You need a damn good listening to!

A colleague still remembers the impact of a conversation he had with his then manager many years ago. He was sitting at his desk, feeling stressed and wondering if he was up to the job when his manager walked over to him. Expecting to be questioned or criticised for something, he looked up from his reverie. His manager leaned across his desk and said in a stern voice: “You need a damn good listening to!”

He immediately felt the weight lift from his shoulders as he got up from his desk and went to his manager’s office. What followed was a proper discussion in which he did feel listened to, was able to share his doubts and ambitions, and to benefit from the older man’s experience. He later saw that moment as a turning point for his career in that organisation and beyond.

What made me think of my colleague and his turning point all those years ago?

Firstly, it’s a great example of emotionally intelligent management. As a leadership and management trainer, I’m always interested in that.

Secondly, as a business owner I know there are times when I need a damn good listening to! The trouble for a lot of business owners, of course, is that there is often no one else in the business who can do that for you.

Find a listener

This is where a good quality business coach comes in. I called one myself a couple of years ago. It was a phone call I’d been meaning to make for a long time but hadn’t because, well, I didn’t have time to sit and listen to a coach. At least, I thought I didn’t, just as one of my clients never has the time to come on a time management course. I also didn’t fancy spending the money…

When I made the call I was in a rut. There was a lot I still enjoyed about my job, in particular delivering training workshops and meeting and working with my clients, but I had lost my spark. Working with her helped me to realise that a lot of my effort was going into the wrong things; things I wasn’t interested in and therefore wasn’t good at. I had also forgotten some of my original goals, or put them so far on the back burner that they would never catch alight.

My coach did a similar job for me to the one my friend’s manager had done for him. She asked me questions and listened to what I was saying. She helped me to remember what I wanted to achieve and organised my thoughts. I discovered afresh that sometimes you need to go back to the beginning to check if you still remember your original objectives, or if in fact you still want to achieve them. I realised that there are things you need to stop doing in order to give yourself the chance to start doing the right things.

If you run your own business, or you’re a leader in a small or medium-sized company, you have a tough job. If you’re also responsible for strategy, marketing, delivery and everything else, then you have several tough jobs. It can be difficult to take a step back when there is so much to do, so we just plough on and get on with it. It’s what we do isn’t it? But how do you know you are getting on with the right things?

What a difference

I am currently working with two organisations that realised they needed leadership training, again as a result of working with a skilled coach who helped them to understand the need for it as a result of their growth.

As for me, I have:

  • Accessed a specific target market I had wanted to focus on for a long time,
  • Stopped doing work I don’t enjoy and allowed someone else to get involved who can do it better, more cost effectively and who enjoys it more,
  • Written and got a publishing deal for a book I had wanted to write for years and never made the time for.

If you’re a manager, try to follow the example of my friend’s old manager. If you’re a business, Heart of Business has a choice of professional coaches who can help you rediscover your business passion. A skilled listener with the knowledge and experience to back it up, and with your business interests at heart, can make all the difference.

If you recognise yourself in this article, you can always get in touch with us to find out how our service works. Sometimes we all need a damn good listening to!

Alan Hester

Inspiring Leadership and Management training to increase confidence, personal effectiveness and improve performance.

alanhester@btinternet.com

07970 522 760