Leaders are meant to pave the path. To lead the way. To go into the unknown.
The path may be unclear. That’s why leaders must possess two traits.
Leaders must be willing to listen and to look.
Some people may wonder why leaders need to be willing to listen. They’re leaders after all. They’re the ones going ahead. There’s no reason they need to listen.
Sorry buddy, those who say this are wrong. In a major way.
It’s like in mountain climbing. As you’re ascending the mountain, you’ve got to keep your ears open for dangers.
You may experience rockslides, other climbers who are dangerous, or to hear your own voice once you’ve reached the summit.
Listening allows you to HEAR the dangers you may be coming upon.
You also have another reason to listen. Your partners may be warning you of a danger or letting you know something is wrong.
In leadership, your team members may see trouble that you’re unable to see. Or maybe they’re having trouble moving forward.
Listening to others allows you to save yourself or save them. Be open to listening.
Looking is another key component of leadership. The territory you’re heading into is unknown and you’re leading the way.
Lets use the mountain climbing example again.
When you’re climbing a mountain, you’re on the lookout for the next bucket, pocket, or ledge to use as a handhold. The next foothold your foot can slip into.
You must look around and be aware of your environment. If not, you’re in danger.
Leadership requires you to scout ahead and see where the dangers are and what you can use to pull and push yourself up. You’re then able to shout back down to those following and let them know where they need to grab, what they need to push off of, and what to be wary of.
You’ll also look when you reach the summit of the mountain. You’ll want to take in the beauty and wonder of the goal you’ve reached.
Leaders need to do this as well. When you’ve accomplished a major project, led to new heights, or helped others achieve, feel free to look around and enjoy the view from the top.
Question: How are you listening and looking as a leader? What are you hearing and seeing? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.