Does Becoming a Leader Make You a Bad Listener?



I once worked for a manager who, when I was first hired, shared that she prided herself on being a great listener and that her door was always open. Early in my training, other managers shared her sentiment, and told me how lucky I was to work for her - she was such a great listener.

Then, I spoke with my teammates, and they had a very different opinion. They told stories of rushed meetings and clip responses. They told stories of going to her with an issue, and then she would throw her hands up with frustration. They shared that she always had time for other managers and very little for her own team.

It wasn't long after hearing these stories that I experienced firsthand my new manager's "great" listening skills. In our first touch base, she asked me how I was liking my new position and what I found most challenging in my first two weeks. I said maybe 20 words the entire meeting. Mostly, she talked about how I should solve the challenge I'm facing.

This week's Fierce tip is to share a story of a time when someone's listening impacted your life. This is my story, and one of those instances when you learn what you don't want to do as a leader.

I believe that before my manager was in a leadership position she listened to everyone really well. I saw how she handled issues with other leaders and she definitely talked less and listened more. Yet, she did not do that with her team and often made us feel like we were more of a burden than an asset. To be fair, she was responsible for a lot of deliverables and much of her days were spent in meetings. Where was the time to listen?

Between time constraints, deadlines, and an ever mounting to-do list, taking time to connect and listen to team members can be difficult - even if you're the type of person that prides yourself on it.

Do you think it becomes harder to listen as a leader?

Also, we want to hear your stories about a time when someone's listening impacted your life. Share your stories on on Social; we can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Comment here on the blog. Five people will win a copy of Fierce Conversations signed by author, Susan Scott.

 

Use the hash tag: #listenfiercely

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