Listening – The Forgotten Competency
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The ability to listen at a deep level is a crucial competency for managers
and supervisors (in fact, it's an important competency for just about everyone). However, there are a large number of people (including those who supervise and manage) who are simply poor listeners. Are
you one of them? Think you're a pretty good listener?
Put yourself to the test. Observe yourself for one day.
Before opening your mouth to speak, mentally ask yourself, "Is the other
person still talking"? You get one strike if the answer is yes.
Next, repeat back to your conversation partner what they said. Can't do it? That's strike number two.
Lastly, count the times during the day that you have to ask employees or coworkers to repeat themselves. If it's more than 4, that's strike three and you may seriously want to consider an personal
program to improve your listening skills!
It is only polite to listen as someone else is speaking. After all, they probably will extend you the same courtesy.
Note that to be a good
listener your brain must also engage and focus on what the other speaker is saying. It's not fair if you use their "talk time" exclusively to plan what you'll be saying next. It also helps if you are
able to relate what you have to say to what's just been said by the other person.
If you have energy to make only one change to work on your listening skills, do this one thing: make sure that
you regularly stop talking and give the other person a chance to talk.