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Listening is a Power Source for Leaders

As a facilitator of CEO business support groups, I held conversations with candidates for my groups to discern the likelihood that they would be good listeners.  I distinctly remember one CEO who told me, “I take only my own counsel.  No thank you.”  I had had candidates suggest it, carry that attitude, but never had it been so directly spoken.

So you are a leader. If you are successful by financial standards you could fall into that trap. As leaders, it can be tempting to read our own press and believe it.

Power is a reflection of effectiveness. You could be the best at your profession — you might be the expert in your field. I have met leaders who, when they walk into a room, all eyes turn.  If you have that power, you have a responsibility.  The more reference power, the more personal power, or the more expert power you have, the more responsibility is called for.

Consider some people may have stopped telling you the truth, truth that could be useful.  They may have trouble being themselves around you.  If your presence is so overwhelming that others have to shade their eyes not to get sunburn, then you have missed an opportunity for contributions and frankly, to contribute.  The separation of inequality is a barrier to communication.

Bottom line — being bigger than your britches creates a barrier to hearing the thoughts, observations, or desires of others.   Communication is lessened, altered, missed.

I was once advised, “Take advice from a rock.” Everyone has a contribution to make if you will allow it, even listen for it.  A little humility goes a long way to making others comfortable in your presence, giving you access to them and them access to you.

Do you have the experience of being powerful?  When do you tend to listen, and to whom?  When do you not?   Dialog is healthy.  I welcome yours here.


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