Ron Heifetz, Senior Lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, is one of the foremost authorities on leadership. I had the privilege of learning with Ron several years ago and can personally attest to the unconventional approach he uses to teach leadership. In a Fast Company interview years ago he stated that “most leaders die with their mouths open. Leaders must know how to listen — and the art of listening is more subtle than most people think it is. But first, and just as important, leaders must want to listen. Good listening is fueled by curiosity and empathy: What’s really happening here? Can I put myself in someone else’s shoes? It’s hard to be a great listener if you’re not interested in other people.”
“Effective leaders are in “dynamic listening” mode, asking questions all the time — and not getting seduced into trying to provide all of the answers. If you’re the boss, the people around you will invariably sit back and wait for you to speak. They will create a vacuum of silence, and you will feel a compelling need to fill it. You need to have a special discipline not to fill that vacuum.”
How about you? Do you have the discipline, the willingness and the ability to NOT fill the vacuum. In what settings do you commit to exercise your ‘silence’ discipline? Please reply below.