“We used to arrive the first day in a slum and tell people: ‘AIDS is very important for you to know about. You must take care of yourself and so on.” These are the words of an AIDS prevention organization co-founder Harley do Nacimiento, “It would go in one ear and out the other. Now we have learned that people need to first gain knowledge about their bodies and living conditions. We don’t mention AIDS for the first six months. Otherwise they can just say, ‘why be healthy?’ What for?”
Much of the time as leaders, often experts in out fields, we employ a strategy called, “Tell them what to do because I know what to do”. If you employ this method of teaching, it’s probably because that’s how you learned and were led. Regardless, as mentioned in the story above. It took months to establish a relationship and it was steeped in listening.
Listening is just another form of investment. Investing in your team. Investing in the ideas of others. This may seem like a threat to your authority to not be the one who’s coming up with the plans and ideas. But trust me on this one, the more you come to trust your team, the more they will come to trust your leadership. This leads to an environment where the giver of the idea becomes secondary to the idea itself.
Listening is fundamental to everything you will ever do as a leader. Period.
Have a great weekend!