Sunday, April 10, 2011

The power of listening

I recently was exposed to two slightly different takes on communication from a leadership position and both involve one on one meetings with people.

The first was from a Corner Office interview in the NY Times a few weeks ago. In this interview of Doreen Lorenzo, she talks at length about the power of one on one meetings with people in her design and innovation firm. In these meetings, she lets each person guide the conversation and spends most of the time listening. She also uses this time to communicate the mission of the company, because she feels strongly that people need to hear it from her.

The second exposure is a short video from The Learning Community School in Rhode Island. The co-directors two times a year sit down with every person in the school and just listen. They then do an interesting next step and track all of the things people say, take notes on it, and then share it with everyone in the school, and finally try to facilitate some action steps from the data.

I have done bits and pieces of this as a leader over the years and I value this type of data probably more than any others.

But I need to improve on:
  • Communicating the vision one on one with everyone.
  • Truly listening to people and letting them guide the conversation.
  • Doing it in a systematic way and finding the time to implement that system
It is powerful stuff. The best thing I know I could probably ever say about a boss is that I really felt listened to. I hope I can improve in that area as a leader myself.


  1. In fact, today, the violence in media is almost a norm and its impact on the psychology of an individual is very significant.