“Listen Well – Listen Carefully”, Dr. Brendan Hassett, Mathematics

I spend a lot time listening; people talk about their problems, talk about what they perceive the problems of the department are. I think listening to all the different constituencies is probably the most important thing I can do. It’s possible, before you have a position of responsibility, to think, well, ‘I would fix everything’, ‘I know what to do’, ‘I have a plan that would solve everyone’s problems and make the world happy’, and usually that is based on an incomplete understanding of what the problems and challenges are. Building a clear model of what has to be done and what people perceive needs to be done is a big part of my job. I think listening well and carefully is probably the most important thing I’ve had to learn.