“No man has ever listened himself out of a job.” (Calvin Coolidge)

A portion of Kevin Cashman’s book entitled, “The Pause Principle” is about listening and asking questions. (The following quotes are taken from pages 86-89)

“The two most valuable pause tools for fostering the growth of others are questions and listening.”

“The usefulness of the knowledge we acquire and the effectiveness of the actions we take depend on the quality of the questions we ask.”

“The chairman of a global 100 firm shared with me, ‘At early stages of our career, we build credibility by having the answers. At later career stages, we build credibility by having the most powerful questions.”

“Questions without authentic listening are thinly veiled challenges, judgments, and assertions; challenging questions with authentic listening activates latent power, potential, and collaboration.”

“Effective leaders speak to influence and motivate; exceptional leaders listen to learn, collaborate, and innovate.”

“Of all the core competencies critical to sustained leadership, listening is at, or near, the top of the list.”

“Research confirms that a startling 67 percent of new leaders in organizations fail within eighteen months. Why? Lack of listening.”

I inhale all of this and remember author and speaker Hal Perkin’s plea to parents raising children;

“When you spend time with your child, you don’t need a curriculum. Your child IS the curriculum. Make your child the curriculum, ask the right questions, and listen for the cracks in their heart.”

Dr. Larry Mckain, the new District Supt. on the Chicago Central District Church of the Nazarene often points to a moment in Jesus’ life that leaders miss. When, as a child, Jesus was absent for three days, his parents found him in the synagogue doing two things. Larry says, “When leaders learn these two disciplines, great things happen.”

46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. (Luke 2:46)

Facing a barrier? Make a list of 25 questions and go ask them.