Many managers do not appreciate the art of good listening. In fact, some people view listening to followers a weakness. However, not listening to wise counsel can be fatal to leaders. Former Alaska Governor and the 2008 Republican vice president candidate Sarah Palin happens to be the latest causality on this subject.
On April 21st, she found herself in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. Some managers have poor listening skills while others are just arrogant about listening to anybody. If organizations want to be successful, their managers need to understand the importance of good listening skills. Craig Hackman and Michael Johnson, authors of Leadership: A Communication Perspective, explain that the leader-follower connection has a direct impact on organizational effectiveness. This article examines the importance of leaders listening to their followers.
Many managers fail to see the unintended consequences of not listening to followers. Former Alaska Director of Boards and Commissioners Frank Bailey warned Palin about using a non-government email: “I was speaking to (Palin husband) Todd (Palin) and said, ‘You have got to get off Yahoo! It’s not secure.’” Sarah Palin failed to heed this warning from her staff. David Kernell, a University of Tennessee student at the time, gained accessed to Palin’s private email, thereby making her vulnerable. In court, it was later discovered that Palin used the Yahoo account to discuss state business.
Yet, Palin’s failure to listen is a common situation to some managers. James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, explain that the leader’s job is to keep followers focused on the vision. If managers do not listen to workers, workers will lose trust in them. Like Sarah Palin learned, leaders must be willing to listening to their workers. Leadership is about a journey. Effective leader understand that it’s important to get wise counsel. Listening to workers is just one critical component. Therefore, leaders need to act on this matter before it’s too late.
© 2010 by Daryl D. Green