Now That’s an Idea

Posted on January 7, 2013


What separate Great Leaders from Average Leaders? For the next five days I will share one trait that answers this question. To facilitate the five lessons we will discover…

Great Leaders L – E – A – R – N

 L:  LISTEN – Great leaders LISTEN to the opinions of others.





When I was in my late twenties, and newly married, I was working a part-time construction job to supplement our income. Having worked in construction during summers while in college, I had minimal experience in the field. Yet, true to my personality, this minimal experience didn’t stop me from offering a plethora of ideas on how to improve the processes.

Ken, my foreman, was a great guy to work for and we eventually became good friends for years beyond the time I needed to work the extra job.  While working with him he was kind enough to always listen to, and acknowledge, my many suggestions. Occasionally, I offered something worth considering. However, most often my ideas were more of a distraction than helpful. After enduring my endless submissions, Ken developed a ready response which was always accompanied by a quirky grin. He would say “Now that’s an idea.

Today, Ken (shown here with his grandson) is still leading and listening.

Today, Ken (shown here with his grandson) is still leading and listening.

Notice the blatant absence of the adjective “good.” This short phrase was code for “Jack, I hear you, but forget about it.” We would laugh and I would go back to doing what I was supposed to do and doing it how it was supposed to be done.

To this day, I will find myself occasionally offering up a “Now that’s an idea.” When I do, the recipient has no idea I am thinking “That is the most stupid idea I have ever heard.” Yet, like my twenty-something self with a hammer strapped to my belt, they know they have been heard.

Ken not only was helping me to learn to build, he was also building my understanding of great leadership. Great leaders take the time to listen.


 Join me each day this week as we continue with Great Leaders L – E – A – R – N