Why good listening is much more than being silent while the other person talks

When Dan took on his new role, he did not want to fall into the trap of communicating his vision while crossing his fingers and hoping it would all turn out. He had been on the receiving end of too many failed change programs that relied on broadcasting key messages. Teams often resisted the change or ignored the program because they had not aligned with the context for it. He knew he needed to start with good listening. 

Dan kicked off a series of listening events to discover how the team viewed the future. He wanted to know if they shared his conclusion that they needed to make dramatic change if they were to survive. They opened up about their concerns and Dan was delighted to find they shared his desire for a bold new future for the business. 

As he articulated his vision for the organisation, they were delighted to see their feedback and concerns had influenced his conclusions. Dan not only listened to them but was building on what they told him. 

Dan’s experience further supports the findings of my recent LinkedIn poll, where respondents rated listening and communication as a clear priority for leaders to develop for successful collaboration.

Research conducted by Zenger Folkman on good listening concludes: 

✳️ Good listening is much more than being silent while the other person talks.

To the contrary, people perceive the best listeners to be those who periodically ask questions that promote discovery and insight. 

✳️ Good listening included interactions that build a person’s self-esteem.

The best listeners made the conversation a positive experience for the other party, which doesn’t happen when the listener is passive (or, for that matter, critical!).

✳️ Good listening was seen as a cooperative conversation.

In these interactions, feedback flowed smoothly in both directions with neither party becoming defensive about comments the other made.

✳️ Good listeners tended to make suggestions.

Good listening invariably included some feedback provided in a way others would accept and that opened up alternative paths to consider. 

🙋 Which of these factors about good listening resonates with you? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian

Good listening is much more than being silent while the other person talks.
Good Listening