Time To Listen UP
There is a saying about listening that goes like this:
“People nowadays don’t listen to hear; they just listen to speak.”
In a day and age when many people are craving for more and better communication, it seems the art of listening is failing us. Our conversations seem to be less emphatic and about the other person, and more about getting our agenda through and waiting for the opportunity to interject.
With these tendencies in mind, it’s time for leaders to Listen UP, and become great listeners.
Listening is not just a skill or a habit; yes it’s both. But mostly, it’s a conscious decision to focus on another individual and the message they are attempting to get across.
There are many factors that prevent proper listening from taking place:
- Focusing on what you want to say
- Wanting to take over the conversation
- Letting your emotions, including impatience, override the ability to listen
- Not wanting to hear the other person out
- Not valuing the other person, or their viewpoint
- Failing to acknowledge or validate the other party’s feelings or point of view
- Being diametrically opposed to what the other person is saying
- Feeling the need to rebut and counter
- Pre-conceived notions on what is meant versus what is said
- Time frames that cut short dialogue
- Distractions such as phones , emails, other people, items needing attention at some point
- Background noises
- Distance, proximity
- Method of communication other than in-person that filters out part of the message
It’s vital for every leader to overcome these disruptions to listening. The physical barriers are easy to achieve, but those internal barriers are more a matter of the heart and mind of our leadership, rather than our ability.
Better listening is a direct result of our being able to put self, agenda, and emotions aside. When we give the other person center stage and engage in active and constructive listening, we elevate communication to it’s highest level, a level in which trust is built and visions are shared. With an environment like this laid as a consistent foundation, information can flow readily, teamwork will thrive, and the mission ahead can be accomplished with astounding results.
Listen UP, leaders. Your people are talking.