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April 03, 2024   |   Tagged Leadership,

Listening Makes Powerful Servant Leaders

Basketball coach player feedback

What is a Servant Leader?

Everyone leads. You influence others and are influenced. A leader is not just the person appointed or assumed to be in authority by position or power. Rather, a leader is a person who moves and influences the family or team toward health and or difficulty. A poor leader moves and influences others toward negativity, disease, stagnation, and alienation. A great leader moves and influences others toward generativity, strength, wisdom, peace, and connection.

Servant leaders believe that the mission of a great leader is to make those around them better. The family should be better because you are in it, your team should be stronger because you are in it. Your influence is powerful and as a servant leader, you have the opportunity to make those around you better.

NBC Camps aspires to train our coaches and campers to be servant leaders—people who make those around them better. One of the hallmarks of servant leadership and the first attribute identified by its founder, Robert Greenleaf is the ability to listen.

Listening is considered by the Harvard Review to be the most important skill set of a transformational leader. Listening is the ability to gather information both verbal and non-verbal and extrapolate out of the information wisdom, meaning, deeper connection, insight, and truth. Lack of listening is one of the most frequently listed frustrations of relationships. Teachers feel that students don’t listen to what they are saying, parents are exasperated by their children, coaches are frustrated by their players, and players by the coaches.

What is Good Listening?

Good listeners elevate the confidence of the person they are listening to. They help the person speaking have a positive experience. They make the listener feel safe supported, energized, and inspired. They evoke the best in the person they are listening to.

Good listening creates a collaborative conversation where feedback can ebb and flow between both parties without defensiveness, combativeness, stonewalling, and posturing to “win the argument.” The dialogue is one of mutual discovery rather than an interrogation or opportunity to find errors in the other person’s reasoning or logic. The dialogue was that of colleagues and friends rather than lawyers and defendants.

Good listeners make suggestions and their suggestions are viewed with gratitude rather than feel like a put-down or microaggression. Those who receive the good listener’s suggestions believe that they have been fully heard and that the listener can make a full suggestion because they have earned the right based on their full listening. On the other hand, those who make suggestions without being perceived to have fully listened, frustrate the dialogue and cause the speaker to feel affronted by the suggestions.

10 Quick Ways to Be a Better Listener
Pick Two You Need to Improve

1. Put down your phone or anything that is distracting you.

2. Turn your face, body, and attention to the person who is speaking.

3. Be prepared to look for a new discovery and insight.

4. Listen and observe the facial expression, body posture, backstory, words, and tone.

5. Gather information without jumping to assumptions or conclusions. Stay open to new information.

6. Have a meaningful goal for your listening.

7. Avoid your listening pitfalls. (distractions, selective listening, hubris, boredom)

8. Respect the agenda of the speaker and be willing to be influenced, educated, or changed by this person.

9. Use your listening to move toward greater health, wisdom, love, or insight.

10. Recognize that you may not have all the information and that your partial information can be dangerous to you or others.

About NBC Camps
NBC Sports Camps have been providing excellent programs for athletes since 1971. Approximately 10,000 campers each year attend NBC Camps. We aim to individually invest in each camper both on and off the court. We desire each athlete to leave camp a better person and a better player.

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