Executives: Do you have the courage to sit and listen?

Your team has just offered you the gift of honest feedback, will you open it or return it?

Have you ever had someone that works for you ask you for a meeting? …Try to share a concern with you? …Or passionately try to share an idea?

How do you react when that happens?

 Have you ever considered that they are bringing you a gift?

  • The person that is coming has chosen to take a risk and invest in you and in the organization.
  • No matter what their title is – they have knowledge and experiences that you don’t have.
  • No matter what their role is – they see things in your organization that you don’t see.

~ Thank them for their courage.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill

They may not know how to present to you in the style that you are most comfortable.

  • They may not know your DiSC profile, your learning style, or use the same business terms that you use.
  • They may be so nervous that the words get twisted up when they speak to you.
  • Know that underneath their passion, there is also knowledge.

~ Dig deeper. Listen closer. Seek to understand.

Please note:  When I encourage people to lead up – I encourage them to learn your DiSC, your learning style and your business language. (Are you leading by example and doing the same for them?)

They may not be skilled at presenting what is so clear in their minds.

  • They may only state the problem – even though they can visualize possible solutions.

~ Ask questions that help them think and articulate instead of a hitting them with a fire hose.

To receive their gift – You need to be humble and curious. (Not defensive.)

~ Ask clarifying questions, have them to draw on a whiteboard, or give you a tour…

Know this:

  • If you choose not to meet with them.
  • If you blow off their courage.
  • If you don’t listen to the message underneath the delivery.
  • And if you let your pride get in the way.

You not only throw away the gift, you risk damaging your leadership and the growth of your organization.

  • Minimum damage – If they feel like you don’t value their time and effort they may never try again.
  • Moderate damage – They no longer believe you are worth investing in.
  • Escalating damage – They commiserate with others that have experienced the same thing from you. And negativity spreads.
  • Crushing damage – Your organization experiences a crisis, and they have the answers that could have grown your organization, but now it is too late.

What are your thoughts?What gifts have you been offered lately? Have you opened them? …Or sent them back unopened?


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President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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2 thoughts on “Executives: Do you have the courage to sit and listen?

  1. Pingback: The Best of Lead With Giants – May 2015