspires and encourages others by providing focus, clarity, vision and creativity. They lead through traits such as empathy, compassion, vulnerability and humility. This does not exclude those traits typically attached to today’s leaders. Traits such as drive, commitment and determination.
This week, I want to discuss a behavior that I believe to be foundational to being a Holistic leader; listening. Of late, I believe the importance of listening has been picking up some steam in the business consciousness. I applaud that development as I can think of no better way inspire and encourage others, than by allowing them the opportunity to be truly heard.
The kind of listening that I am referring to is not your run of the mill, sitting on your hands while the person in your office has verbal diarrhea. Rather, the form of listening I am advocating stems from being fully present and engaged. It is active listening, which requires two-way communication and a search for clarity and understanding. It demands a true interest in the person sitting before you and an expectation of the same in return. This form of listening crystallizes loyalty, trust and respect. All three serve to help inspire and encourage. Loyalty, trust and respect lead to having engaged employees. Engaged employees lead to results!
Listening starts with effort. Make time to sit with and talk with your managers and employees. Approach those conversations with beginner’s mind, not with your typical pre-judgments or formed opinions. Share; show compassion, vulnerability and humility. A helpful exercise is to be mindful of the fact that we all want the same things; to be valued, heard and honored. As you approach a conversation, bring that awareness to that shared aspiration.
I recognize that these all sound like soft skills. I am not arguing that these in a vacuum are all that are needed to be a successful leader. Rather, these skills blended with the requisite business acumen most leaders possess, are what turns an effective leader into a holistic leader. A holistic leader is open to opportunity and has the understanding that the path to results is paved by engaged employees who feel inspired and encouraged by their leader. The power is in the people, not in the numbers, that is the core belief of the holistic leader.
To learn more about holistic leadership, schedule a free growth session.
Thanks for reading.