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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 December 29, 2016

  1. COMPARING: Comparing makes it hard to listening because you are always trying to assess who is smarter, more competent, more emotionally healthy – you or the other.
  2. MIND READING: The mind reader doesn’t pay much attention to what people say. In fact he often distrusts it. He’s always trying to figure out what the other person is really thinking and feeling.
  3. REHEARSING: If you don’t have time to listen when you’re rehearsing what to say, your whole attention is on the preparation and crafting of your next comment.
  4. FILTERING: When you filter, you listen to some things and not to others. You pay attention only enough to see if someone is angry, or unhappy or if you’re in emotional danger. Once assured that the communication contains none of those things, you let your mind wander.
  5. JUDGING: Negative labels have enormous power. If you prejudge someone as stupid or nuts or unqualified, you don’t pay much attention to what they say. You’ve already written them off.
  6. DREAMING: You’re half listening, and something the person says suddenly triggers a chain of private associations. And you’re off in la la land.
  7. IDENTIFYING: In this block, you take everything a person tells you and refer It back to your own experience. They tell you about a toothache, but that reminds you about the time you had oral surgery.
  8. ADVISING: You are a great problem solver, ready with help and suggestions. You don’t have to hear more than a few sentences before you begin searching for the right advise.
  9. SPARRING: This block has you arguing and debating with people. The other person never feels heard because you’re so quick to disagree.
  10. BE RIGHT: Being right means that you will go to any length (twist the facts, start shouting, make excuses or accusations, call up past sins) to avoid being wrong. Your convictions are unshakeable.
  11. DERAILING: This listening block is accomplished by suddenly changing the subject. You derail the train of conversation when you get bored or uncomfortable with the topic.
  12. PLACATING: “Right, Right, Right, Absolutely, I know, of course you are Incredible. Yes, Really? You want to be nice, pleasant, supportive. You want people to like you. So you agree with everything.

Knock these blocks down in order to bring your listening behavior to the top level…..LISTENING PAYS!


By on November 24, 2016

A man attended a meeting where the guest lecturer was extremely long-winded. When the listener could stand it no longer, he got up and slipped out a side door. In the corridor he met a friend who asked, “Has he


By on October 28, 2016

Following is an example of how one manager realized the value of listening: “My secretary said to me today, “Steve, you’re not listening to me.”, and she was right. It was an awakening for me. I had totally tuned her


By on September 26, 2016

I received the following example from a listening leader who deeply listened and responded with an important decision.  Her boss chose not to listen.  The results are devastating.  Several years ago, I was employed with a company as a Credit


By on August 20, 2016

I received the following example of a huge listening breakdown that resulted in a $1 million loss. “There was a huge communication breakdown at the commercial bank that I work at between a sales executive and a portfolio manager. Sales