How to give the gift of listening
How often have you been in what you call “a conversation” (for lack of a better word) that is completely one-sided? For example, one of the people in the conversation is doing 90% of the talking and even if the other person manages to get in a word or two, the other person either responds immediately or continues on their rant. One of my favourite life lessons is to “listen to understand, not to respond”. Unfortunately, in my experience, 90% of the population does not do this. They want to help. They want to respond. They want to be heard. They want their opinion to be heard. They want their opinion to be adapted…..
On a more positive note, I have been fortunate enough be on the receiving end of the gift of listening. It is an amazing feeling to really have someone listen to what you have to say, to be curious about what you are saying and why you are saying it. Instead of responding with their opinion or their experience, they respond with empathy and understanding. It provides an incredible connection between two people. Listening is an important skill for all of us, but as Leaders, it is even more important. As a Leader, listening to others gives you the opportunity to really connect with your colleagues and to understand how they are feeling about what is going on in your organization. It also brings respect for you from your team because they know that their opinion and thoughts are being heard and are valuable.
Imagine how it would feel if you could give someone the gift of listening. It takes a lot of practice and discipline to control the urge to provide input and opinion, but most of the time, that is not what people want. They want to be SEEN, HEARD, and UNDERSTOOD. This is a common need of all human beings.
I urge you to try these few things.
Be sincere in your listening.
Don’t think about what you can say next.
Be curious about what is going on with the other person.
Listen with your heart.
On my Twitter page (Dragonfly Insights @clbenning), I provide insight into living authentically and into gender intelligence – two topics I am very passionate about. For my “day job” I provide leadership to a team of dedicated professionals in an animal health products manufacturing environment.