Listening is not only the gateway to superior leadership but also the doorway to gaining the commitment of subordinates. Listening is the most important of all leadership skills. Leadership at its best is a coherent strategy to cause employees to utilize their full brainpower in performing their work; to be highly creative, productive, motivated and committed rather than turned off and poorly motivated as in “leaving their brain at the door.” Although the full strategy is well beyond the scope of this blog, I’ll attempt to present how leadership itself really works in a series of articles over the next few days. [ BTW, please note that these daily articles are NOT pushed out via email. You must visit this site (or subscribe to the RSS feed so that you will automatically be notified when new articles are posted) to access the remaining articles of this series that will be posted daily. ]
Deep in the set of normal human temperament is the tendency to broadcast rather than to receive. We would rather talk than listen; rather put out than to take in. Servant Leaders possess a temperament that values listening above talking. When one is leading with a purpose, this disposition causes one to be seen as a servant first. Thus, a leader’s listening disposition encompasses getting in touch with one’s own inner voice and seeking to understand what one’s body, mind, and spirit are communicating. This type of active listening that undergirds the other qualities of servant leadership such as, awareness and empathy, requires listening not just to what others are saying, but also to our own internal voice.
To commit to being a servant leader, you must create time to reflect in order to understand who you are, and how you relate to staff, customers, and the larger community. The self-reflective listening is rooted in a genuine interest in the viewpoints and perspectives of those served. Attentive listening is basically an attitude – really wanting to understand. It is also a technique. But, the technique without the attitude is phony. Servant leadership is all about taking the time to serve. In essence, a servant leader makes time for people to serve and support – even when there is not any time available.
Tomorrow’s article will describe how that is done. Please stay tuned in.
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.