Are you inviting your future leaders to hear the conversation?
The facilitator of the conference announced that it was time for a scheduled break so my boss and I quickly headed for the break area. Suffering from a little jet lag, we were both in need of a cup of coffee. Coffee in hand, we found a quiet space away from the crowd and began to talk about the last presentation. Early in my career and in a new role, I was excited to be attending a conference that involved the senior leadership of our organization.
After a few minutes, our CEO walked over and joined us. We had a minute or two of light conversation and then my boss guided the discussion toward a topic that he needed to discuss with the CEO. Sensing that the two leaders needed some privacy for this discussion, I started to excuse myself when my boss said, “Bob I want you to hear this.” The CEO nodded in agreement.
I still remember the topic of that conversation, but that is not important. What is important is that hearing that conversation was an impactful leader development moment. My boss and the CEO recognized that it was part of my development to hear the conversation. By letting me listen to their conversation, they were helping me understand how leaders two and three levels above me approached organizational issues. They were providing me access to how they thought about issues or opportunities at their level. They were helping me broaden my thinking and develop my organizational mindset.
Not all conversations need to be with the top leadership. As you work to develop your future leaders, look for opportunities to let them hear conversations with leaders at all levels in your organization.
Hearing conversations are a powerful way to help future leaders expand their thinking and develop their organizational mindset.
Hearing conversations are an investment in your future leaders.