February 27, 2013
Come to the Table… and Listen
Growing up there was a familiar call before dinnertime, to “Come to the table. Time to eat”. Recently, I have been struck by the need we have as adults to “Come to the table, and listen”.
Last month, the media buzzed as the “Idle No More” campaign brought national attention to a long standing national tension, I sat in my friends’ living room and listened as Aboriginal friends shared their personal narrative. As I considered the layers of history, both personal and collective, I realized how much there was to learn to begin to unravel this complex Canadian issue.
There was a call to come to the table, and listen.
A couple weeks ago, one of my son’s classmates invited us over. Recent immigrants, the mother shared her first hand experience of the Iraq war and the issues they faced afterwards.
She called me to pull up a chair at her kitchen table, and listen.
This past week John Kerry, newly appointed US Secretary of State left on his first trip in his new role. It was reported that he viewed this trip as “a listening tour”. (Reuters, February 25, 2013) He is visiting Syria, Iran and other Middle Eastern destinations with an expressed desire to take his seat with other leaders, and listen.
As leaders, we typically spend a great deal of time preparing presentations, considering our words, revising our texts. And this is needed.
But how much time and energy do we devote to listening well? When was the last time we stopped to think “who do I need to schedule time with, so I can listen?” There are people on our teams, other leaders in our networks, members of our communities, whose stories need to be heard. As leaders, we need to make time to listen.
“Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak,
and slow to become angry”
Take a minute and consider who you need to meet with this week, this month. Then contact them and call them to the table, and be prepared to listen.
Rebecca is a communicator, coach, musician, and proud mom of three. She loves to create, whether it be a new strategy in the board room, or a new dessert in the kitchen. She loves to give life to ideas through the spoken and penned word. Rebecca and her family spent five years living life in Asia but are now settling back into Canadian culture, making their home in Richmond, BC.Back to Top