Coffee Conversations Ep.1: Agree, Argue or Accept

It doesn’t matter if you are leading during a crisis, or leading your team during an average day, your ability to empathetically and effectively communicate with others is the most important skill you can demonstrate.

As we’ve said so many times on this blog, “Managers talk to their teams; leaders listen.”


That’s why we created a class for communication skills at Barry-Wehmiller – Listen Like a Leader. It’s the foundation for all our other classes in Barry-Wehmiller University and, based on the feedback we’ve received over the years, it might be our most impactful.

Unlike many corporate training experiences, the goal of the class is not to “get more out of” our team members, but rather to teach them the fundamentals of leadership, so they might positively impact the lives of others.

Overwhelmingly, graduates of the class realized how little they knew about listening vs. talking. Listen Like a Leader taught them how to listen actively—to hear not just the words but understand the meaning and feelings behind the words. The result: improved working relationships and, moreover, improved relationships with their family and friends.

Recently, we created a series of short videos as micro-lessons that reinforce the teachings of Listen Like a Leader. Hosted and conceived by David Vandermolen, our “Learning Sensei” at Barry-Wehmiller University, this video series, Coffee Conversations, offers a quick hit of leadership insight in an entertaining way. The topic of episode one — featured above — is “Agree, Argue or Accept.”

We’ll share new episodes on this blog every few weeks. As many of us around the world continue to shelter in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hopefully Coffee Conversations will provide encouragement and inspiration and serve as continuing education in your quest to be a Truly Human Leader.


Truly Human Leadership is found throughout Barry-Wehmiller Companies, where Bob Chapman is Chairman and CEO. A $3+ billion global capital equipment and engineering consulting firm, Barry-Wehmiller’s 12,000 team members are united around a common belief: we can use the power of business to build a better world. Chapman explores that idea in his Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring For Your People Like Family, available from Penguin Random House.

1 Comment

  • Laura Hamilton Scheidhauer says:

    I love this idea of entertaining, bite size, reminders of hard hitting listening/leadership practices. This is an impactful and practical nugget I can take into my day.

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