THE ELEVENTH ABSOLUTE FOR LEADERS:
Businessman Charles O. Rossotti was celebrated during Bill Clinton's administration for creating sweeping change in an organization previously known mostly for its monolithic intransigence: the Internal Revenue Service, where he was commissioner. Rossotti told the business magazine Fast Company the secret of his success: at first, he didn't change a thing.
Before anything else, Rossotti wanted to gain the organization's trust. So he spent the first six months meeting with employees across the country. In other words, he did nothing but listen. “Too often, people who enter the top echelons of organizations think that they're supposed to know everything,” he said. “They think that they've been hired to provide an answer to every question. In fact, people sometimes just want you to listen.”
When leaders listen, they aren't just listening to words. They're picking up tone, nuance, and body language; what is said and what is left unsaid. How well you listen determines the quality of the information you gather, but there's another, deeper leadership benefit to doing it right: creating trust.
The distance between hearing and listening is thinking and ...