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A Letter from Rick

Listening is …
the heart and soul of leadership;
the ultimate leadership competence;
the lifeblood of relationship;
the essence of respect; and
the spirit of life.

I have spent the past 30 years studying, practicing, teaching, researching, and writing about LISTENING and its direct connection to LEADERSHIP. I have realized one main thing: IF YOU LISTEN BETTER, YOU WILL LEAD BETTER. Why? Because listening is at the core of all human behavior and especially at the root of effective leadership. Listening is the thing we do the most of in our life, except breathing.

ARE YOU ONE OF THEM? It’s estimated that the majority of adults do not have any formal listening education. Yet, the average person misunderstands, ignores or forgets at least 75% of what they listen to. ‘Listening’ is definitely not the same thing as ‘hearing’. The costs of poor listening are too high to ignore, including loss of relationships, opportunities, trust, respect, credibility, money, and even loss of life, just to name a few. People lose when they don’t listen!

This website contains both free and affordable resources for you to increase your LISTENING LEADERSHIP performance. It consists of the Listening Seeds blog, the Listening Pays book, articles, assessments, one-on-one listening and leadership coaching, courses, seminars, podcasts, speeches, and retreats. I have also created the Listening Pays Facilitators Certification Program for qualified professionals in which you will be equipped by me to deliver the Listening Pays Workshop to your organization.

Join me on the journey. I encourage you to invest your time, effort, and energy in your listening leadership performance. It is a lifelong process and the results will prove invaluable to you. It has for me. LISTENING PAYS!

Rick Bommelje, Ed.D., CLP
Lifelong Listening Student


By on October 25, 2017

Listening Leaders confront conflicts by consciously cultivating courage. In environments of unending conflict, effective listeners meet the harshness of words and actions of others with courageous acts and actions of listening. Although most leaders remember the old adage: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” most listeners also recognize that conflict-laden words can be very hurtful and courage is required. When verbally criticized, Listening Leaders develop courage in a number of ways.

First and most importantly, they establish a pre-planned strategy for listening courageously. In the process, they develop a positive plan to respond rather than to react.

Second, they make a commitment to never take the negative words, dismissive taunts, and profane attacks of others personally. Most often such verbal attacks say more about the attacker than the attacked. When unfairly attacked by negative verbal assaults, effective listeners pause, step back, and consider the motive of the verbal attack and the verbal attacker.

Third, they develop the courage to withhold the desire and tendency to respond in-kind. Operating from the simple wisdom that additional negative words do not negate negative words, Listening Leaders resist the negative verbal counter attack.

Such acts of courage allow the fourth important step of dealing with conflict. Courageous listening calls for thoughtful consideration of numerous questions. Why am I being attacked? What is the source of anger? What is relevant? How do I respond in a rational, creative, and productive way?

Rudyard Kipling captured the spirit of every courageous listener with his simple words of “IF.” “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired of waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:…Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And ─which is more─you’ll be a Man, my son!”

In the process of displaying courageous listening behavior, verbal attackers may be shamed and rebuffed. At the same time, Listening Leaders® will inspire meaningful courageous listening behavior in countless others. Courageous listening behavior requires a special kind of bravery, for as Aristotle observed, “We become brave by doing brave acts.”

LISTENING PAYS CALL FOR ACTION: Consciously cultivate the courage to listen when you are in conflict.



Posted in: Listening Seeds


By on September 29, 2017

J.W. Marriott, Jr. is Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, Inc., the largest lodging company in the world.  In this excerpt,  he captures the essence of listening.  When was the last time you sat down with



By on August 24, 2017

Jack Lowe Jr. is the former CEO of Dallas-based TDIndustries, one of America’s premier contracting and facility service companies. Jack understands the value of listening commitment. Rated by FORTUNE magazine as one of the TOP 100 Best Companies to Work


By on July 28, 2017

When you want to hear from others (and you should because it adds to the pool of meaning), the best way to get at the truth is by making it safe for them to express the stories that are moving


By on June 24, 2017

Impressive listening skills have been identified as one common characteristic of credible leaders. A willingness to listen carefully to constituents and, if necessary, to hear the bad news keeps leaders from being isolated from critical feedback. When they can get