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

Jennifer is a founding member of pLink Leadership. She spends her spare time enjoying movies and books, engaging in her church community, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs. A recent empty nester (her only daughter is away at college), she lives in the Chicago area with her husband and cat.