Vroom! April 2022

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A note from Jen

I recently embarked on a new leadership development journey that involved asking a number of people to rate my leadership skills and give me feedback about where I can improve. A strong theme emerged from the feedback around my ability to listen. This assessment did not surprise me – I am outgoing and talkative and can dominate a conversation when I am passionate about the subject. I know I need to work on “sharing more air” in meetings and social settings. 

Just a few days after receiving this feedback, my Pastor gave a sermon on … you guessed it – listening. He described how, when he is distracted by thoughts but is supposed to be listening, he visualizes putting the thoughts into a boat and sending them off across the water. And just like that, I knew that I was not alone in my need to listen better. 

I realized that listening without distraction is a leadership practice, and one that I intend to work on. Moving forward, I will strive to remember:

  • By cultivating a quiet space – in my mind, heart, and/or environment – I can be more fully present for the person I am listening to.
  • By listening to others, I show respect for them and their ideas.
  • Allowing others space to share their thoughts (especially if I don’t agree with them) can feel uncomfortable. But by not allowing it, I miss the opportunity to know someone better or to learn something new.
  • As a leader, listening to my team is the best way to set them up for success.

Three Brave Ways to Listen

One: Personally. Notice when your thoughts are running away with your brain, and find a practice that helps you bring your attention back to the present.
Two: Collectively. When you listen with your whole self to what others are saying, you open yourself up to deeper connection.
Three: Intuitively. Listen for the meaning that is underneath the words. Use the context of what you know about them to connect to others more fully.

Accelerate in a big way

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say - Bryant H McGill
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Jennifer Schneider

A founding member of pLink Leadership. Jennifer leads a determined and cohesive team of designers and experts who bring pLink Leadership’s signature ideas and concepts to life and enhance the delivery and acceleration of positive change in the world, As Chief Design Officer, her leadership and design principles inform every piece of company collateral. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and cat where she enjoys Cubs games, Six Flags, and visits from her college-attending daughter.