September 23, 2011

There are some leaders who talk a lot and others who listen a lot. Although this is more of a personality trait, it affects the performance, effectiveness, and morale of the men and women the leader leads. This prompts a question: who is better - a talking leader or a listening leader?

The essence of leadership is empathy. Without showing a high degree of empathy, it is very difficult to lead. While leadership is directly concerned with vision, direction, decision making, building capability, and delivering results, it is empathy which acts as an enabler. And high degree of empathy is directly linked with effective listening!

The problem with a talking leader is that unknowingly he ends up alienating the team instead of aligning them to a common goal. By talking too much and with authority, he discourages diverse view points on a subject and thereby forcefully imposes his own view points. This may work where the capability of his followers is weak and his experience exhaustive. But if he is leading a strong and capable team, he may get trapped within his own world view and miss other better alternatives and get bogged down with the side effect of sending the passion within the team for a toss!

To sum up, a leader needs to be assertive and decisive but not talkative and imposing. He needs to listen to the heart of his followers and then use empathy, persuasion, and experience to help draw the best possible road map and align the entire team to rally around it. Outstanding leaders do not impose decision; they make their followers feel as if the decision is their own!

1 comments

  1. Atul // April 1, 2015 at 3:19 PM  

    I have jumped between being a talking boss and listening boss and more listening in 2015 is high on my agenda this year