Byron's Babbles

Every Voice

Posted in Discourse, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Ideas, Leadership, Leadership Development, Listen, Listening by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 29, 2021

I must say I am pretty impressed with the newest FBI show “FBI International.” The characters and character profiles did it for me. I was particularly drawn to the team leader, Scott Forrester played by Luke Kleintank. It was explicit in the shows script that he had picked an elite team with every person being selected for a reason and their specific strengths and skills. That got my attention – the writers want us to see him as an outstanding leader. Then, two lines in the episode I watched last night really jumped out at me and were reminders of great leader traits.

The first was early in the show after a team member had given a dissenting viewpoint to Forrester, which led to some discourse, and Forrester giving his reason for disagreeing. The dissenting team member was new and wasn’t sure how to feel about the interaction. Another member of the team pulled her aside and told her that Forrester was the type of leader that valued the team and wanted “every voice in his ear.” He wanted and needed to hear from everyone. Every voice on the team mattered. Every dissenting view mattered. Forrester was not worried about being right, he was worried about getting to right. So many poor leaders want to look smart and don’t want to hear views contrary to their own. Forrester reminded us we need every voice in our ear. BTW: it turned out the team member was right and he was wrong – so glad they wrote it that way!

In another scene, another team member brought Forrester an idea that might be a long shot to pursue. Forrester said, and I love this, “Take that wherever it goes.” Is that not just the coolest response ever? He had just given the team member full empowerment. It no longer mattered if it was a wild idea or not. The team member could fully invest. Giving team members this kind of freedom, without risking ridicule or reprisal, frees them to consider ideas and approaches that might otherwise go unexplored.

Great leaders encourage and development the ability to scrounge, forage, and rummage for ideas. We must learn to search everywhere for available ideas. Are you letting your team members follow their ideas? Or, are you letting their voices in your ear?

Listen and Look, Look and Listen

Posted in Leadership, Listen, Listening, Look by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 1, 2020

After the New Orleans Saints overtime win over the Chicago Bears tonight I was flipping through the channels (I know that term ages me) and came across an old episode of Columbo. I love that old show. Lt. Columbo, played by the late Peter Falk, is a police detective who is a little quirky, always has a cigar, makes you think he’s not too smart, but is super attentive. In the episode I turned to, he said “we don’t usually have much to go on except to listen and look and look and listen.” This struck me as the essence of what we all need to be doing. Columbo makes the guilty parties believe he is inept, but then teases out all the clues to solve the crime and prove guilt. Lt. Columbo makes an observation about some inconsistency. The seemingly trivial, it turns out to be the detail will tie together the entire investigation and establish the culpability.

Columbo brought a sense of curiosity and was sensitive to inconsistencies and incongruities. So, if we think about the term “look” we find that it means to direct your eyes in a certain direction. Then, “listen” means to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, or sometimes what is not being said. “Listen” and “look” are actions usually thought of when we are paying attention.

We need to be more like Lt. Columbo and pay attention by listening and looking to focus our minds on someone or something that is happening.