Mike Valentine was a blue-collar kid who grew into a blue-collar young man, a longshoreman’s son who began working as a steelworker as a teenager, walking his first skyscraper beam at 14. His was a hardscrabble existence: He spent the next decade and a half addicted to alcohol and beset with its devastations — bar fights, car accidents and times behind bars. All that changed when his daughter was born — and he turned his attention to living life in pursuit of a worthy purpose.
Listening is one of the most necessary, and least practiced, leadership skills in business and life today. And lest you think lack of listening is a new phenomenon, brought on by the last few decades of tech advances that have created tech distractions, think again. Harvard Business Review found in 1957 that people remember only about half of what they hear, even when they’re trying really hard to dial in.
In times of crisis, such as the times we are now living in with the health concerns surrounding COVID-19, uncertainty about the economy and many people feeling excluded, leadership becomes even more critical. Clear and decisive leadership would seem to be the order of the day. You feel that you need to move now — less talk, more action. But yet when you give the call to act, nothing much seems to happen. Why is that? Why does it seem no one is listening to you – at least not well enough to get what needs to be done accomplished?
Fewer than 10 percent of those living with Parkinson’s Disease are under 60. Tim Hague is one of them. As a nurse for two decades, he sensed immediately what was wrong when, at age 46, he noticed a tremor in his left toe. His self-diagnosis was soon confirmed, and in the months that followed he pressed deeply into his Christian faith to grasp “Why has God done this to me?” But he refused to wallow in regret or self-doubt, and just three years later he was competing on, and winning, The Amazing Race in his home country of Canada.
Ernest Shackleton and the men he was leading on an expedition to cross Antarctica had piled up a breathtaking number of life-threatening crucibles by late 1915. Stuck motionless in polar block ice for months, hundreds of miles off course with no way to communicate their location to anyone who could help, Shackleton and his men were running low on the supplies they had already been forced to ration in miserly fashion when their greatest disaster struck: The ice that had trapped their ship now closed in to crush it, leaving the men fully exposed to the bitter cold with no choice but to traverse the ice floes that surrounded them in desperate search of safety.