Recently, I listened to some upset and “half glass empty” professionals, who had been through multiple leader changes in less than five years. I thanked them for being willing to trust the space we were in (medium sized conference room with their colleagues) to share their intense feelings, in a calm and respectful manner. I agreed with them in many cases, and not disagreeing at all. I took notes on some of the key items they mentioned, and played those back to the group. I also realistically and kindly challenged them to grow, by simply sharing some best practices that I had witnessed in the last 3-6 weeks. They then started sharing what was helping them to grow their own business, improve results, and foster better customer relationships.
A few hours later, I received two “thank you” emails from the eight attendees stating the meeting was “productive”. What a word choice: Productive. One even stopped by and shared his grateful thoughts with me face to face.
In the time of deep concern or negativity, as a leader, do you take the time to listen and be fully present, with no technology/devices in the room? I learned a very important lesson today: listening shows that you care. Listening completely can actually help turn the culture from negative to “productive”. Listening showed to the attendees that people matter. Yes, every person who is heard feels that they matter. And that might just be all they need: to be heard. Because if they are heard, then you might just be able to proceed in to a “productive” situation. You matter, yes, you do!