Listening is an area where most managers over-rate their ability. It’s importance is under-rated.

Why is it important:

Listening is important for two reasons:

  1. Are you hearing all the information that is being presented?
  2. Is the person speaking feeling heard?

Hearing the information

We find that most managers over-rate their ability to listen to information. To check if you are good at listening ask yourself:

  • Do you interrupt or finished sentences?
  • Do you zone out because you know how this is going to end?
  • Do you check your phone/tablet or notebook?
  • Do you fidgit?
  • Do you miss changes in body language, tone or expression?
  • Do you have to get information repeated in order to act?

If you answered Yes to any of these, chance are you need to improve your listening.

Letting “the other” feel heard

According to Daniel Goleman, feeling that we are not being listened to is one of the top five triggers of fight or flight responses at work.Even if you are capable of listening and checking your phone it can have a negative impact. When we don’t feel listened to we tend to reduce the information we are giving. So even if you are listening intently, the other person wll be telling you less.


Here’s a check-in game you can use in your team meetings to improve your listening:

  • The aim of the game is to create a slogan that sounds like sage wisdom
  • Start with a random word
  • Add the next most logical word to the one that has gone before
  • Do it quickly without “thinking” of a good idea
  • When it is clear the slogan is complete put on a “knowing, wise look”, tap your fingers together in a prayer like mudra and say “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.” affirming the wisdom of whatever sage wisdom or nonsense aphorism has been invented by the group.

You can get more tips on listening in the book: From: Improv Wisdom by Patricia Ryan Madson

Here’s what you have to remember

  1. Listen to get all the information
  2. Listen to make the other person feel heard
  3. Play the proverb game to increase your skill

Find out how individual team coaching can help you with listening by clicking here.

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