James Comey and ‘the Washington listen’

Why leaders need to listen and not just wait for their turn to speak.

It’s what James Comey, in his book ‘A Higher Loyalty” calls ‘the Washington listen”. But you don’t need to go to Washington to experience it. You see it in board rooms every day: meetings where leaders get together to tell each other what they already know.  Power and hierarchy determines who will speak and who is heard. The cut and thrust requires that we zone out whatever anyone else is saying, lest it prove a distraction from the point we are trying to remember and wanting to make. The result: we go away only having shared the points we came in with.

Debate, discussion and dialogue

Most meetings include a fair bit of debate, possibly some discussion, but rarely dialogue. In Dialogue we listen more deeply and understand more fully, another’s point of view. Without it we stay in a paradigm which may bring about change – as in fixing the past – but will rarely give us the fresh, transformative thinking that will create a new future. Leaders who truly listen and demonstrate interest in what people have to say, ignite the thinking in their organisations transforming them into cultures where people thrive, encouraging and enabling the next generation of leaders.

If you’d like to learn more about Dialogue about the tools and techniques that can transform your meetings, contact mitzi@mitziwyman.com at our sister site Wyman Associates.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *