Leadership Lessons: How Listening Changes Your Responses

Hearing and listening are related. Similar yet very different. We hear loud sounds, the wind, someone laughing or yelling. And then what? We just get on with our day.

Listening, ah, another story entirely.

Were you ever told to “listen up” when you were a kid? Did someone ever say “Hey, will you just shut up and listen?”

Big question: Were you ever taught to listen?

Guess Who’s Coming To Breakfast, Lunch and Maybe Even Dinner

Is your company going through a growth spurt? Need more good people to participate in your exciting endeavors? Want to fill the shoes of those who have moved up with those ready to move up?

Warning: Don’t overlook those seated before you.

The Colors of Gender Thanks to Modern Marketing and Ancient Ancestors

From the day you were born, even before conception, there are beliefs and stereotypes that are attached to gender.

Let’s consider the color continuum for gender. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Right? Where did this begin? Who decided which colors belong to which gender?

Here is a brief trip through history. In the 1800’s all babies, male and female, wore white “dresses” in infancy. Thus, babies were gender neutral. These sacks were easy for changing diapers and to bleach when they became dirty.

Then around the 1920’s Western parents began dressing the little ones in colors. Pink was associated with boys. Yes, you heard me, boys. Here is the rationale: red is a bold and brave color and too strong for children so, boys got the watered-down version…pink.

Blue, a more subdued color was for girls. And by the way, blue was associated with the Virgin Mary, thus a color of purity. Just saying!

Spotting The Big Difference Between Charming and Sincere

  • MFAAdmin
  • October 2, 2016

We live in a time of sizzle and dazzle, quips and giggles. It’s not a time to do deep dives into any subject.

How do I know?

I’ve fool-hardheartedly been following the Presidential election soaps on television and twitter.

I’ve been wondering why and when we turned from substance to slander and superficiality.

I want someone to blame. I want something to blame.

Ah, technology did it. Or maybe it’s because we have free reign to get guns and shoot them whenever we want. I know, it’s because we did not build enough walls to keep “them out” or to keep “those in.”

I got it!

It’s my parents fault. They were too busy making a living to really live. Busy, busy, busy all the time. Ah, that’s how I learned that life is about stuffing ourselves with stuff.

And that leads me to the social narcissism I see that is clogging our relationship system today.

I have a warning: STOP and listen. STOP and question. STOP and say NO.

How Todays Trinity of Extremes Affects Us All

Yes, we live in a fast paced world. Yes, we are often at tipping points of stress. Yes, we can do better.

“We are all in it together and no one wins unless we all do.” This mantra sounds good, however, for most of us it sounds naïve. Sometimes the world seems to be spinning out of control and the issues are too big and a single individual, a mere speck in the universe, is too small to make a dent in the issues.

The trinity of today’s extremes are:

Poverty
Climate
Violence
As I listened to the speakers at the Clinton Global initiative I was bouncing between hope, anger and depression.

Hope won.

Magic Moments Best When Unexpected

Got on the bus. Waited. Got on another bus. Waited even longer.

Had a bad feeling this paid in advance tour was going to disappoint.

And it did.

Almost.

Tours to that revered site in Rome, the Vatican are expensive and seemingly necessary. Otherwise the lines can be hours long.

The Vatican is a must see in Rome. Regardless of religious background or preference there is a majesty to being in the presence of some of the most amazing art and sculpture the world has to offer. And looking up at the Blessing Window where the Pope stands and then pivoting around to observe what it must be like to look out at huge numbers of appreciative and reverent individuals is a stunning moment.

However, that is not where the memorable magic happened for me.

The Downside Of Growing Your Organizational Culture

I was sitting having a quick dinner in Manhattan with some colleagues. The place was packed and the noise level high. Just a typical 6:30 p.m. time of workplace decompressing, after one of those typical rush and get it done days.

At the table to the left we heard “No one should be forced to share as much as they do here. They think they are creating a culture of trust. It’s just a bunch of bull.”

To the right, “Why the heck can’t they just get with the program and stop complaining all the time? What a bunch of whiners.”

Another table not far where they were getting very vocal and physically flinging hands around, “They actually force us to admit failure and what we don’t like about ourselves. Nasty stuff! We just want to get our jobs done and get to our beer time.”

One of my colleagues shrugged and said “Not much has changed in all the years we have been working. Still bitch and complain and judge and attack. When will it ever change?”

Blame it on our belief systems, blame it on our parents, blame it on our culture.

Or maybe stop the blame and say, “It will stop with me” or better yet, “It will start with me.”

So, what do we stop and what do we start?

Leadership Lessons How To Raise Healthy Kids To Be Excellent Leaders

We know all the basics: lots of fresh air, sleep, fruits and vegetables, friendships, and loving parents.

There is one extra area that works like a charm. It is kids teaching kids.

You see, too much adult supervision and youngsters stop listening. All they hear is blah, blah, blah. And more than that, there is a deep pattern starting when the little ones are around two years old to say “NO.”

Enter the peer group.

No, I’m not talking about in the teen years when there is the fear of rebelling and going to the dark side with friends. I’m talking about when friendships are forming and behavior patterns can be developed amongst the youngsters for good habits.

Happy Holidays, Happy YOU

I just came home from shopping for the last minute gifts for my family. Was it fun? Well, some of it was and some of it was rather annoying.

I took time to observe my reactions to the good moments and the sour ones. Then I found some research that aligned with my feelings and I decided to share this now, while we are still in the throes of holiday fever. At least till after the New Year’s bells ring out at midnight on December 31.

Listen to what I learned and then pay attention to how you respond in the next week.

The research from The British Medical Journal indicates that people who celebrate at this time of year have increased oxygen flow to five parts of the brain. Celebrating whatever you call your special holiday is the good part. Just sharing with family and friends with no more of an agenda than being together is powerful.

In the research they had individuals look at yuletide images, could be Frosty the snowman, Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, jolly old Saint Nick, photos of candles and evergreen trees. You name it, it works to evoke feelings of joy and nostalgia.

Honoring Our Veterans: Each In Our Own Way

I sat in silence listening to the stories of battered trucks driving down dirt roads and blowing up just a hairs breath from soldiers on duty. I heard about the pain, angst and often guilt that is part of physically fighting someone into submission or fear being killed.

The vets all said, in their own way, “war is hell.”

While I know our soldiers have risked life and limb to keep us safe, I was sitting in a room and listening to the war stories that brought the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and Viet Nam, more deeply into my own safe and simple world.

Here is how it happened: Our retreat center in Northeast Pennsylvania is set way back in the woods and no one just shows up to walk around. Except, one sunny day a tall, muscular man was there, checking out the grounds. He heard a rumor the retreat center may be for sale and he was looking for a home for the veterans who needed to heal from the wounds of war.

The man, Mark Baylis has become a dear friend and rather than talk about selling we ended up talking about helping.

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