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The Wisdom of Listening in Challenging Times



“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.”
Doug Larson

There have been some obstacles to overcome thus far in 2023, and my thoughts have me looking toward the challenges that may lie ahead.


Ahead of monetary and security concerns are the emotional health and well-being of personnel, customers, and clients.

Facing the challenges of the recent pandemic, it was Lions Pride’s Master Operating System™ that allowed us to focus most of our attention on listening to the needs of our personnel and clients. (1)


Our operating system enabled us to navigate the uncertainties of day-to-day operations with a reasonable degree of confidence.


Leadership Mistakes in Challenging Times


I’ve witnessed some similarities within organizations that focused more on functionality than relational availability during economic downturns and the recent pandemic. I’m using “mistakes” as an acronym to describe my observations.


Miscommunication among team leaders

Ineffective conflict resolution

Sidelining creativity until conditions appear more favorable

Taking too long to capitalize on opportunities

Accepting less than excellence from managers

Keeping nonproductive team members

Executives being Inaccessible or unavailable

Short-term thinking to address long-term problems


Good Leaders Make Themselves Assessable and Available


Leaders need to be more visible when navigating through difficult times. Visibility coupled with clear communication and specific direction is a confidence builder. It is always important to let your employees know the situation’s reality and the plan to overcome the challenges together.


Among those organizations successfully navigating the health crises and the current slowing economy were leaders who leaned in and learned from the experience.


Good Leaders are Good Listeners for Good Reasons


“The path to gaining knowledge and acquiring wisdom begins with the respect that we show others by listening.”
— JSP

Listening connects you with people on a deeper level. It’s both affirming and validating to reply with understanding. Stephen R. Covey remarks, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”


Listening connects the leader to the team and the team to the vision, especially during challenging times. People will trust a leader who can listen and learn from them. Learning where people are coming from helps us understand why they do what they do, allowing leaders to ask the right questions to know what they need to do.


Listening connects us with the experiences, motives, and feelings of the people we converse with. Listening to people is affirming; it validates them and informs us; it’s a win/win when we’re on the same page.


In Closing, People gravitate to those who listen and are more likely to trust those who show an interest in what matters most to them. Good leaders and managers listen to their teams, employees, customers, and clients; how else will they know how they and those they serve are doing?


End Notes

(1) Master Operating System™ (MOS) provides simple and practical tools to help entrepreneurs focus on the eight most critical areas in their business to help create momentum, predictability, and growth. https://bit.ly/42X1Wh1



*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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