It’s easy, in the more senior stages of your career, to fall victim to the fallacy that you know more than you really do. I wrote about this common mistake in a February 2021 blog post where I highlighted a podcast featuring Professor Adam Grant called “The Easiest Person to Fool”.
If there’s one area where most senior execs need improvement, it’s listening- particularly to subordinates or those in leadership roles that are less inclined to deliver positive news. Not doing so can insulate you from early signs of danger…and opportunity.
Although good listening skills are important to warding off potential crises, they are equally important in ensuring that good ideas can come from anywhere.
CEO’s in general, can often find themselves in an echo chamber or communication bubble. They generally have more information than anyone else in the company, but that information is often suspect and compromised. Or as Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer recently wrote in their article in Harvard Business Review on the importance of listening skills, “Warning signals are often tamped down. Key facts are omitted. Data sets are given a positive spin.”
Although good listening skills (and by that, I mean, listening to folks outside of your immediate bubble) are important to warding off potential crises, they are equally important in ensuring that good ideas can come from anywhere.
Read on for six useful steps, from some very pragmatic CEO’s, for how to listen more effectively and create a true “listening ecosystem”.