“Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing significant to say.” (Andy Stanley, author and pastor, born 1958)
This quote has something to say to me from two different perspectives: First, I look at leaders that appear to care only for their own opinions, or that don’t have time to listen to others, and a warning flag goes up. Second, I think about situations where I’m in a leadership role, and reflect on my efforts to seek out other perspectives, or to look for people who can help me to improve my thinking. I wonder how I’m doing.
I once attended a “meet the candidates” event at the University of Massachusetts. Afterwards I sought out Charlie Baker (before he became Governor Baker), to talk about a question I had. He was willing to talk, but only while walking quite quickly away from the event. He’s very tall, with a long stride, so I wasn’t able to say much. Although he might have been late to a meeting (or a fire) it was probably a self-preservation strategy, as public figures are likely to get collared frequently and talked to at great length. Whatever his plan that day, this quote reminded me of that uncomfortable trot.
How are you at listening to those you’re trying to lead? How motivated are you to try to communicate with your leaders?