Think about someone that you know either at work or outside the workplace that you would qualify as a Great Listener. Picture that person in your head now and ask yourself why?
What is it about this person that makes them a great listener. What do they do consistently? How do they behave? What is it specifically that sets them apart from everyone else that causes you to put them into the category of great listener.
Here are a few of those attributes you may have identified:
They let you finish your sentences.
Engaged in active listening with their body language and eye contact.
Not distracted or multi-tasking.
Ask relevant questions.
100% focused on the conversation.
Have the time to engage.
They followed up and took actions.
They make the conversation all about YOU.
They were receptive to different ideas and open minded.
You probably have a few additional characteristics that you came up with.
Now think about someone you know either at work or outside the workplace that you would qualify as a Poor Listener. Picture them in your head and ask yourself again why? What is it about them that causes you to say they are poor listeners? What do they do consistently? How do they behave? What is it that sets them apart from everyone else that puts them squarely into the category of Poor Listener.
You may have identified some of these behaviors:
They interrupt and constantly cut you off while you are talking.
They’re “already” listening which means they’re just nodding and waiting for their turn to speak.
They are constantly multi-tasking, on their phones or computers.
They know everything about everything.
Distracted and scattered.
Too busy or have no time.
Take no action after the conversation and always seem to forget.
It’s all about them.
They get defensive and argumentative.
I’m sure you have plenty more to add to this list.
Now that we’ve identified the characteristics of good and poor listeners, I want you to ask yourself a valuable question.
If we were interviewing your team or people you interact with the most in your life,
which of these lists would you show up on most of the time?
I’m sure you may be thinking to yourself, “Well it depends on the person or the situation” or some other story you tell yourself.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing leaders and people that perform at the highest levels in their chosen fields and here’s what I’ve learned.
The Best Leaders and the most Effective People are almost ALWAYS the best listeners.
That doesn’t mean they don’t screw things up and end up on the poor listener list every once in a while, but they are very intentional about getting themselves back over to the great listener category.
I would not be truthful if I didn’t tell you that there are some people that have had great success, and they are also poor listeners. The one thing they all have in common is that they burn through people and relationships at an extremely high rate and if they lead their organizations, they tend to create toxic cultures. I bet you can visualize someone exactly like that in your experience.
This week I would ask you to take an honest assessment of yourself and your listening skills. When you catch yourself sliding over to the poor listener category make a conscious decision to embrace the following bit of coaching that I’ve shared thousands of times in my Executive Coaching practice…
Be Interested Instead of Interesting
Cheers to you and your continued success
And remembering to Shut Up and Listen
One Quarter Turn at a Time
Thoughts for the week:
There is a lot of difference between listening and hearing. –G.K. Chesterton
Listen with intent to understand, not intent to reply. -Stephen Covey
There is a voice that doesn’t use words… listen. -Rumi
If you are not listening, then you are not learning. -Lyndon B. Johnson
Looking forward to our next connection