Learn to Listen

In the last few posts, reflecting on what I was hearing at the National Speakers Association’s annual convention, I reminded you that knowing what to do and doing it will never guarantee you’ll be as successful as the one telling you what to do. In fact, you might not be successful at all. The simple reason for this is that success is NOT a function of what you DO but a function of WHO YOU ARE! And who are you? That is determined by how you think and operate in the world.

Every truly successful person thinks in a way that is the source of their success. Successful leaders think differently than leaders who are not successful, that’s the bottom line. So if you want to be successful and be a successful leader, learn to think like successful people and successful leaders think.

Here’s another difference between the two:

Successful leaders are great listeners, unsuccessful leaders are not. What brought this message home to me so clearly was some random research I did many years ago. As I would travel by air for business, I made it a point to engage in conversation my seat mate and I would find an opportunity to ask them if they ever had a really great boss. Unfortunately, I didn’t get an affirmative answer very often; but when I did, the next question was always: what made him or her such a great boss. The answer was always the same: he or she was a great listener.

As I asked for further elaboration, the answer would go something like: his/her door was always open, he/she was always willing to make time for me and would always take the time to listen to what was on my mind. I always left feeling known, acknowledged, appreciated and heard.

What was really inspiring about these answers I would get was what almost always followed, some statement like: we all really loved him/her, we would do anything for him/her, and it was a fun place to work because of him/her.

With unsuccessful leaders, you mostly walk away feeling like you’ve been talking to the wall. As a result, people don’t like them, aren’t inspired by them, and won’t do what it takes to support them, which contributes to the lack of success they experience.

How do you become a great listener? There’s a great CD on the subject in our online store; it’s entitled Creating Outrageously Wonderful Relationships, you'll find a link on the navigation bar. If you haven’t listened to it and you can see you’re not a great listener, get your copy today. Or if you have a boss that’s not a great listener, buy him or her a copy and leave it on his/her desk.