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Communicative Leadership: the importance of being a Listening Leader

listeningleadercoverLeadership is not enough. Simple as that. Organizations are requested to activate a leadership for change, today.

Constant change is the main characteristic of the digital and economic context in which organization are operating; this is what is called a VUCA world: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Methodos’s commitment to leadership considers this scenario: Methodos wants to be partner of organizations and managers that really want to cope with these new organizational challenges.

This is the context taken into consideration by “The Listening Leader – how to drive performance by using communicative leadership”, a book written by Emilio Galli Zugaro, Methodos Chairman, together with his daughter Clementina, psychologist and consultant for the social media world.

The volume has been published by Pearson (UK) in January; it has been translated to Italian for Giunti IOS and entitled “La Leadership comunicativa”.

This is the book’s thesis: in VUCA context successful leaders are those able to actively listen, communicate and answer to any stakeholder’s needs. The leaders can involve their stakeholders in a development and mutual learning path able to critically increase organizations’ competitiveness in the market. These are the Listening Leaders.

Listening Leaders provide a clear framework for taking action to implement a communicative leadership style by actively listening to their organisation and external stakeholders. This allows leaders to ‘navigate’ more easily, quickly adapting the strategy, making the difference in the organization’s performance.

Thus, the Listening Leader is a courageous master able to lead a winning journey toward change and success. To do that, this leader is able to manage information, communication channels, understanding and including different souls defining the organization’s people making them inclined to action. Nurturing them.

marmiroliLeadership for Change challenges

Interview to Valentina Marmiroli, Head of the Leadership Practice in Methodos

What are the principal leadership challenges that you, as Methodos, have to sustain and how does leadership for change take on this challenge? What skills must a leader have these days?

A leader, called upon to take decisions rapidly to try to foresee future business developments is accustomed to gathering weak signals of the market as well as proactively understanding the principal trends, possibly activating his/her networks to better “read” the external context.

The inspiration for the book is coherent with the way Methodos relates to the theme of leadership: focusing on and giving the same level of attention even towards the internal public of the organization. Thus, the leader demonstrates that she/he is just as proactive in gathering signals that come from collaborators, the dangers and the opportunities, creating a culture that is inclined towards the art of listening.

The current context is very challenging for leaders and Methodos is committed to supporting them in coping with it consciously and efficently. In the leadership for change listening is a central issue: it’s not just about “listening” but having a new mental attitude, a mindset – even before acquiring a propencity towards relations and openness – that favors accessibility, construction and innovation. Leaders must be capable of listening even to the ‘non traditional’, the non conforming, the disruptive, internal or external. To promote a type of change that, for example, is today redesigning many sectors of the global economy (including but not limited to the digital world).

These are important sources for a leader who must giude and often transform the company. Leadership for change is a dynamic, adaptive, contestual and open interpretation of the nature of leadership. All of these characteristics are based on the real capacity to listen and understand people, culture, stakeholders (external and internal), global fenomena… to build a winning story that moves people towards action and allows the company to reach its own strategic goals.

Specifically, Methodos is dedicated to the topic of listening, attention and its instruments (for example, engagement surveys, dedicated focus groups, workshops directed to defining the cultural traits of companies…) so as to define a personalized path for leader that supports and guides them in the creation of an organizational and cultural context that allows the freedom of expression in a structured but open way that favors, not only, communication but also the expresssion of innovative ideas.

For top leaders, Methodos creates a personalized mentoring process that helps, adequately cope with the specificities of each manager. It is active in defining new frontiers and opportunities created by the digital world that impact on leadership, which we may define as a smart leadership, that requires new fields of research, innovative instruments and a new mindset. Smart leadership helps manage collaborators differently than from the past (for example with remote working), thinking of the evolution of time dedicated to work and favoring a work-life intergration within the company.

In the currect context there is the need to reconcile and welcome diversity in organizations: generational, cultural, of gender and of competence. How must the leader place him/herself in relation to this issue?

Finding the correct modality to listen to every type of interlocutor with the right frequence. The leaders should know how to stimulate and give value to their own collaborators so that they may contribute in a determinating way to reach strategic goals.

For more information about Emilio Galli Zugaro – The Listening Leader


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