In today’s busy world, some believe that noise can champion many situations, particularly when you look at social media. Not a day goes by that many of us are surprised with the levels of poison that circulates on some social media channels, which is countered by talented new voices.
It is comforting to know that one of the sincerest forms of respect in any relationship is the ability to listen to what another person is saying.
Listening remains a truly magnetic and creative force. Ask yourself over the years, how did you get to know a friend? Was it by listening? Friends who listen are the ones we move toward.
In today’s geopolitical world, when listening, make sure you tune in to the most disturbing of the 21st century populism, polarisation and the post truth world of politics.
We have witnessed the rise of political leaders such as Berlusconi, Bolsonaro, Orban, Erdogan, and best of all Donald Trump. Trump continues to tell us that he won the election while Putin tells us it’s a war when in fact it’s an invasion of Ukraine.
Wisdom is a very powerful asset to gain early on in life and it is achieved from listening to others and making up your own mind at the end of the day.
A recent article has prompted us to write this blog in relation to the power of listening. A journalist once said a “therapist listening carefully and reflecting back what the patient said” is the most effective way to help a person overcome an issue or a problem. The phrase we pick up the most and use is how many people actually “listen carefully”. Two of our favourite books on listening are Daniel Goleman’s ‘Emotional Intelligence’ and ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey, which he wrote back in 1989.
The ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ chronicles ‘The power of listening,’ a vital component in life. As a life lesson, listening is free and should be enjoyed. It is a great payoff to be especially curious in things you are not interested in.
We all ask ourselves why some leaders do not to listen. This is mainly because as Stephen Covey writes, they are thinking about what they are going to say next and particularly because listening is not a skill that many leaders think is important. We have noticed that some leaders tend to feel that they are important because their job is to set out a vision but instead, we found better leaders that actually listen to people and comprehend what is being said to them in order to build a future for an organisation and its teams.
A leader believes that a team has interesting insights and if you are lucky, the team are bound to have plenty. Many teams we have worked with do excellent work and are proud of their achievements every day. Their knowledge is better than anyone!
For example, if a team member is in procurement, they will know what to buy, the best price, when and where to buy it from trusted suppliers. If they are customer facing, they know intimately what the customer likes and what upsets them. It is essential that a good leader lets their team know that they are interested in their views and experience.
So what separates a manager from a great leader? The simple answer is active listening, allowing a leader to connect to his team and the people around him.
We continue to enjoy working with many successful business, political and civic leaders, many of whom continue to provide us with the best examples of the art of good listening. It is essential to note and address issues that some people may be coping with, such as anxiety, stress, the loss of a loved one, and so on. As the quality of our relationships is essential, the quality of our listening skills and how we move forward in a changing world are essential to carry on in a professional manner.
Whatever our role in our daily work, every one of us is a leader but in order to improve our skills, the circle of influence will enlarge. As my late Mum always insisted on being a good listener in order to do a good job—“when you listen, you learn something new.”