Tag Archives: leadership

Why Effective Listening Matters

Would you be surprised to learn that most of us only listen with about 25 percent efficiency? Another way to look at it is that we only hear one in every four words. It’s not

middle-aged man on outdoor stage with microphone

Leadership and listening are linked, the better we listen, the better we lead. But most of us think we are better listeners than we really are.

because listening effectively is so difficult, it’s because we believe we already listen better than the average person and therefore, we do not need to improve our listening effectiveness.

You might change your point of view when I tell you that those who listen effectively are 40 percent more likely to be more effective leaders.

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Stop Listening!

Not too long ago I read a post by executive coach and Enneagram expert, Wendy Appel, called “The Bamboo Leader.” In it, she likened the qualities of bamboo to desirable qualities within people. Principal among them were the qualities of being flexible, resilient and versatile. She advised that to be a Bamboo Leader, we must seek to understand others through listening to their words and being open to their point of view. She also noted that listening to the words of others is not the same as adopting their point of view.

two silhouettes in bamboo

Strong, flexible and resilient bamboo is equally suited for creating boundaries and protecting itself from what it does not need. Bamboo Forest location: The Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, NJ

Reading her post made me think about the times we need to reject others points of view and in that way, not listen to them. Sometimes, we need to stop listening so that we can remain true to ourselves and so that we can protect ourselves from hurt and harm. Continue reading

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So, What Happened?

Years ago, when some project or client interaction had not gone as well as expected, the head of our division where I worked at the time would initiate a fact-finding conversation with us by asking, “So, what happened?”

punched metal music roll inside a music box

All we need to do is ask a few questions, and like releasing the clutch on a music box, the words will flow.

Then he would sit back and listen carefully, nodding his head to show he understood, and asking a few more questions, until it seemed we had each played out our full opinion. Only then would he speak about what he wanted done next.

It’s an approach that I came to admire and to adopt. Continue reading

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