He walks into the room full of energy. He bounces along, coffee in hand, with a big smile, “Good Morning, how are you doing?” and “What did you do over the weekend?” A few colleagues respond with the same good cheer and stories of weekend adventures and the energy builds in the room. Yet, there is often someone who does not respond with a “Good Morning” and rarely talks about the weekend. This person may work right through this “chatter”. Positive has just met deliberative and the communication chess game has begun. [Read more…]
Have you ever watched elephant seals? The males make some of the most unusual sounds you’ll ever hear. They set their territory, fight with other males, and protect their harem all by using this very distinctive low-frequency, guttural noise. Even the young ones test out their “voices” amidst a pile of sleeping females. All in all, elephant seals are the masters of making you really listen!
As leaders, one of our greatest challenges is to learn when to speak and when to listen. In a recent conversation with Chancellor Bernie Patterson of University Wisconsin Stevens Point, Patterson asked me “what is the most important advice you give leaders.” My response was, “Just listen”. We agreed that asking good questions and listening are two of the most important traits of a leader.
Yet, how do we create a culture of listening in a fast paced world where everything seems urgent and important? How do we slow down and truly listen to understand each other? [Read more…]