Leadership Communication Lesson 2: Before You Can Communicate As a Leader, You Have to Connect

(Last night was my first of six concert in Europe with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. First it was Berlin, Germany in the Olympic Stadium. The same Olympic Stadium from the 1936 Hitler Olympics. A very historic stadium, no doubt, and one that is being put to much better use these days. Soon I’ll be posting pictures from my trip on my Facebook page. If you’d like to follow my unique journey go there and you can see the map of the path we’ll be taking throughout this tour of Western Europe. Later today we leave for San SeBastien, Spain, and our next concert June 2nd.

In preparation for my time away, I’ve written a number of blog posts that have been scheduled to go out in advance, here’s #2).

Earlier this week in my blog article I proclaimed that listening is not skill, it is a decision.

That has struck a nerve or two with some people based on the e-mails I’ve been receiving while I’m away (I am checking e-mail but not responding ’til I get home on June 14th).

But, in the meantime, since I figured there would be more questions and counter comments to my proclamation, I thought I’d offer some other points on the subject to clarify what I mean.

First, one of my leadership heroes, John C. Maxwell, who is probably the foremost leadership thought leader today got me thinking when I watched a video he released last week about the power of connection, and how if we want to communicate we first have to connect.

Here’s what I took away from Maxwell’s minute on communication (which you can see at this link):

Two more important things  to understand about the concept of “listening:”

  1. If we want to have other people listen to us, we need to give them a reason to listen to us. Why should they? What’s in it for them to listen? How are we first connecting with them and engaging them so they want to listen?
  2. If other people want us to listen, they need to do the same. The only difference is that we should be sending a message that we are open and interested in giving the other person the opportunity to engage us and connect with us. When you do this the right way, magical things can happen. You may learn something about another that can make the difference in both your lives, you just have to be open to the opportunity and the possibility. (you may say if you did this with everyone you’d have no time to do what you need to do and that’s where being discerning while being able to communicate directly and respectfully so that neither of you waste each other’s time).

When we commit to doing those two things, I think you’ll be amazed at how much  listening improves around us, and within us.

’til next time, make it  a great week!