Frances Hesselbein is one of the most highly respected experts in the field of contemporary leadership development. The former President of the Girl Scouts of America and current CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute knows how critical listening is to leadership success. In an interview with her, she told me, “I believe it is the quality and character of a leader that determines performance and the results. As a leader, the success of your leadership depends upon how effectively you mobilize your people around your mission, values and vision. If you are going to successfully lead the organization and your people, you have to listen very carefully to them.
Just as you listen very carefully to all of your customers, we can never take for granted we know what they value. This requires very thoughtful listening. It means when a person is speaking, they must have your undivided attention. You must focus and listen very carefully to the words that are spoken as well as unspoken. This means staying focused for every moment with every person. It indicates respect, it shows appreciation, and it requires anticipation.
Listening is a very, very important part of leadership. Listening is one of the most effective ways to learn. We listen to all of the people within and beyond the walls of the organization, because we have to know what they value. Through listening, we learn what they value. What does the person speaking to you value? As we understand and appreciate them, it brings us to a higher level of connection and service. This is very, very important.”
Frances is teaching us that Listening and Leading are inseparable. What specific listening steps are you taking to make a significant difference in your leadership? LISTENING PAYS!