Perhaps you knew this all along, I just recently discovered this: LISTEN and SILENT use the very same letters.
This did make me think of some managers in very senior positions I have come across over the years in companies I have worked with, which are incessant talkers. Some are just smart asses and like their own opinions being “heard” constantly, over-indulging in their own self-importance. Others are actually across-the-border-line narcisists, and cannot “hear” others for love of their own voice and opinion. The latter are more dangerous to companies.
I have had to learn this myself evidently, in fact when I was about 20 years old, I wrote down as one of my commandments “listen twice as much as you speak”. And I continue to try to apply it.
The bottom line is this, while you are talking, you are not listening.
There are so many advantages to listening:
- Your subordinates may well try to raise issues to you that you will need to know about. Understanding these issues will enable better and more balanced decisions on your part.
- Listening gives you a chance to check that you are making the right assumptions, a moment to confirm that your conclusions are valid.
- In my own career, I have learnt a great deal from my team members. Listening is a pre-requisite of learning.
- Listening builds trust in relationships, subordinates, peers and bosses alike. No teamwork truly works without it.
- Listening is step one in empowering others.
- Actually, it works in private relationships too.
Of course this also applies equally to partnering with customers, and it is a basic principle in our relationships with our clients.
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