Tag Archives: active listening

Leaders Are Great Kissers Intentionally

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you concentrate more fully and perform more effectively. Reading Time: 2:56.

        So what kind of a kisser are you? Your kissing style could be a measure of your leadership capability. Consider this scene in Robert A. Heinlein’s novel : Stranger in a Strange Land:

“Anne tell me something. What’s so special about the way Michael kisses?” Anne looked dreamy and then dimpled. “Michael gives a kiss his whole attention.”

“Oh, rats! I do too.”

           Anne shook her head. “No, some men try to. Men who did a very good job of it indeed have kissed me. But they don’t really give kissing a woman their whole attention. They can’t. No matter how hard they try, some parts of their minds are on something else:

“Missing the last bus.

Their own techniques in kissing.

Worry about their jobs.

Or money. Or something.

         “Now Michael doesn’t have any technique. But when he kisses you he isn’t doing anything else. Continue reading

Invocation: Sewing The Threads of Purposeful Action

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you conduct even more productive staff meetings.

        Have you ever designed and delivered an Invocation for your staff meeting? I have.  And I found the process  instructive for both my staff and me. Perhaps my experience will inspire you too to write your own Invocation.

Sewing The Threads Of Imagination Together In A Staff Meeting

      I’m not talking religion here. I’m talking business– the business of staying focused on the business at hand.

     Most of us are familiar with the Invocation that calls upon a Higher Power to bless whatever initiative is taking place. But the kind of Invocation I’m talking about calls upon the higher power in each of us to perform more creatively and productively. Continue reading

Meetings: Make Commitments not Appointments

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

                        Here are a few ideas to help you get more control over your calendar. Reading time: 4:17

              I seemed to be running from one meeting to another. And often I was running late. Finally my New York team started joking with each other that “he’s on Chicago time.”              I would  rationalize my tardiness with something like: “I have too much responsibility to parcel my time out to the precise minute.   Besides I can be a few minutes late. The important aspects of the meeting usually don’t start until a few minutes into the meeting anyway.”

           But that was before I met our new company president.  I always was on time for her meetings.   One day the president seemed to be in a philosophical mood.  She looked at her calendar for the day and said more to herself  than to me:

 ” Leaders are never too busy to lead.

  1. They invest time. They don’t spend it.
  2. They make commitments not appointments.
  3. They fulfill their promises rather than fill full their calendars.”

         Continue reading

Confessions of a Listener: Father, I Have Sinned

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

          Here’s a fun story on the significance of active listening is as a leadership skill. Reading time: 3:44

           Panicking beneath the weight of his own guilt, the seven-year-old boy crashed to his knees in the dimly lit phone-booth-like structure and whispered nervously:  “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession.” The boy’s voice cracked with embarrassment before he blurted through the darkened window of the confessional: “Oh Father, I have sinned. I played with… (gulp)(gulp). Nuts …in my pants.”

        The priest raised his eyebrows –and then his voice–before growling at the boy:  “Son, you did what!    The boy stammered: “Well, there was this pretty girl in my second grade class that I really liked,” his voice trailing off in embarrassment.   “Yes, yes go on,”  encouraged the priest.

      The boy fidgeted back and forth on his knees, swallowed, took a deep breath and finally explained: “Well I wanted to make her a necklace.  Out of chestnuts.  You know. You drill a hole in the chestnut and then string them together to make a necklace.”

      “Oh, Oh, “ acknowledged the priest in a comforting tone. But the boy heard the priest say “Uh- Oh,” in a more scolding tone. The youngster finally summoned his courage and blurted out his sin:

My Bulging Pants Pockets Exploded

       “I was walking to church one morning when I stopped to fill my pants pockets with chestnuts that I found lying all over the ground. I still made it to church on time. But when I knelt down in the pew, my bulging pants pockets exploded with chestnuts all over the wooden bench.  It sounded like Fourth-of-July firecrackers were exploding all over the church! Oh, Father I sinned.”

       Yes the youngster did sin. He committed the sin of not really listening. The boy heard the scolding “uh-oh, uh-oh”, instead of a knowing “oh-oh?” And the priest sinned too.  He committed the sin of  jumping to a false assumption that he was hearing another X-rated confession.

       I know I have sinned as a listener.  Just ask my wife.  It is too easy for my silence to give others a false  impression that I am listening.  I can easily see myself in that Blondie comic strip where Dagwood Bumstead  sits down in the barber’s chair.

        The barber begins complaining about the world’s woes  as he cuts Dagwood’s hair. Finally the barber asks Dagwood what he thinks of  the barber’s lament. Dagwood confesses that he hasn’t been listening. “What,” exclaimed the barber! “Not listening? What did you come in here for? Indeed every speaker wants to be listened, understood and affirmed. Even the barber.

Audi Alterem Partem: Listen to the other side

        I often find myself  trading points of view rather than listening to the other’s viewpoint. I’m  too busy having a “duel-logue” rather than a dialogue.  I’m too focused on my own words  to pay allegiance to the Latin proverb: Audi Alterem Partem, (Listen to the other side).  I’m too focused on my what I know to learn anything new.

     No wonder poet  Robert Frost  cited exemplary listening skills as the thrust of an education. Frost said the power of education is  the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

      I’m learning to be a better listener, an active listener, where I try to first restate the other person’s point of view before adding my own point of view.  Then  listening becomes more empathic, more personal, more poignant, more real.

        Even in the dark of a confessional.

 Today’s ImproveMINT

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