What Happens to Leaders Who Don’t Listen?
There's a lot of silly stuff that people post that appears on the LinkedIn main page when I log in, between narcissistic selfies and urban legends like the one about Bill Gates and his daughter that's making the rounds.
But, occasionally there's a real gem… this time an image shared by Shellie McKinney, an H.R. generalist at Kohler Co.
I re-shared her photo on LinkedIn as it appeared here:
The quote is from Andy Stanley, “a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries in Alpharetta, Georgia.”
Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing significant to say.
— AndyStanley (@AndyStanley) August 17, 2011
It looks better and more sharable on a whiteboard, eh?
It looks like one of Andy's main projects is a leadership podcast… I'll have to check it out.
This quote has a lot of relevance to the practice of Lean and Kaizen (or continuous improvement). Leaders need to learn how to truly listen to their employees, including their needs and their ideas.
Without listening (to customers, employees, patients, suppliers, etc.), it's not really Lean is it? Listening is a core aspect of what Toyota would call “Respect for People?”
There's far more to respect than just listening… but it's a good start.
I've heard leaders complain that “my employees won't speak up.” Instead of labeling them as bad or uncaring employees, these same leaders should maybe look in the mirror and ask how those people ended up that way.
It makes me think of the old comment by the late Peter Scholtes, paraphrasing:
“If you're firing dead wood, ask yourself if you didn't at one point hire live trees.”
“Listening” image created by Flickr user Ky_Olsen, used under Creative Commons license.