several people sitting around a table in a work setting
Communication,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

Struggling to Align Your Team? Embrace the Power of Open Listening

Phillip recently got a new assignment involving leading a change initiative in a new region. While very excited about the career growth opportunity, he soon realized that the team was resistant to his leadership. Despite his proven track record of success, he struggles to gain traction and alignment within the group. Compounding his professional challenges, Phillip is also navigating personal transitions, feeling unsettled in a new town without adequate social support.

He thought he had connected with the team; he knew about their families and always asked them about their well-being before getting to business. Despite his efforts, he faces resistance. His team perceives him as moving too quickly and not adequately considering their input. 

Feeling frustrated and out of ideas, Phillip came for coaching. 

As I observed him, I couldn’t help but notice the tension in his voice and the tightness in his gestures. Sensing his unease, I gently encouraged him to lean back, take a few deep breaths, and let his body weight release into the chair he was sitting in.

His demeanor shifted before my eyes as he eased into a more relaxed posture. In that moment of calm, he made a profound realization: despite articulating all the right words to his team, his actions spoke a different language entirely.

Admitting to the pressure to rush through conversations and swiftly secure agreement, he acknowledged that perhaps his meticulous preparation was, ironically, part of the problem. While mentally primed to deliver his message, he missed creating an environment of genuine listening and collaborative problem-solving.

“How can others contribute if we assume we hold all the answers?” I posed to him.

A metaphorical light bulb went off in Phillip’s mind as he recognized the disconnect between his intentions and actions. With newfound clarity, he made a conscious commitment to practice the art of presence—approaching conversations with a relaxed and open mind, ready to listen and co-create solutions with his team.

It was a sobering reminder of the importance of humility and receptivity in facilitating meaningful dialogue that creates lasting progress. As Phillip embarked on his journey to cultivate a genuine connection and collaboration culture, his story served as a testament to the transformative power of presence and open listening during a crucial change.

Feature image by fauxels at

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