Leaders Listen

Last week I shared with you Sumner Redstone’s belief that his ability to listen is the key to his success. Throughout the week I continued to think about the topic of leadership and found myself going back to an author I have admired for years. John Maxwell is considered an expert in the area of leadership. He speaks on the topic and has written a number of books on the subject. His 1999 best seller “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – becoming the person others will follow” is already a classic. This is a book I recommend my coaching managers and leaders read and share with their staff.

I love the title and focus of Chapter 11 “Listening: To Connect with Their Hearts Use Your Ears.” He quotes management guru Peter Drucker as saying “60% of all management problems are a result of faulty communication”. I would add that most communication falters because someone isn’t listening.

Maxwell sings high praise for Oprah Winfrey. He credits her success with an ability to listen and to make others feel heard. I often cite Oprah as an excellent interviewer because she allows her guests to speak. Even better, she listens to her staff and audience. She hears their suggestions and values their ideas. The concept for her highly successful Oprah Book Club reportedly came from her staff and was brought to fruition despite the host’s reservations. Her audiences often tell her who and what they want shows to be. Anyone who questions her talent only has to watch her audiences and observe the communications she receives from her viewers. Oprah did not make her fortune by accident or luck she listened her way to the top.

Many of my coaching clients feel the need to be the answer to all of their employees’ questions. In our coaching sessions we work on asking the best questions and listening to the complete answer rather than spending time thinking about a response or solution. It takes practice but can be learned and prove to be very rewarding.

So here is this week’s challenge:

  1. Identify those people who give you the best advise, feedback or ideas. Invite more communication from these trusted advisors. Ask them for their take on a situation or for possible solutions to the problem. Many of my coaching clients place me on their list of trusted confidants.
  2. Observe how you become attracted to and respect those who listen to you. Try to mirror their techniques in your communication. Look for results.
  3. Tune-in Oprah. OK, Tivo Oprah. Now observe her interaction with a guest with the SOUND OFF. Watch the non-verbal interaction. Note who move their lips more.

Jane Cranston is an executive coach, career coach and “The Job Search Expert” based in New York City. She shares with success driven executives and professionals techniques, skills and goal setting strategies that advance their careers, increase people management skills and assists them in career change or job search. Receive Jane’s free "Competitive Edge Report" and the free audio download “Creating a Career Strategy” by visiting www.ExecutiveCoachNY.com

About the Author

Jane Cranston - Executive Coach NY (New York)Executive and career coach, “The Job Search Expert,” Jane Cranston understands the challenges and opportunities in the workplace. She integrates years of experience as an accomplished senior executive with global brand name companies, with the lessons learned from opening three successful businesses, and then applies her education and coach training. This sophisticated mix affords her clients her unique perspective, business sensibility, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Jane is the founder and Managing Director of ExecutiveCoachNY, an executive and career coaching business based in New York City with clients nationwide. She coaches success-driven executives and managers to develop a career strategy that accelerates advancement, increases compensation, enhances people-management skills as well as gets the competitive edge in all business activities.

Coaching with Jane is dynamic, structured, forward-focused as well as fun and inspirational. Working with clients in fields such as finance, technology, media and entertainment, real estate, and the law, she assists them in recognizing and achieving their full potential at work and in their personal lives.

Clients claim coaching with Jane has “changed my career focus,” “helped me better understand how to motivate my staff,” “given me ideas that have increased my income by $100,000s,” and “made me realize what is my part and what isn’t,” and claim coaching is “the best thing you could do for yourself.”

Jane’s soon to be published “Great Job Tough Times” is a step-by-step job search system designed to assist managers and executives looking for employment, or contemplating leaving their current positions, with their resume writing, interviewing skills, networking techniques, and negotiating need to get the right job fast.

Jane Cranston is frequently seen on CNN’s “Your Money” and quoted in nationally syndicated newspapers, magazines, as well as Internet article sites and virtual programs. She authors the free, twice monthly, “Competitive Edge Report.” Learn more on her website www.ExecutieCoachNY.com.


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