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
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FREE resources for you to increase your LISTENING LEADERSHIP performance. It consists of articles, a blog, audio podcasts, videos, and the Listening Habits Test.
Click here to purchase online Available on your tablet or smartphone for $6.99! Sales Director Stu Preston is a man at a crossroads. After being given six months to improve his performance or find another job, Stu is clueless
Listening leaders are searchers and seekers. They cultivate a listening habit of curiosity. Although they recognize the simple reality, ‘We cannot listen to all people talk on all things at all times,” productive listeners are careful not to turn off their listening prematurely. They listen optimistically and seek to share the speaker’s enthusiasm for and interest in the subject. Ineffective listeners prejudge certain topics as boring or uninteresting, and quickly tune them out. Skilled listeners realize that no matter how dull the subject may appear at ﬁrst glance, it may contain valuable “nuggets of gold.”
Effective listeners are selﬁsh in the best sense of the word. They understand and utilize the Value Moment of Listening (VM of L) reality. It has been said, “If you want one ounce of gold, you discard 200,000 tons of rubble. If you want one karat of ﬂawless diamond, you also throw away 200,000 tons of rock. If you want the oil, you have to discard the sludge. If you want the wheat, you must separate the chaff.” In listening, you will never ﬁnd the value moments until you fully listen. So the searchers and seekers are constantly listening for messages and ideas of interest. They ask, “What’s in it for me?” “How can I relate this message to something I’m already interested in, and how can I use it?” Poor listeners prematurely tune out speakers, and may carelessly lose opportunities for personal growth or for new perspectives. There is a great difference between the behaviors of listening leaders and poor listeners when they are confronted with supposedly dry, dull, and boring material.
Andrew Carnegie, a self-made steel tycoon and one of the wealthiest 19th century U.S. businessmen firmly believed, “When you mine gold, you don’t go into the mountain looking for dirt. You look for gold, no matter how small, or how much dirt you have to push aside.” This single consideration, the factor and habit of interest, distinguishes the behavior of effective listeners and provides many clues for methods of improving your own listening behaviors. You must be aware of your behavior when your interest is at a low level. If you continually catch yourself calling a topic, speaker, or presentation dry, dull, boring, or uninteresting, you are moving toward the habitual behavior of poor listeners. If you consistently behave in an uninterested manner, you will consistently hear less, process less, understand less, evaluate less, and respond less to potentially valuable messages.”
A perfect example of expressing interest in others was highlighted by Dale Carnegie in his popular book, How to Win Friends and Inﬂuence People, which has sold more than 10 million copies and continues to reinforce the importance of listening. Reﬂecting on the constant interest and attention displayed by his childhood dog, Tippy, Carnegie made the important observation, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” As Carnegie noted, “Most people are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves—morning, noon, and evening.”
LISTENING PAYS when you SEARCH, SEEK & FIND SOMETHING OF INTEREST.
THE COSTS ARE MOUNTING UP! The following real example submitted by a listening leader, who wants to go anonymous, shows what happens when listening breakdowns occur. “I am a part of a sales team for a retail store in a
In the best selling book The Road Less Traveled, author M. Scott Peck emphasizes the work of attention. He states that “Listening well is an exercise of attention and by necessity hard work. It is because most people do not
If you truly want to manifest the act of love, then listen. Listen with attention, listen with abandonment of your point of view, listen with total dedication to another’s vision, listen with intent to hear their meanings, their intent not
The emerging form of leadership in our fast-paced, hectic world is counter-cultural – MINDFULNESS…being attentive, focused, responsive and clear. Unfortunately, too many times it is the opposite. Here’s an example from a Human Resources manager: “I attended a mandatory meeting