Were you told or taught how to listen?
Were you ever taught how to listen or were you told to listen as a child? I have presented to different organisations and people about the importance of listening and how improving our listening skills can transform individuals, teams and organisations. However, whenever I ask people the above question, "were you ever taught how to listen or were you told to listen as a child?",
In a recent article by Adam Bryant, Managing Director of Merryck & Co, he writes about how “listening is becoming a lost art and that it is essential to leadership”. Although I believe that this is true, there is a growing false expectation and idea that everyone should already know how to listen and that they should just do it. This illusion is one of the reasons why, for many years and generations, poor listening has never been addressed effectively, especially when many of us were never taught how to listen in the first place. In order to reach our highest potential, we must first learn how to listen and only then can we use and turn our listening skills into successes.
"This illusion is one of the reasons why, for many years and generations, poor listening has never been addressed effectively"
I recently met with a member of a senior management team to work through a significant change in his area of responsibility. I was seriously impressed with his open approach and I could tell by his response to my questions, our interaction and his decisions that he was genuinely listening. This made me think about the importance of our intent when we interact with others. When we engage with someone with true and genuine intent, the value of our conversations increase significantly. Think about what your intent is as you listen to others. You may even surprise yourself with how many assumptions or pre-determined thinking stops you from listening effectively.
"When we engage with someone with true and genuine intent, the value of our conversations increase significantly".
Adam Bryant sums up his article by saying: “For senior executives, being an effective listener is crucial for hearing both good ideas and bad news. Without knowledge of each, leaders may find their tenures short-lived. But for those who do it well, listening is a superpower.” I agree with Adam, listening is a superpower not to be ignored. I believe it is critical for us to all learn how to become a listener. It will bring additional success across all aspects of our lives.
Founder and Head Coach of The Five Levels of Listening