As is often the case during my travel home from work, I let my mind wander. Today, my meandering mind focused a bit on leadership and the qualities of good leaders. Earlier this morning a brochure marketing an upcoming conference found its way into my inbox. Just before tossing the brochure into the recycle bin (the budget situation does, after all, make it necessary to ignore all travel opportunities) a quote caught my eye. I can’t remember the quote verbatim so I won’t do the author injustice by misquoting. The quote was good enough for me to open the brochure to the conference I could never attend and several more nice quotes pertaining to leadership graced the pages. The conference highlights the rising importance of leadership skills in IT executives. A noble idea, but that is a blog post for another day. Besides, work-related travel is out of the question, so I quickly jotted down those inspirational quotes to bring out again on a rainy day and finally proceeded with placing the brochure in the recycle bin.

A colleague likes to emphasize Habit #5 of the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Empathic Listening. Following this habit could bring about immediate results. How many times have you sat through a meeting which was unproductive mainly because two or more people at the table were interested only in pushing their own agenda rather than listening to what others had to say?

Jason Echols over at Black Belt Productivity believes that the most effective leaders let the best ideas win. It can be tough to let go of one’s own idea. But it takes a great amount of courage and trust to swallow one’s pride and create synergy to help accomplish another’s superior idea. If the other idea benefits the organization what would be remembered is the success. On the other hand, sticking stubbornly to that inferior idea could quickly create a reputation of being closed-minded. Interestingly, the first item on Echols’ list of creating this synergy is:

Leaders listen to all ideas.

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