Ask And Then Listen!

 Having a good process and environment in place where you are continually encouraging your team members to tell you what they want so they can perform their role better . . . and so they can advance in the organization . . . is very important.


Asking each and every person what he or she wants and then listening to what he or she says are the start of a good process that will serve you well.  This sort of process also helps to build trust, which is the one single biggest thing that you want to achieve as a leader. 


Asking people for their opinion and feedback and then acting on that feedback when appropriate are vital to getting results from your team.  Even when the feedback you received is negative or when you have to deliver some news that others don’t want to hear, they will trust you if you do it properly and give them plenty of examples of why you do not support their position.  Telling them exactly what they have to do to improve is also vital. 


Let your calendar drive this kind of process.  Sit down and make sure that you have scheduled time to listen to each one of your direct reports and that you take the time to get back to them.  The discipline of using your day planner to schedule the priorities in your life is a vital thing to learn.  Make sure to be working continually on improving your time-management and discipline skills, as this is the one thing that can make or break a career and make or break a relationship.

Is is not stress that does you in, it is distress. Distress comes about when you do not feel in control. Using a day planner and taking the time each day to sit down and think about what you want to get accomplished that really matters is vital. Plan your day, put a priority on each entry and then go about getting those things accomplished. You will feel a whole lot better at the end of the day in knowing that your life is under control.


Many Leaders talk a good story about how they want to hear from you and how they want you to speak up and tell them what you are thinking and feeling . . . but few really do a great job of actually following through on what they hear; and in fact many, when hearing something they don’t care for, end up getting aggressive and start to tell you why you are wrong.


Don’t be one of these kinds of leaders.  It is an art and a skill to be a great listener and to read between the lines and to make people feel safe and confident when they display the courage to speak up.  If you want people to have a voice, then you have to make it safe for them to speak up.

 Creating an Inclusive Environment is vital to knowing what is going on in your organization and in your home. Buildiing trust is the name of the game.

Here are ten ways to create the right environment.

1) Knowing your team…I mean really getting to know them.

2) Engaging your team…Ask their opinion.

3) Developing your team…This shows your really care.

4) Greeting other sincerely… a basic your mother should have taught you already.

5) Building community…Does your team look like the community?

6) Listening to understand…Listen, listen, listen intently.

7) Communicate clearly, directly and honestly….If you care about your team. Tell the truth.

8) Hearing all voices…remember everyone is important and so is their opinion. Everyone is different.

9)Speaking up when other are excluded.

10) Be brave…do the right thing.

For more understanding on these ten items read the fist strategy in my book.

Happy Holidays to all and to all a good day…..Lee 


  1. From the opposite side of the coin when someone ask’s you to put all your cards on the table, do so not sharing information to avoid confrontation is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

  2. Lee – great blog, as usual. In various classes I do I always differentiate between “listening” and “hearing”. There’s a big difference. I use the example of when I was stationed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, I shared an office with the Department Chief. I always had the TV on while I worked and one day he asked how I could concentrate with it on. I told him that it’s just background noise. I could “hear” it but I wasn’t actually “listening” to it. In fact I couldn’t even tell him what was on. So “listening” to what people say is much more important than “hearing” what they say. Then you’re able to act.

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