Do You Listen or Make Everything About You?

“One in four corporate leaders has a listening deficit which can paralyse cross-unit collaboration, sink careers, and if it’s the CEO with the deficit, derail the company.”  OUCH!  Ram Charan, co-author of “Boards that Lead”.

Here’s a typical example of an exchange I come across all the time.
Two friends catch up, having just met up after some time.  The pattern of exchange?  “Let me talk about me and my experiences’.  When one had stopped talking about themselves, the other one starts talking about themselves.  And so the interaction continues.  No meaningful responses are made.  We are all so adept at sharing what we are doing and thinking on social media and wanting information as simple soundbites, we have forgotten to be attentive to each other.  
Sherry Turkle (MIT professor and author of ‘Alone Together’) talks about how in the growth of on-line connection:

”…we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection…” a situation where we ”lose out, and may over time forget that there is a difference and stop caring.” 



Turkle talks about how we avoid the realness of human relationships and interactions by ‘cleaning’ them up with technology, to make it on our terms or using it as a way to avoid human interaction altogether – think emailing a work colleague instead of phoning or finding them, and workers sharing an office but all wearing headphones plugged into their devices.

However, real interactions matter, especially at work.  Lots of studies into lack of engagement at work cite ‘not being listened to by managers or leaders’ as a key complaint of workers across business. Gallup in their regular employee engagement research find that, “meaningful exchanges between managers and employees boost the bottom line.”

In our Courageous Success Academy training (how we train our developers) we have a simple exercise around this.  Try it!

  1. Over the next few days note down how you feel when you are not being listened to.  Notice when people hijack your conversation.  How does it make you feel?
  2. Whilst observing others, notice when you jump in to share your experiences, rather than ask others about theirs and sticking to their subject.  What kind of energy is driving your agenda? How desperate are you to share your story rather than get excited for them about theirs?  
  3. Practise giving people your full attention and remain focussed in their conversation and not yours.

Powerfully maximise Coaching & Conversations in your workplace by booking a Courageous Success workshop. e:

I thought it would be another load of management speak, instead I feel inspired with clear tactics to bring out the best in others – and not make it about me!”

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration