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5 Leadership Lessons: Listen, Learn, Lead

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5 Leadership Lessons: Listen, Learn, Lead

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! We all go through life half-aware sometimes.

We have to – there’s so much input these days that if we actually paid attention to it all, we’d be in a straightjacket within weeks. Advertising, social media, music, TV, mobile devices and apps, games, big data, the crazy-quilt cacophony of social media life — a million voices all competing for our hearts, minds and pocketbooks. It’s all too much to handle. So we don’t. We basically hit the mute button on the vast majority of the sensory tsunami. It’s really a matter of self-preservation.

Except when it’s a matter of self-destruction. For a leader – or anyone else who wants to succeed at hiring and retaining the very best talent – listening is a crucial skill. Because when you tune the wrong people (talent) and information out, you’re depriving yourself of priceless tools that will enable you to take your career, and life, to new levels of workplace fulfillment, reward and fun.

To reach our full potential, we must master the art of listening. Really listening. Which means awareness. Which means thinking about what we hear. Which means applying it, if possible, to the leadership challenges at hand.

The art of listening isn’t difficult to master. And when you have, new worlds open up. It’s exciting.

Here Are 5 Steps To Help You Keep Your Best Talent Happy:

1) Take An Input Inventory. There’s just too much stimuli and information coming at us. We would drown in the tidal wave if we tried to absorb it all. So take an inventory of where the valuable information and insight lies. Who in your work life should you be listening to? Who in your personal life? Which social media channels are relevant? Can you apply online filters to automatically filter some of the useless clutter that assaults us? Write down your inventory. Expand or contract it as your listening skills improve.

 2) Stretch Your Muscles. Now that you have an idea of who and what you should be listening to, start to practice. Within the next 24 hours, seek out someone who you think is smart and insightful and pick his or her brain on a specific topic. Thank them, and then go write down what they said and anything actionable that you have gleaned from it. This exercise starts to train our ears and brains to be in sync. It gets easier with time. And it’s fun!

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