Are You Listening? The Significance of Listening in a Distracted World
Today’s complex business environment calls for innovative and flexible approaches to leadership. Leadership needs to focus on creating meaningful value for all employees, clients, and partners.
The question: “Are you a Leader or a Boss?” raises some interesting thoughts. Frequently in books and movies, the ‘boss’ is portrayed negatively – a tyrant barking orders, as someone who takes credit for others’ work, etc. There is no course at Harvard for Essential Bossing skills – it has always been Essential Leadership skills.
We all prefer to work under good managers where we feel valued and respected, instead of being micromanaged and scrutinized. Research studies show that interactions with demeaning and overbearing bosses undermine performance, including decision-making skills, creativity, and productivity. Whether you are an employee, manager, or client, you want to feel that your ideas, emotions, and presence are respected.
Before starting Nolij Consulting, I spent many years working for big businesses – I have worked under both leaders and bosses. The leaders I most admired had one thing in common; they functioned with Purpose and Empathy.
In my experience, ‘bosses’ have certain typical traits – having a know-it-all attitude, talking more than listening, being egotistical, and being unreasonably critical and demanding.
By contrast, a true leader encourages and appreciates their employees. They make sure they listen, encourage conversations, and have an open-door policy. They have the courage to fail, and they lead by example. They treat their employees with trust, fairness, integrity, and understanding. Truly dynamic leaders are the ones that remain open to change and constructive criticism and regularly engage employees for feedback.
As the CEO of Nolij Consulting, I understand that creating an environment of mutual respect and positive leadership has multiple benefits in the workplace. These include enhanced productivity, reduced stress, loyalty to the company, better communication, improved teamwork, and higher employee engagement. People feel empowered when they know they are doing purposeful work for meaningful rewards and recognition. We want our employees to be excited about the people they work with and be excited about coming to work every day.
Employers and employees need to respect each other, and this also extends to our partners and clients. At Nolij, we ensure that our partners and clients get the respect they deserve by giving them the attention they need, listening to their opinions, and interacting with courtesy. Having partners and clients who feel valued and appreciated will uplift everyone and add to Nolij’s overall goodwill and reputation.
The bottom line is that as a respectful, open-minded leader, you embrace a personal philosophy that can shape how you view life, how you take actions, and how you judge yourself—and, consequently, provide a framework for leading your team and organization.