Leaders Listen to Learn ...

As we said earlier this week, one of the most important leadership skills we teach at St. Francis is the skill of “listening.”

We know that true “listening” means that we seeking to understand versus waiting to speak; and we are “others-centered” versus “self-centered.”

This is an important leadership skill for our students to take with them as they head into the world. It is through understanding that they will have influence and be real leaders.

With the importance of “listening to understand” in mind, it is vital to recognize a second leadership principle regarding the art of listening: leaders listen to learn. Good leaders understand the wisdom of President Kennedy’s words, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” And, in order to learn, leaders must listen.

Proverbs 18:15 explains, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” It is intelligent leader – a good leader — that has a heart for knowledge – or learning; and, it is through the ears, or listening, that he or she seeks to learn. Proverbs 19:27 also tells us that if we, “cease to hear instruction” we will “stray from the words of knowledge.”

The good leader also understands that when he or she stops listening he or she will stray and fail in their leadership role.

St. Francis students will grasp that their success as leaders in the community and society is directly tied to their willingness and ability to listen to and learn from others. Overall, whether a leader is “listening to understand” or “listening to learn” he or she is being others-centered as opposed to self-centered which is the cornerstone of leadership.

“Who speaks, sows; Who listens, reaps.”  – Argentinean Proverb