Leadership Development Gameplan Coach says Success in Leadership Starts with Listening

by / ⠀Featured News / July 25, 2023
Leadership Development Coach says Success in Leadership Starts with Listening

The journey of new executives can be riddled with unexpected challenges and misaligned expectations. As a leadership development coach, Caroline Stokes has witnessed numerous instances where new leaders faced difficulties in acclimating to their roles and failed to achieve the success they envisioned. These observations have led her to advocate for a transformative approach known as the “active listening tour” – a six-month leadership development gameplan that empowers new leaders to connect with their teams, comprehend organizational challenges, and drive meaningful change.

At the core of this concept lies the recognition that the initial excitement of joining a new organization may lead leaders to overlook crucial factors. The rosy picture painted during the interview process may not always align with the realities on the ground. It is this disconnect that Stokes aims to bridge through her “active listening tour,” which encourages leaders to engage in candid conversations with stakeholders from various levels of the organization.

The first month of the leadership development gameplan revolves around speaking to stakeholders – employees, peers, customers, and suppliers – to understand their perspectives, aspirations, and the obstacles they face. Stokes provides a set of thought-provoking questions to facilitate these discussions, ensuring that leaders gain meaningful insights into the organization’s dynamics.

As the second month unfolds, leaders consolidate the information obtained from these conversations and present their findings in a group meeting. This step enables leaders to lay the groundwork for collaborative initiatives, fostering an environment where teams feel empowered to execute the shared vision. Stokes emphasizes the importance of regular 1:1s with the leadership team to mentor and coach them towards aligning with the new vision.

Over the next few months, leaders acknowledge the successes and challenges they have identified during the active listening tour. This practice creates an atmosphere of transparency, where issues are tackled head-on, and progress is celebrated. By doing so, leaders demonstrate their reliability and accountability, encouraging others to adopt a similar approach in resolving challenges.

In the fourth month of this leadership development gameplan, leaders provide concrete evidence of their commitment to actively listen and act on the feedback received. Whether through reports, strategies, or significant announcements, leaders showcase their responsiveness to the needs of their teams and the organization.

Months five and six mark the time for reflection and further engagement. Leaders take stock of their progress and seek feedback from stakeholders to identify areas for improvement. By remaining open to learning and growth, leaders can continuously refine their approach and ensure long-term success.

Throughout the article, Stokes’ emphasis on communication and relationship-building is evident. This approach fosters trust and mutual understanding between leaders and their teams, laying the groundwork for fruitful collaborations. The “active listening tour” facilitates a smooth and purposeful transition for new leaders, ensuring that their tenure is marked by meaningful contributions and a legacy of success.

In conclusion, Caroline Stokes’ “active listening tour” is a valuable asset in the leadership toolkit. By embracing this transformative approach, new leaders can navigate the challenges of their new roles with grace and effectiveness. By actively listening to the voices of their stakeholders, they can create a culture of inclusivity, collaboration, and continuous improvement. As the journey of leadership unfolds, Stokes’ guiding principles serve as a beacon, guiding leaders towards making a positive impact on their teams and the organizations they serve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the “active listening tour” advocated by Caroline Stokes?

The “active listening tour” is a transformative approach proposed by leadership development coach Caroline Stokes. It involves new leaders engaging in candid conversations with stakeholders within the organization, including employees, peers, customers, and suppliers. The purpose is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s challenges, aspirations, and goals, ensuring a smooth and purposeful transition into the new leadership role.

2. How long does the “active listening tour” last?

The “active listening tour” typically spans six months. It comprises various stages, starting with conversations with stakeholders, consolidating the obtained information, and presenting the findings to the entire group. Over the course of the tour, leaders acknowledge successes and challenges, provide evidence of their responsiveness to feedback, and continuously seek engagement and feedback from stakeholders.

3. What are the key benefits of the “active listening tour” for new leaders?

The “active listening tour” offers several key benefits for new leaders. By actively listening to stakeholders, leaders can gain meaningful insights into the organization’s dynamics and challenges. This approach fosters trust, transparency, and collaboration, laying the foundation for a successful leadership tenure. Additionally, it allows leaders to align their vision with the organization’s goals, identify growth opportunities, and create a culture of inclusivity and open communication.

4. How does the “active listening tour” help new leaders avoid missteps?

The “active listening tour” equips new leaders with a deep understanding of the organization’s realities, helping them avoid missteps that may arise from misaligned expectations. By fostering an environment of transparency and open communication, leaders can address challenges proactively and celebrate successes, ensuring a positive impact on the team and the organization as a whole.

5. Can the “active listening tour” be adapted for different industries and organizations?

Yes, the “active listening tour” can be adapted to suit the unique needs and dynamics of various industries and organizations. The core principle of engaging in candid conversations and actively listening to stakeholders remains applicable across different contexts. Leaders can tailor the approach to align with the specific goals and challenges of their organization, making it a versatile and valuable tool for leadership development.

6. How does the “active listening tour” contribute to the long-term success of leaders?

The “active listening tour” contributes to the long-term success of leaders by fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration. By remaining open to feedback and learning, leaders can adapt their approach and strategies, ensuring sustained growth and positive outcomes. The tour also helps leaders build strong relationships with their teams and stakeholders, creating a solid foundation for future success and growth within the organization.

First reported on FastCompany

About The Author

Joe Rothwell
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