Each of us have discovered that people are fascinating. We simply need to take a little time to get to know them and then listen to what they have to say. That’s a big part of the challenge. As leaders we run from a tasks to meetings to challenges to solutions mindset. Unfortunately, it’s all too rare when we sit and just listen to people. Making that a part of our business routine is invaluable (it helps in our personal lives, too). Often those times of listening can create a myriad of unforeseen opportunities.
At the encouragement of a trusted advisor, I began meeting with my 5Points Creative colleagues individually, on a fairly regular basis. We try to have lunch together – just us – a couple of times a year. It’s their time to tell me what’s going on in their world, what they’ve been thinking about lately, and where they’d like to see things going personally and professionally.
Not only do I enjoy them, I learn a lot at these lunches.
Recently in two meetings I heard one team member tell me they were starting to feel a little overwhelmed with their burgeoning workload. As we added new clients and grew, there was a feeling of anxiousness about how they’d be able to manage the extra assignments. While some of the agonizing was premature, their concern was quietly building. It was becoming more real to them – enough so that they wanted to bring it to my attention.
As we were pondering the best ways to support this employee, I had another luncheon. This time it was over sandwiches with friends in the neighborhood. It was here that I got a chance to hear, firsthand, about this person’s somewhat hidden talents.
I discovered this valuable employee has a perpetual to-do-list that is detail-driven and requires focus. I also learned they have immense talent on the more creative side of our industry. It’s rare to come across people who have this mix of detail and creativity in their personality. It’s also exciting to discover someone who embraces the variety of talents needed to do what we do.
So, while we may have figured this all out over time, these adjacent meetings reinforced the concept that listening and making time for people must remain a top priority for all of us. In this case, I was able to allay their workload concerns and at the same time identify new talents that with be worthwhile for all of us.
Obviously this approach of taking time to listen is important for the employee. It’s also the gateway to often finding solutions that are actually right in front of you – just a little tucked away.
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