Becoming a Better Listener and a Master Asker
I am attempting to improve my leadership skills by learning to be a better listener.
That said, here's my confession, I need to identify myself as a recovering Lousy Listener.
First, it was difficult for me to listen because I was too busy being an over-
Second, someone who I really respect once pulled down my covers and said, "You know
what? You're a lousy listener and here's why: 1) You are not really present when
you are supposedly listening. Instead, you are listening autobiographically; meaning,
while you are waiting for your turn to talk, you are busy searching your archives
for better material than what you're currently hearing. 2) When it is your turn,
you can't wait to tell your story that's not only supposedly better but, most of
all, stars yourself! Know this, just because it happened to you doesn't necessarily
mean that it's all that interesting! And, 3) Somehow transitioning to offering unsolicited
advice seems to be where much of what you call conversation inevitably ends-
Ouch! That was hard to take. But I had to admit that he was right. I was the genuine
So, how could I turn this around and recover?
Here are 6 Steps Towards Better Workplace Listening:
1) Be Present. Fully present. Face the speaker. Make steady eye contact. Nodding
and leaning forward indicates you are paying attention. In addition, you can say
things such as "I see" and "uh-
2) Do what you can to settle down and quiet your thinking, focusing on just plain respectful listening.
3) When you do get a chance to speak, why not verify what you've just heard? "What
I heard you say is that your solution to this issue is..." This can go a long way
to establishing positive rapport -
4) Ask questions. Then ask even more questions! Be nimble. Ask plenty of open-
5) Rewrite your job resume to include developing the skill set of becoming a Master
Asker, armed with high quality questions. Ultimately, the performance of our teams
will be a reflection of the quality of the questions we ask. Leaders and coaches
who seek to ask more than tell end-
6) Table the judgment mechanism. See how much more you can hear by being willing
to not only listen but to give open-
Seek to ignite thought and stimulate discovery. Helping others think for themselves helps them take responsibility for their future decisions and actions.
By becoming a better listener we empower others while giving ourselves a greater chance to humbly grow and to learn.
I am learning (slowly mind you) that being a better listener, rather than a teller, works exceptionally well in the workplace (It's pretty doggone useful at home too!).
"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." -