Listen Generously | Fundamental #2
An excellent quote from the Dalai Lama: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
Be honest with yourself; how much have you learned by talking?
Listening well to others brings new facts, opinions, information and – ultimately knowledge.
But easier said than done! Listening means more than simply hearing what another person is saying:
- Listening well should command your full attention, not a few “uh-huhs” while you scroll through your emails.
- Listening well requires that you set aside your preconceived notions about the speaker, or the subject, and try to listen objectively. This is especially hard to master. I personally struggle to listen with an open mind to certain political figures (who will remain nameless here…).
- Listening well also includes trying to separate facts from opinions and interpretations, both the speaker’s and yours.
- Most importantly, listening well requires empathy; what is the person trying to accomplish? What do they need?
Communication is certainly essential to our own growth, but also to a company’s success.
Listening is the key to all effective communication and many employers have identified it as an essential skill for their employees, providing listening skills training to both new and current staff members.
Richard Branson of Virgin and Kevin Sharer of McKinsey are two of the many successful business leaders who extoll the benefits of listening.
Listening skills in your company can save you money.
Research from SIS International estimates that a business with 100 employees averages 17 hours/week clarifying communications, translating to a cost of $500,000 per year in wasted time!
As a leader, it’s essential that you develop good listening skills, not only for your own continued growth but to accelerate the performance of your team. Listening well:
- Builds trust
- Cements relationships and teamwork
- Boosts credibility
- Increases loyalty
- Gives evidence that you care
Have you heard me? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below – I’m listening!