Siamese cats have been in my life since I was 17. If you know the breed, you know that they yowl and talk a lot – and regularly.  I adopted my own Siamese when I got to Ft Devens, MA. They traveled with me their entire lives – and never stopped talking.

One memorable trip was from Dallas, TX, to San Francisco, CA, for what were to become four interminable days long.  On days one and two our older cat, Py, moaned and cried inconsolably. We held him and sprayed him with water to cool him down, but nothing helped.  The younger cat, Tao, sat on the cooler we had between the driver and the front passenger. He stuck his nose in the vents and was a happy camper, that is, until day three. At this point, both cats evidently decided they were going to be stuck in this car FOREVER!  The noise was continuous. It would reach a pitch of discomfort – or maybe panic – so that we would make regular “quiet stops” along the way, just to give us all a break. You can imagine our joy to finally arrive in San Francisco, happy we’d reached our destination AND for the blessed silence. 

Moral of the story? When we listened there was always a message to be heard from Py and Tao.

Listen to your team members!

When I train leaders and teams, I tell them: “Use your two ears and one mouth in proportion.” It is so important to listen to your people. I realize there may be times, especially when things get busy, when you feel your team is just so much background noise that you wish it would end, NOW!  However, silence (from your team) is not always golden. To deepen relationships and strengthen communications, it is very important to listen to what is being said, as well as what is NOT being said. 

Honoring the chatter can give you clues about their vision, challenges, goals, celebrations, motivation and such. These moments are precious opportunities to get to know your team members on a personal level, which strengthens relationships, and makes working together much more fun.

Zoning out or answering emails during meeting calls does a disservice to your team and, if they sense a disinterest in you, is a sure way to drive them into leaving you entirely.  Studies show (and it’s common sense) that people in the workplace want to be heard, to be valued for their work, to feel they are an important piece of the common goals and mission of the organization. If you have assembled the strong team that will support your growth, then they are all of these things and they deserve to be valued.

Be present and give them your attention.  It will definitely pay off – for them, for you, and for the business.

Linda Patten is a Leadership Trainer for women entrepreneurs and change-makers. Her vision for every woman is to become the natural leader she is meant to be, through teaching an empowering mindset, masculine AND feminine leadership skills, and how to activate a vision into a full-bodied business or social change movement.

“For opportunities to awaken and empower the leader within you, please visit Dare2LeadwithLinda.