Sometimes I don’t listen carefully...
…and realise that I am not paying close attention to the person who is talking to me. I would like to give my own opinion or I reply too quickly without really letting the other person finish what they would like to say. Or I ask questions with an underlying value judgement without having listened properly with my entire being first.
I see this, or actually: I hear this in conversations in the office too and in the teams I work with. The other day, I frequently interrupted the management team I was working with to ask questions such as: “Are you answering his question? Did you hear what she said? With which energy are you saying this and how did you listen?” and every time these managers were made aware of what was going on and the answer was ‘No…’.
How far do you go as a leader?
I would like to share another conversation with you. I am coaching a managing director who is currently faced with many challenges in his organisation. For example, departments complaining about their manager, departments that are not cooperating well with each other, disappointing results that are below target while the economic climate is not helping.
I asked him: When will you step into the arena?
He is a friendly leader with lots of knowledge and experience. These qualities have helped him come a long way in his career and they have been very valuable for the organisation. But there is a crisis now… and “he is being called upon” by the people around him. He is asked to step into the arena. No more watching from the sideline, no longer merely considering issues from various perspectives…
I recognise this as I experienced it myself only recently. Even after so many years of coaching teams and individuals I was nervous about stepping into the arena… Last week I had to go abroad to coach a team in a large organisation (which has been one of my clients for many years). In the days before, I was tying myself in knots. I had a sense of resistance against the whole exercise. I tried my utmost to figure out where it was coming from, but nothing helped.
Until I stepped into the arena, entered into a dialogue with the team members and the coaching session began. I strongly felt that these people also deserved to get me at my best. I was alert, respectful and challenging during the team coaching session. I coached a satisfied team, and provided them with many new insights about stepping into the arena too. At long last!!! I was in the arena and the game had begun. Not always easy, but…
…bring it on!
So if you feel a sense of resistance, be brave and step into the arena. Even if you don’t know how it will all end…be courageous.