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Enabling Listening

Communications, as Peter Drucker has written, is less about information than it is about facilitating kinship within the culture.[1] Employees must feel that they have a stake in the organization and its outcome. The ownership stake is initiated, nurtured, augmented, tested, and fulfilled through leadership communications. It is absolutely critical for the leader to facilitate two-way communications, specifically allowing feedback in the form of ideas, suggestions, and even dissent. Too often communications within organizations is interpreted as being one-way from the top, that is, information is disseminated in neat packages like commercial messages. In fact, leaders would do well to emulate one aspect of the advertising process, and that is the relentless search for information in the form of consumer research. Advertisers want to know what you think of the message. Leaders can do the same. It's called listening.

[1]Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (New York: Harper Business, 1973, 1974).


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