Derra, Office Manager for a trucking company based in Longview, WA told Session 6B of the Leadership Development Lab™ (LDL):
"When my 15-year-old daughter, Marissa, comes to me with a problem, I've been in the habit of interrupting her and voicing my opinion on what she should do before she can even finish her sentence. She was always complaining that I never listened to her.
"After being reminded in Session 2 of the LDL that good leadership means 'truly' listening to the other person, I began to apply Leadership Principle #6 - Be An Active Listener to my daughter. To my amazement, when I let her finish her story before I responded, she began to listen to me and even quoted my advice with small revisions to her friends. As it turns out, she's the one who has been truly listening.
"Our relationship has taken a much-needed about face. The tension and derision that has been hanging in the air is gone. Because of my willingness to genuinely listen to Marissa, I have won back the trust and closeness of my daughter. She has asked me to chaperone her homecoming dance for her. I can't tell you how thrilled I was!
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that if I truly listen to my daughter, I will gain back her trust and our closeness.
"The action I call you to take is to truly listen to your children and everyone else in your world. Stop interrupting people before the can finish their thought. You will be amazed at what you will hear.
"The benefit you will gain is a close and long-lasting relationship with your children."
The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our relationships. We all want our relationships to be a graceful waltz. For our life to be a waltz, without stepping on each other's toes, you must get in and stay in step. Staying in step requires that you learn to listen. Children don't know how to listen, adults do.
Ask for other's ideas, thoughts, and listen without interruption as they give you their perspective, their point of view. Be careful never to "top" their story with yours. Let them finish what they have to say. Practice saying, "Wow, Good point, Never thought of it that way, I love getting/learning to see things from your perspective/angle, Seeing things from your perspective helps me see the world more broadly/fully," or just say, "Thank you." You will be in step as you gracefully waltz together in all your relationships.
The first duty of love is to listen.
—Larry W. Dennis, Sr. President Turbo Leadership Systems