Several years ago, I had a supervisor who was an amazing listener. She made and maintained eye contact, asked questions, and respectfully and attentively listened. I always felt truly heard when I walked away from a conversation with her, and that was not only very validating for me, it also inspired a great deal of loyalty from me. That supervisor exemplified the proverb above to me, as her listening was powerfully influential.
Unfortunately, sometimes listening well isn’t always as plentiful a resource at work as it should be. Most of our job descriptions specify giving input, participating in meetings, giving feedback, etc.—but not many job descriptions call for listening well. And sometimes we’re so busy trying to think of what we’ll say in reply that we don’t really hear what’s said.
Today, I challenge you to listen more. Whether you work in an office or a home, as a volunteer or a CEO, and whether you work with children, adults or animals, take time to listen to what they’re saying. Pay attention to the emotion in their words and body language, and listen to truly hear them and understand rather than to respond. Besides influence, if can give you:
*greater understanding of the person, situation, or circumstance;
*stronger relationships with higher levels of trust and interdependency; and
*higher productivity overall.
Whether you’re a supervisor listening to those who report to you or listening to another coworker, truly listening can be a powerful gift you give to others. Try it and let us know how it goes by leaving a comment.