Listening is the starting point in developing the leadership skills you’re seeking.
You cannot practice what you have not learned and you cannot learn what you have not listened to—with your ears and eyes.
No one person has all the answers to the challenges we face in life and in business. There are, of course, the obvious benefits of listening: gathering significant data and receiving different perspectives to resolve problems. However, related to the ability to lead, listening is a demonstration to others that you value their input, are carefully weighing all options, and as a consequence, you can be trusted to make the right decisions.
One of the simpler definitions among the 726,000 Google choices for leadership is, “Having followers.” We all want and need to be listened to.
A leader who provides the opportunity for us to be heard is the person we are apt to believe in and follow.
My conclusion, from my own experience and from observing and listening to others, is, “If we do not listen well, we will not lead well.”
Listening, with your ears and your eyes, is the key to your development into a superior leader. Complex leadership skill sets, with the willingness and ability to apply them, are unique to each individual. You can admire and try to emulate great leaders, but you cannot provide leadership in the exact way they do. You cannot do exactly the same things. You are not the same person.
Listen to others and then personalize, practice, and perfect your own skills. Learn to recognize and develop your personal characteristics of leadership—working with others toward a common goal.
Never walk with your head empty.
Listen—listen over and over and over again.