Leaders Who Listen

Learn, Lead and Prosper

By Stephen Garber

Most people associate “effective communication” with making themselves understood accurately when speaking to others. Information output is certainly an integral part of communication, but information input often is more important.

Everyone is a customer, inside and outside of your business. They are doing your business, together.

In the business world, listening—information in—is particularly important for leaders. At every level of a company, whether an individual is a team leader, an upper manager or the CEO, his or her effectiveness relies heavily on his or her ability to listen effectively. A leader who isn’t willing or able to hear and understand his or her colleagues and clients will limit personal growth and success, the growth and success of others, and the growth and success of the business.

Successful leaders share numerous common attributes when relating to their internal and external customers:

Leaders are problem solvers. How can you solve a problem if you don’t know it exists?

• Leaders are encouragers. How can you encourage an individual or a team if you don’t know their challenges?

• Leaders are mentors. How can you mentor someone whose aspirations, goals and personal trials remain a mystery to you?

• Leaders set the standard. How can you help others reach that standard if you don’t know where they’re starting from or the skills they need to develop?

• Leaders empower others to achieve goals. How can you empower someone if you don’t know what motivates them?

• Leaders create the vision and drive strategy. How can you know of its likely success if you don’t hear the feedback?

Only leaders who truly listen will have the insight needed to engage and elevate a team, and the confidence of those people to support their efforts and work with them rather than against them. Forbes.com expands on the idea of effective listening, noting it “goes well beyond being quiet and giving someone your full attention. It requires you to be aware of body language, facial expressions, mood and natural behavioral tendencies.”

This active, all-in listening is what we at Third Level call “Power Listening.” It’s one of the skills we teach clients, and it’s a tool we’ve seen transform leaders and businesses time and time again. Power Listening is characterized by a lack of self. It is listening at a deeper level than normal conversation, using all of the senses as a neutral receiver instead of projecting preconceptions onto the speaker. This technique gives businesses a competitive advantage, and leaders an effective tool for building trust and loyalty among themselves and their team.

To learn more about Power Listing, email info@thirdlevel.com.♦

Stephen Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or sgarber@thirdlevel.com.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.