Toolbox Tool Essential - Listening
“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?”
Communication is no doubt a two-way street. It’s also what I believe to be one of the most complicated yet simple objectives a good leader can master. John Maxwell says that we have two ears and one mouth; therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak. Good advice I believe. There are literally hundreds of books on good communication skills. This article focuses on the “Listening” part of communication.
Story: Two men walking in the woods hunting, the first one (George) falls down, hits his head and is not moving or breathing. His friend calls 911 on his cell phone. “Hello” he says “I think George has fallen down and died” Quickly the 911 operator exclaims “Ok check again and make sure he is dead”. There was a brief silence, then BOOM BOOM!!!! His friend came back to the phone “OK now what?”
As you see the man in the story above heard what was said, but he didn’t really listen to what was said. We as leaders need to take an active part in communication. Much of personal communication is non verbal as well as the verbal part.
Today, we can take a more active part in listening to what people have to say to us. An irate employee may have a complaint about his working conditions, however listen closely to his complaint, it may just be a symptom of some other “Larger” problem. It’s our job as leaders to be able to discern the difference.