Are You Listening? 5 Reasons You Don’t Listen!

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Listening takes practice if you want to do it well. But, it is difficult when you allow simple things to prevent you from listening.

Few consider listening a critical leadership skill, much less one of the two most essential skills. Do you know why this is important? Without it, you have much less chance to see inside another person's mind. And when you combine asking questions—the most powerful leadership skill—you have an unbeatable combination to understand people and situations better. 

So, here are 5 reasons you don't listen.

Are You Listening? 5 Reasons You Don’t Listen!

1. You believe talking is essential, not listening

Those who make the most noise get the most attention - "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." Many people make good money by speaking. 

Of course, speaking is a critical part of the communication process, and if you do it well, it can benefit you and others. It is especially useful because it uses the structure of "one to many." That simply means you speak, and many others can hear you.

That isn't true of listening. Listening is more private; its structure is "one-to-one." Even with many people in a large crowd, the speaker's words are one-to-one to your ears. Therefore, they are personal to you as the listener. 

Because of the nature of listening, it seems less important than speaking. But as you know, when someone closely listens to you, it is valuable.

2. You believe you know more than they know

“A little learning is a dangerous thing,” and most often, a lot of learning is worse when it comes to listening. You fall into a trap when you think the person doesn't have much to contribute or they really don't know the topic. It is awful when you believe you know more than they do.

That thinking encourages you to discount people and what they say. That happens even more when you do not value people and different ideas. You demonstrate poor leadership skills when you aren't curious about what they know.

3. You think while others are talking

Your brain processes information 5 to 6 times faster than a person speaks. It is very easy to stop listening and start thinking about what you want to say or think about your next question.

On the positive side, that demonstrates that you have substantial capacity to concentrate on what they say. Yes, you process 5 to 6 times faster than they can speak, so put that additional capacity into "picturing" their words. In other words, watch a video of what they say. Your brain is wired to do that! And when you picture what they say, you expand your ability to understand them. Additionally, it gives you much better questions to ask.

4. You aren’t teachable/humble

That is a critical problem for all relationships, and leadership is a key relationship. You not only "make everything about ME" but may easily believe you are more important. Of course, few admit that reality, but admitted or not, it leads to a lack of attention on others.

Humility is one of the six critical leadership values for GR8 Leaders. And, it is the first element in the formula for listening. You will not listen when you aren't humble, focused, and curious about the other person.

5. People don't speak clearly

Not all the problem is you as the listener. Poor speakers make it difficult for listeners. That means when you become an Observational Listener, you help the communication process by asking questions that clarify what the speaker is saying, if you have access to them.

If you want to improve your listening, it takes discipline and energy!


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