The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

To Be A Good Leader, You Have To Be A Good Listener …
December 12, 2012, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

I have worked with a lot of bosses in my career so far.

Good bosses.

Average bosses.

Terrible bosses.

And in almost every case, the difference between the worst and the best was their openness to hearing opinion before making their decision.

The best guys didn’t do it because they wanted to be liked … they did it because they wanted to make the right decision and they knew this could only happen if they welcomed the voicing of opinion upfront.

Of course, by adopting this approach, it also meant they would disappoint some and please others … but to them, that was acceptable because it was a byproduct of them being able to make more informed, more effective decisions.

Real decisions.

Decisions with bite, purpose and vision

Decisions they believe in rather than abdicating their responsibility to consensus.

The worst bosses were almost entirely opposite in their approach.

These people would do all they could to ensure breadth of opinions were never given a chance to be heard. And for the record, I mean opinions from other senior, experienced colleagues … not every Tom, Dick & Harry, which can be equally as dangerous if not handled correctly.

That would mean they’d have lots of private meetings with only their most trusted of aids in the room or they’d simply hold back on announcing their decision until the last possible moment so no meaningful change could ever take place.

If those bosses were geniuses, it might have been easier to take, but almost universally, the people who adopted that stance were scared, incompetent and racked with self-doubt.

Great bosses understand letting people be heard is a vital component to job satisfaction.

People are more accepting of disappointment if they feel their counsel has been courted or their opinion heard.

Of course, this is not always possible, but funnily enough … the best bosses I’ve ever worked with, have always found a way to make it happen.

I hope you’re working with people like that because they make you feel involved, connected and alive.

And that helps you become better than you thought you were or could be.

25 Comments so far
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I don’t know what brought this post on but I couldn’t agree more. Being informed of decisions, whether you agree or not, is much better than hearing things at the end of the process. It also allows the people making the decisions to make better decisions while maintaining calm, discipline and to a certain degree, loyalty, amongst the ranks.

Comment by Pete

“discipline in the ranks.”

why the fuck do you sound like youre in the fucking army? not just any army, the british army?

Comment by andy@cynic

He wouldn’t be in the army long, he was always late for meetings. Maybe the yank army would take him in. They have a track record for accepting tardiness that stretches all the way back to WW2.

Boom Tish.

Comment by DH

you could work for the fucking government with that ability to incite shit. confuckingratulations.

Comment by andy@cynic

You do sort-of sound like a British Army captain in your comment Pete. I agree with you [mainly because you’re agreeing with me] but I’m fairly positive this sort of language is not allowed in Happy Mountain.

Comment by Rob

And yes, you guys were good at it. Even Andy. Actually, especially Andy.

Comment by Pete

If you can fake listening….

Comment by john

wasnt hard. planners were so fucking grateful to be talking to me that just being in the same fucking room made them feel special. i used to use the opportunity to grab some sleep while they were briefing me on some shit. used to go on so long id grab a good 8 hours kip.

Comment by andy@cynic

why the fuck do you sound surprised?

Comment by andy@cynic

not a great career move forgetting to mention auntie george given hes your lord and fucking master these days. you know what a petty little fuck he becomes when he isn’t treated like the fucking messiah. or is that campbell? who the fuck cares, i dont work with any of you.

Comment by andy@cynic

I didn’t mean that and you know it Andy. Thanks for stirring the pot. I have my review with him tomorrow.

Anyone seen the Virgin Atlantic news? No wonder Lee has been relatively quiet on here.

Comment by Pete

Yes, just heard. Shocked. The funny thing is Delta are a W+K client so there is a fairly good chance I might be working with the gang again.

I’m sure that had they known that, the deal would have been off.

Comment by Rob

no. fucking. way.

delta? they make aeroflot seem like upper upper class. fuck me backwards. where are you lee? we demand an explanation. or at least a free flight.

Comment by andy@cynic

the good news is campbells freebie to paid ratio is about to get fucked good and proper. excellent.

Comment by andy@cynic

Your comment has been noted Pete.

Comment by George

I’m expecting a deluge of comments from wk shanghai. I’m not saying the word “hypocrite” will be widely used. But I bet it will.

Comment by DH

they have to work with the fucker, the last thing theyd want to do is read his shit as well.

Comment by andy@cynic

In the loosest sense of that word

Comment by john

hed probably say it was a technique he learnt from that profiler fucker he made us spent a fucking fortune on. at least it got him out of the fucking office.

Comment by andy@cynic

That won’t be happening Dave. Not because today is the planner Christmas lunch, but because I’ve had all their digital devices fitted with an electronic fingerprint tracker enabling me to see if any of them make a negative comment and then have them flogged if they are so stupid to test my resolve.


Comment by Rob

youre not fooling any fucker. youd do that sort of shit. the fucking cia probably ask to borrow your equipment. evil fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Campbell? A good listener? That man never shuts up. He can breathe through his ears. Might be good for the sort of thing I never want to imagine Rob doing, but not for being a boss.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You’re the second person today who has informed me of an image [involving me] that I find disconcerting, let alone you. Then you are on your own alot aren’t you.

Comment by Rob

My dad told me a relevant story of his days working at a parcel depot. One of the managers came into his office and asked about them looking after an additional delivery, so he called for the man who did the delivery to come in.

The senior manager asked him why on earth he was talking to the delivery guy. My dad replied that firstly, he’ll know instantly if it can be done, and secondly, by involving him he won’t complain when he has to do it.

The amount of managers who don’t involve other people’s opinions is unbelievable.

I have experience of two different managers from one job. Where one manager was pretty useless at most things, but because they were useless they always asked for everybody’s opinion and used that to make a decision. The results were generally better than the more ‘talented’ managers who made decisions themselves.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

[…] + Why Good Bosses Listen […]

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