After my most recent post a colleague asked me “Do you have a tool for helping leaders to listen?” I did not then, but 24 hours later here it is. As with anything I load up on my website, you can have it if you use it, improve on it, and share it back.
The primary listening tool for leaders is the one on one TIME with your people. If you have 10+ direct reports you might want to modify this for a team setting. (I would be happy to help with that)
First, remember what people need from you. Ken Blanchard said “Leadership is an influence process. It is about working with people to accomplish their goals and the goals of the organization.” Listening is about making what the organization (ie. YOU) needs very clear and providing space for them to tell you what they need. My one caveat is that this form assumes you have already had some sort of discussion around development with them. (here is a link to those templates – posted last month)
Here is a link to the form and four MUSTS for using it:
- The individual owns updating it and sharing a copy with the leader.
- The leader owns the effort to help define the core job duties, being clear about when they need a call on things, and showing up for the time. (ie. make it a priority)
- Keep the time focused on celebrating greens or completes and hearing/devising plans to make reds turn yellow or green.
- Limit time to 15-30 minutes, and it can be done on the phone if needed – but if possible work in face time (even if it is Skype).
If you do not have a habit like this listening is extra hard, if not impossible.
If you are wondering how the One on One fits into everything else you are asked to do as a leader around managing your people, I created a talent scorecard for leaders to get a free assessment of their habits and some feedback. Here is a link.