A leader has two ears

Posted on 14. Apr, 2013 by in Leadership

No seriously, the most successful leaders have two ears and only one mouth…have you noticed?

The art of listening with intent and thoughtfulness is indeed unique. I suppose its difficult because our brain works considerably faster than the speed people speak. So, while we are listening, we are already preparing either the next question or worse, starting the think of a come back, answer or response.

An quick guide therefore is that we have two ears and only one mouth, suggesting we should listen twice as much or twice as long as we speak. This takes practice and self discipline but is worth its weight in gold.

Coupled with this, is asking probing and considered questions. More about this one day as I’m still developing this skill.

The two ears analogy goes further. The late Martin Vassali shared a valuable lesson with me once, one ear is for “in” and the other is for “out”.

As leaders we have to filter what we hear and distill the essence from what we are told or pick up. In fact, the valuable bit often sits in what was not said, but what we can “hear”. In today’s connected world and avalanche of information, we need to practice filtering what’s worth hearing, knowing and responding too and what is just spam, irrelevant and often downright burdensome.

Not taking everything you hear “in” also reduces stress and is kind to your head-space and and heart…..all the more important if these are running at near capacity.

With one brain, heart and mouth, use your two ears wisely.

I wonder if that is why our ears never stop growing and the older we get…the more we seem to listen smarter.

Sharing stories, Deon