Listen, Really Listen

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Listen, Really Listen

Communication is one of the most important activities for any human being, yet I am not aware of communication being taught in any of our schools. 60% of effective communication comes not from the ability to speak but from the ability to listen and I have never come across an education program yet where listening is taught.

As leaders we often feel our role is to tell others, and we happily and relentlessly tell others what to do, how to do it and what to think. But we would oftentimes be better off doing less telling and more asking. As Henry Ford said all those years ago, ‘with every pair of hands comes a free brain’, but as leaders we are very bad at helping our people to bring their brains to work because too often we don’t listen. We either think that others don’t have the intellectual horsepower to say anything worth our consideration or we are too busy to stop and put down our phone or spreadsheet and be fully present when a member of our team is speaking. We send out dozens of signals that over time persuades our people to keep their head down and their ideas to themselves, meaning that we miss out on all of that valuable data. If you want to tap into that wealth of knowledge and experience it is vital that your people feel listened to and heard. The only way you can achieve that is to be present and listen, really listen.

In these crazy lockdown days with so little face-to-face communication and so much done on zoom or Teams, it is too easy to pretend to be present when you are really checking e mails, texting, preparing a quote or shopping on line. Remember that the litmus test is whether the speaker feels listened to, feels heard. We need to go out of our way for that to happen or risk having the opposite effect.

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A well-led business will benefit the world more than almost anything else. If you would like some help in improving your business performance or just someone to talk to please reach out. We are in some of the most challenging times ever. Don’t wish that life were easier, take action to get better

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