Last week, I facilitated a workshop session on Leading Change for a group of dynamic and creative leaders from up and down the country. What an insightful session it was. While I may have been the facilitator, I too learned a lot from what we encountered (…as I often do!). The two key messages were so profound that today I am sharing them with you.

We navigated the change curve road together, and brainstormed and discussed the tools and experience we had all gathered thus far on our individual leadership journeys.  Exercises, discussion (some heated!) and insight. The learning was awesome.

Two of the biggest takeaways for the group were:

  1. The quality of our listening determines the quality of our influence and thus, our leadership
  2. Be authentic

Developing good listening skills is one of the most valuable tools we can learn as leaders and influences. The insights into others thought process, frame of mind, mood, ideas, influence and so much more that is gleaned from just listening is huge. We get to understand, support and influence others in the most positive way, by just listening.

Without judgement.

Just listening.

Without waiting to comment, or offer advice.

Just listening.

Creating the time and space to just listen to others.

The second biggest takeaway: Be authentic.

There are so many definitions and tools for good leadership, and dealing with change, that you can become hung up on behaving perfectly in a particular way that you perceive a good leader to be or do. What if we treated these definitions, and tools as guides… or ideas? Items in a toolkit perhaps. Things that can support us, and  help us generate ideas and actions to aid the navigation.

But not rules.

The most important thing is to be yourself. Be authentic. Be true to your own personal brand of leadership.

02_04_blogThis week, think about the quality of your listening. How present and engaged are you in the process? Notice how often your mind wanders into preparing your response, composing your advice… and of course, judging?

Is it time to start focusing on quality listening?