How well do you listen?
It was a rather amazing appointment. I’ve been working on some immigration matters for the past 3½ years on behalf of my son-in-law. Yes, that is a long time to persist in the pursuit of legal entry to America. Yes, our system has problems. And yes, I’ll limit my comments and return to the story. Thanks.
In our continued effort to find direction and guidance we called on one of our Senator’s last week. As a result we also scheduled an appointment with an immigration “expert attorney” in the OKC area.
As we sat in the lobby the walls were plastered with certificates. As we entered his corner office there were even more.
Within a few minutes of trying to relate our story, he asked my daughter what she knew about him and how she found him. Once he realized…
…we had not researched him on the internet or saw his Yellow Page ads
…that we did not know he co-authored “the book” on immigration law (which he proceeded to show us), and
…that we had worked with other “no name” attorneys before finding him he stopped the interview to ask. . .
“What is wrong with my marketing?”
“Why are you just now coming to see me?”
It was a moment.
An amazing moment not because we finally found him but because he did not see or hear us – the people sitting on the other side of his desk!
Before our appointment was over, this professional —
- jumped to multiple conclusions
- leveled unfounded accusations regarding our integrity and motives, and
- successfully pushed one emotionally and physically weary human being to the brink, resulting in more emotional pain and tears.
His assumptive approach succeeded in what most assumptions do best: “Make an ass-u-me!”
My perception of him as a “leader”, hence my reality today remains . . .
- Life is all about him, he is not really in the business to “help people”
- Serving others is not his leadership or business model
- His glaring lack of professional courtesy is his true marketing issues not his Yellow Page ad; do you think we’ll be recommending him? Do you think that aide in the Senator’s office will hear about our experience?
- He does not listen well
- His failure to listen caused him to make assumptions; which were totally inaccurate and caused him to judge our motives and integrity without knowing the truth
- He lacks core leadership skills (formerly known as “soft skills”), don’t send anyone to him
As a leader, what’s in this story for you?
To help your reflection effort here are my perceptions re-worked into questions:
- What is the message you are sending to others by your behavior…is it all about you?
- How is the concept of servant leadership demonstrated in your world?
- How would you rate yourself on professional courtesy? On a scale of 1-6, if below a 4 what do you want to change?
- How well do you listen? How do you know that? What would others say? When will you ask them?
- When do you make assumptions? What does that cost you?
- What core leadership skills (people skills) require development? What’s your plan for growth?
Perhaps he is an expert and has been financially successful with his niche market.
…perhaps he was having a bad day
…perhaps he was running behind and distracted at 10:30 a.m. on that particular Monday morning
Perhaps, his inability to see the people and listen are getting in his way and holding him back from his full potential. And sad to say…perhaps he is the only person that doesn’t know it.
Who will tell him?
Who will tell you?
*Some information was changed to protect the privacy of the individual.