August 22, 2017

Are you REALLY listening?

This short article by the title of So You Think You’re a Good Listener by Harvard Business Review may be concise but powerful (amazing how a point can get across with a less is more approach). The article points out that the main reason for poor listening ties directly back to a manager’s receptiveness to hearing bad news, difficult issues or criticism. As a result, employees say that they avoid giving the boss or manager anything but the good stuff.

There are a few other wedges which get in the way of solid listening, including. Look at this list and consider which ones apply to you:

1) You are distracted by noise, overwhelm or a lack of time

2) You are way too busy formulating your response

3) You are biased about the people you listen to and those you don’t

4) You are listening through a veil of “What’s in it for me?”

5) You are interrupting people to get to a quick solutions because time is scarce

6) You are living with your own assumptions about this situation or person

7) You completely miss the point that someone is making, because you know your thoughts are the only ones worth paying attention to

8)And finally…the one from Harvard Business Review…You just don’t want to hear bad news

A great practice is one that my coach gave me over a year ago: Live one day and just listen. Rather than dole out advice or cut people off, simply respond by saying “I understand” or “I hear you”. Don’t interrupt people and try to finish their sentence or give any ideas…just listen. The more you listen, the more you will understand the full context of the message being delivered..

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