ListeningGreat leaders inspire. They are able to ignite a fire of loyalty, trust and conviction in the hearts and minds of their team-members, that makes them want to go the extra ten miles without a second’s hesitation. They are able to move millions of people to stand up for a cause. Of their own will. Peacefully.
As you may know, at INK we are in it to win the Nobel peace prize at some point. It symbolises the change we want to be in the world. Not surprisingly, we find huge inspiration in people like Ban Ki Moon, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King.
The thing they have in common is they excelled at creating engagement with their supporters.
Engagement is essential to leadership. Whether you’re trying to motivate the teammates on your Saturday soccer-squad, or implement a company-wide change of strategy; People will only roll with you if they feel you have their best interest at heart. And this is exactly why the second of INK’s four unique skills – Listening – is so important.
Listening is the simple act of trying to empathise with a person’s circumstances and, without judgement, show understanding for their situation.
As a leader, you’re responsible for making decisions in the interest of the whole. Needless to say, you need to have the trust of the whole to do so. No trust, and you will have no engagement from the people you’re trying to reach.
People want to feel like you’re their advocate. If you can represent their opinions well, they will let you be their voice. What’s more, they will support you all the way. Listening shows that you want to understand their needs, and include their input in your decision making process.
Most of the time, people just want to be heard. Let them have their say, and you’ll have their trust in return.
Listening doesn’t stop at understanding, however. In an age where most people just want to make noise, offering solutions can be a welcome breath of fresh air. If you can offer solutions based on the voice of the customer, for example, they will love you for it. If you can do strategic change in a way that accommodates your employees needs, they will stay engaged throughout.
That’s why methods like the Lean Startup are so effective: they are built around the consumer’s input — coming from test-groups and feedback.
Conversely: A lack of empathy is at the heart of most conflicts in the world. It’s when people don’t listen to each other that they spiral into ego-fueled arguments, abandon reason for emotion, and sacrifice peace for pride. Often, arguments prove little other than who is better at debate, and rarely aid in arriving at win-win resolutions of a problem.
You can only find win-win solutions if you respect each other’s viewpoint. Whether that solution is a product, a strategy, or a peace treaty.
At INK we trust in our ability to Listen. Listening and Visual Thinking allow us to get to the core of your Strategy, and capture the essence in one image. We include voice of your employees, so that they feel heard, and give them a place in the bigger picture, so they will feel engaged.
We know a Win-Win is always possible.