Listen, Learn & Lead
I’ve been listening to John Maxwell’s book ‘Good Leaders ask Great Questions’, and I was caught by a quote shared in the third chapter:
Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.
-Robert Newton Peck
Hahaha was my first response.
I mean, when you think of a leader you typically think of the person MOST outspoken. The more I thought about it, the more I started to think of meetings I had been part of in the past. My mind quickly went to one gentleman who was often last to speak, if he spoke at all. His quiet strength carried with it wisdom, patience and a seeming endlessly deep well of knowledge.
I still think that is true of this certain individual, but I started to wonder if his expertise on almost everything was at least partially because he took time to listen. He listened to ideas, to possible outcomes, to potential solutions, and when he did speak, he spoke understanding most, if not all of the situation at hand.
At Helium, we try to make a point to meet with and spend time with our team, both inside work and after hours. Whether we’re talking about a popular TV show, family, kids, vacations or work needs, we do what we can to gather information, see the whole picture and pitch in when we can. On the work side, we listen to our production team as experts in their field, knowing that if a software item, program or office asset is mentioned, we need to respond in a way to continually give our team the best situation for success.
Once we’ve listened, we gain the opportunity to learn. Think of the last meeting, the last conference, the last ‘sit down’ or coffee you attended. As you listen, you’re armed with idea’s you had not considered, thoughts and perspective you had not arrived at, and almost always, information you hadn’t had. This is the shopping centre; arming you with everything you need to put together the best outfit. If shopping is not your thing, this is the Outdoor store – full of everything you need to create the best camping experience.
You now know the situation, you’ve been armed with all the options, all the info…now you act.
As a leader, this is when you step into the conversation. That is not to say that you now take over the conversation, but rather only add what your team needs you to. This is not a show of intelligence or prowess, but rather a valuable addition to lead the group to a solution, an action, or growth. I’ll also add that there are times where your addition (your leadership) need be nothing more than a genuine encouragement.
I challenge you this week to add conscious (and active) silence to your leadership tool belt!