How often do we diagnose before we prescribe in communication? I'm reading Stephen R. Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (again) and realize how powerfully understated this chapter truly is in my own personal and business approach.
I recall the frustration I felt a year or so ago as I was conducting leadership training at a work site. The folks I was training were highly knowledgeable of the specific tasks, escalation protocols, and other minutia prerequisite to supervisory promotion. However, they struggled mightily with communication, or even a willingness to do so, and I finally had to challenge them on this vital skill. In short, I had completely missed the fact that these leadership trainees were already satisfied where they were. The HR party responsible for assigning them leadership training had actually believed they were rewarding excellent employees with an opportunity. While noble in gesture, the all-important measure of gauging the interest of the employees for leadership had been overlooked. The trainees were really looking forward to promotion, maintaining that it was possible without absorbing a leadership role and I agreed with them. Promotion and leadership are NOT the same thing!
The beauty and power of listening is beyond comparison. The ability to listen is valued as much as any interpersonal trait, business commodity, or professional expertise. It can also be learned. (Somewhere there is a married man snickering)
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