All of us are judgmental. That may not be necessarily a bad thing. An ability to see danger and quickly assess a situation has enabled us to survive. However this need to survive has unconsciously caused us to increase our proclivity for bias and “justify” what we think.
There is a scripture from the Bible, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise.” (Prov. 19:20.)
The time for a leader to listen is when someone needs to be heard.
Leaders who are silent can weaponize their intent. A leader who expecting positive feedback following an appraisal listened to an employee who said, “Is there a reason you are angry?” The leader responded with surprise, “I’m not angry at all with you. Why do you say this?”
The employee said, “Most of the time your hands are crossed and you’re searching the room with your eyes when I’m speaking. Sometimes you’ll stand with your hands on your hips.”
Leaders may not have time for listening but imagine the employee who feels troubled. When they appear strong not requiring “caring” i.e. attention and listening may need it most.
Parents with teenage youth may find that time for listening is often less convenient but more important when young people feel lonely or troubled. And when they seem to deserve favor least, they may need it most.
When we intentionally listen because we care about the other person and the situation we create a holistic effect that heightens the value of the other person instead of ourselves. We want the other person to succeed. We care about them and their progress. In time we no longer have to intentionally act because we have developed our self-awareness as a leader and person to care about more than what we have to say.
As people learn to feel our genuine concern about them as a person their ability to do things will increase. The need to intimidate or use the default stick approach ceases to be our impetus of change.
More than learning, we become. Simply because we cared.