Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Dung Q. Tran, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Organizational Leadership School of Leadership Studies

Learning to Listen, Discern, and Decide in Online Organizational Leadership Education: Insights from Ignatius of Loyola and Robert Greenleaf

Reports that pilots had complained for months about the functionality of the Boeing 737 Max 8’s safety mechanism prior to two fatal crashes that claimed more than 300 lives, and, that the United States National Transportation Safety Board had argued for a decade in a half that terrain awareness and warning systems be mandated on helicopters similar to the one in which Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and their seven co-passengers perished, can be characterized as cautionary tales of organizational listening failure. As the chronicled aftermath of the aforementioned examples illustrate, the underutilization of listening can result in fiscal distress, legal liability, public relations crises, and irrevocable harm to both stakeholder relationships and stakeholders themselves. Given the high stakes involved along with the rapidly changing, globalized, and technologically advanced organizational environments that demand continuous improvement, learning to listen more holistically and effectively is more necessary in organizational leadership education now than ever. Interestingly enough, the discipline of learning to listen is fundamental to both the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola and the servant-leadership philosophy of Robert Greenleaf. To that end, this proposed pedagogical paper explores the teaching and learning experiences in, Listen, Discern, Decide, an online graduate course in organizational leadership inspired by the insights of Ignatius of Loyola (1548/1991) and Robert Greenleaf (1977/2002). The presenter will provide an overview of the course objectives, content, assignments, and how graduate students have responded to the perspectives of Ignatian spirituality and servant-leadership on listening. Both worldviews encourage all leadership learners to cultivate a posture and practice characterized by patience, humility, openness to diverse perspectives, and a recognition of the inherent dignity of all human persons. Ultimately, the purpose of this graduate course in organizational leadership is to cultivate an abiding commitment to and concern for deep listening – a discerned leadership choice that involves developing the capacity to listen to the essence of an issue, which can nurture awareness and wisdom at the individual, collective, and societal levels. References Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Servant-leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power & greatness. (25th Anniversary edition). Paulist Press. (Original work published 1977) Horsman, J. H. (2018). Servant-leaders in training: Foundations of the philosophy of servant-leadership. Palgrave Macmillan. Lewis, L. (2020). The power of strategic listening. Rowman & Littlefield. Loyola, I. (1991). The spiritual exercises. (G. E. Ganss, Trans.). In G. E. Ganss (Ed.), Ignatius of Loyola: Spiritual exercises and selected works (pp. 113-214). Paulist Press. (Original work published 1548)