There’s one thing I tell myself to do lately: listen more.
I’m appealing to those of us who veer towards not listening or maybe those of us who talk too much.
As a leader or manager, we can often wrongly think our job is primarily to tell people what to do. That’s a very simplistic way of thinking on its own, but let’s just talk about what it means WHEN you do have to tell people what to do.
If you don’t listen, you won’t know if there is retention / understanding / comprehension. You taught or gave orders, they acknowledged, and you watched in slow motion as it got done wrong because YOU weren’t listening originally. YOU weren’t aware they just didn’t understand.
By listening we can learn and discover. Listening allows us to find problems and then hear about the situation to understand the issue at greater depth.
Often we don’t listen with intent or even listen at all. Listening creates or leads to awareness, empathy, and intelligence.
Listen. Think. Listen some more, and THEN ask questions. I often feel like I have to fill the dead space in a conversation, but perhaps leaving that gap open is creating for the other person to share an idea they would not normally or for the other person to think (it also gives room for YOU to think).
Sometimes listening is just creating the space for someone to communicate feelings, frustration. Often there is subtext behind that, and it’s great to find understanding when we can. We don’t necessarily have to solve every issue we listen to – sometimes people just want to be heard.
You could go on a deep dive with this concept and say that it’s not simply about listening but about being open. Be open to ideas, be open to people. Listen more.