Thursday, September 21, 2006

Full Face Listen

While everyone is very loudly declaiming their concerns, problems, solutions, and complaints, it seems no one is listening. Perhaps before a vision can be shared, we need to work on the ability to listen. I know that, as a parent, one of the toughest things I had to learn was to actually, actively listen to what my children wanted to say to me. After all, I was the font of all wisdom, was I not?

An historical example from my sordid past...
I was, as often happened, paying only partial attention when my older daughter, then a ten year old, was trying to tell me something important to her, but not particularly interesting to me. She noticed that I was busy reading the newspaper and not focused on her comments. She asked me to listen to her.

I said, "I'm listening, honey, you just go ahead and tell me."

She reached up and grabbed my face, turning my head to look directly in her eyes. "No," she said, "I mean full-face listen!"
Getting a lesson in life from your ten-year-old daughter is a humbling experience. It's also an experience every manager, CEO, president, CIO, and other leader should have at least once in a lifetime. I still have trouble listening, but I'm working on it now.

No comments: