Big Fat FAIL

I did it again.

One of my greatest repeated leadership failures.

I failed to L I S T E N.

Oh, I hear words.  I read emails.  I have conversations.

But sometimes I just don’t listen.

I don’t pick up on attitude.

I don’t read eyes.

I don’t notice lack of enthusiasm.

I don’t observe signs of stress.

Oftentimes in my haste, I miss the subtleties that are really the mark of good listening.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

James 1:19

And if I’m not listening, I really can’t lead.

If I’m not listening, I’m not aware of what the team needs.

If I’m not listening, I race to task and solutions and miss feelings and emotions.

If I’m not listening, I convey that I don’t value what the team is telling me (however silently they might be saying it.)

The first duty of love is to listen. Paul Tillich

How well are you listening to your team?

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  • david grant July 22, 2010  

    thanks for the reminder Jenni, I hope you're doing well

  • Morgan July 22, 2010  

    Thank you for this reminder!!! I love the Paul Tillich quote!

  • Sherie July 22, 2010  

    Thanks! I've been wrestling lately with trying to learn to love others as they need it, rather than how I want to love. This helps solidify those thoughts.

    • jcatron July 23, 2010  

      "love others as they need it" – such good perspective Sherie!

  • Jessica July 22, 2010  

    UGH!!!!!!!! We both suck at this! And its making it really hard for me to use my "skills" in my job because of it. Im always thinking 2 steps ahead for the answer or what is next.

    • jcatron July 23, 2010  

      Yes, sis… I think it's a family curse 🙂

  • alece July 22, 2010  

    i want to be a better between-the-lines listener. i want to hear what isn't being said. but too often, i'm thinking about other things, feeling the OCD pressure to check my phone when the little light starts blinking signifying a message of some sort, or just not fully present somehow.

    i need to be all there so i can really see and hear people's hearts.

    • jcatron July 23, 2010  

      For the record, I think you listen better than you think you do.

  • mandythompson July 25, 2010  

    Wow. I love this post. I'm still learning to communicate with men. I lead a lot of MEN right now and most of them are old enough to be my dad… They are gracious – generous – and understanding. And I have to be very careful to appreciate and respect and not step on or over them. I haven't even considered listening… yet.
    Maybe this is the next step in the process – learn to listen better.