I'm one of the most competitive people I know. Sure, I come across here as calm and focused (ha!); but in reality I play to win. Period.
Now, how I go about wining can take on many forms and requires different strategies based on the circumstances I find myself in. One of the most important tools I use daily is listening effectively.
Before you roll your eyes and dismiss me (see item #1 below), play along.
Listen to Win
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply."
- Stephen Covey
If the only way I ever thought about my role as a leader was to win, then I would surely find myself with zero credibility and no job. Neither one of those options is very appealing, so I try to avoid falling into the trap of focusing on my words while my colleagues are speaking.
Yes, most leaders today are expected to be quick on their feet and be able to respond well under pressure. But it is literally impossible to do that if you haven't heard what the others in the room are saying. Focusing on you (read here --> myself) all the time is a recipe for failure.
Listen to Learn
"I remind myself every morning: nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening."
- Larry King
This perspective on leading can be a struggle for me. I've become accustomed to people looking to me for insight, guidance, and learning new approaches. But when do I learn if I'm not listening to them? We can learn from everyone regardless of their tenure with the organization or experience in the role.
Listen to Lead
"To learn through listening, practice it naively and actively. Naively means that you listen openly, ready to learn something, as opposed to listening defensively, ready to rebut. Listening actively means you acknowledge what you heard and act accordingly."
- Betsy Sanders
It really is a simple formula. When we listen for real...allow ourselves to process what we've heard...and then engage professionally with others we win. Remember that the team you work with is watching...every move...hearing every word...and assuming that our behavior is what is acceptable in our corporate cultures.
How About You
How do you listen? Is all about the win...or learning...or hopefully, to lead as a role model for your organization?
I'd love to hear from you.