If You Want to Become a True Leader, Listen!

Being a person of an impatient disposition, I learned the importance of listening the hard way. I share one incident from my childhood that taught me this lesson in my book, The Profit Faucet®, but it’s not like I never relented. In fact, there are many such stories from my boyhood. When it comes to this subject, I usually say it was the 400-hour training modules of IPAC’s professional coaching program that eventually taught me the significance of listening for leadership.

But Don’t Leaders Just, Well, Lead?

A lot of people think leadership means walking in front of others. Period.

I can tell you that’s a very misplaced perception of leadership.

The part that the leader walks in front of the followers is very significant in a completely different sense. They don’t do it to reap benefits before others but so they can find the ditches and puddles on the road ahead and warn the ones coming behind him.

People who think being a leader simply means enjoying greater rewards are often confusing leadership with management. You see, management is the act of achieving a goal by delegating tasks to a team of individuals. If the team achieves the target, they get rewarded and their manager gets more recognition and credit.

Leadership is not a task-driven practice. It’s something you do every day. As Peter Drucker once said:

“Management is d

Being a person of an impatient disposition, I learned the importance of listening the hard way. I share one incident from my childhood that taught me this lesson in my book, The Profit Faucet®, but it’s not like I never relented. In fact, there are many such stories from my boyhood. When it comes to this subject, I usually say it was the 400-hour training modules of IPEC’s professional coaching program that eventually taught me the significance of listening for leadership.

But Don’t Leaders Just, Well, Lead?

A lot of people think leadership means walking in front of others. Period.

I can tell you that’s a very misplaced perception of leadership.

The part that the leader walks in front of the followers is very significant in a completely different sense. They don’t do it to reap benefits before others but so they can find the ditches and puddles on the road ahead and warn the ones coming behind him.

People who think being a leader simply means enjoying greater rewards are often confusing leadership with management. You see, management is the act of achieving a goal by delegating tasks to a team of individuals. If the team achieves the target, they get rewarded and their manager gets more recognition and credit.

Leadership is not a task-driven practice. It’s something you do every day. As Peter Drucker once said:

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.”

Leadership is more than managing a task, and listening to others is a big part of it.

How Real Leaders Listen

Now, when I say leaders listen, I don’t mean they sit down and lend you an ear (which wouldn’t be a bad thing to do either). Listening is one word to mean observing, absorbing, and learning all at once, and then responding to the information with actions that inspire others.

  • Keen Observer: A leader observes the surrounding environment keenly. They notice details others don’t. That distracted office assistant, those two executives in adjacent cubicles not talking to each other today, or the CEO looking very tired. It may be anything unusual.
  • Absorbs like Sponge: A leader takes that information he observes and takes it in quietly to assess what’s wrong and how they can fix it. Leaders always look at the bigger picture and choose to act in that context.
  • Avid Learner: The usual course of action is to approach the person that caught the leader’s attention and asking them sympathetically what’s wrong.

A leader engages his or her followers, pays attention, shows empathy and care, and follows the suggestions they give.

All those are ways of listening and proving that you listen. To be a true leader, you have to adopt these habits and more.

The question to ask yourself is this: Am I ready to be a real leader?

oing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.”

Leadership is more than managing a task, and listening to others is a big part of it.

How Real Leaders Listen

Now, when I say leaders listen, I don’t mean they sit down and lend you an ear (which wouldn’t be a bad thing to do either). Listening is one word to mean observing, absorbing, and learning all at once, and then responding to the information with actions that inspire others.

  • Keen Observer: A leader observes the surrounding environment keenly. They notice details others don’t. That distracted office assistant, those two executives in adjacent cubicles not talking to each other today, or the CEO looking very tired. It may be anything unusual.
  • Absorbs like Sponge: A leader takes that information he observes and takes it in quietly to assess what’s wrong and how they can fix it. Leaders always look at the bigger picture and choose to act in that context.
  • Avid Learner: The usual course of action is to approach the person that caught the leader’s attention and asking them sympathetically what’s wrong.

A leader engages his or her followers, pays attention, shows empathy and care, and follows the suggestions they give.

All those are ways of listening and proving that you listen. To be a true leader, you have to adopt these habits and more.

The question to ask yourself is this: Am I ready to be a real leader?

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