When was the last time you sat down with another human being and listened — truly listened — to what he or she had to say? A two-minute chat in the cafeteria doesn’t count. Nor do 10 late-night minutes spent racing through the family business before you and your spouse both conk out. I’m talking about a good old-fashioned “heart-to-heart.”
A luxury, you say? An absolute necessity, I say. Especially for leaders. And especially today. In our fast-paced age, the art of good listening is probably the most important skill a manager can master.
My father, J. Willard Marriott, kept his executive staff waiting on many occasions while he sat on a hotel lobby sofa counseling a housekeeper or cook about a family or work problem. Far from being a waste of time, he considered such chats an investment in his company’s future. He knew that a troubled employee couldn’t deliver top-notch customer service. Simply by taking time to listen, Dad found himself surrounded by employees willing to put 110% effort on the job. The pay-off was tremendous: happier employees, satisfied customers, and a successful company.
In this hurry-up world, it can be tempting to cut short conversations, or use e-mail and voice-mail to avoid interacting with real people. My advice would be: don’t do it. You risk too much by failing to take the time to connect with those upon whose shoulders ultimately your business succeeds or fails. The next time someone stops you in the hall with a worried expression and asks: “Do you have a minute?” say yes, find a sofa, and then give liberally of your time. Chances are you’ll be glad you did.
Source: J. W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr.
CALL FOR ACTION: Give the gift that keeps on giving.
Jack Lowe Jr. is the former CEO of Dallas-based TDIndustries, one of America’s premier contracting and facility service companies. Jack understands the value of listening commitment. Rated by FORTUNE magazine as one of the TOP 100 Best Companies to Work
When you want to hear from others (and you should because it adds to the pool of meaning), the best way to get at the truth is by making it safe for them to express the stories that are moving
Impressive listening skills have been identified as one common characteristic of credible leaders. A willingness to listen carefully to constituents and, if necessary, to hear the bad news keeps leaders from being isolated from critical feedback. When they can get
A son and his father were walking on the mountains. Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” Curious, he yells: “Who are you?” He receives
One of our very able leaders recently was made the head of a large, important, and difficult to administer public institution. After a short time he realized he was not happy with the way things were going. His approach to
N. Williams has demonstrated what it takes to be a Listening Leader with his following story: “This week it struck me how guilty I am of getting wrapped up in the noise and chaos of over communication and allowing this
Peter Drucker, the Father of Modern Management, identified the eight practices of effective executives, threw in a bonus practice: “This one is so important that I will elevate it to a rule: Listen first, speak last.” The essence of leadership
Leigh Perkins, former CEO of Orvis Co., a sporting goods mail order company, listened his way to success. Early in his career, as a sales professional, Perkins learned the key to good salesmanship isn’t demonstrating the virtues of a product,
COMPARING: Comparing makes it hard to listening because you are always trying to assess who is smarter, more competent, more emotionally healthy – you or the other. MIND READING: The mind reader doesn’t pay much attention to what people say.