Leaders confront a central paradox in their work: they generally have access to more lines of communication than anybody else, but the information that flows to them is suspect and compromised.
Warning signals are tamped down. Key facts are omitted. Data sets are given a positive spin. All of it isolates leaders in a dangerous information bubble.
But they can escape that bubble by working actively to create a more expansive “listening ecosystem.”
They first have to learn how to listen actively themselves, without distraction or judgment, purely for comprehension; then they have to create systems and processes all around them that elevate listening to a constant state of hypervigilance.
This sort of sustained attention to listening allows leaders to pick up on early signs of both danger and opportunity — and that, in turn, allows them to do their jobs and serve their organizations better.