Here’s something that often happens to me on a break when I’m doing strategy or team development work with a senior team. A leader sidles over to me and slyly says, “So are we different from your normal clients?”
In a word, no. Most leadership teams have similar chronic challenges. The words may be different, but the music is the same. Listening to each other well is usually near the top of the list of leadership challenges. This deficit exasperates almost everyone on the team but we rarely stare it in the eye and do something about it.
The wasted energy and needless brain damage we experience in our teams is a good reason to focus on listening. But don’t stop there. In just about every community, we have persistent and increasingly acute problems. They’re inflamed by shouting. They can only be addressed when we start to listen.
I’m sure you’re not surprised that something we practice at work can be useful in our private lives. You know that there’s no such thing as a work life and a home life. You just have a life. So why not let your work environment be a test lab for learning to listen well? Everyone in your community will thank you.