96% Believe They Are Good Listeners and That’s Baloney

A reputation for listening before speaking earns respect.

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Dan Rockwell

Chances are you’re a lousy listener – even though you think you’re good at it.

The problem is, 96% believe they are good listeners according to Accenture.  But a Scientific American article states, “… studies show that people wildly overestimate how good they are at listening.” You can emphasize ‘wildly’, if you ask me.

Wouldn’t it be great if people listened to understand you? Wouldn’t it be even greater if you were that person for others?

Why listen:

Speak before listening and you’ll spew nonsense. But a reputation for listening – before you speak – earns respect.

You earn respect with your ears and lose it with your mouth.

You tell people they matter when you listen. People who feel they matter courageously do things that matter.

Being listened-to feels like:

  1. Respect.
  2. Appreciation.
  3. Affirmation.
  4. Permission to think. If you want people to think, listen to what they say.

Take people seriously and they’ll think before they speak.

4 strategic questions for listening like a leader:

Listen to understand people, not simply words.

  1. What do you wish I understood better?
  2. What are you glad that I understand about you?
  3. What would you like me to understand about you?
  4. You seem …. Is that right? Fill in the blank with an emotion. You seem frustrated. Is that right?

If leadership is about people, listen to understand people.

3 stopping-tips you can implement today:

Sometimes success is about what you stop doing.

  1. Stop interrupting.
  2. Stop droning on and on. People go to sleep when you’re boring, irrelevant, or self-absorbed.
  3. Stop listening to reply. Listen to ask a question.

Skillful leaders show up to listen. But blabber-mouths spew nonsense. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

What gets in the way of listening?

How might leaders develop their listening skills?

This post was previously published on Leadership Freak and is republished here with a Creative Commons license.

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Leadership Freak

My dream is when people see me they think that guy made my life better. – Dan Rockwell

Inc Magazine Top 50 Leadership Expert. Top 100 Leadership Speaker. American Management Association Top 30 Leader in Business of 2014. According to the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness, the Leadership Freak blog is the most socially shared leadership blog on the Internet.

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