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Five Lessons from the Field: Unleashing the Power of Listening as a Leader

I recently had the opportunity to share a philosophy on leadership with Forbes that’s near and dear to my heart — the transformative power of listening. Here’s a compilation of the five tips I shared:
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Create Spaces for Feedback: Every individual person communicates differently. As leaders, it’s our job to facilitate spaces where everyone feels comfortable sharing. From open forums to anonymous surveys, let’s encourage a rainbow of communication channels.

Listen to All Levels: When I took up the CEO role at Aspiritech, I spent my first three weeks in deep conversations with every single one of our 120 employees. From fresh hires to seasoned veterans, everyone holds valuable insights. Leaders need to commit to hearing from every corner of our organizations — and follow through on it. 

Keep That Ego in Check: Trust me, it’s not always easy to hear tough feedback, but it’s worth it. When a team member voiced frustration over a project, instead of jumping to solutions, I listened. You need to be open to actually hearing what your team members have to say.

Vulnerability Goes a Long Way: If we ask our teams to be vulnerable, it’s only fair we show them the same courtesy. Opening up about my own nerves and uncertainties as I stepped into the CEO role helped pave the way for honest conversations.

Listening Isn’t Enough; Act: If there’s one thing I want you to take away, it’s this – listening needs to lead to action. It doesn’t mean you can implement every suggestion. But reflecting on themes, iterating policies, and truly absorbing what your team members share is crucial.

Incorporating these listening practices into your leadership can lead to impressive results, as it did at Aspiritech, where we’ve seen engagement, satisfaction, and inclusivity metrics soar.

But remember, listening isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s a journey of practice, patience, and a few stumbles along the way. And that’s okay – we’re all in this together, growing and learning.

So, here’s to embracing the power of listening and driving change, not through our words, but through our ears. Let’s listen, understand, act, and together, we’ll watch our organizations flourish.

And lastly, remember this: driving change is a team sport. You can’t do it alone. To steer your ship, you need to understand your crew. And to understand them, you just need to listen.

There’s a lot of wisdom in those quiet moments. Give it a chance, and watch the transformation unfurl. Because when we listen, understand, and act, amazing things happen. So here’s to leadership that’s all ears! Let’s listen, grow, and thrive together.

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