Peter Drucker, the Father of Modern Management, identified the eight practices of effective executives, threw in a bonus practice: “This one is so important that I will elevate it to a rule: Listen first, speak last.”

The essence of leadership is to get results in a way that inspires trust. Although there are many behaviors that create trust, none offers greater leverage than listening. Yet, remarkably, it remains something many managers fail to do well. In extensive surveys regarding 13 trust-building behaviors, Stephen M.R. Covey confirms that the ability of managers to listen was consistently rated as their least effective skill by employees.

Listen first, speak last. It is so simple, some people can’t figure it out.

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