Listen and Live

June 15, 2011 — 5 Comments

As leaders we like to talk. A lot.

Talking is what leadership is all about, right? Casting vision, aligning, motivating others, setting direction – all of these activities require words, conversations and interactions.

If we’re talking all the time, we’re not really having conversations, we’re having monversations.

Last week during a set of leadership meetings our team was escorted out of the conference room and into a secluded, private space. Four men led us through some prayerful interaction and reflection, in which none of us were expected to speak. This was a lectio divina, a divine reading, where a short passage of Scripture was read aloud four times. We were asked to meditate and listen for a word or phrase that caught our attention. The phrase that grabbed me?

“Listen, that your soul may live.” (from Isaiah 55:3)

Attentiveness, awareness, compassion, empathy, wisdom, and genuine service of the one being listened to. How much more of these can I gain as I learn to listen more as a leader?

How has listening helped your leadership?


5 responses to Listen and Live

  1. kourtney street June 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks for taking time to listen well this week.

  2. Ken, I too have become aware that talking too much is a characteristic of many of us as leaders. In meetings, we feel we have to carry the verbal load. In one-on-one, we speak … and speak … and speak. There have been several times when I’ve been in the presence of a top leader and wish they would listen more. Then, I’ve wondered how many times those on my team wished the same about me…

  3. @Kourt – you’re welcome 🙂

    @Keith – very well said.

  4. This is some of the best leaderhip advise I have read in years. I will take it to heart and try to live it. Thank you.

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