Listening, active listening, is a topic that comes up often in my coaching session with leaders.
Their instinct says this is a crucial skill and they know there are challenges, witting or unwitting: inhibiting pushback from others, being so smart and so quick that their mind is so far out in front they are not really listening and more.
Sometimes sources outside management professionals catch my attention as valuable for CEOs. One such source is Wyton Marsalis’ class in jazz for young people, produced by Samantha Samuels and broadcast on Siriu/XM Radio on RealJazz. Here is a sample (paraprhased):
Jazz is high performance by a group.
- Each instrument brings something different to the Group (more on that another time).
- Jazz consists of three components: swing, blues and improvisation.
- Swing happens when the different instruments come together if they:
..really listen to each other
..allow each other to enter their space and work to blend differences
Listening is the key. Imagine how tough it would be to play music, stay married, do your job, have your children like and respect you, be at the right place at the right time.
Blues is expressing yourself authentically, with your highs and lows. Blues is doing that
with the rest of the band. And whoever plays the blues melody is uplifted by expressing it with the walking bass under it.
Improvisation is mostly making things up as you go along. Not entirely. There is an “arrangement” of a tune we all know underneath. It gives structure so each player can do his own thing yet the total sound is right. And mistakes happen. That is ok. Just keep playing.
You can decide the parallels with companies and other organizations.
That’s my view. What’s yours?
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If you want to know more, got Jazz at Lincoln Center.org/learn.