Do not stem the ripples of genuine ideas
There are many reasons why good leaders listen and these are some of them.
First of all, a leader who is too eager to talk not only blocks his ears, but also the flow of genuine ideas and the natural shaping of conversation.
People, including those holding senior positions, tend to say what they think their bosses want to hear. When a leader speaks prematurely, he stems the flow of the current of conversation, chopping off the ripples of genuine ideas.
If you are a leader who likes to dominate meetings, try to stay silence for a while the next round. This is especially when your people are talking something you don’t like to hear. Let them rant and rave if need be before you take the stage to shape the conversation. You are likely to be rewarded with pleasant surprises.
Not only does the process allow you to hear more honest opinions – something that would not have surfaced – it also alters the nature of your relationships with your people. One of the most basic human needs is to be understood, and the best way for you to understand is to listen. Your gesture brings yourself closer to your people.
Of course, free flow of conversation is not always effective. Even then, if you need to shape the discussion somehow, don’t be too eager to speak your mind. Instead, ask questions! Effective questioning fuels curiosity and invites more intelligent discussion.
Pay close attention to not only what is being said, but also what is beneath the words and what is closer to the mind and heart. Listen not only to information, but also to the character of the speakers and their aspiration.
Experience the art of listening; learn the Tao of leadership!
“The Tao never does,
Yet through it everything is done.
If princes and dukes can keep the Tao,
the world will of its own accord be reformed.
When reformed and rising to action,
Let it be restrained by the Nameless pristine simplicity.
The Nameless pristine simplicity
Is stripped of desire (for contention).
By stripping of desire quiescence is achieved,
And the world arrives at peace of its own accord.”
Tao Te Ching Chapter 37 Translated by Lin Yutang
Thanks to Stephen Dann for the picture.