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  • Writer's pictureChristine Hassing


Updated: Jul 28, 2018

If you have read my leadership philosophy, then you have already learned a great deal about my perspective on listening. It is an essence of me, my passion, and a key competency I will utilize for what I feel is calling me this way.

So that I’m not redundant to what is already shared in my philosophy, I will highlight below the impact that the assignment for daily meditation had on me, as well as the study of discernment and decision-making through ORGL 535: Listen, Discern, Decide.

“You need enough quiet time for the buzzing in your head to subside so that you can hear what you heart is saying” (Sparough, Manney, Hipskind, pp. 99-100). Implementing daily silent meditation has been a great reinforcement to demonstrate the truth of this. Running had been my daily meditation and journaling was also part of my daily routine. Now my days include at least 10-minutes of meditative silence followed by more journaling.

As my own heart started to open deeper through meditations, I recognized that the deeper I reached into my feelings, the deeper I listened to others’ hearts. The closer I walked with Silence, the larger the space I could hold for others to speak. This deeper listening begets deeper trust. The deeper I journey in sacred trust, the deeper I feel the hearts of those around me. The deeper I feel the hearts around me, the deeper I lean into the authenticity of me.

I am also more conscious in setting intentions (deliberate focus on what I desire the interaction to be) before engaging in generative dialogue and generative listening. “We deepen the practices by acting with a purposeful intent to listen to the whole person which is different from simply hearing the other person speak. Deep listening is a practice that allows us to read between the lines and listen with our heart to the heart of others” (Briskin, Erickson, Ott, Callanan, p. 181).

My trust has grown in respect to discernment and decision-making, too. I lean into the discernment process now. “Knowing that we can trust our experience is the first and perhaps most fundamental lesson about discernment” (Sparough, Manney, Hipskind, p. 39). In respect to decision-making, the more I practice what I learned in ORGL 600: Foundations of Leadership and ORGL 605: Image, Create, and Lead, the more I embrace decision-making with excitement.

In ORGL 600, I embraced Wheatley’s words: “Life demands that I participate with things as they unfold, to expect to be surprised, to honor the mystery of it, and to see what emerges” (Wheatley, p. 153). Add in a fundamental building block for me from ORGL 605: Image, Create, Lead. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” – Viktor E. Frankl Choice. Through a powerful Metanoia exercise of making decisions and having decisions made for us, we saw – and felt - the impact of choice. Collectively and individually we journeyed through a process of beginning with 16 pieces of paper related to four people that mean the most to us, four things about who we are that we most value, for material possessions that we hold dearest, and four bucket list items we desire to fulfill to a reduction of one solo remaining piece of paper.

As I listen in silence, as I listen with an open mind, heart, and will, as I listen in curiosity and stay conscious of choice, I now practice patience in my decision-making as I practice patience in life’s unfolding without trying to rush it through. “Decisions lead to more decisions. It can be narrow and misleading to think of decision-making intune of a single decision. The model is a journey. The road to the end is a meandering one (Sparough, Manney, Hipskind, p. 13).

I will share one more learning related to listening that was described by Ken Blanchard as “sorting by the other”. It resonated for me as a great way to exemplify making the speaker feel valued and heard. Ken Blanchard in Conversations in Servant Leadership used the example of expressing to someone “Gee, it’s a beautiful day” and the self-seeing leader will respond with “you should have seen the weather I experienced last week in Michigan”. The conversation is taken away from the speaker. To save others, Ken used the example of someone expressing the same “it’s a beautiful day” and a response is “tell me what it is about beautiful days that really excites you and make you feel good” (Ferch, Spears, McFarland, Carey, p. 143).

Briskin, A., Erickson, S., Ott, J., & Callanan, T. (2009). The Power of Collective Wisdom and

the Trap of Collective Folly. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Ferch, S.R., Spears, L., McFarland, M., Carey, M., (2015). Conversations on Servant-

Leadership. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Sparough, J.M., Manney, J., Hipskind, T., (2010). What’s your Decision? How to Make Choices with Confidence and Clarity. Chicago, IL: Loyola Press.

Wheatley, M.J. (2006). Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic

World. San Francisco: Burrett-Koehler.

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