Wise leaders listen to the people they lead. They recognize they are finite in their knowledge and wisdom, don’t have all the answers, and benefit from the minds of those they serve alongside.
It is foolish to not listen to those on your team. Not only do you lose the benefit of their collective wisdom and experience, but also you simultaneously devalue individuals and harm the culture of your team. Here are four warning signs that you are not listening to people on your team:
1. You sense a lack of ownership.
If you sense those on your team do not “own” an initiative or a direction, it is likely because they do not feel it is “theirs” to own. If they were handed an edict without speaking into it, they may execute but they often execute without conviction.
2. Your team no longer asks you questions.
If people on your team once asked you questions, once gave you insight, but over time have ceased doing so – you have sent signals that you are not listening. They have given up. They are not offering insights because, “well, what’s the point?”
3. Many are looking for another job.
You devalue team members by not listening to them. And devalued team members will look for a place where they are valued, where their insight can be utilized, where their contribution can be maximized.
4. The team strategizes on how to tell you something.
If you have team members who systematically plan how to tell you something, who work hard together on how to lift a simple concern to you, you have team members who feel you don’t regularly listen.
Proverbs 15:22 reminds us, “Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Wise leaders realize there is valuable counsel on the teams they have assembled.