Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Some might say that listening is easy. I think good listening is hard work. Listening can also be rewarding. To listen, really listen, one needs to listen beyond the words. So, in some ways, it is a little easier to do when someone is sharing about the death of a loved one. We recognize the pain, grief, and other emotions that come along side such sharing. We can listen deeply, we can empathize and we can know the rewards of allowing that person to share.

What about listening when what is being shared appears to be critical of you or something you are a part of? I believe a good leader is one who allows space for people to voice their criticism so that learning and growth can happen. As a leader you are often stuck looking to the future and can easily lose sight of the present.

My confession? I want to listen like this, but I don't think I do all so well. I need to hear the critique so I can grow, but when it comes it is easy to become defensive. I know that if I listen beyond the words I will hear a heartfelt desire to help bring improvement, a desire to help the greater good, but I hear attacks and fight back. How do you calmly listen as someone tells you that something you have poured your heart into has not gone as well as you had thought?

Listening is hard. Listening is necessary. Listening is rewarding. Listening is something I'm going to work on.

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