The Power of Listening

Q: What do you think is one of the most common complaints expressed in the workplace today?

A: The habit of NOT LISTENING. (Perhaps the title was a good clue!) Poor listening is considered one of the rudest of all office behaviors. After all, the messages you send, whether intended or not, come across loud and clear when you don’t listen or pay attention:

• I don’t care about you.
• I don’t understand you.
• You’re wrong.
• What you have to say isn’t important.
• You’re wasting my time.

Most people don’t realize just how powerful listening can be, and they often miss out on its valuable benefits.

What about you? When someone talks to you at work, are you really attentive? I’m not talking about merely hearing the sound of their words, but truly paying close attention to body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Real listening, the type that produces accurate understanding and empathy, often involves the availability of all of your senses.

The power of listening lies in the positive impact it has on your relationships. If not listening produces the negative perceptions listed earlier, consider what effective listening skills convey:

• I care about you and accept you as a person.
• I am interested in what you have to say and want to understand.
• I respect your point of view, whether I agree or not.
• Your comment or opinion deserves consideration.
• I value your input and contribution.

When these messages are consistently expressed to your co-workers, supervisors, subordinates, and customers, you develop what I call the Relational Advantage.

When you exercise your Relational Advantage, you’ll discover it usually results in greater cooperation, respect, trust, patience, tolerance of mistakes, helpfulness, collaboration, loyalty, and performance. All of these benefits ultimately lead to less conflict, better teamwork, and superior business outcomes – including profitability!

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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