Listening to the Team

Listening to your team is such an important part of leadership.  It helps the team engage and interact, usually producing greater cohesion and results too.  However, this is not always evident in teams and is often a source of frustration and disengagement within groups of people working together.

I have had the priviledge of being in 2 meetings, in recent months, where the leader has facilitated greater listening amongst the gathered group – he has said very little but provided an environment whereby the contributors can both input and listen.  On each occasion there has been positive consequences for the assembled group as they have learned to understand and develop in ways that would have previously been impossible.

It was also interesting to read an article in “The Metro” (not the most reliable of freebie papers but has to be read once in a while) that talked about flight 1549 and its miraculous escape as it landed on the Hudson River.  The article talked a little about the captain and his decision making process.  Apparently the captain did not make the decision to land until he had consulted with the other crew members on the flight deck.  It was only after this consultation that the decision to attempt a landing on the river was made – which ultimately saved the lives of all those on the flight.  The pilot listened to the team.

In youth work circles we talk often about “listening skills” and when in mentoring relationships show excellence in this skill.  However, as we lead our other staff/volunteers, we sometimes manage to forget the need to listen and can make decisions that create dysfunction.  It is at these times when we can be our own worst enemy.  Looking back on my own history, there are times when I have listened well and those occasions where I have battled on regardless.  Guess which times where the most fruitful?  Listening is such an important part of our leadership – let’s embrace it.