by Dr. Kim Redman
As promised, this next set of articles is a series excerpting pieces of one of my upcoming books “Quantum Leadership: How to Lead from the Soul, Become Visionary, and Change the World”. I’ve decided to weave the letters of LEADERS as per Deepak Chopra’s “The Soul of Leadership” book as a guide, and wrap the new material around it. This is one of my favourite books, published in 2010, and if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest that you do! There is something in it for everyone!
The L in Leadership Stands for Listening
Listening. How hard could it be? Don’t we all listen?
Actually, no. Not really. There are many different levels of listening and hearing, and my goal in this article is to define them for you, and give you a how-to with them.
In coaching we call listening “active” or “deep listening”, and that means that you are listening to more than just the words. You are listening and watching body language for cues physically, emotionally, via their language in NLP Coaching, and in Quantum processes we are also listening with the heart and soul. You are listening for what is between and beyond the words, as well as the words themselves. You are also listening to the “WHY” of it all, their intention, which drives behaviour at the human level.
It reminds me of a teaching parable of a senior monk and his protege. The young monk runs in and says, “Master, you won’t believe what I just heard”. The Master replies, “Before you tell me, I have three questions for you:
- Do I need to know this for my own physical safety or the safety of others?
- Will knowing this make me think better of the person the story is about?
- Will the story make me think better of you for sharing it?
And if the answer is no to all three questions, please avoid sharing this gossip with me.” The protege wisely stays silent. Intention drives all behaviour.
The level that we can listen and hear at, is also attached to our ability to expand our own perceptions. In the Ancient Wisdom schools we are taught “acrostic vision”, the ability to perceive a situation from multiple points of perception, simultaneously. In the beginning there is a lot of practice with the subjective points of self, other and a birds-eye view known as the Eagle of Wisdom. Later on we add what Deepak Chopra references on page 23 of his book:
Impartial observation – Look and listen with your senses.
Analysis – Look and listen with your mind.
Feeling – Look and listen with your heart.
Incubation – Look and Listen with your soul.
One of the main capacities and jobs of leadership is to assist people in becoming their best selves. That means leadership involves a continual series of learning and personal growth for the leader, and for the tribe. Visionary Leadership is a set of core competencies, skill sets and behaviours. Natural magnetism is a talent. Talent alone is never a substitute for skills. We all need to learn the skills of any area we want to be effective in. One of the first skills as a leader that you are taught is how to stay impartial while actively listening. Listen, and observe impartially, without buying into the story.
Why? Well when people are growing, they are under pressure, and no one likes how that feels! They are often upset, and will approach you from a victim story. As a leader I need to hear their current space and appreciate that there is always a gap from where we are (the victim story), to where we are growing into (the success story). I need to keep my birds-eye view if I am going to lead. Otherwise, I become part of the problem.
On page 27 of his book, Deepak Chopra adds some of the perceptual how to’s:
Body: The stage of observing and information gathering
Mind: The stage of analysis and judgment
Heart: The stage of feeling
Soul: The stage of incubation
Here are some how-to’s and check points that will assist you in expanding and building these skills:
- Have you impartially listened to the viewpoint of all parties in the story, especially if only one party is present? If not, this is always step one.
- Did you come in with overt biases (often because we like or are triggered by someone)? If so please go back to step one.
- Have you ascertained the intention of all parties in the story?
- Are they coming from a base of fear (competition, attack etc.) or a base of love (gap information, skills assessment, betterment of self or others)?
- In a neutral assessment what behaviours have you directly observed from all parties?
- Can you identify the gap as a behaviour?
- With their history (and therefore their perceptual filters) could you recreate the problem? If no – get more information. If yes…
- Can you coach across the gap, or lead them to someone who can?
I will end this excerpt with a quote from First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt:
There are three kinds of minds. Small minds talk about people (gossip). Good minds talk about events. Great minds talk about ideas.
As you listen, and develop Visionary Leadership, always guide yourself and others into growing a great mind. After all it’s just an intention, and a focused action on your own magnificence and the magnificence of others around you. Go be magnificent!
Until next time…
To Your Empowerment
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