Thursday, July 19, 2012

Leadership is Listening - How Are You Doing?

Intro. comments: In honor of Steven Covey and his groundbreaking 7 Habits, I wanted to continue the 1% coaching challenge of listening through the lens of one of the habits: Seek first to understand - effective listening is required for that.

When I put out a challenge via the 1% Edge Portable Coach App, I consider that my challenge for the week as well. So...last week I was focused on listening. You know what I discovered?... (thinking of course I'm a pretty good listener because - well - I teach this stuff), I hear what people are saying but I can't say I'm really listening.

Listening really is more than hearing. It really is about seeking to understand.  They are partners in the effort to meaningfully connect  -- to build rapport that can lead to relationship. 

If you want to improve your listening, your rapport with others, the relationships that really matter to you, I encourage you to read/listen to the lesson below and to share this post with others. I'll probably be writing a bit more about the topic in the next few weeks.

Are You Skilled At Listening?

Focus:  Effective Communication, Managing Communication

Audio: 3 mins. 17 secs.
1. Double click arrow to LISTEN NOW:
2. Read along with the transcript below or print and read for later

Wc: 356
Transcript - print now 
Are you skilled at listening? If you can answer that question with, “Yes I listen much more than I talk during an important conversation.”…then I’d say you are. I would also say you are rare! As a reminder a skill is something one does very well. Most people have never taken the time to develop this essential life skill! To develop the skill of listening takes a decision, time and effort.

Do you know that the greatest psychological need anyone has is to be heard? Listening very much meets that psychological need if it is done well and combined with other effective communication techniques.

Listening is a very active activity, though I’m sure some would see it as passive. It takes effort to try and understand not necessarily what the person said, but what they meant.

Also it’s important to note that most misunderstandings are due to people assuming and adding meaning to what someone has said - that was not the intent of the other person.

This point is so important, I’m going to state it one more time. Most misunderstandings are due to people assuming and adding meaning to what someone has said - that was not the intent of the other person and then we respond or act on to that misunderstanding. 

Listening is a  two-step activity, meaning you hear and then you ask for clarity. Please don’t assume that you know what people mean. Just assume you don’t and that will open up your mind to the real meaning, not your assumed meaning.

So here’s your power tip for becoming skilled at listening. Use the “Golden 6”. These are words that prompt the person communicating to add more information, so that you can gain a better understanding of what they mean.

Now, you are going to laugh when I tell you what my “Golden Six” are: very simply - Who, What, When, Where, How and Why?   You will be absolutely amazed at what greater understanding you will garner when you use these six power words when listening to someone communicate with you. Try it and see…you’ll be amazed!

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